PHL 230
Instructor: Dr. Bob Zunjic


The Critique of Judgment

An Outline


Kant's Critique of Judgment (Kritik der Urteilskraft) is arguably the most important and the most influential work in the whole history of Aesthetics. It was published in 1790. The overall goal of the Critique of the Power of Judgment (as it should read in English) was to restore the unity of philosophy that was lost due to a sharp separation of its two main provinces: the realm of theoretical knowledge (The Critique of Pure Reason, 1781) and the realm of practical knowledge (The Critique of Practical Reason, 1788). In the years following the publication of the second critique Kant became increasingly aware that the chasm between the two realms of philosophy both leaves our subjective judging out of the picture and does not allow any transition from one kind of objective judgment to another. The remedy for the rift that Kant wanted to overcome in the Critique of the Power of Judgment was to establish the judgment of taste as a disinterested, universal, purposive and necessary kind of judging while retaining its feelings related, subjective, singular, and contingent character.
This outline covers only selected paragraphs from the first part of the Critique of Judgment pertaining to the discussion of aesthetic judgments in general and the analytic of the beautiful in particular.
The electronic text of the Critique is accessible at:


Title: Kant uses both terms (Critique and Judgment) from the title of his work in their original meaning, not in their current usage. Thus his language should not be taken as suggesting a negative attitude ("fault finding") toward judging in terms of judgmental evaluation of things but in the positive sense of discernment regarding the faculty of relating particulars to universals (the faculty of Judgment proper) or the faculty of connecting the subject with the predicate in our statements (propositional judging).


The Critique of Judgment as a means of combining the two parts of philosophy into a whole
Parts of Philosophy There are two main parts of philosophy: the theoretical and the practical. These two realms of "legislation" (our cognition imposes laws in them) derive their principles from the two corresponding cognitive faculties: the understanding (Verstand) and the reason (Vernunft). They have their own separate fields of objects (nature and morality) with their respective conceptual frameworks (necessity and freedom). There is no freedom in the world of nature - everything goes there according to the laws of necessity. In contrast, there is necessity in the world of morality even though its very existence remains incomprehensible.
The theoretical philosophy delineates the knowledge of nature according to the conditions of possible experience; the practical philosophy sets the limits of desire under the unconditional demands of moral law.
Reversal Initially Kant was convinced that these two were the only realms and the only two cognitive faculties that provide a priori legislation. He even thought that, given its empirical nature, there could not be any similar science of taste. Well before the publication of the Critique of Pure Reason he planned to write a book on the principles of feeling and taste but soon afterwards gave up the idea claiming that the plan was not feasible due to the purely empirical character of aesthetical rules.
The Middle But upon finishing his second Critique he came to the conclusion that there was a 'middle term' between these two faculties of legislating a priori. He theorized that the ultimate purposes of reason must be realizable in nature as a natural satisfaction of our desires. But this connection could be observed only by virtue of the faculty of Judgment (written with a capital J or phrased verbally: judging). "By analogy" Kant surmised that it must have its own a priori principle as well. Although it does not have its own separate realm (like nature or morality) it possesses a special "territory" of application - purposiveness in nature and art - for which the other two cognitive faculties are not suited.
So all of a sudden Kant became convinced that a similar kind of purposiveness is involved in our observation of nature and our estimation of the beautiful and he explicated them as judging of artificial or natural technology respectively. This is the reason why he decided to combine the critique of taste with a discussion of natural teleology.
Territory Note 1: Kant makes a subtle terminological distinction between these two words. Territory (territorium) is the domain in which knowledge of an object is possible, realm (ditio) is the domain where thought legislates a priori. Thus our concepts could be applied in the former but only as contingent and empirical, not a priori rules.
Note 2: For Kant, the Judgment is a faculty, not only a proposition in which a predicate qualifies the subject. Compare our ordinary admonition: "Use your good judgment!"
Bridge Now Kant contends that the faculty of judging (Judgment) bridges the gap between the two parts of philosophy. How? A reconciliation between the two is rendered possible precisely because the faculty of Judgment does not have its own realm of legislation. Owing to this lack of its own province it can be applied in the other two realms without invalidating the rigid determination of understanding and reason. In fact, it supplements them by accounting for the variety of objects that are given in experience and connecting their lawfulness with the final end of moral life.
Plan Through the power of judgment we unravel the purposiveness in the world either subjectively or objectively and we enjoy it as a sign that the purposes of reason are realizable. The particular aim in the first part of the book was to show that the judgment of taste, although subjective and aesthetical, has its own a priori principle. In the general plan of the book the demonstration of the validity of taste was supposed to serve as a prelude to the validity of purposive understanding of natural events (organisms) but it retains its independent value in explaining the notions of natural beauty and sublimity beyond this specific function of connecting the two areas of purposiveness.
Note: The structure of the complete book in its both main parts is graphically represented in a German chart at
The newly unified system of philosophy that includes a third part could be represented in the following way:
Critique of
Pure Reason
in General
Theoretical Part PHIL
PHY Practical Part
Objective Realm Critique of Cognitive Faculties
World of Nature Understanding
Faculty of Knowing Concept of Necessity (Causation)
Critique of Pure
Critique of Practical Faculties Objective Realm
Reason World of Morality
Concept of Freedom (Dignity) Faculty of Desire
Critique of Practical Reason
Critique of Judiciary Subjective Territory
Judgment Art and Technology
Purposiveness Faculty of Feeling

Critique of the Power of

Three Parts After adding the Critique of Judgment to his system Kant still believed that there were only two realms of knowledge, but he now contends that philosophy as the critique of cognitive faculties has three parts: the critique of pure understanding, the critique of pure reason, the critique of pure judgment.
Critique of Pure Understanding
Critique of Pure Judgment
Critique of Pure Reason
  This is how the titles of his three critiques should read. All three are "pure" critique as they deal only with a priori legislation. But the published titles do not read like this because at the time when Kant wrote the first two published critiques he was not sure what would be the future position of the faculty of judgment. Only later he inserted it between the two. But the main division between non-empirical (pure) and empirical investigation remains intact.
Before Experience After Experience
Pure Not Pure
Non- empirical Empirical
Principles of Judging The inclusion of the "third critique" in the system necessitates a redefinition of the previously established terminology regarding the domain of "pure reason" (the published critique of pure reason was in fact the critique of pure understanding since "pure reason" in its theoretical use deals with the categories of understanding whereas practical reason explicates moral law). Now the critique of pure reason must encompass the newly opened discussion on Judgment as well, which adds to the obscurity of the conception and remains a great potential for confusion. But the general idea is clear - the discussion of the principles of judging a priori certainly does not belong to theoretical or practical reasoning although these may have application in both of these realms. ("The critique of the cognitive faculties as regards what they can furnish a priori, has, properly speaking, no realm in respect of objects...")
Critique of Cognitive Faculties The present Critique of Cognitive Faculties deals with the problem as to how a philosophical doctrine is possible by virtue of these faculties (they are conceived very broadly). Although carried out in the Critique of Judgment, this discussion, being of a purely theoretical nature, belongs to the Critique of Pure Reason in general. The realm of Pure Reason should be, however, distinguished from the realm of pure understanding that is concerned only for natural concepts in theoretical use.
Question: The starting question for the Critique of Judgment is this:
Does the faculty of Judgment have its own a priori principle?

Kant's response is affirmative based on the analogy with the functioning of the understanding and reason: Since the Judgment mediates between the two, and since they have an a priori operating principle, it likewise must possess an a priori principle. As we are to see, Kant explicates its principle as the principle of reflection which assumes the form of purposiveness based on the existence of a sensus communis.
This answer is the upshot of Kant's prolonged and intricate discussion but it needs to be explicated and justified. This is possible only if we take into account all faculties of the soul (Gemuetsvermoegen) that are involved in our mental (and existential) activities.

