CJ: Analytic of the Beautiful: 1st Moment: Quality: Disinterested

Comments and Questions to: John Protevi
LSU French & Italian
Protevi Home Page

Classroom use only. Do not cite w/o permission.

Course given at University of Warwick Fall 1995

Let's just skip the Intro and go right to the Analytic of the Beautiful. After all, K wrote the Intro last, as an overview of the whole. So let's not knock ourselves out trying to grasp the whole w/o first having gone through the parts. Let's just pick up the beginning of the book itself. We'll come back to the Introduction in the last week of the course, as a summary concluding exercise.

As always, K's architectonic is important:

Critique of Judgment (Pure Reason/Practical Reason)

Analytic of Aesthetic Judgment (Teleological J)

Analytic of the Beautiful (An of Sublime/Deduction/Dialectic)

First Moment: Quality (5 sections; followed by formula; then Quantity, Relation, Modality).

The 5 sections:

1) J taste is aesthetic (pleasure/pain), not cognitive.

2) J taste is disinterested.

3) J about what is agreeable is interested.

4) J about what is good is interested.

5) comparison of three J: beauty, agreeableness, goodness.

Formula: taste is ablity to judge via a disinterested feeling.

#1: J Taste is Aesthetic.

K: To decide about the beautiful, we use imagination (perhaps w/ understanding) to refer the representation to subject's feeling of pleasure or displeasure.

First of all, let's note: Three moments of reflective judgment: 1) particular; 2) reflection or referral; 3) universal. In AJ these are 1) apprehension ["the representation" {gathered by imagination}]; 2) reflection ["we use imagination ... to refer"]; 3) feeling ["feeling of pleasure or displeasure" {of free play of imagination and understanding}]. We can see how the apprehended representation can play the role of the moment of particularity, but how does "feeling" come to play the role of the "universal"? In two ways: a) the referral is to the "faculties of universality in the subject": imagination and understanding in the free play needed for all cognition; b) the feeling is "universally communicable": we have the right to demand that all people acknowledge possession of such a feeling, just as we have the right to demand that all people recognize a scientific proof.

Furthermore, note that: 1) what is referred [moment of apprehension] is a representation: something outside comes to affect us, even if that affection is shaped by the subject as well, by the subject's imaginative synthesis; 2) the referring agency [moment of reflection] is the imagination; 3) the reference point [moment of universality] is the subject (in line with the Copernican Revolution, Kant decisively turns to the subject; beauty is nothing in the object, it is not an objective trait whose characteristics we are in search of); 4) more precisely, the reference point is the feeling subject, the affected subject, not the knowing subject; 5) this referral is a reflective judgment. the singular object is presented, a universal must be found. but it is a non-conceptual universal: it turns out to be the universality of our cognitive faculties in general: the way imagination and understanding are set in accord (beautiful) or the way imagination and reason are set in discord (sublime).

Thus the imagination refers [reflection] what it has synthesized [apprehension; particularity] to the feeling of its free play w/ understanding [feeling; univerality]

K: the representation of the object is referred to the feeling of life, under the name of the feeling of pleasure or displeasure.

1) Anthropology #60: enjoyment (sensuous pleasure = promotion of the feeling of life).

2) K's agreement w/ Epicurus in the "General Comment on Aesthetic J" at AA 277: a) all presentations, sensible or intellectual, affect the feeling of life; b) enjoyment and pain are ultimately always of the body, i.e., furtherance or inhibition of the life forces; c) but principle of life is the mind; d) [thus presumably, life forces and the feeling we have of them, are associated with the body]; indeed, K distinguishes the mental Bewegung that is sublimity from the mental Bewegung that merely stimulates mere bodily Bewegung [sometimes distinguished as Motion] conducive to health and thus merely enjoyment [AA 274, 331ff]

3) cf. narrow definition of "life" in CPrR Preface: ability to act according to laws of faculty of desire, that is, of being cause, through ideas, of reality of objects of ideas. [that is, conscious, effective action in the world].

4) this = K's rewriting of psyche, privileging logos: see Aristotle's De Anima and Physics: physical things are those w/ an internal origin/principle of change [arche tes kineseos]; the psyche is first actuality [capability] of a natural body having life potentially [as such an organizing principle, it is the ousia of such creatures]; humans have logos as crown of our souls).

5) pleasure in CPrR Preface is "agreement w/ subjective conditions of life" [these conditions must be our bodily power to affect the world, as directed by faculty of desire].

