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 Do not cite w/o permission.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
10: On Purposiveness in General
11: Form of Purposiveness
12: J taste is a priori
13: pure J taste w/o charm or emotion
15: J taste w/o concept of perfection
16: J taste w/ concept is not pure
17: Ideal of Beauty
10: On Purposiveness in General
K: purpose = object of a concept whereby concept is cause of object; purposiveness = causality of a concept.
1. Aristotle: Physics 2.2: four causes. see outline
2. cf. Heidegger in BPP where he puts such productive comportment, as model of nature, at basis of metaphysics of presence: things are only the realizing of eidos prohaireton, that which was present all along, that which most truly should be said to be, because it doesn't come about [Aristotle: forms of natural beings are eternal]
3. Kantian final causality; the goal is represented in a concept that
guides the production;
K: cness of causality of presentation aimed at keeping subject in a state is pleasure; displeasure provokes change
cf. lingering in the presence of the beautiful 
K: purposiveness w/o purpose: do not posit causes of a form in a will, yet we can explain it only by deriving it from a will
1. we say such a will [action determined by concepts] is responsible for the arrangement of the form--i.e., that it couldn't be mere chance, but had to have been planned, even if we don't understand the plan [=don't grasp the concept through which it was produced]
2. Derrida reads this as "errancy": but reined in by ideal of beauty
as man fulfilling moral purpose: autonomy; this is the regulation of dissemination
by humanism, indeed by patriarchal Eurocentrism
11: J taste based on nothing but form of purposiveness of an object
(or of the way of presenting it)
K: a purpose as basis of liking entails an interest [we like it because
we have made it?]; this is called subjective purpose, or agreeableness
K: But also, objective purpose as basis of liking is liking on basis of the good.
we like it because it is a good thing, well-suited for what it is supposed
K: aesthetic J must be relation of presentational powers to each other, as determined by a presentation. K calls this liking the "subjective purposiveness" in presentation of the object; since it is w/o purpose [is not conceptual], it is the mere form of purposiveness.
in other words, the thing seems so well-suited to enhancing our powers
it seems to have been made for that purpose, but we don't posit such an
intentionality behind it, because we don't understand how it would operate
12: A J Taste rests on a priori bases
K: comparison w/ respect, which is pure moral feeling
(positively known as respect; negatively, as pain: CPrR 75; from thwarting
all inclinations). read paragraph in question
K: in aesthetic J, "the very cness of a merely formal purposiveness in the play of a subject's cognitive powers, accompanying a presentation by which an object is given, is that pleasure."
1) feeling of pleasure is disclosive of free play; what is feeling doing involved so intimately in a "judgment"?
2) purposiveness in the play: faculties play in a harmonious unity so harmoniously that it could not be explained as accidental, but only as if they had been planned to undertake such a free play--as if the object were meant to bring us pleasure in provoking free play--even if we do not posit (as actually existing) any conceptuality that planned the free play (see VII in the Intro)
3) so we think beauty as gift: as pleasing, but w/ no strings attached:
no concept of a giver, so no debt [AA 230]; here we see articulation with
Heideggerian es gibt and Derridean investigation of gift as pure
event, beyond subjective appropriation.
13: A Pure J Taste is Independent of Charm and Emotion
K: charms (sense pleasure) are frequently passed off as beauty, but this is like passing the matter off as the form
what is the ground of this illusion? how is this self-delusion possible
in the area of internal sense introspection?
14: Elucidation by Examples [Here K will be emphasizing the formality
of his theory of beauty]
K: [see above] charms may supplement beauty, but they impair J taste if they posit themselves as basis of J B; they are like aliens to be policed.
what are political implications here, if alienation can haunt very interiority
of the subject?
K: design is what is essential to the visual arts [painting, sculpture,
architecture, horticulture]; colors are only charming; they only illuminate
K: besides shape [from design arts, above], all form of sense objects
is play: in space, the play of shapes [mimetic art and dance] or in time,
the play of sensations [music].
K: again, charms are supplements that make the form intuitable more precisely, determinately and completely; they also enliven the presentation by arousing and sustaining the attention we pay the object.
this is odd; we see here how sense can help form. this seems to violate
transcendental distinction of matter and form of intuition
K: even parerga increase liking of taste, but only by its form; if its
form is not beautiful, then it impairs beauty.
K: emotion is inhibition, then stronger outpouring of life force; this
has to do with sublimity rather than beauty.
15: J taste is w/o concept of perfection
K: objective purposiveness is through a concept; as extrinsic, it is
utility, as intrinsic it is perfection [what the thing was meant to be].
[thus perfection is a concept of the understanding, not a transcendental
in the Scholastic sense].
K: we must distinguish between K's theory and theory by which beauty is only the sensory, i.e., confusedly thought, experience of perfection.
since beauty is experience of free play of imagination and understanding,
prior to subsumption under a determinate concept of the understanding,
perfection, which is just such a concept, cannot describe the free play
K: again, we have subjective purposiveness w/o purpose in J B: that
is, the harmonious unity of the form in our apprehension of the manifold,
w/o reference to any purpose [=w/o positing the existence of an actually
existing conceptually-driven causal agent; in other words, someone who
made it according to plan], is only the free play of our faculties [those
powers by which objects are formed as presentations]. That is, the presentation
is so fitted to our powers that it provokes a free play that is so harmonious
and unified that we cannot account for it in terms of chance, yet we do
not refer this accord of presentation and free play to a conceptually driven
causality [we do not assume the object was meant to provoke such free play,
because such a conceptual determination would stop the free play to let
us compare the object to its concept: i.e., how perfect its beauty is,
how well it does its intended job]. So we have two harmonies here: harmony
of faculties, and harmony between presentation and our cognitive powers.
