Kant on genius and art

British Journal of Aesthetics 47 (2):199-214 (2007)

Abstract
The paper distinguishes between two different senses of ‘genius’ found in Kant's Critique of Judgement, and criticizes an argument commonly attributed to Kant. The argument is in support of the conclusion that an agent must possess and employ genius in the ‘productive faculty’ sense in order to produce an artwork. It is shown that Kant did not in fact make this argument. He defended a different claim concerning the need to employ the concept of a productive faculty of genius in order to make pure judgements of taste concerning artworks. I conclude with the suggestion that there are indications in Kant's theory of a significant departure from a tradition of thought according to which there is something essentially mysterious about the possibility of the production of fine art.
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DOI 10.1093/aesthj/ayl056
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