Kant's CJ: Dialectic of Aesthetic Judgment (55-60)

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 Do not cite w/o permission.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.

55: [Untitled]

K: dialectic requires an opposition of claims to universal agreement.

1. "opposition" implies same horizon, vs. mere diversity or "incompatibility"

2. dialectic is natural illusion of reason, stemming from taking appearance for thing in itself; this mistake is inevitable, given reason's drive for totality

3. the resolution of antinomies comes from a) distinguishing sensible from super-sensible and b) showing confusion in the formation of the opposing claims is both necessary and unavoidable

K: here we have only a dialectic for the critique of taste, for the principles of JT, rather than dialectic of actual exercise of JT

56: Presentation of Antinomy

K: thesis: [empiricist agreeableness]: JT is not conceptual, otherwise we could adduce proofs; antithesis: [rationalist perfectionism]: JT is conceptual, otherwise we could not even quarrel about them

57: Solution of Antinomy

K: must show that "concept" is understood in different senses in both thesis and antithesis; this ambivalence is necessary and unavoidable

K: re: universal: JT is "conceptual" but this is indeterminate and indeterminable [reason's concept of supersensible substrate; cf. previous account of the universal in the JT as powers of conceptuality, or more precisely, {concept of} purposiveness w/o purpose of object for provoking free play of powers of conceptuality]

K: re: particular: JT is subjective, a "singular intuitive presentation referred to the feeling of pleasure" [universality of such pleasure previously said to be guaranteed by common makeup of powers = sensus communis]; yet now K claims there is a "wider referral" based on "some concept"; such a concept does not determine an intuition: this is the pure concept of the supersensible substrate underlying nature as appearance

K: such a rational concept: 1. underlies claim to universal validity of JT; 2. as non-determinate [not from U] keeps JT from being based on proofs

K: solution: JT is based on indeterminable, non-cognitive concept of supersensible substrate [of humanity, here, vs simple substrate of nature above; at AA 346 K will state identity of three concepts of the supersensible substrate: a) of nature {CPR}; b) of subjective purposiveness of NB {CJ}; c) of practical harmony of nature and freedom {CPrR}

K: solution depends upon showing consistency of seeming contradictories; this shows natural inevitability and endurance of the illusion even after its "solution"

K: thesis should read: JT not based on determinate concept; antithesis should read: JT is based on indeterminate concept

K: eliminating conflict is best we can do; we cannot provide objective principle w/o destroying very sense of JT [and thus our experience of beauty: cf 346, #58 on fragility of experience of beauty, squeezed between claims of agreeableness and goodness]

K: antinomies "compel us against our will" to look beyond sensible [a "will to the sensible" in human nature for Kant?] to supersensible focal point for all our a priori faculties as only way to bring reason into harmony w/ itself

Comment I

K: terminology of aesthetic [unexpoundable: cannot be brought to concepts] and rational ideas [indemonstrable: cannot be brought to intuition] vs concepts of the understanding [demonstrable]

Comment II

K: 3 kinds of antinomy of pure reason that force reason to sacrifice painfully its former hopes; these are based on three powers: understanding [knowledge], judgment [pleasure/pain], reason [desire]

K: antinomies of U and R are inevitable if we do not distinguish sensible and supersensible

K: empiricist and rationalist attempts to avoid antinomy of taste are useless [since they dissolve JT and hence beauty, into empirical sensuous agreeableness or cognitive J perfection]

K: we are led to unity of three ideas of the supersensible: 1. indeterminate substrate of nature [CPR]; 2. principle of subjective purposiveness of nature for our cognitive power as shown in experience of NB [CJ]; 3. principle of harmony of freedom and nature in practical sphere [CPrR]

58: Idealism of Purposivness of Nature and Art

K: beauty is not a property of the object, so there could not be an objective principle of purpose for NB: [we cannot judge that nature intended such beauty when it constructed things, only that it seems as if nature had such an intention]

K: there seems to be support for the realist interpretation of beauty as natural purpose in non-utilitarian beauty of natural organisms

