James Phillips

James Phillips

University of New South Wales


From Imagination to Disinterest: Heidegger’s Relationship to Kant in the Shaping of his Philosophy of Art

Adelaide Workshop 2017

In Kant and the Problem of Metaphysics (1929) with its privileging on the imagination, Heidegger puts forward a distinctly romantic reading of the Critique of Pure Reason. In the subsequent exposition of his philosophy of art, however, Heidegger marginalises the imagination while nonetheless adhering to, even aggrandising the romantic notion of the world-forming role of art. What is there that can explain Heidegger’s resistance to the term “imagination”? Heidegger’s turn to the work of art in the 1930s is of a piece with his deepening critique of subjectivism. The imagination is arguably a casualty of this process. A Kantian concept that comes to the fore in its place is disinterest, but whereas in the third Critique disinterest is a feature of a subject’s aesthetic judgement, in Heidegger it comes to characterise the work of art itself. The work’s capacity to found a world lies in disinterest’s transcendence of the personal.