Mental Faculties: The classification of these faculties provides another theoretical (non-analogical) reason for linking Judgment with the two realms of philosophy. Thus, along with the tripartite division of cognitive faculties, Kant introduces a tripartite division of the "representative faculties of the soul" (in keeping with our modern idiom we shall call them "mental"): knowledge, feeling, desire. This division roughly corresponds to the traditional division of human powers: rationality, sensitivity, instinctiveness. Kant's addition is that these powers are now regulated by the three cognitive faculties: while understanding "legislates" for knowledge, reason legislates for desires leaving thus the judgment to be in charge with feelings of pleasure and pain.
It is obvious that these two divisions of faculties (cognitive and representative) somehow correlate although their parallelism is not "even". It is tempting to juxtapose them in the following way:
  Cognition Sensitivity Volition
Cognitive Faculties Understanding Judgment Reason
Mental Capacities Knowledge Feeling Desire
  The relationship between these two classes of faculties is in fact much more complex than the above table suggests. Without delving into all intricacies of the whole issue let it suffice to say that the two groups of faculties reflect two different levels and perspectives of tackling the same problem. From a logical point of view, Kant speaks about cognitive instances ranging from understanding to reason; from a psychological point of view, he talks about mental faculties that correspond to the former. The two rows are intertwined so that judging is connected with feelings of pleasure and displeasure the way understanding is linked to knowledge or reason to desire.
Mapping the Mental: By slightly revising and expanding Kant's own table we can represent the respective origin and the area of application for all these faculties in the following way:
Mental Capacities Cognitive Faculties A priori Principles Application
Faculty of Knowledge Understanding Conceptual Unification Nature
Feeling of Pleasure and Pain Judgment Form of Purposiveness Organic Technology
Faculty of Desire Reason Unconditional Law Morality
Connection One point is here decisive however: The faculty of feeling pleasure and pain is not only link to the faculty of Judgment - it could be also connected with the faculty of desire, and this in two ways, either (a) by preceding the a priori principle of judgment, or (b) by following it. The former combination is characteristic for our natural (animalistic) inclinations, the latter for our moral ability to follow the moral law and to feel good once we realize that we respect it (rationalist bent). Thus the faculty of judgment can mediate here as well. The feeling of delight that is at work in the faculty of Judgment, however, is of very different nature: it arises from the awareness of a harmonious interplay of cognitive faculties in us (see below).
Unification Now precisely the possibility of relating to pleasure and pain from the side of two representational faculties provides a unifying link between different cognitive faculties. Logically speaking, judgment connects natural concepts with the concepts of freedom by being applicable in both realms and by suggesting the possibility to find ends in nature. Psychologically, the feeling of pleasure and pain brings about a transition between knowledge and desire by preceding or following our judgments. The feeling of pleasure or pain accompanies the striving for knowledge or the lack of it. All the more it accompanies desires or suspension of them.
IV Judgment as a faculty legislating a priori.
  As indicated earlier, Judgment does not have its own realm of a priori legislation. However, it is not deprived of the ability to legislate a priori in other realms (nature and human world). In order to show how this legislative judging operates Kant first defines judgment in general.
Definition: "Judgment in general is the faculty of thinking the particular as contained under the universal."
  There are two kinds of judging: (a) determinant, and (a) reflective. The first belongs to the understanding, the second to the faculty of Judgment.
Determinant Reflective
Universal Given Universal missing
Determinant Judgment: In the case of determinant judging the universal is a priori given in any of its forms (the rule, the principle, the concept, the law) either by understanding or by reason. The determinant faculty of Judgment only subsumes the particular under it (that is, it recognizes the particular as an instance of the universal). In the realm of natural cognition it subsumes the particular under "universal transcendental laws".
Reflective Judgment: In the case of reflective judging only the particular is given but not the universal. The universal has to be found by imagination so that Judgment as it were has to invent it. This occurs already at the level of empirical, contingent concepts that are undetermined by a priori laws and becomes necessity when reflective judgment establishes the unity of all empirical principles.
Note: Because of its heuristic character Kant calls the reflective Judgment in other places ingenium - the ability to invent orderliness and purposiveness. Depending on the character of the assumed regularity and harmony the reflective Judgment could be aesthetical (taste and sublimity) or teleological (technology of nature).
Division Kant distinguishes the following kinds of reflective judgment:
systemic, teleological and aesthetical.
The latter two are subdivided into two kinds each.
Organistic Holistic The Beautiful The Sublime

  Systemic reflective judgment researches the system of scientific concepts and laws, while teleological reflective judgment looks either for the purposive organization of particular organisms in nature (thus overcoming a mechanistic view) or for a determinate end within the whole of nature conceived as a single system. Finally, aesthetic reflective judgment judges either the beautiful or the sublime. The aesthetical and teleological reflective judgments are the main focus of Kant's third critique. This kind of judging is called reflective because it does not relate directly to the object but first and foremost to its own state of mind that is felt as a pleasure or displeasure.
Systematization Reflective judgment must seek the universal concepts to be applied to given particulars within a hierarchical system of concepts.
In the theoretical sphere the faculty of Judgment (determining) mediates between abstract rules and concrete instances by subsuming intuitions under concepts. Kant calls this subsumption under concepts (categories) schematizing. On the next level, we apply universal laws of nature, to be sure derived from the understanding, according to the universal concepts (without exceptions). The general principle of application is causation.
Thoroughgoing Interconnection The universal laws are at least implicitly about the possibility of nature in general as an object of experience. They require the intervention of reflective judgment to further supplement the principle of causation under the assumption of "the unity of the manifold". Examples of this expanded application are statements like "Nothing happens without reason", "Nature does not make leaps", "There are less genera in nature than species", etc. These maxims provide an initial guideline for our experience.
Variety However, the a priori rules of understanding do not suffice to account for objects in their particularity. They only define their possibility a priori but not their particular existence and the necessity of applying the particular law. The forms of nature and life are so manifold, with so many modifications and exceptions, that the a priori laws of understanding can cover them only generally, not specifically. The laws regulating these varying forms are particular empirical laws whose content must be considered in accordance with "a unity an understanding would furnish them as if these laws were valid". This is precisely the ground for a reflective judgment that coordinates empirical laws into higher unities thus making possible an organized system of concepts and the proper application to the particulars. The reflective judgment provides the unifying framework as an idea that needs to be exemplified.
Unity The laws of these empirical forms must be regarded as necessary in virtue of the "unity of the manifold" for which we must assume an intelligence working as a designer. For the insight that there is a unity of the manifold we must apply Judgment. By the same token, the unity of all empirical principles under the higher ones is provided by reflective Judgment. The assumption of a unified system of experience is just a regulative idea. It formulates this unity as if it exists - it does not ascribe it to Nature itself. Reflective judgment supplies a hierarchically ordered system of species and genera both in order to provide an overall unity and to supply empirical concepts for given particulars.
Subjectivity It must have a principle that makes possible its ascent from the particular to the universal in nature thus creating a system of connected hierarchical levels. The principle of Judgment cannot be derived from understanding or from reason. It must come from the faculty of Judgment itself. But it must hold for it albeit not as an attribute of nature itself. It is not the order of nature as autonomy but the way how the reflective faculty works as heautonomy (our own way of looking at nature). We must look at nature as if it is a unified and purposive whole. Thus, as Kant puts it, the faculty of Judgment acts "from itself for itself". It is the subjectivity of the principle that makes its use an art rather than science. We cannot say whether there is an objective design in the world but we cannot but assume it.
Purposiveness: What is the principle of reflective judgment in general? Kant finds it in purposiveness. Purposiveness is the conformity of an object with the overall constitution of the whole whatever it may be insofar as it is possible according to purposes. Nature is viewed accordingly as a purposive unity of functional organisms without a designer. By the same token, when Kant calls beautiful objects purposive he does not mean that they are suited for some utilitarian purposes but that their form (organization, representation, execution) is "purposive", that is just "right" for what they are. Purposiveness means in fact rightness - the feeling conveyed to mental faculties that the beautiful object in question is just right in its form.
A Priori Principle
Adequacy to Law
Realization of Final Ends
Principle The principle of reflective judgment in respect to the forms of nature is the purposiveness of nature in its variety. This principle is valid for the teleological reflective Judgment. We shall see that the specific principle of the reflective Judgment of taste is the form of purposiveness without purpose.
As If The purposiveness of nature is an a priori concept drawn from the reflective Judgment. In themselves natural objects do not have purposes. We must not ascribe them to Nature, we can only use the concept of purposiveness to reflect upon the products of nature or art.
Kant defines purpose as a concept that combines both form and finality. This results in a synthesis of the Aristotelian formal and final causes that are now merged into one concept needed to judge nature as a unity and artworks as beautiful products.
Note: Kant does not assume the actual existence of an intelligent designer, only the necessity for us to look at nature as if it possesses the unity of different forms. The purposiveness of nature is just a subjective concept that we use to reflect upon empirically observable connections and functional arrangements of natural organisms.
Practical Reflection In the sphere of practical reason we also deal with the determination of particulars by universals. What is being subsumed in practical judging are not concrete actions but the mere form of the will under the concept of Reason. This is what Kant calls the self-determination of the will. It is a subsumption of the particular maxim of an action under the moral law conceived as unconditionally and absolutely binding. Universal laws of conduct are derived from reason and they are binding for all rational beings. Examples are propositions like these: "Always act as if the maxim of your actions can become a universal law", "Never treat another person as a means", "Worthiness is the final end, not happiness", etc.
Analogy Kant warns that the teleological purposiveness is different from the practical purposiveness in human morals or arts but he concedes that there is an analogy between the former and the latter to the effect that nature follows (imitates) art (this is a reversal of the old Aristotelian dictum). It remains that the purposiveness of nature (both on the level of organisms and the whole of nature) could be known only in analogy with the practical purposiveness of artistic production. Purposiveness thus proves to be the clue for the unity of the two parts of philosophy: purposiveness is in fact the causality by means of the Idea.

Higher Cognitive Faculties
= the faculty of cognition under universal rules;
Reason = the faculty of determining the particular by the universal;
Judgment = the faculty of thinking the particular as subsumed under the universal.

Determinant Judgment Reflective Judgment
The Universal given a priori - the particular needs to be subsumed Only the particular given - the universal needs to be invented


Purpose = the concept of an object so far as it contains the ground for the existence of the object.
Purposiveness = the agreement of an object with the arrangement that is possible only according to purposes.
Analogy = proportion; for Kant analogy is also an operation by means of which we transfer one relation to another realm.

First Book
Analytic of The Beautiful

In order to find out what are the conditions of experiencing beauty, that is to say, what requirements must be met in order to be able to call an object beautiful, Kant does not analyze the characteristics of that object but focuses instead on the judgments of taste that articulate the experience of the beautiful. The critical discernment dissects the a priori conditions of taste based predominantly on a feeling - in this case the feeling of pleasure or displeasure. Seemingly Kant stays within the Humean reduction of taste to sentiments but he adds at least two non-Humean components: the operation of referring performed by imagination and the conjunction with the understanding. The thought reflects the role of pleasure or displeasure in which it feels itself entangled. This exemplifies the aesthetical mode of dealing with objects as opposed to the methodical procedures of cognitive apprehension that follow certain definite rules. The Critique of Judgment reveals the true nature of taste by demonstrating the reflexive character of aesthetical judging.
Kant organizes his analyses of the beautiful in accordance with the four logical attributes from his theoretical philosophy, that is to say with regard to their: quality, quantity, relation and modality (cf. his table of judgments and categories in the Prolegomena, paragraph 21). His justification is that judgments of taste always contain a reference to understanding. Despite the priority of quality in the analysis the chosen framework is pretty artful as judgments of taste do not fall exactly under concepts and rules like logical and practical judgments. Nonetheless, Kant analyzes judgments of taste from those four points of view as forms of subjective synthesis that fall short of exemplifying pure logical types but still could be meaningfully considered as judgments and consequently as displaying characteristics comparable to what classical logic considers as the four main attributes of propositions.


