Immanuel Kant (1724-1804)

The Critique of Judgment, categorized as the Third Critique, doesn’t have as clear a focus as the first two critiques. In wide outline, Kant sets about evaluating our faculty of wisdom, that leads him down a genuine quantity of divergent paths. While the Critique of Judgment deals with matters related to science and teleology, it is most remembered for what Kant must say about aesthetics.

Kant calls aesthetic judgments “judgments of taste” and remarks that, though these are located in an individual’s subjective emotions, they also claim universal validity. Our feelings about beauty change from our feelings about pleasure and moral goodness for the reason that they are disinterested. We seek to possess pleasurable objects, and we seek to promote moral goodness, but we simply appreciate beauty without sense driven to find some use for this.

Judgments of taste are universal because they are disinterested: our specific wants and needs do not come into play when appreciating beauty, so our visual response applies universally. Aesthetic pleasure comes from the free play between your imagination and understanding when perceiving an object. Kant distinguishes the stunning from the sublime.

While the appeal of beautiful objects is immediately obvious, the sublime keeps the oxygen of secret and ineffability. While a Greek statue or a fairly flower is beautiful, the movement of storm clouds or a massive building is sublime: these are, in a way, too great to get our heads around.

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Kant argues that our sense of the sublime is connected with this faculty of reason, which include ideas of absolute totality and absolute freedom. While storm clouds or an enormous building may stretch our thoughts, they may be nothing at all compared with reason’s ideas of complete totality and independence. Apprehending sublime objects puts us touching these ideas of reason, so that sublimity resides not in sublime objects but in reason itself.

In a second area of the publication, Kant wrestles with the idea of teleology, the basic proven fact that something has an end, or purpose. Teleology falls between research and theology someplace, and Kant argues that the idea pays to in scientific work even though we’d be wrong to assume that teleological concepts are actually at the job in nature.