Art Contributes Nothing To Knowledge, Which Is Precisely Why It Is So Essential To Science – Kant’s Analytic of The Beautiful

Posted: June 15, 2017 in Uncategorized
Reflective Judgement and The Feeling of Life:

We dwell on the contemplation of the beautiful because this contemplation strengthens and reproduces itself.

The judgement of taste, therefore, is not a cognitive judgement, and so not logical, but is aesthetic – which means that it is one whose determining ground cannot be other than subjective. Every reference of representations is capable of being objective, even that of sensations (in which case it signifies the real in an empirical representation). The one exception to this is the feeling of pleasure or displeasure. This denotes nothing in the object, but is a feeling which the subject has of itself and of the manner in which it is affected by the representation.

To apprehend a regular and appropriate building with one’s cognitive faculties, be the mode of representation clear or confused, is quite a different thing from being conscious of this representation with an accompanying sensation of delight. Here the representation is referred wholly to the subject, and what is more to its feeling of life – under the name of the feeling of pleasure or displeasure – and this forms the basis of a quite separate faculty of discriminating and estimating [known as judgement], that contributes nothing to knowledge.

–Immanuel Kant, Critique of (The Power) of Judgement

  1. Sophia Skedros says:

    My family owns and I work in a Chinese restaurant. I was drawn to the idea that taste is aesthetic rather than cognitive. This means that agreeing whether food is good or not is not a logical conclusion, but rather an opinion on the beauty of the taste. When working in a restaurateur industry you are trying to reach a uniform consensus that your food is good and worth returning to. However, if Kant’s point is to be believed a restaurants “artwork” may be appreciated by many, but some may never prefer it based on the variety of opinions in aesthetics.

    • Yes, to put it simply, no objective properties in a work of art can determine definitively that is beautiful. This includes the criterion of consensus. Just because more persons prefer McNuggets to all other foods does not mean they are inherently the best. The judgment of taste is subjective and aesthetic, and we are foolish to forth our individual preferences on others. Still, that does not mean are objects of art should be considered equal. Anything worthy of the titles ‘beautiful’ and ‘art’ qualify themselves for those titles no by any visible characteristics, but rather by their ability to free themselves of any incidental and compromising features which would disqualify them as occasions for the judgment of taste. This means that there can never be perfect agreement as to what is beautiful. Rather, this object we wish to consider art must always remain subject to debate, and our canon of excellence must always be open to revision.

  2. Amber Wolff says:

    I really like the ocean fish videos. They were very aesthetically pleasing, to me. They were cool, but I am not really sure what the point of them was. Which is really the point that Kant was trying to make, right? He said that for something to be truly beautiful it has to have no function as in it can’t promote status or help someone gain something in any way. It just has to simply exist.

    • To appreciate these fish from a totally aesthetic perspective we cannot see them as having been created to feed hungry villages, or ever as testimonies to the greatness of a Creator. We must simply perceive them as ‘free beauties’, as self-sustaining regularities in nature, the mere contemplation of which is an end unto itself – just as all the parts within these organisms are subsumed into a larger whole which is its own end.

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