2 Nov 2008

Kant's Ideal of Beauty

by Corry Shores

Idea signifies, strictly speaking, a concept of reason, and ideal the representation of an individual being as adequate to an idea” (§17 117a). Our taste judges things as beautiful, but there can be no objective rule that determines what is beautiful by means of concepts alone, because the source of our beauty-judgments is aesthetic: “its determining ground is the feeling of the subject and not a concept of an object” (116b).

So because ideas are concepts of reason, we would call the ideal of beauty the archetype of taste which is an “indeterminate idea of a maximum” that “cannot be represented through concepts, but only in an individual presentation” (117a).

Such a beauty cannot be vague, but rather must be fixed by a concept of purposiveness. Nothing except humans have their ends in themselves, and thus nothing other than the human being can be said to capable of the ideal of beauty.

(page numbers from: Kant, Immanuel. Critique of the Power of Judgment. Transls. & Eds. Paul Guyer & Eric Matthews. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000.)

No comments:

Post a Comment