First Moment
Judgment of Taste according to Quality

Classical logic teaches that propositions (judgments), according to their quality, could be affirmative, negative or infinite. The first kind of judgments attributes the predicate to the subject, the second denies it of the subject and the third limits its attribution. Kant wants to prove that judgments of taste are indefinite because they are a product of imagination and understanding that stand in an indefinite relation to each other when we make reference to our state of mind.


The Judgment of Taste is Aesthetical.
Reference to Feeling Aesthetical reflective faculty relates the object that is being thought by it to the sensation procured by the representation. The outcome is the judgment of taste which refers the representation of the object to the subject and his sensation of pleasure. The pleasure in question accompanies our apprehension of the object by means of the Imagination in relation to the Understanding. For Kant, this means that the conjunction of imagination and the understanding that is at work in the experience of the beautiful refers primarily to the subject and its feeling of delight (or displeasure), not to the object and is not performed by means only of understanding. Imagination presents intuition to understanding but understanding does not convert them into predications by means of categories. A non-cognitive feeling diverts the search for categories by inserting itself directly into a judgment of taste.
  Note: J.F. Lyotard calls this reference to own feeling the "tautegorical character" of the judgment of taste: pleasure and displeasure are at once a "state" of the soul and the "information" gathered by the soul relative to its overall condition. The act of thought is informed about its state by the state itself.
Subjective In view of this reference to feelings the judgment of taste (or of the beautiful - for Kant, these are synonymous expressions) is not a judgment of cognition (an objective, logical judgment). It is subjective in the sense that it refers to something that is in the subject, something that only a subject can experience (my feelings are only my feelings), although not something absolutely private and arbitrary. An aesthetic representation may be empirical, but the judgment based on it does not become subjective just because it is empirical. It is rather the other way round. It is empirical because it is aesthetical and subjective. The representation could be a rational representation and the judgment may still be an aesthetical one if it arises from a subjective feeling.
Empirical - Objective Representation On the other hand, a representation (or sensation) may refer to something empirical (and thus aesthetical) and still be objective by its reference. For instance, I can apprehend a "purposive building" and discern its type, height and function by using my cognitive faculties of intuition and understanding. My judgments about these aspects of the object will be empirical and logical at once - and so long as they refer to the object - objectively. Thus we can say that aesthetical representations could be either empirical or rational provided that they refer to subjective feelings.
Representation Empirical Rational
Referring to Object Referring to Object
Referring to Subject Referring to Subject
Empirical Aesthetical Representation The judgment of taste does not signify anything in the object but an internal feeling that is caused by the representation of the object. If I say that the building in question is "impressive", "magnificent" or "beautiful", I will be pronouncing a judgment about my representation of it as it relates to my respective feelings. Thus we may conclude that what makes a judgment aesthetical is this reference to subjectivity rather than its empirical content. In contrast to logical judgments aesthetical judgments are subjective and reflective.

Aesthetical Logical
Subjective Objective
Reflective Cognitive

Note: Kant is with Hume in grounding taste on feelings, not on reason. He even admits that his faculty of distinction or of Judgment does not operate as a cognitive faculty. Not even as a recapitulation of what pleases across generations and cultures. But Kant conceives aesthetic judgments differently. The judgments about the beautiful are not empirical in the sense that they pronounce something beautiful based on observation or previous consensus. Kant departs from Hume also in relating them with non-empirical faculties and in separating them from bodily taste altogether. The judgment of taste is subjective in the sense of making reference to the subject's feelings, not in the sense of being personal and arbitrary. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but it is not relative. It is related to feelings but it is not the same as bodily sensations. As we will see, in a sense it must be a priori as it raises the claim for universal validity (cf. second moment).
Conscious Balance The pleasure of taste is referred to the agreement (harmony) of the faculties of imagination (representations) and understanding (concepts). We become conscious of the balance between order and fantasy by virtue of a sensation and we articulate that balance as the beautiful. Thus a psychological state of mind turns into a cognitive harmony albeit not logically .
  Note: If aesthetical judgment operates without any concept the question is, of course, what concept it seeks reflectively and how it is related to the experience of beauty or sublimity.
Rational Aesthetical The judgment of taste arises from the comparison of a given representation in the subject with the whole faculty of representations of which the mind is conscious in the feeling of its state. The consciousness of this representation is rational but in its core it remains aesthetical. Imagination retains its power despite the connection with other faculties of representation and despite the fact that some indeterminate concepts are involved. The interplay of imagination and the understanding is what one feels as harmonious or disharmonious and consequently as aesthetical.
Sensation = a perception with consciousness - it occurs with every occurrence of conscious thought.
Representation = any act of thought or kind of knowledge we are aware of.
Imagination = the active faculty of representation; Kant often conflates it with the faculty of intuition which is more receptive; strictly speaking it is the faculty of synthetizing intuitions and could be called simply intuition only in a very loose sense.
2 The Satisfaction which determines the judgment of Taste is disinterested.
  Since the judgment of taste was defined as non-cognitive and subjective one would expect Kant to regard it as relative, irrational and personal. But Kant denies precisely these conclusions by showing that it is impartial, intellectually stimulating and universal.
Interest - Definition It could be such only if it does not include any personal interest. Therefore the aesthetical delight must be devoid of all interest. The feeling of satisfaction typically indicates an interest in the object or a desire involved in the process. Kant defines interest as the satisfaction which is combined with the representation of the existence of the object. That is to say, interest manifests itself as a desire to possess or to consume something.
Lack of Interest However, in passing a judgment of taste we disregard whether the object exists for us or for anyone else - we judge it contemplatively no matter whether we have any relation toward it. In other words, whether something is beautiful or not does not depend on any concern for its existence, use, cost, effects.
  To illustrate the completely disinterested character of aesthetical judgment of taste Kant analyzes an array of possible but aesthetically irrelevant attitudes toward a sumptuous and beautiful palace.
Irrelevant Answers (1) I do not like things that are made merely to be watched.
  (2) I prefer cook shops over palaces (Iroquois Sachem).
  (3) I rebuke the vanity of those who waste public energy on such a thing (Rousseau).
  (4) I would not bother to conjure up such a building even if I could have it by mere wish.
Ignoratio Elenchi These reactions are all possible and legitimate but all miss the point which is simply this: whether the representation of this palace in me is accompanied by a satisfaction independent of my personal attitude, interest or preference for its existence or non-existence. The question is just whether it pleases in a pure representation (intuition or reflection), not what is my attitude toward it. I can say anything from 1 to 4 and still recognize that the palace is beautiful. (Note that none of these statements expresses a desire to possess the palace; on the contrary, precisely because they all deny any personal interest in possessing the palace their aesthetic judgment will be untainted.)
Impartiality The judgment of taste is deprived of any interest in possession or use of the beautiful object. Only so it can be impartial and a true judgment about the beautiful.
Note: Thus if you vote on 'American Idol' for a candidate because s/he is from your state, because you know she/him or want to be with her/him then your judgment is not one of taste but something else, a statement of interest or desire. However, the absence of interest is not a sufficient condition for the feeling of pleasure. I cannot say that I regard a woman beautiful because I do not have desire to be with her. The absence of interest is only a necessary condition for the judgment of taste, not the sufficient.
Indifference To secure the disinterested character of the judgment of taste Kant requires that the judging subject remains indifferent with regard to the existence of the beautiful object. Disinterestedness is not identical with objectivity - it is more like impartiality and personal indifference.
Note: This indifference should not be confused with a lack of attention or boredom. The disinterestedness pertains only to the satisfaction as our reaction to the representation of the object - this satisfaction is totally divorced from any desire - but it does not exclude an intrigued attention (curiosity).
Impurity If the aesthetical judgment of taste mingles with any interest it ceases to be a judgment of taste and becomes a statement of inclination or desire (aesthetical judgment of the pleasant).
3 The Satisfaction in the Pleasant is bound up with Interest.
  In this section Kant explains the nature of the reference to the feeling of satisfaction as it could be easily confused with some other kinds of pleasantness. In order to put in sharp relief the point of disinterestedness (as opposed to interest) Kant contrasts the judgments of taste with those pertaining to the pleasant.
The Pleasant - Definition Pleasant is what pleases the senses in sensation.
Argument - Everything that pleases is pleasant (= pleasant sensation be it agreeable, lovely, delightful, enjoyable or something similar).
- All satisfaction is itself sensation (of a pleasure).
- Therefore all satisfaction is same in kind.
Ambiguity The word sensation has two meanings: the sensual and the reflective.
Leveling By disregarding this ambiguity one could argue that since all satisfaction is a sensation (of pleasure to be sure) then different pleasant sensations (the pleasant that determines inclination, the satisfaction caused by the respect for moral law, pure contemplative satisfaction determining the judgment) would be regarded as identical in kind simply because they are all sensations ("pleasantness in the sensation of one's state"). However, that would be a crude generalization that lump us physiological, moral and cognitive satisfaction.
  In what follows Kant shows that there are sensations which please and yet are not what he calls the pleasant, and the other way round, that what pleases in the sense of being delightful is not necessarily bound with any personal interest or satisfaction in terms of inclination or representation.
Consequences If things are different only with regard to the quantity of pleasure they promise or procure then the sole basis for an evaluation of them would be the amount of gratification they promise or provide. In that case people should seek out only pleasure and in their pursuits they should apply little scruples as to the means leading to gratification. For the guiding principle would be then only effectiveness, not the rightness of conduct and people would be more or less smart or stupid not more or less moral or bad. By the same token, if all pleasures were the same there would be no room to distinguish between fine and bad taste. Fortunately, it is not so.
Distinction In order to avoid the confusion between different kinds of satisfaction Kant suggests first to distinguish between the sensation in the sense of feeling pleasure and the sensation in the sense of having a sensory representation. The former is non-cognitive and subjective (refers to the subject's state) while the latter is cognitive and objective (refers to the object). Kant calls the former a "feeling" while the latter should be called "an objective representation of sense". Second, he demonstrates that not all pleasant feeling are about the pleasant of senses - they could be about the good or the beautiful.
  Note: The word "sensation" is an equivalent for the Greek aisthesis. Originally it was used to denote only the experiences of the external world but under influence of Alexander Baumgarten it gradually included internal experiences as well. Kant didn't like this propagation of the word but could not go against the stream that adopts this wide usage (witness the Critique of Judgment itself). To save what could be saved from his own terminological system while accommodating the new vocabulary he tried to reserve the word "sensation" for the representation that informs the mind about something given to it as an object (objective sensation) while treating the sensation that informs the mind about its own state as a "feeling" (subjective sensation).
Example "The green color of the meadows belongs to objective sensation, as a perception of an object of sense, the pleasantness of this belongs to subjective sensation by which no object is represented, i.e. feeling, by which the object is considered as an object of satisfaction (which does not furnish cognition of it)."
Objective Sensation Subjective Sensation
Representation of Object in Relation to Sense Determination of Subjective Feeling
Green Color The Pleasantness
Perception Satisfaction
If we apply the above distinctions on different judgments and their respective faculties they give us the following semantic branching of connotation for the terms "sensation" and judgments:
Sensation (Aisthesis)/Judgment (Urteil)
/ \
Objective Sensation / Judgment Subjective Sensation / Judgment

