Harmony and a Common Sense: Judgments of Taste in Kant's Third "Critique"

Dissertation, The University of Rochester (1984)

Authors
Jane Ellen Kneller
Colorado State University
Abstract
In this thesis I attempt to characterize Kant's "judgment of taste" by examining the structure and justification of these judgments as well as the historical influences which shaped his aesthetic theory. I begin by tracing the development of the notions of a "common sense" and "disinterest" through Shaftesbury, Hutcheson, Burke, and Hume in England, and by discussing the influence of their respective aesthetic theories on Kant. I then examine eighteenth century German rationalist aesthetics prior to Kant, with emphasis on Baumgarten and Mendelssohn and the gradual "subjectivization" of German aesthetics. ;In the second chapter I describe Kant's critical edifice, and go on to discuss the role of a "deduction" of judgments in his theory. I outline his deduction of judgments involving categorical concepts and compare it with his deduction of judgments of taste. I then discuss the role of imagination and reflection in Kant's account of both empirical judgments and judgments of taste. ;In Chapter Three I begin an analysis of judgments of taste by examining their "transcendental" structure--their mode of reference, their "objects," and the predicate of beauty. I conclude that judgments of taste for Kant are relational judgments which predicate "x is formally purposive for y" between an empirical object and a judging subject . In the fourth chapter I complete the analysis by discussing the nature of aesthetic properties for Kant and his account of the universal validity of judgments of taste. As part of the latter task, I reconstruct Kant's deduction of a common aesthetic sense as laid out in sections 38 and 21 of the "Critique of the Aesthetical Judgment." ;Finally, I conclude that the deduction of a common sense, upon which rests the universal validity of judgments of taste and hence Kant's entire aesthetic theory, presupposes the success of the deduction of judgments involving categorical concepts in the Critique of Pure Reason
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