K: yet there are also free formations [crystals, etc.: very primitive formations which we can understand, as opposed to complicated organisms as in above discussion] that are beautiful and that are [explicable as] mere mechanism; thus we can conceive a similar mechanism is responsible for beauty in organized beings

K: but the fact that we ourselves judge beauty on the basis of its impact on us, on its subjective purposiveness w/o purpose, proves the idealist case: NB is not a purpose of nature: it is a gift

K: idealism is clear in case of fine art:

59: Beauty as the Symbol of Morality

K: hypotyposis or exhibition is either schematic [direct demonstrative exhibition of a concept of U] or symbolic [indirect analogous exhibition of a concept of R: analogy w/ schematism: symbol follows rule of exhibition, rather than content of intuition; it follows form of reflection]

K: hypotyposis is not characterization/designation, which merely express concepts by arbitrary sign that is merely associative

K: symbols involve a double judgment: 1. apply concept to object of a sensible intuition; 2) applies the mere rule of reflection [that relates concept to object in intuition in case #1] to entirely different object: thus object in case #1 is the symbol of object in case #2

K: for example, constitutional monarchy is symbolized by animate body: 1) concept of legitimate rule that organizes part and whole is applied to object of a sensible intuition, in this case, an organized body [this is a reflective TJ, as is #65]; 2) we apply the rule of reflection, that is, how we connected concept of legitimate rule to object in intuition = organized body, that is, the subsumptive rule by which we judged the body as an instance of concept of legitimate rule, to another object [constitutional monarchy]; thus animate body symbolizes constitutional monarchy, that is, it shows way that subsumptive rule in #1 is analogous to the subsumptive rule in #2 [?]

K: our language has many symbols

K: beauty is symbol of the good; only bcs we refer beauty to the good can we require other's assent in our JT [vs. sensus communis as ground]

K: morally good is the intelligible [more precisely, it is one of the three unified concepts of the supersensible as set forth in #57 at AA 346] taste has in view [as its universal to which it refers the particular feeling of pleasurable free play]

K: in this concept all the higher powers harmonize: in JT, we find self-legislation [as in freedom: hence "inside the subject"] and the possibility that nature will harmonize with that self-legislative JT [the subjective purposiveness w/o purpose of NB: hence "outside the subject"]; this is unity of nature and freedom, of theory and practice, in the supersensible, of which the experience of NB is a clue or symbol

K: comparison and contrast of beauty and morality: 1. direct liking (B: intuitive, M: conceptual); 2. disinterestedness (B: cf. 41-2, M: concept is not based on an interest, but gives rise to one); 3. freedom (B: I w/ U; M: harmony of will w/ itself re: universal laws of reason); 4. universality (B: non-conceptual, M: conceptual)

K: common understanding has this analogy in mind when it uses moral predicates for B: e.g., "magnificent trees"

K: taste seems to allow us to make a transition from sensible charm [empirical agreeableness] to moral interest [desire for existence of objects of the good] w/o too violent a leap [it bridges the gap between nature and freedom, that is, fills in the abyss seemingly opened by the sublime: that we are puny and powerless in front of nature: this abyss is of course guarded by guardrail of reason so that we turn a spiritual profit from sublime vertigo]

60: Methodology

K: there is no methodology of FA; the master can only provide examples, not rules; the true propaedeutic is cultivation of mental powers through the humanities; "humanity" = sympathy and communicability = sociability vs animality [mere individualism based on sensuous idiosyncrasy].

K: problem of sociability under laws: combining freedom w/ constraint; needed communication of ideas across classes: refinement [culture] combined w/ simplicity [nature]: standard for taste as "universal human sense"; future cultures, farther removed from nature, will always need these classical models

K: [summary doctrine of taste]: taste is ability to judge the sensibilizing [Versinnlichung] of moral ideas by means of an analogy in our reflection [on the ideas and on their symbolization in beauty: we should find the same subsumptive principle at work joining particular and universal]; propaedetic for taste = developing moral ideas and cultivating moral feeling