Logical Judgment
Practical Judgment
Reason - Will
Physiological Sensation
Aesthetical Judgment
Sensation + Judgment, Understanding + Imagination

Difference Aesthetical sensations are immediate judgments of thought upon itself. They are a synthesis of the act of thought with the affection it procures.
Now the question arises what is the difference between the last two branches of the tree (the two subjective aesthetical kinds of sensation).
Pleasant According to Kant, the aesthetical sensation of senses is about the pleasant. It excites a desire for the object and implies interest in the subject. Consequently, its satisfaction stems not from the pure judgment but from the attitude toward the object. The attitude manifests itself as inclination. It is based on the desired/expected gratification, not on pure approval/assent (a reflection of the act).
A word od Practical Wisdom: The pleasant very often neutralizes (suspends) any judgment about the character of the object for the sake of mere enjoyment.
4 The Satisfaction in the Good is bound with Interest
Good - Definition The good is that what pleases by means of reason through concepts.
Two Kinds There are two kinds of good:
(1) The useful which pleases as a means for something else (instrumental good);
(2) The good in itself which pleases as such for itself (intrinsic good).
Interest In both kinds of good there is a satisfaction in the presence of an object or an action with regard to a certain purpose.
Purpose Something good could be identified only by means of a concept that states what that object ought to be.
Pleasant The pleasant rests entirely upon sensation, and yet, although not relying upon concepts in pursuing the inclination, may represent the object through a concept of purpose that meets human needs. Both in terms of addressing the senses and desires it entails an interest. This creates the impression that it is something good or similar to the good. We say "it feels good" when in fact we mean it is pleasant.
Beautiful In this regard the beautiful differs from both the pleasant which is useful and the good. It does not require a concept to be felt. The beautiful arises from a reflection upon an object, but leads to no definite concept (or, as Kant puts it, leading to any concept - which makes the judgment indefinite) and does not entail any interest in it.
"Flowers, free delineations, outlines intertwined with one another without design and called /conventional/ foliage, have no meaning, depend on no definite concept, and yet they please."
Note: Kant distinguishes between "free beauty", for which the above examples are illustrative, and the "dependent beauty" (or adherent beauty) which presupposes a concept of what the object ought to be so that it could be judged regarding its perfection or imperfection accordingly. The former beauty requires an undifferentiated and almost empty judgment, while the latter could contain both an informed component referred to a concept and a purely aesthetical delight. When judging about fine art Kant certainly does not confine judgment to a sheer expression of satisfaction or dissatisfaction.
Simplified Structure
Represented Object => =>Subjective Satisfaction => => Judgment of Taste
Table We can represent the differences between the three relations to the feeling of pleasure by means of the following table:
  Pleasant Good Beautiful
Organ Senses Reason Judgment
Attitude Interest Interest Indifference
Expectation Gratification Realization Reflection
Intelligibility No Concept Definite Concept Indefinite Concept
  Interest of the sense = seeks satisfaction of a need.
Interest of reason = seeks realization of the good, the attainment of an end.
Will = desire determined by reason.
There is no interest in the beautiful because there is no need for it nor a purpose that would define its usefulness or value.
Distinguishing Good from Pleasant In the following two passages of this paragraph Kant primarily details the differences between the pleasant and the good. This discussion is not functional for an explanation of the judgment of taste with regard to its quality - its purport is rather ethical. Therefore our summary will be more telegraphic than analytic. For a comprehensive comparison between the delight in the beautiful, the good and the pleasant see the table of Kant's relevant statements at
Identification People tend to identify the pleasant with the good. For instance, they say for a dish "It is so good" ("Mr. Food" on Cox channel ), although the meaning is just "it is tasty". Or they regard a prolonged gratification (in Kant's eyes it equals enjoyment) as good in itself. Hence they think that pleasure is identical with the good particularly if it lasts and make us "feel good".

Kant rejects this reasoning. For him, it is a kind of categorical mistake to identify that which gratifies with the good. Here are his reasons:

(1) The good must be subsumed under principles of reason by means of the concept of purpose. The pleasant, on the other hand, represents simply an object in relation to sense and does not require the intervention of any concept of purpose.

(2) The pleasant signifies something that pleases immediately without any purpose. In contrast, the good could be immediately good (in itself) but also mediately good (useful). The beautiful is like the pleasant - it must be immediately judged as beautiful or it is not beautiful at all.

(3) Something can be immediately pleasant in terms of sensory delight, but mediately not good in terms of its effects. For instance, fast food may taste deliciously (as is often the case) but objectively (in terms of nutritional facts) it is not good for our health.

(4) Even with regard to health which is widely regarded as both pleasant and good we can establish a difference. It is immediately pleasant at least as the absence of pain but it is good only with reference to a purpose that we discover by means of reason, for instance, as the precondition for any endeavor (good or bad).

(5) People view happiness as the highest goal while understanding it as the "greatest sum of pleasantness of life". If happiness is the ultimate good and if it consists in pleasures then there is a clear identity between the good and the pleasant. But Kant opposes this identification on moral grounds. If happiness were the unconditional good and if it consisted in pleasures we should not be very scrupulous in choosing all available means for gratification. But reason shows that worthiness (moral autonomy) is the only unconditional good no matter whether enjoyment is present or not. Happy people could be bad and good people could be unhappy - therefore the good and happiness do not coincide.

Agreement The pleasant and the good are together in being tied to an interest in their object. This is true not only for the pleasant and the mediate good but also for the good without qualification (absolute good). It is the object of will and its highest interest. But to be the object of a will and to take interest in its existence via a satisfaction is the same thing.
5 Comparison of the Three Kinds of Satisfaction
Desire The most important commonality among the pleasant and the good is their link to the faculty of desire. The former arouses a direct desire by pathologically affecting the senses the latter practically by means of a will which is nothing else but the faculty of desire determined by reason. The satisfaction of the pleasant is conditioned upon the existence of external stimuli that we relate to our state and find gratifying. The satisfaction in the good also hinges upon the linkage of the subject with the existence of the object, only that it requires a mediation through a concept and the determination of the will.

Contemplation The beautiful does not require the connection between the existence of the object and the will/desire of the subject. On the contrary, the judgment of taste (which evaluates the beautiful) is contemplative (i.e. indifferent to the relation with the object). It only compares the representation of the object with the feeling of pleasure without ever relating it to a definite concept. It is neither cognitive, nor practical nor purely sensual.
Relations Different relations of representations to the feeling of pleasure and pain are expressed with different verbs, nouns and modes.
The pleasant gratifies, the beautiful delights, the good is being approved.
The complacency in the first case stems from a natural inclination, it manifests itself as favor in the second and it induces respect in the third.
Experience Pleasant Beautiful Good
Satisfaction Pathological Contemplative Practical
Physical Source Appetite
Cognitive Action Sensation Reflection Subsumption
Expectation Gratification Nothing Realization
Mental State Pleasure
Delight Gefallen Approval
Psychological State Inclination Favor/Assent Respect
Animality - Rationality

Kant specifies all three relations as to the dual character of human nature: either animal or rational or both at one. We share the feeling of pleasantness with animals, while the good pertains only to rational beings including superhumans ("concerns every rational being in general"). The beautiful is somehow placed in between. It concerns only men but in their duality, not merely as rational beings nor as animals but as rational animals.

