Chapter 1: Judgments about Beauty, the Sublime, and the Agreeable
| 7 →
In his Critique of Judgment (1790), which was his third Critique after his Critique of Pure Reason (1781) and his Critique of Practical Reason (1788), Kant tries to answer the question of how it is possible to judge something as beautiful on the basis of a subjective feeling of pleasure and yet demand that our judgment be universally agreed upon by everyone else.1 To answer this question, he first explains the nature of an aesthetic judgment. He says an aesthetic judgment is not a determinate judgment in which a particular object is brought under a universal concept (such as “That rose is red”), but rather it is a reflective judgment in which no concept is given (such as “That rose is beautiful”).2 No concept is given in an aesthetic judgment about beauty because beauty has no concept; it is entirely dependent on a subject’s feeling, and “apart from a reference to the subject’s feeling, beauty is nothing by itself.”3 There is nothing about the object (no property or feature) that makes it beautiful and nothing about the object that causes us to see beauty when we look at it. What makes an object beautiful is just that we perceive it to be beautiful, which depends completely on our feelings, specifically our feelings of pleasure.4 The pleasure we feel when we judge an object to be beautiful is generated in our minds by the free play of our cognitive faculties of the imagination and understanding.5
You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.
This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.
Do you have any questions? Contact us.Or login to access all content.