Journal of the History of Philosophy 44 (4):599-622 (2006)

Rachel Zuckert
Northwestern University
Rachel Zuckert - The Purposiveness of Form: A Reading of Kant's Aesthetic Formalism - Journal of the History of Philosophy 44:4 Journal of the History of Philosophy 44.4 599-622 Muse Search Journals This Journal Contents The Purposiveness of Form: A Reading of Kant's Aesthetic Formalism Rachel Zuckert In the "critique of aesthetic judgment," Kant claims that when we find an object beautiful, we are appreciating its "purposive form." Many of Kant's readers have found this claim one of his least interesting and most easily criticized claims about aesthetic experience. Detractors hold up his aesthetics as a paradigmatic case of narrow formalism; and even many admirers of Kant's aesthetics take Kant's claims about form to be problematic, but argue that they are inessential to his aesthetics . Though these critics come to differing evaluations of Kant's aesthetics as a whole, they agree on two points. First, interpretively: that when Kant claims that it is the "form" of an object we find beautiful, he means that in aesthetic appreciation, we find certain spatial and/or temporal properties aesthetically pleasing—and that such properties are exclusively responsible for an object's beauty. Second, evaluatively: that Kant is wrong, at least about this. In this paper, I shall propose that we need not endorse either claim. I shall argue that one may interpret Kant's..
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DOI 10.1353/hph.2006.0075
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