The Pleasant The Good The Beautiful
Pure Animality Pure Rationality Combination Humanity
Determined Physiologically Determined by Reason Free

Note: Kant promises to expand on this interesting topic "in the sequel" but he never returns back to this contention that suggests a more comprehensive character of aesthetic experience. Aristotle was Kant's predecessor in regarding pleasures as humanly non-specific (animal) trait and treating reason as a uniquely human (rational) characteristic.

Determination Satisfaction in the pleasant and the good is determined by the interest of senses and reason respectively. We do not have freedom in establishing what is pleasant nor what is good - that is dictated either by inclination or by reason through the will. They both create a want that does not allow the judgment any leeway. This is the reason why it is possible to satisfy hunger without taste and act in accord with duty without possessing virtue and the good will. Only when one judges free from hunger or moral constraint can we asses their culinary or moral taste.
Condition Nutritional Moral
Want exists - Hunger or Command
Everything is Tasty Behaving - Manners, Politeness, Decorum
Normal Condition Pursuing Inclination Obeying Law (Moral Attitude)
Want Appeased Showing Culinary Taste - Selective Choice Displaying Moral Taste and Judgment

The consequence of the above reasoning is that taste cannot be displayed if basic needs are not satisfied. Only when the want is appeased it is possible to evaluate the taste of the senses. Otherwise the existing inclination decides the matter in keeping with the saying: "Hunger is the best sauce." (The problem is that only a few will try their taste when they are all set - people then typically do not feel any need to test their taste.)

By the same token, when moral law speaks there is no room for free choice in determining the course of action. Moral taste is simply subdued by moral attitude which forces the right conduct no matter whether virtue, good will or good character are present or not. The only situation when moral taste comes to play is discussing possible actions or evaluating the conduct of other people. Judging somebody's gestures or displaying taste in acting is a kind of play with the objects of satisfaction when compared with the fulfillment of duty on account of the respect for moral law.
However only moral taste can show whether a person possesses the internal qualities of a good character precisely because it touches only upon the objects of satisfaction without any attachment to them.

Reversal The fact that you are having satisfaction does not mean that you have taste; the fact that you are behaving does not mean that you are moral. Some other conditions must be met - indifference toward the possession of the object and the acceptance of the good will. But hunger blurs the culinary taste as the moral law suppresses the moral taste. Hence the only way to check somebody's moral taste is to test that person's thoughts in hypothetical situations (casuistry).
Freedom Kant makes this digression about culinary and moral taste in order to be able to intimate that in matters of aesthetic taste such a difference between want and its appeasement does not exist. There is no need or command that the satisfaction in the beautiful satisfies. The satisfaction of taste in the beautiful is the only free of the three because it is entirely disinterested. And it is always free or it does not exist. Consequently the judgment of taste that articulates that delight must be indifferent to any want or satisfaction.
No Choice Free Choice
X Aesthetic Taste
Satisfaction of Hunger Culinary Taste
Satisfaction of Moral Law Moral Taste
Explanation "Taste is the faculty of judging of an object or a method of representing it by an entirely disinterested satisfaction or dissatisfaction. The object of such satisfaction is called beautiful."


Second Moment
Judgment of Taste according to Quantity

According to quantity judgments could be universal, particular or singular. In this section Kant shows that the judgment of taste, while singular in its quantity, represents the beautiful as the object of universal satisfaction. This satisfaction is subjective but claims universal validity and does not arise from a concept.

6 The Beautiful is represented as the Object of a Universal Satisfaction
Implication Kant takes the awareness of disinterestedness as an indicator that the satisfaction in the beautiful is universal (not just subjective). Since the delight in the beautiful is not caused by any inclination or private interest, but translates into a free judgment that attaches the satisfaction to the beautiful object, the judging subject is not only entitled to conclude that a particular object is beautiful but in fact must draw the conclusion that others will have the same ground for satisfaction in the object. As this ground is not to be found in his own private condition the subject must presuppose that it must rest on something that resides in every other person. This presupposition does not arise from the concept either of the subject or the object.
Note: The reasoning that goes from what we cannot find to the positive claim that something is so and so is not logically correct, but this is the only way to overcome the subjectivity of taste.
No Inclination
No Interest
No Pressure
Free Satisfaction
Reflecting If there is no concept available how can the judgment of taste be reflective in the first place? Precisely because of this absence. Kant asserts that the judgment of taste is reflective owing to the absence of any concept that could be brought about as its superaltern rule. In judging the beautiful we perform a subsumption - only it is not the one under an empirical concept but the one that places the object under the idea of universal subjective validity. Given the feeling of delight we need to decide by reflection whether we can claim for it universal validity. And if we judge the object as beautiful we must claim its validity for all men without being derived from a concept.
Pseudo-Objectivity This reasoning explains the mode of our judgments about the beautiful. They are phrased as if beauty were a characteristic of the evaluated object and the judgment of beauty a logical cognitive judgment based on a concept. However, the only similarity with logical judgments is the supposition of validity for all men, not the objective nature of the predicate. But the universality in question does not spring from a concept nor does it depend on the object. It is subjective and yet it raises a claim for universal validity. This claim is not necessarily fulfilled although it must be raised if the judgment of taste is to be something more than a judgment of sense.
7 Comparing the Beautiful with other Relations of Feeling
Private Feeling The statement "This is pleasant" means "This is pleasant to me". The judgment about the pleasant (either based on the taste of the tongue, throat, ear or eye) is private and claims only personal validity. The ambition to prove somebody wrong or right in the realm of the pleasant is totally misplaced. As regards the pleasant the operative maxim is: everyone has their own taste. Thus the proverb 'each to his own' (chacun a son gout) holds primarily for the feeling of the pleasant (taste of sense).
"Permissible" Variations "To one, violet color is soft and lovely; to another, it is washed out and dead. One man likes the tone of wind instruments, another that of strings."
These are permissible variations of taste in Hume's analysis. Kant intimates that they encompass the whole domain of the taste of sense.
Judging For Everyone In contrast, the statement "This is beautiful to me" would sound strange, as Kant notes, precisely because of its concluding qualification. "To me" would be either redundant or misplaced (in the former case the true meaning would be "This is pleasant to me", in the latter it would unjustifiably degrade the judgment of the beautiful to a private statement). We must not forget that the judgment of the beautiful is a judgment that we make representatively for everyone while the judgment of the pleasant remains our private judgment that should not concern anyone else.
Precondition Therefore when judging the beautiful "we cannot say that each man has his own taste." The old saying about the relativity of taste contradicts the very idea of taste and must be related only to the pleasant. If this requirement is not met taste is a chimerical idea.
By pronouncing the judgment "This is beautiful" the judging subject expects the agreement of others not because it was given in the past (like Hume's consensus of the ages) but because the logic of the judgment of taste is such that it includes that claim. Whoever feels satisfaction of the beautiful must presuppose the same satisfaction in others. This why we ask rhetorically: "Isn't this pretty?"
Demarcation If something only pleases it should not be called beautiful and the other way round, if something is beautiful it should not be qualified as personal liking.
Note: Kant obviously pleads for a more rigorous and discriminate usage of both terms - and he is right at least in the sense that the pleasant and the beautiful are not absolute synonyms. Why do we need the word 'beautiful' if it does not have a specific meaning that says something else than the pleasant?
Judgments Pleasant Beautiful Good
Stating Personal Liking Universal Delight Moral Obligation
Position Relativism Virtualism Rigorism
Consequence No Dispute Validity Claim Binding Pressure
Concession Relativism applies to the sensation of the pleasant. However, Kant concedes that there is a considerable amount of agreement among people in judging the pleasant in real life which goes counter the popular relativist sayings. (He does not speak about the agreement in the way how our 'organic senses' react to external stimuli - the majority of people will probably agree that something is sweet or bitter under normal conditions and we typically do not ascribe or deny taste to the sheer use of senses. He has in mind "the faculty of judging the pleasant in general" that is not equally distributed among men.) This remark comes as a big surprise given the strictly private character of the pleasant. Especially if this empirical agreement serves as the basis (as it does) for ascribing or denying some people taste in matters of sensual satisfaction.
Empirical Taste

The explanation for this is that in the latter case we in fact mean the empirically acquired knowledge (comparisons, generalizations) about the pleasant, not about the sensing itself. In addition, acting upon a factual agreement about the pleasant does not amount to aesthetical reflective taste. It only bears witness to the familiarity with that what people want, that is with that what pleases them within a definite cultural, social and historical setting (this could be ascertained empirically). If somebody knows (based on social experience and good psychological skills) that certain food, ambiance and entertainment will please his guests and then acts accordingly he certainly displays a lot of social taste but he does not judge aesthetically. He has formulated certain rules in reference to sociability but he operates experientially, aiming at a contingent generality, and does not lay claim to the universal validity implied by true judgment of taste. It is quite conceivable that some other people (possibly from another culture) could be displeased with his effort to provide entertainment.


