Kant's Aesthetics of Nature
Kant's Aesthetics of Nature
Outlines Immanuel Kant's conception of an aesthetic judgement and his classification of aesthetic judgements, and then expounds and examines Kant's various claims about aesthetic judgements of natural beauty (both free and dependent or adherent). Kant's problematic identification of the distinctive pleasure of the beautiful is rejected; obscurities in his notion of a judgement of dependent (adherent) beauty are identified; his classification of aesthetic judgements is deemed incomplete; and his claim that there is an ideal of human beauty is shown to be unconvincing. Explains what Kant means by pleasure in the beautiful not being an interest (i.e. being a disinterested pleasure) and shows that Kant is right to characterize it as being disinterested. Examines Kant's view of the connection between a love of natural beauty and morality. Kant claims that anyone who takes an immediate interest in natural beauty can do so only in virtue of possessing at least the germ of a morally good disposition; someone who is in essence a morally good person cannot reflect on natural beauty without this reflection generating an immediate interest in natural beauty; and it is right to demand that each person takes such an interest. I argue that the thought that underlies this tripartite claim—that a pure judgement of taste does not, of itself, generate an interest—is correct, but that none of the three constituent claims is compellingly supported. I contrast Schiller's thoughts about love of nature in his On Naive and Sentimental Poetry with Kant's understanding of love of natural beauty and evaluate Schiller's principal claim. Explains Kant's idea of a pure aesthetic judgement of the sublime in nature and his division of the sublime into the mathematically and the dynamically sublime. Kant's account of the mathematically sublime contains numerous obscurities, some of which I highlight. I reject his leading idea that the mathematically sublime rests on a so‐called aesthetic estimation of magnitude, one that must inevitably be defeated by the infinity or limitlessness of nature or space. I also reject his accounts of the double‐aspect emotions integral to the mathematically and dynamically sublime and propose alternative accounts.
Keywords: adherent beauty, aesthetic judgement, dependent beauty, disinterested pleasure, free beauty, Kant, aesthetic judgement, Kant, love, morality, natural beauty, Schiller, aesthetic judgement, emotion, infinity, Kant, the sublime
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