Kant's principle of purposiveness and the missing point of (aesthetic) judgements

Kantian Review 10 (1):1-32 (2005)
Abstract
My plan in this article is to begin by raising the question of the point of judgements of beauty, and then to examine Kant's account of beauty in the third Critique from the perspective opened up by that question. Having raised the question of the point, I will argue, first, that there is an implied answer to it in Kant's text, and, second, that the answer is ultimately unsatisfying in that it falsely assumes that there is a ‘need’, or ‘task’, or ‘purpose’, that we all necessarily share, to conceptualize all that encounters us in our experience, and fit it into one unified and comprehensive system. It is only against this assumption of our transcendental cognitive interest that Kant can so much as seem to have a real story to tell about where the value that we claim for things in calling them ‘beautiful’ derives from. This, in effect, means that to the extent that Kant offers us any answer at all to the question of the point of judgements of beauty, that answer testifies to his general neglect of the question of the point of judgements. And my purpose is to draw attention to that neglect, and to begin to assess its significance for Kant's transcendental project in general and for his conception of beauty in particular
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