Sensory Judgments Logical Judgment Reflective Judgment Practical Judgments
Interest No Interest No Interest Interest
No Concept Concepts No Concept Concepts
Private Objective Subjective Obligatory
Personal Validity Actual Validity Public Validity Universal Validity
  The following table summarizes differences between the two aesthetical judgments - of the socially contingent pleasant and of the beautiful:
Aesthetic Judgments

Judging the Pleasant Judging the Beautiful
Taste of Sense Taste of Reflection
Empirical Agreement
Validity for Everyone
Contingent General Rules Subjective Universal Rules
All Taste Equal Taste not Equal
Social, Psychological Aesthetical, Reflective
8 The Universality of Satisfaction is represented as Subjective
  Kant claims that the discovery of the specific mode of universality embedded in aesthetical judgments of taste is much more important for the transcendental philosophy dealing with our a priori faculties than for the logic dealing with their results (that is to what is stated in propositions). It reveals not only a specific type of judgment but a peculiar cognitive faculty in its ability to be at the same time subjective and not arbitrary.
Claims The satisfaction in a beautiful object is imputed to everyone.
If this claim is laid by means of a concept we are dealing with the good.
If this claim is dropped without any concept involved we are dealing with the pleasant.
Thus we arrive at the following division:

Taste of Sense Moral Taste Taste of Reflection
Aesthetical Judgments (Private) Practical Judgment

Aesthetical Judgments (Public)

Individually Valid Universally Binding Generally Valid
(Subjective Universality)
Twist Kant does not fail to note as a strange occurrence (nonetheless common) that the agreement in matters of the taste of sense is in actuality pretty high despite its private character. In fact, it exceeds in sheer number the required agreement based on the taste of reflection. Despite its universality claims the judgments of reflective taste often meet outright rejection and do not receive even a limited general acceptance. Seemingly the fact that not all subjects share the judgments of reflective taste refutes Kant's claim for universality. But Kant believes that this factual discrepancy does not invalidate his assertion that the judgments on the beautiful must impute the agreement of everyone. Whereas in making a judgment that expresses the taste of sense everyone is content not to impute an agreement to others in judgments of reflective taste this is exactly what happens. However, the absence of the imputed agreement never amount to the disagreement about the imputation. Despite all disagreements nobody disputes the possibility of such an agreement and the claim for universal validity.
Taste of Reflection
Taste of Senses
Demands Agreement Does not Demand Agreement
Subjective Universal Validity Empirical General Validity
Rarely Finds Agreement Often Finds Agreement
Universality The universal validity of taste is not identical with the universal validity of logical judgments. The quality of the judgment is not objective but subjective - thus yielding only general validity, that is to say the validity that refers the representation to the feelings. It is the general validity or subjective universal validity (the latter is to be distinguished from objective universal validity referred to cognitive faculties).

If we replace practical judgments from the previous table with the logical ones we get the following comparative chart:
The Sensory
The Logical
The Reflective
Particular Judgments Universal Judgments Singular Judgments
Conflate Representation with feeling Relate representation to cognitive faculty Relate representation to feeling
Factual Consensus Objective Universality Subjective Universality
Private Validity Universal Validity for All (Allgemeingueltigkeit) General Validity for Mankind (Gemeingueltigkeit)
General Validity Kant does not contradict himself when he introduces the expression "general validity" (Gemeingueltigkeit) to denote "the reference of a representation" to the feeling of pleasure and pain for every subject. This is not the previously mentioned and empirically established validity of a great number that spells out some general (in fact, not universal) rules. The general validity is a universality which does not rest on concepts but claims universal validity within the natural community of feelings and habits. However, since it is subjective and aesthetical it does not entail the true universality of logical judgments for the whole range of the subject. To avoid possible confusions on both sides (with the empirical generality or logical universality) Kant stipulates to call the universality of reflective judgments subjective and aesthetical universality as opposed to the objective and logical universality of theoretical judgments or empirical generality of those judgments that state some socially verifiable inclinations.
Subalternation The mutual relation between the two types of universal validity is the one of subalternation (cf. the A and I or E and O propositions from the square of oppositions). A judgment with objective universal validity is always valid subjectively but an aesthetically claimed universality does not warrant the objective logical validity because it is not formulated by means of a universally valid concept that would entail the predicate of beauty.
Logical Status Aesthetical judgment of reflection does not hold for everything contained under a given concept and its logical quantity is not objectively universal. It refers the object to the subjective feeling of pleasure of pain and does that by means of a logical quantity that is singular.
  Note: Lyotard asks "what could the quantity of a subjective judgment, of a subjective quantity be?" In other words, what is the subject of aesthetic judgment? It is tempting to point to the object that provides delight and its attributes and to say that they are the delight itself. Thus the judgment "this is beautiful" would mean "Given this there is a pleasure" and I judge the object beautiful. But this interpretation of the reflective judgment would destroy any distinction between the taste of sense and reflective taste, between sensual pleasure and aesthetic delight and ultimately between inclination and favor. This difficulty is the reason, according to Lyotard, why Kant associates the universality of reflective judgments with the necessity that grounds the principle of unanimity.
Examples If we take one and the same object as the subject of different judgments their relations could be represented by means of the following table:
Judgment Example Form Claim
Aesthetic of Sense "The rose is pleasant." Particular No Claim of Agreement
Aesthetic of Taste "This rose is beautiful." Singular Imputes Agreement
Logical Objective "Roses are beautiful." Universal Postulates Agreement
Practical Objective "Roses are good." Universal Requires Agreement
  Note: Kant does not explicitly mention the example in the last row but it could be easily construed based on his explanation of the useful (instrumental good) assuming that that the statement "Roses are good" has such a meaning (for instance, good for showing respect for the deceased).
Transformations Although these four types of judgments are different as they could be they can turn into each other. Thus a judgment about the beautiful could give rise (by comparison of many individual cases of the same kind) to a universal judgment about the whole class, for instance we can go from "This rose is beautiful" to "Roses in general are beautiful." However, the latter is not any longer an aesthetical judgment but a logical one (the beautiful in it has become part of the predication for the concept of rose). By the same token, if after judging a rose as the source of pleasure (in terms of sight or smell) I say that the rose is beautiful I would transform a judgment of sense into an aesthetical judgment of taste provided that the previous interest and desire have been superseded or extinguished by my disinterested delight and the claim to universal validity. This validity possesses an aesthetic quantity of universality for it has not been drawn from a concept.
Incompatibility Concepts do not leave room for judgments of taste. If we know that something is beautiful objectively than we can not judge it aesthetically.
On the other hand, we cannot deduce the quality of the beautiful from certain rules.
The force of logical reasoning or moral reasons cannot force anyone to judge something as beautiful. Therefore the relation nbelow does not hold.
Second Simplified Model
Object of Representation => =>Conceptual Cognition => =>Aesthetic Judgment
Communicability While the judgment of taste does not apply universally to the whole logical realm (extension or intension of the concept) it extends performatively to the virtual community of all judging persons. Aesthetical judgment can demand a universal agreement because it is a kind of reflective faculty that is universally communicable. In all forms of reflective thinking the thinking feels itself subjectively. It is affected by its own thinking process and it projects the same structure of all representations to all subjects.

Individual Request for
Universal Assent

Judgments of taste must be individual and autonomous; they cannot be collective or coerced.
But each judgment of taste speaks for other people as well. It is an individual statement pronounced with a universal voice.
We claim the assent of everyone while recognizing the freedom of everyone to judge for themselves.
Universal Voice The judgment of taste does not postulate the actual agreement of all judging individuals. It only imputes such an agreement to everyone even though there is actually none. This assumption is not based on a concept of the judged object but on the universal implication of the judgment ("universal voice"). The implication suggests that there is a rule that requires the assent of everyone. But that rule is nowhere to be found. Thus the only postulated thing in aesthetic judgments is that implication and the universal voice of the aesthetical pronouncement. One can be mistaken in the belief that we are judging in conformity with such a voice (it is only an idea) but we cannot help assuming and referring to that idea.
Explanation 'The beautiful is that which pleases universally without requiring a concept."


Third Moment
Judgment of Taste according to Relation


As to the criterion of relation judgments could be categorical, hypothetical or disjunctive. Kant suggests the judgments of taste are hypothetical as they hypothetically relate the object to the purposes which are brought into consideration in them.
9 Purposiveness in General.
  This is a very intricate paragraph because it deals with very speculative concept of purposiveness. It could be properly understood only on the backdrop of Aristotle's theory of causes (fourfold causation) which Kant now combines with his own "transcendental" concepts of the possibility of objects.

Purpose is "the object of a concept, in so far as the concept is regarded as the cause of the object".

Purpose Concept of Object Object of a Concept
Concept Ground of Actuality Cause of Object
Purposiveness Constitution according to Purposes Causation of a Concept in respect to Object

Will = the faculty of desire acting through concepts.