6) [so in most classic terms, human life is mind (principle of life) and body (conditions of life) together? yes: cf AA 304: w/o constraint of mechanism the spirit, free in art [spirit is enlivening principle {beledende} in the mind AA 313], and animating [belebt] the work, would be w/o body and w ould evaporate].

7) K's question in CPrR is whether practical reason can have form of law as determination of will: that is, can freedom determine us to act? the question of CJ is how can we think [not know] this free action as effective, i.e., able to bring about change in the world of nature? [in other words, how can freedom harmonize with nature?].

8) so what is the "feeling of life"? is it feeling of our life forces, i.e., the body [AA 331]? or feeling of "principle of life," i.e., the mind [AA 277]? or both together somehow: is this a feeling of "human" life?

9) NB the economy of life here: is "life of the mind" just a metaphor on original sense of biological life? or vice versa? but either move brings up metaphoricity, since life as psyche includes motion [phora] in it, as does meta-phor: so is metaphor alive? cf. here Ricouer / Derrida debate, expertly treated in Lawlor, Imagination and Chance.

K: feeling of pleasure/displeasure founds a capacity for distinguishing and estimating, which is non-knowledge producing

K: the feeling of pleasure/displeasure then refers the representation to the entire capacity for representation

K: in feeling its condition, the Gemüt becomes conscious of the whole capacity for representation

since Gemut is life principle itself, in feeling its condition, the Gemüt is feeling the feeling of life,

#2: Liking determining J taste is disinterested

K: Interest = liking connected to representation of existence of an object. but J taste is disinterested, based on mere contemplation.

1) taste presupposes leisure, defined as guarantee of supply of existent objects necessary for bodily survival for some by their social position in a system that coerces the labor of others.

2) beauty is superfluous; beyond utility [cf. Aristotle in beginning of the Metaphysics: philosophical wonder at stars possible only when more useful arts were perfected.]

3) [Caygill]: K wants to both maximize activity of the subject [disinterestedness does not mean passivity!], and keep the regularity of lawfulness [but here a "lawfulness w/o law"]

4) [Derrida]: here we see a phenomenological epoche of a sort: we must suspend the natural attitude [the assumption of external existence of things] to merely contemplate objects [NB: terminological distinction of Ding an sich and Gegenstand {or for Husserl, Objekte and Gegenstand}]. Hence JD notes a strange "auto-hetero-affection": the non-existent [more precisely, "indifferent to existence"] I is affected by or allows itself to be affected by or affects itself by [all three formulations are indistinguishable] a non-existent pleasure provoked by a non-existent object.

K: example of the palace. four judgments about existence.

a) dislike because it was made to be gaped at.

here K doesn't like the purpose he attributes to the building, i.e., that it is for the glory of the inhabitant

b) Iroquis who preferred Parisian eateries

preference for display of material abundance could be related to economic position [cf discussions of symbolic economy]; see also Kant's Eurocentrism; plus in Anthropology his Francophilia; see also Derrida's "Economimesis" for all these questions of political economy in CJ.

c) rebuking vanity of those who spend the people's sweat

that is, deplete their life forces; but this is of no account to the question of beauty, the furtherance of feeling of life [not necessarily life forces] of the onlooker.

d) referral to condition of solitude as test case

AA 296: only in society is beauty of empirical interest

#3 Liking for Agreeable is interested

K: agreeable is what is likable in sensation; feeling: subjective sensation. no object is presented [for cognition], but object is only object of our liking. The agreeable produces an inclination, since there is a referral of existence of object to my affected state. thus agreeableness is gratifying.

Cf. #41: "On Empirical Interest in the Beautiful"

#4 Liking of the Good is interested

K: the good is liked through its mere concept. it is object of the will, brought under reason by concept of purpose {good for ...}. discussion of happiness [=sum of what is agreeable in life]. happiness cannot be the highest good (only worthiness to be happy is highest good).

Cf. #42: "On Intellectual Interest in the Beautiful"

#5 Comparison of the Three sorts of Liking

K: J taste is contemplative; indifferent to existence of object; disinterested and free [free from compulsion by interest: NB: could be merely interest in bodily survival conditioned by one's social position in system of coerced labor; in other words, compulsion by interest must be seen in context of coerced labor]. Favor is free liking {Gunst = grace}. Hunger interferes w/ exercise of taste.

cf here #43, where constraint of mechanism is necessary for art, as body is necessary for spirit. an economy of pleasure is here installed: pleasure is feeling of enhancement of life, whether from beauty (disinterested, no body), goodness (reason, purposes), agreeableness (existence of object, body).