Chapter 2: Kant’s Four Moments of Judgments about Beauty and How Aesthetic Judgments Are Synthetic A Priori Judgments
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Kant further defines judgments about beauty by discussing four essential features or “moments” that pertain to them. The first moment of a judgment about beauty (or judgment of taste), according to its quality, is disinterestedness.1 He means we are not interested in the beautiful object’s existence.2 Also, we do not want to acquire the beautiful object to fulfill our own interests, but we enjoy the beautiful object for its own sake.3 For example, when I look at a beautiful flower, I do not want to acquire it to fulfill my own interests, like wanting to take it home to show to my friends or to paint a picture of it. I enjoy it solely for its own sake. Kant says taste is the ability to judge an object based on this disinterested satisfaction, or liking that is “devoid of all interest.”4 He says the judgment of taste is “merely contemplative, i.e., it is a judgment that is indifferent to the existence of the object: it [considers] the character of the object only by holding it up to our feeling of pleasure and displeasure.”5
Is Kant right that when we make a judgment of taste or judgment about beauty, we are indifferent to the existence of the beautiful object? I believe he is not right because we do have an interest in the existence of the beautiful object. We want to acquire it and preserve its existence to experience the pleasure we get from...
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