Final Purpose
This sounds circular, but is not. At first glance it is difficult to explain how something could be the purpose if its concept is the cause of the same object. Especially if we identify the cause with the efficient cause as is the case in everyday life and modern science. But Kant, following Aristotle, believes that processes cannot be fully explained if we do not take into account both their essence (form, idea) and their final point, the end which, as it were, drags the process toward its goal. The latter is what the traditional philosophy calls the "final cause" and it is synonymous with purpose (sometimes with the mature form). An adequate concept must capture the purpose of the respective thing and if so it determines its development as the final (purposive) cause.
Now if we accept that a concept which states the purpose and the form of an object partakes in the process of its forming by defining its limits and course we should be ready to accept Kant's contention that there is something like purposiveness of the object - the causation exercised by its concept with regard to it. In fact such a complex concepts explains much better a process of building or creating something than any description of physical movements and the assembly of the material.
This last point should finally help us understand Kant's assertion that purpose is at work whenever an object is possible as effect by means of the concept of its form. The representation of this final form predetermines and precedes the object.
Forma Finalis This is still very abstract and abstruse but if we suppose that the object in question is house we may be in a better position to understand the meaning of these statements. We build a house in order to use it as shelter and living abode. This is the purpose that causes the building no less than the work we put up to assemble the bricks and the beams (efficient cause). By the same token, the design of the house equally determines (causes) the end result of the process of building and represents its final form (= forma finalis).
Objective Why does Kant need this recourse to the traditional (by now abandoned) theory of purposive and final causation? I see two reasons: (1) Kant claims that the awareness of the causality in a representation is pleasurable if it maintains the subject in the same state of purposiveness, and (2) that a certain object or state of mind could be purpossive without necessarily entailing the representation of a purpose. The latter could happen because the possibility of an object could be conceived by simply assuming for it a causality according to purposes. Although we do not have a rpresentation of its purpose its very possibility requires that we represent it in accordance with a certain rules defining will. This is commonly the case when we do not assume the concepts of reason but simply focus on the "purposiveness according the form".
Purposiveness Kant has already defined purposiveness as conformity with the overall constitution of the whole. Now he specifies the purposiveness of an object as the causality of its concept with regard to the object itself, i.e. according to its final form. Typically we can state exactly what is the purpose and the identifying form of an object or action (technology or morality). Yet it is possible to regard something as purposive without being able to name its specific purpose or form. We can reflect upon an object as if it possesses purposiveness according to the form without linking it to a specific purpose as is the case when we reflect upon practical conduct and technical production based on definite concepts. After contemplating an object imagination presents it to understanding via a representation. But understanding does not supply a determinate concept for it adjusting instead its power of forming concepts to the interplay with imagination. So arises the satisfaction in purposiveness (or signification). This purposivenes includes even the pleasure arising from the relation of objects to the faculty of knowledge. Thought is attracted by the object, it feels a purposive relation to it, even though there is no definable and determinable motivation for it to be attracted to the object.
Without Purpose
If we want an explanation why something arouses delight we would have to establish a causal connection between the source of delight and the delightful effect in terms of a specific volition of the artist. This volition is based on a concept/design that operates as an end for the creative process. But we should not forget that taste does not allow any causal explanation. The delight of taste is so to say encapsulated in itself so that the feeling of purposiveness that nourishes it cannot come from an external source. The pursposiveness of the form of an object is the sole source for the form of pursposiveness in the way how our cognitive faculties react to the object. On the other hand, the internal purposiveness grounds the necessity of liking for all who experience the same object (that is to say, who enter the same structure of reflexivity).
Purposive Worlds Rational action is determined by a concept of a purpose. But an object may be explained only if we assume it was caused by a purpose although we do not know it. Precisely this purposiveness, deprived of any particular purpose, makes possible both the world of art and the world of aesthetical judging. The specific feature of these two worlds is that there is no specific purpose or concept involved. Purposiveness without purpose is possible as long as we do not place a specific form as a purpose in the will (of the artist) although we make the explanation of its possibility intelligible to ourselves by deriving it from a will. The artist does not necessarily know the 'what' and the 'why' of his work - only that he wanted to produce the beautiful (or aesthetical in general). But we must look at it as if it was executed with a view for some purpose.
Subjective Purpose - Pleasant
Objective Purpose - Good
No Purpose at all - Beautiful

11 The Judgment of Taste is based on the form of purposiveness
Absence of Purpose The judgment of taste focuses on the form of purposiveness as the mode of representation. The absence of purpose is the condition of possibility for aesthetic judgment no less than the presence of purposiveness. Why is it necessary that there is no particular purpose involved in the judgment of taste? Because every purpose, as a ground of satisfaction, entails interest as the determining ground of the judgment about the object. This requirement excludes both subjective and objective purposes from the judgment of taste. The former would compromise the disinterested character of taste, the latter, by adducing an internal or external possibility of the object (concept), would transform the aesthetical judgment into a cognitive judgment, either of a function or of moral good. A comparison among these possibilities gives the following picture:
Pleasant Good Beautiful
Subjective Purpose Objective Purpose Absence of Purpose
Determines Physiologically Determines Conceptually Subjective Purposiveness
Sensual Judgment Practical Judgment Aesthetical Judgment
Link Aesthetical judgment is not based on a relation toward a purpose of perfection or a concept of good but solely on the relation between our powers of representation. As was already stated, it is grounded on a harmonious correlation of imagination and understanding. But now we can add more content to that initial determination.
Determining Ground Since this relation is experienced as a delight valid for everyone its ground cannot be the private pleasantness. Nor can it be the perfection of the object or the good. Therefore it must lie in the subjective purposiveness in the representation of an object without any subjective or objective purpose, which means it lies in "the mere form of pursposiveness in the representation by which" we are conscious of an object as beautiful.
"This is the determining ground of the judgment of taste." Although without the concepts the satisfaction accompanying the representation of the object is deemed to be "universally communicable".


Elucidation by means of examples.


Before showing how this explanation works in practice Kant introduces another division. Aesthetical judgments according to their object or manner of representation could be:

(a) empirical (about the pleasant), or (b) pure (about the beautiful).


The same division is expressed by saying that there are:

(a) judgments of sense, and (b) judgments of taste.
This division roughly corresponds to Hume's division into bodily taste and mental taste. For Kant, however, only the latter is taste in the strict sense of the word.

The Pleasant The Beautiful
Empirical / Material Pure / Formal
Charm and Emotion Mingled Charm and Emotion Separated
Judgment of Sense Judgment of Taste
Ergon = work; parerga = additions to the work.
Charmes Increasing Satisfaction by Form Compliments
Emotions Gaining Pleasure by Checking Vital Forces Dynamic Sublimity
Compliment Kant claims that the satisfaction reflected in the judgment of taste is always based on the form of the object. This includes even those things that are rather "ornamental" than essential, like the frames of pictures, the draperies of statues and the colonnades of sumptuous palaces. Kant defines these as things that do not belong "internally" to the complete representation of the object but only "externally" as its supplements and additions. They may increase the satisfaction but only by virtue of their form - in that case they are called compliments.
Detriment If these extensions and additions do not possess a beautiful form but only add certain charm thus appealing with some superficial means (glitter, gold) they are only fineries (like a lavishly ornate or gilded frames that make pictures more attractive or are supposed to). As adornments they may arouse interest and even become pleasing. For aesthetical taste, however, they are harmful (especially when the frame is excessively adorned and in fact distracts attention from the work).
Normal additions Superficial additions
Compliments Fineries
Contribute by Form Seduce by Attraction
Framing the Frame Note: In his essay "The Truth in Painting" Jacques Derrida challenges this casual remark of Kant by raising the question of the criterion for this delineation of the allegedly central form. What is the basis for this distinction between the elements that "internally belong to representation" and those that only "externally compliment" it? If clothing is a parergon, the true content of representation must be "the naked and natural body", which is, for Kant, obviously the only beautiful thing in a statue (work). Sounds normal and consistent, but where does clothing commence and where does it stop? Are G-strings on a stripper a parergon or a transparent veil on a Venus or a Virgin? How a colonnade can be a parergon to a structure when the building does not represent anything? Everything becomes even more problematic when we apply Kant's distinction to painting and the frames that separate both from the interior and the exterior. Derrida shows that Kant presupposes a problematic division between the center and the periphery, the inside and the outside, the core and the surface, the essential and the accessory, the content and the background. Kant assumes that we jnow what is intrinsic beauty and what just a finery that snares a judgment of taste, but these categories are very fluid. These distinctions may be unavoidable but they are far from being secured and self-evident. Despite his intention to bridge the gap between the object and the subject in a very flexible manner (by using judgments of taste that are subjective but not private), Kant in fact is trying to set boundaries to the aesthetic object that by its nature eludes all boundaries. His heroic attempt is another testomony to the ambition of philosophy to be a frame, i.e. the ultimate parergon. But this frame needs its own frame. Thus philosophy becomes an endless discourse on framing, its suppositions and snares.
Emotion Emotion, like charm, is always linked to something empirical. It is a sensation of pleasure arising from an immediate self-assurance of life forces. As such it is bound with up with the sublime (not the beautiful) and requires a different standard of judgment.
17 Of the Ideal of Beauty
Polemic with Hume The above division of aesthetical judgments into two classes could be understood a covert polemic with Hume whom Kant suspects of having confounded the empirical and pure judgments of taste by claiming that bodily and mental taste function pretty much alike. Paragraph 17 makes this criticism even more explicit still without mentioning Hume's name (Hume's name occurs only in paragraph 34 within a rather casual remark). We do not know whether Kant ever read "Of the Standard of Taste" but some passages sound as if he did (it is quite possible that Kant was hinting at the British sentimentalists in general who have influenced both Hume and himself).
Target Take just the following quote whose critical target could be easily found in some paragraphs of Hume's essay. "The universal communicability of sensation (satisfaction or dissatisfaction) without the aid of a concept - the agreement, as far as possible, of all times and peoples as regards this feeling in the representation of certain objects - this is the empirical criterion, although weak and hardly sufficing for probability, of the derivation of taste, thus confirmed by examples, from the deep-lying general grounds of agreement in judging the forms under which objects are given." Although Kant speaks here in opposition to the idea that taste could be regulated by definite concepts, what he says is also a very good summary of Hume's idea that the standard of taste is to be found in the consensus of ages and different cultures as exemplified in established models and a convincing critique of its empirical assumptions.
Archetype of Taste Imagination + Reason Ideal of Beauty
Empirical Examples Experience Exemplary Beauty
  If we put together the terms that go with Hume's and Kant's judgments of taste respectively we obtain the following two branches of aesthetical judgments. Kant agrees with Hume that taste is embedded in subjectivity although not in a relativistic manner. But, against Hume, he contends that there are some principles of taste which are not empirically grounded.
Aesthetical Judgments
Comparison of two Theories
/                            \
Empirical / Hume                                                      Kant / Pure     
Formal a priori
Object Beautiful
Organ Imagination
Norm Archetype
Origin Indeterminate Idea
General Agreement
Form Ideal
Models, Patterns
Nature Exemplary Ideas
Relation Originality



Exemplarity Against Hume, Kant contends that in judging the beautiful (art) we can find much more than just good examples of taste. There are products of taste that are not just examples of it but are exemplary.
Originality Also against Hume, Kant contends that taste cannot be acquired by comparison and by following certain models (through imitation). Taste must be an original faculty derived from our own feelings. Otherwise it could be feigned based on what the majority say or what the comparison establishes as an average common ground. Therefore Hume's suggestion to emulate the connoisseurs and to follow their "joint verdict" can never serve as the basis for a true judgment of taste.
Model Models are useful but everyone must judge for themselves. The highest model (that should embody the standard of taste = therefore archetype) is not something that could be gleaned by means of observation. It is an idea that everyone must produce in himself - not a common denominator derived from an underlying common nature. It is an idea that could become an ideal.
Idea Idea is a rational (non-empirical) concept of something.
Ideal Ideal is the adequacy of an object to the idea (Kant says: the representation of agreement between the two). This agreement is the basis for its exemplary character.
Ideal of the Beautiful The archetype of taste (Hume's standard) is therefore the ideal of the beautiful. It is a product of imagination because nobody possesses it, but everyone must produce it. It is produced as a representation, not as a concept. But it is not based on an agreement of subjects or on any emprical criterion.