But since the presentation is only possible through one of those very faculties,
the imagination, the harmony of harmonies can boil down to harmony between
imagination and understanding.
K: aesthetic J refers presentation only to the subject: we notice no
characteristic of the object, only the purposiveness [w/o purpose] of our
presentational powers; this free play is only sensed, not thought [hence
K: beware confusions in the economy of sense
16: J taste of beauty connected w/ concept is impure
K: free beauty vs. dependent beauty; free beauty w/o concept of the
object; dependent beauty does have an object. J taste of free beauty is
pure; J taste dependent beauty is impure.
K: taste can be united w/ reason [aesthetic/non-conceptual and intellectual/conceptual
liking can be united]: letting us use beauty to prepare ourselves for moraliity.
Now this does not help either side: "neither does perfection gain by beauty,
nor beauty by perfection." But the "complete power" of presentation gains
when the two states of mind harmonize. Which two states? harmony of presentation
w/ concept or harmony of aesthetic and logical judgment?
17: On the Ideal of Beauty
K: there is no objective rule of beauty [bcs beauty is non-conceptual,
but aesthetic, to look for the concept determining the non-conceptual is
K: we do have an empirical criterion of beauty, however; this is the factual agreement among people regarding pleasure at presentation of certain objects. This agreement hints at hidden basis, common to all [cf AA 290n].
here we see "empirical culturalism" [JD] haunting pure J B; what was
K's own basis for making this claim about agreement? check Anthropology's
stuff about national tastes.
K: this [empirical agreement] is why some products of taste are exemplary
1. see Harvey's article in Derrida and Deconstruction on exemplarity as inflation
2. see also Derrida in ITOG: for Husserl an essence should be able to be read off of any example, so exemplarity is problematic and probably indicative of interest
3. according to Anthropology, this exemplary community is French
4. because common sense/universal voice is only an idea, this exemplary
community can orient our pedagogical attempts to produce taste w/in ourselves
K: but exemplarity does not mean taste can be imitated; it must be individual
1. what could constitute a pedagogy of taste? how develop the ability to sense free play? or perhaps better, how to allow free play to occur w/o stopping it w/ conceptual grasping?
2. remember the "reproach" bit earlier? danger here of having people
make false reports on their internal states in order to gain social status.
this is why solitude is an important test case. but what does this do to
"universal voice" and "sensus communis"?
K: it follows from the demand for individual possession of taste that the archetype of taste can only be a "mere idea" which all must generate w/in self.
cf. AA 216, where universal voice is only an idea; that is, a regulative
prescription guiding our development of taste
K: idea = rational concept; ideal = presentation of an individual that is adequate to the idea
adequation here is surely problematic; once critically reined in, rational
ideas are only regulative directives to the understanding in case of theoretical
knowledge or only practical presuppositions in the case of moral action;
how does one exhibit a rule or a presupposition, both of which have the
structure of the "as if"?
K: archetype of taste is better called the ideal of the beautiful;
attaining the ideal [being able to judge by it] is only itself a regulative
goal directing our taste-pedagogy
K: ideal is of the imagination, because it is an exhibition
K: ideal of beauty is fixed by concept of objective purposiveness; thus
the object is not object of a pure J taste, but a "partly intellectual"
K: ideal of beauty could only be man, who has the purpose of his existence
in himself [he can determine his purposes by reason]; similarly, only the
humanity of man admits of ideal of perfection
K: two components of ideal of beauty: a) standard idea; b) rational
K: standard idea: individual intuition for judging man qua animal
K: rational idea: man is judged by his own self-given purposes, as revealed in figure as effect in appearance of those purposes
1) can see only outer appearance, not inner rationality
2) can read pleasure/pain as markers of feeling of life
3) respect is obedience to moral law
4) respect produces pain by stifling life forces/interests
5) so we can read pain as effect of rational morality
K: standard idea taken from experience; purposiveness in the shape of
humans is in judging person's idea [as if it were nature's model in constructing
humans]; this idea can be presented as an aesthetic idea.
K: psychological explanantion of this process: unconscious projection
by imagination of images upon each other so that average is arrived at
as a standard; but this standard is empirically different for different
countries; it is this standard that allows for rules for judging beauty;
it is the archetype of nature in species production [but see "deviations"]
K: the standard idea is not the entire archetype of beauty, but it is
the condition of all beauty, the correctness of judgment; it cannot have
any specific characteristics. Note to AA 235 continues: wholly regular
faces convey mediocrity, if we can assume outward appearance is expression
of inward constitution. Such mediocrity precludes genius, which is disproportionate
gift of one faculty.
K: ideal of the beautiful does not = standard idea. ideal only in human figure as expression of the moral that "govern" man inwardly. visible expression of moral ideas is a matter of experience; this making visible is an interpretation: pure ideas of reason must be linked with a "very strong imagination" in the judge, let alone the exhibitor [the artist]; judging by the ideal of beauty is not a mere judgment of taste, not pure aesthetic.