Kant on Aesthetic Ideas and Beauty

Abstract
Readers of Kant’s Critique of Judgment (1790) have understandably been stumped trying to decipher Kant’s views on the relation between beauty and art.1 At §43 Kant ends his discussion of “free natural” beauties such as flowers and birds of paradise and begins to formulate a theory of fine art, according to which fine art has as its purpose the expression of “aesthetic ideas.” This theory of fine art, perhaps because it is saddled with examples of second-rate art (including a poem by “the great king” Frederick) and is sketchier than the theory of beauty, has not been given the attention accorded the four “moments”. However, Kant’s theory of fine art is not as “unsophisticated” and “unenlightening” as one commentator thinks.2 It is rough and unfinished, but even so, it lays claim to being, along with Aristotle’s account of the “philosophical” implications of literature, one of the great pre-Hegelian statements on the capacity of art to express ideas. At least, the fact that the Critique of Judgment contains such a theory should stand as a warning to those who blame Kant for “neutering” the capacity of art to have any practical effect by reducing art to a contrivance for producing an enemic “disinterested” pleasure.3 On the contrary: Kant himself may in fact have thought his theory of fine art the capstone of his aesthetics. For at §51 he writes, “We may in general call beauty (whether natural or artistic) the expression of aesthetic ideas.” And here is where the puzzle begins, for it is not at all clear how or why beauty should even apply to the expression of aesthetic ideas — let alone apply in a way such that “we may in general call beauty … the expression of aesthetic ideas.”
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
 
Download options
PhilPapers Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 12,088
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Similar books and articles
Analytics

Monthly downloads

Added to index

2009-02-26

Total downloads

17 ( #103,238 of 1,101,983 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

0

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature


Discussion
Start a new thread
Order:
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.