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The Beauty Of Works Of Art

1404 words - 6 pages

Immanuel Kant’s Critique of Judgment aims to analyze the notion of a judgment of beauty or a judgment of taste. There is a basic dichotomy between two opposed sets of features that Kant explores through his various characterizations of judgments of beauty. On one hand, judgments of beauty are based on feeling (the object is not subsumed under the concept of a purpose that it is supposed to satisfy). On the other hand however, judgments of beauty are unlike judgments of the agreeable in not involving desire for the object. So what does it mean to make a pure aesthetic judgment of the beautiful? Kant investigates whether the ‘power’ of judgment provides itself with an priori principle. This principle would assert the suitability of all nature for our faculty of judgment in general.
Four Moments/Disinterested
Kant wonders how fine art- or the beauty of works of art- is possible and categorizes aesthetic judgments (or ‘judgments of taste’) into four “moments.” In the “First Moment” judgments of beauty are based on feeling, specifically the feelings of pleasure (he also discusses feelings of pain). However this pleasure is what he calls “disinterested.” Meaning that the subject does not need to desire the object in order to experience pleasure from it, nor must the object generate desire. We take pleasure in something simply because it is beautiful, rather than judging it beautiful because we find it pleasurable. He argues “the satisfaction which we combine with the representation of the existence of an object is called ‘interest’”(Kant 420) while “taste is the faculty of judging of an object or a method of representing it by an entirely disinterested satisfaction or dissatisfaction. The object of such satisfaction is called beautiful”(Kant 422). This is based solely on a feeling that an object produces separate from cognitive judgments based on perception. It is this kind of disinterested pleasure, which is the basis for a judgment of taste. A judgment that is not disinterested and is derived from pleasure is what Kant calls “judgments of the agreeable” (Kant ?). Kant claims that a judgment of taste is “not a judgment of cognition” (Kant ?), meaning it is not based on the logical facilities of the mind such as reason but it is an “aesthetic” valuation and is therefore subjective and based in sentiment. However, in the Second Moment Kant also discusses a universal validity or universal communicably of the account of pleasure in the beautiful. He argues that a subject, who feels such a pleasure and thus judges the object to be beautiful, expects others to agree with them and feel a corresponding pleasure and thus agree with their judgment of taste. In the Third Moment, Kant asserts that through aesthetic judgments, beautiful objects appear to be ‘purposive without purpose.’ An object’s purpose is the concept according to which it was made. The beautiful has to be understood as purposive, but without any definite purpose. A “definite” purpose would...

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