David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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In Francis Halsall, Julia Jansen & Tony O'Connor (eds.), Rediscovering Aesthetics: Transdisciplinary Voices From Art History, Philosophy, and Art Practice. Stanford University Press (2009)
By transcendental aesthetic, Kant means “the science of all principles of a priori sensibility” (A 21/B 35). These, he argues, are the laws that properly direct our judgments of taste (B 35 – 36 fn.), i.e. our aesthetic judgments as we ordinarily understand that notion in the context of contemporary art. Thus the first part of the Critique of Pure Reason, entitled the Transcendental Aesthetic, enumerates the necessary presuppositions of, among other things, our ability to make empirical judgments about particular works of art. These presuppositions are sensible rather than intellectual because on Kant's view, all intellection that considers objects of any kind, whether abstract or concrete, must at base connect to actual, material objects with which we come into direct contact; and this we can do only through sensibility (A 19/B 33). Thus the following discussion explores what Kant claims must be true of us in order to make the sorts of aesthetic judgments we make, rather than any particular class or quality of aesthetic judgments itself. On Kant's view, what must be true of us in order to make aesthetic judgments is not different from what must be true of us in order to make any other kind of judgment about empirical objects. This last point is worth emphasizing, in order to correct an interpretation of Kant's account of aesthetic judgment in the Critique of Judgment that wrongly reads Kant as claiming that aesthetic judgments do not have to satisfy the same basic requirements of judgment that any other kind of judgment also must satisfy, such as the synthetic subsumption of such objects under certain necessary and hard-wired concepts of understanding, the internal coherence of such judgments with other, non-aesthetic ones of a more abstract and comprehensive character, the unified consciousness within which such judgments are intelligibly made, and the like. Of course Kant recognizes the special character of aesthetic judgments and unpacks it in the...
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