Kant's CJ: 54: Comment

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 Do not cite w/o permission.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


K: gratification is non-communicable; it consists in feeling of furtherance of life in general; this includes [as a species] furtherance of bodily health; [presumably, life in general also has as a species mental/spiritual life: that which is enlivened by the beautiful]

K: Epicurus claimed all gratification was bodily sensation; he was right, except he included intellectual [pure aesthetic pleasure from enlivening of mental faculties in experience of the beautiful] and practical pleasure [=positive pleasure of self-esteem or negative pleasure of respect {this distinction though seems in principle impossible to rigorously establish, as we can never in psychological introspection discover true roots of our actions]

K: changing free play of sensation gratifies bcs it furthers feeling of health: three species here: 1. chance; 2. tones; 3. thought [quickens the mind, as shown by parties].

K: many affects aroused in parties amount to an inner motion that furthers all vital processes in the body [K will discuss only beautiful play: music and witty provocation to laughter; not chance]; in music and wit nothing is thought, so quickening is only bodily, although aroused by [change of] ideas; this is only an intestinal agitation [K as materialist destroyer!], so soul can be physician of the body

K: in jest we find a disappointed expectation: this is a vibration, an Erschutterung [cf. sublime]; we knock the idea back and forth like a ball, the mind experiences a "rapid succession of tension and relaxation" that is suddenly "snapped": this causes a co-ordinated mental and bodily agitation [Bewegung] conducive to bodily health; we must assume a "harmonious connection" of mind and body

K: so Epicurus was right all gratification is animal/bodily sensation; this has nothing to do w/ respect [pure practical rational pleasure: moral feeling], which elevates us above need for gratification; nor even w/ taste [pure aesthetic pleasure]

K: naivete [better, the cultured reaction to display of naivete] seems to combine both bodily and intellectual pleasure

K: whimsicality: willed attunement allowing laughter-producing descriptions [hence only agreeable] vs. our "usual way" of being: we must presumably distinguish in the usual seriosness between: 1) the seriousness of caring for body in situation of produced and distributed lack and 2) the dignity and seriousness of fine art [aimed at pure pleasure, not sensous gratification, thus based on leisure: secure position in social system so that labor of body care is exploited from others]