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Kant on the Beautiful: The Interest in Disinterestedness

Daniels, Paul (2008) Kant on the Beautiful: The Interest in Disinterestedness. Colloquy: Theory | Text | Critique, 16. pp. 198-209. ISSN 13259490

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In the 'Critique of the Power of Judgment', Immanuel Kant proposes a puzzling account of the experience of the beautiful: that aesthetic judgments are both subjective and speak with a universal voice. These properties – the subjective and the universal – seem mutually exclusive but Kant maintains that they are compatible if we explain aesthetic judgment in terms of the mind’s a priori structure, as explicated in his earlier 'Critique of Pure Reason'. Kant advances two major claims towards arguing for the compatibility of the subjectivity and universality of the experience of beauty: (i) that aesthetic judgments are ‘disinterested’, and (ii) that the universality of an aesthetic judgment derives from the transcendental idealist’s account of ordinary spatio-temporal experience – that is, our ordinary cognitive framework can explain the experience of beauty. If correct, these two claims support the thesis that, while the experience of beauty is wholly subjective, it nevertheless speaks with a universal voice (or, the experience of beauty can be related among subjects). I will move to interpret Kant’s theory of the beautiful with reference to his earlier two Critiques in order to better understand the marriage of subjectivity and universality. In turn, this reveals a deeper symmetry between the disinterestedness of the experience of beauty and the freedom of moral action, allowing Kant to maintain, as he indeed does, that “beauty is the symbol of morality.”

Item Type: Published Articles
Repository Version: Metadata Only
Keywords: Kant, aesthetics, judgment, disinterestedness
Fields of Research: 22 Philosophy and Religious Studies > 2202 History and Philosophy of Specific Fields > 220210 History of Philosophy
22 Philosophy and Religious Studies > 2203 Philosophy > 220301 Aesthetics
Socio-Economic Objective: E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970122 Expanding Knowledge in Philosophy and Religious Studies
Type of Activity: Pure Basic Research
Subjects: A - Humanities, general
A - Philosophy
College/Association with University of Divinity: Trinity College Theological School
Depositing User: Mr Paul Daniels
Date Deposited: 31 Jan 2019 05:02
Last Modified: 03 Feb 2019 22:37
URI: http://repository.divinity.edu.au/id/eprint/3386

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