In Violetta Waibel & Margit Ruffing (eds.), Natur und Freiheit: Akten des XII. Internationalen Kant-Kongresses. Berlin, Germany: De Gruyter. pp. 3141-3148 (2018)

Emine Hande Tuna
University of California, Santa Cruz
In this paper, in answering the question why Kant didn’t think very highly of music, I argue that for Kant (i) music unlike other art forms, lends itself more easily to combination judgments involving judgments of sense, which increases the propensity to make aesthetic mistakes and is ill-suited as an activity for improving one’s taste; (ii) music expresses aesthetic ideas and presents rational ideas only by taking advantage of existing associations while other art forms do so by breaking with the laws of association and creating new associations. I propose that (ii) constitutes the reason why music is not a rich source for reflection and thereby cannot stimulate the enlargement of the cognitive faculties. Given that the standard Kant uses in setting up the hierarchy of fine arts in terms of their cultivating role is the enlargement of cognitive faculties, this explains why music is placed at the bottom of his hierarchy.
Keywords Immanuel Kant  Aesthetics  Music  Culture  Hierarchy of Fine Arts  18th Century aesthetics  The Critique of the Power of Judgment  formalism
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