Judging The Beautiful

Plato defined beauty as a 'property of intrinsic objects', which could be measured in 'purity, integrity, harmony and perfection'.

However, according to Immanuel Kant, the judgment of beauty is different from cognitive or moral judgement because it is effected subjectively, that is, exclusively in reference to the person making the judgement. 'A person who describes something as beautiful insists that everyone ought to give the object in question his approval and follow suit.' For a judgement to be truly 'aesthetic', rather than merely idiosyncratic, the person making the judgement must be adamant that their opinion be consensus.

The Critique of Judgement discusses four particular unique features of aesthetic judgements on the beautiful, subsequently dealing with the sublime. These particular unique features, called 'moments' are structured in often obscure ways.

The first moment: Aesthetic judgements are disinterested. Separated from the two types of interest in the way of being agreeable with the sensations and by the way of concepts of the good. Only aesthetic judgement is free of such interests.

The second moment: Aesthetic judgements behave universally, however, as judging the aesthetic is reflective, this would therefore, somehow make single concepts of 'beauty' universally accepted. Such truisms such as 'beauty is in the eye of the beholder' is argued first of all, can not account for our experience of beauty itself, insofar as the tendency to see 'beauty' as if it were somehow in the object or the immediate experience of the object. Secondly, such a relativist view can not account for the social behaviour of our claims of what we find beautiful.

The third moment: Introduction of the problem of the purpose and purposiveness. An object's purpose is the concept according to which it was manufactured; purposiveness then, is the property of at least appearing to have been manufactured or designed. It is claimed that the beautiful has to be understood as purposive, but without any definite purpose. The purposiveness of art is more complicated, although such works may have had purposes behind their production, expressing a certain mood/communicate an idea, nevertheless, these may not be sufficient for the object to be beautiful.

The fourth moment: Aesthetic judgements must pass the test of necessity, effectively meaning 'according to principle'. Judgement does not either follow nor produce a determining concept of beauty, but exhausts itself in being exemplary precisely of an aesthetic judgement.

Kant described the ground upon which these judgements are made as 'common sense', by which he means a priori principle of our taste, that is of our feeling for what is beautiful. The four moments of the beautiful are said to be summed up in the idea of 'common sense', this 'common sense' depending upon the features of humans which make possible free choice and determinative experiences.

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1 comment:

M said...

(thank you for blogging)