How do we arrive at such an ideal?

Generalization Hume believed that the standard (of beauty) could be found if we go through different ages (historically), different cultures (anthropologically) and different individuals (psychologically) and in consequence establish certain general rules that are widely accepted.
Their basis is "a considerable uniformity of sentiments among men" that becomes manifest whenever their organs are "in the sound state". Hume was convinced that "an idea of perfect beauty" could be easily derived from there if our observation is only wide enough to include a representative sample.
Apriorization Kant retorted that such an ideal would be very vague and a very vague ideal of beauty is not an ideal. In addition, an ideal of beauty must be determined by a concept of "objective purposiveness" which requires certain involvement of the intellect. This objective purposiveness establishes a link with moral principles that Hume also recognized as relevant for art, although only negatively - if a work of art condones vice or cruelty or does not condemn them. For Kant, on the other hand, beauty without moral qualities is defective. But moral purposes could be divined only by virtue of reason and not empirically, because, as Hume himself has noted, different people and cultures understand differently the content of virtues.
Idea of Reason Therefore for an ideal of beauty we need an idea of reason in accordance with the concepts and this idea should a priori determine the purpose of the object.
Elimination: This means that an ideal of beauty is not possible of vague concepts that lack any moral purpose. In other words, it is possible only of one being who is capable of a moral purpose.
No Moral Purpose "An ideal of beautiful flowers, of a beautiful piece of furniture, of a beautiful view, is inconceivable." They do not have any relation to reason.
Not Fixed by Concept "But neither can an ideal be represented of a beauty dependent on definite purposes, e.g. of a beautiful dwelling house, a beautiful tree, a beautiful garden, etc." These are too much determined by definite external purposes while their internal purpose remains insufficiently determined and fixed by the concept and thus becomes indistinguishable from the vague beauty.
Human Ideal Man is the only being which has his own purpose in himself and who can define it himself by virtue of reason.
Therefore man is the only being susceptible of an ideal of beauty.
By the same token, humanity in his person is the only thing susceptible of perfection.
Objective purposiveness No indefinite (vague) purposes
Ideal purposiveness No definite (particular) purposes
Intrinsic purposiveness No external purposes
Two ideas There are two possible ideas of man:
(a) aesthetical normal idea, and (b) rational ideal.
Status The first is an individual intuition of something that is perceived as characterizing our biological species and therefore a standard for all.
The second takes the invisible purpose of humanity as the ground for judging the phenomenal figure of man.
Origin The normal idea of an animal of a particular species must be derived from experience.
The rational ideal, since it underlies the biological species and applies to the whole species as such, must be drawn from another source - the judging subject.
Normal Model Imagination helps create a representative model for the first idea by comparing, collapsing and confounding innumerable particular instances of a species. Imagination does the job almost instantly (Kant obviously trusted the power of imagination much more than Descartes). He himself says that this model could be calculated mechanically by adding thousands magnitudes and then dividing them by the number of individuals measured (today's parallel: computer imaging).
Average The result of this operation is an average, the normal size, the common measure of all individual specimens. The average coincides with the most frequent overlap, concurrence and confluence of many individuals. Its contours are equally removed from the extremes of individual aberrations.
Conditioning It is understandable that this normal idea of beauty will be culturally conditioned - that is inscribed in its empirical nature no matter whether we talk about humans or animals (pet shows obviously have adopted these standards).
Correctness Although these standards serve as rules for judging the particular individuals of the species in question they cannot be equated with the "whole archetype of beauty". At best they delineate the "form constituting the indispensable condition of all beauty, and thus merely correctness in the mental representation of the race". Thus the famous Doryphorus (Spearbearer) of Polycletus represents only the best proportions of human species (as Myron's cow does in its kind). Consequently, as a representation of a non-existing individual it lacks any individual human traits. Strictly speaking it is more proportionate than beautiful. It pleases through its correctness not through the magnitude of human purpose.
Human Species Animal Species
Polycletus' Doryphorus Miron's Cow
Moral Beauty The ideal of beauty can be expressed only in the human figure provided that it embodies some moral ideas as well that could be detected by joining the powers of imagination with those of reason.
Note: One can ask whether Plato's specter is taping on Kant's shoulder when he conjoins art with moral purposes? It seems that Kant would put the scuptures of Michelangelo and Rodin over any classical sculptures including Miron's Discobolos or Praxiteles' Hermes.
  The Doryphorus of Polycletus vs. Moses of Michelangelo.
  The correctness of this ideal allows the presence of individual traits but they do not affect the satisfaction in the object. Kant concedes that a judgment in accordance with such a standard (moral) can never be purely aesthetical and disinterested.
  Normal idea Rational idea
Source Intuition + Imagination Imagination + Reason
Faculties Experiental Elements Judging Subject
Method Comparison Envisioning
Nature Common Nature Moral Purpose
Result Average Ideal
Meaning Physical Correctness Expression of Mission
Traits Nothing Specific Individual Embodiement
Application Race and Culture Humanity
Reference Every Member Model
Conditions Empirical Intellectual
    Idea of Beauty  
  Normal   Rational
  Individual Intution   Reason
  Member of Species   Purposes of Humanity
Experience   Construction  
Singular Person   Whole Race Individual Empirical Figure
  Concrete Model   Moral Goodness
Comparison by Imagination   Computation by Understanding Highest Purposiveness
  Physical Condition   Mission
  Average   Message


Explanation "Beauty is the form of the purposiveness of an object, so far as this is perceived in it without any representation of a purpose."

Fourth Moment
Judgment of Taste according to Modality

According to their modality judgments in classical logic can be problematic (stating possibility), assertoric (stating actuality) or apodeictic (stating necessity). Kant suggests that the judgment of taste according to the modality of the satisfaction in the object has the necessity that corresponds to the necessity of apodictic judgments without being itself apodictic. The necessity is subjective although a priori.

18 What is the modality in a judgment of taste?
Possibility The above division of modalities is distributed in the following way among different kinds of representation:
It is possible that every representation as a cognition should be bound up with a pleasure. This holds for both theoretical and practical representations, especially for those about the good.
Actuality The representation of the pleasant actually excites pleasure.
Necessity The representation of the beautiful has a necessary reference to satisfaction.
  This is not a theoretical objective necessity (apodictic). Therefore I do not know a priori that everyone will feel satisfaction when experiencing the object I call beautiful.
It is not a practical necessity that follows from the satisfaction found in the realization that the law gives absolutely binding (necessary) commands.
It is an exemplary necessity, that is the necessity of the assent of all to a judgment that is regarded as the example of a rule that could not be stated.
Exemplarity combines actuality with necessity; the former is only contingent and private, the latter does not always translate into actuality.
Representation of the Pleasant Actually excites Pleasure Assertoric Actuality
Cognitive Representation Possibly linked with Satisfaction Problematic Possibility
Aesthetical Representation Necessarilly refers to Satisfaction Exemplary Necessity
19 The subjective necessity is conditioned
Ought not Must In passing a judgment of taste we demand that "everyone ought to give his approval" to our description of the object as beautiful.
But this ought is conditional on our assumption that we have correctly subsumed the object under the ground that we assume as the rule for all.
  The analytic of taste as filtered through logical categories gives very ambiguous results. They simply resist unequivocal "yes" or "no". The following chart displays their rugged nature.
  Quality Quantity Relation Modality
Affirmative (to pleasure)
Singular Purposive (in form) Assertoric or even apodictic
Reflective "no". No interest (motive) No particularity claimed No conceived purposiveness Non-demonstrable necessity

These results show that the logical categories are "forced" upon the judgments of taste. They highlight the nature of taste only when we dialectically take together both the "yes" and its negation.

Note; J.F. Lyotard unveils a slippage from quantity to modality within the analytic of the beautiful. The slippage covers a potential confusion between the universality that belongs to the category of quantity and the necessity which is a kind of modality. Kant transposes the quantity to the relation of representation to the faculty, but this relation belongs to the category of modality. Thus the question arises: What justifies the conclusion that every person should judge, let us say, that this woman is beautiful? "A subjective judgment is said to be universal when the duty to feel the same delight in the judging 'subject' is imputed to everyone given the same object." (Lessons on the Analytic of the Sublime, p. 84) But this is a modal and not quantitative characteristic - the delight is rather necessary than universal.

20 The condition of necessity is the idea of a sensus communis (Gemein Sinn)
Middle If judgments of taste were passed by a definite objective rule they would follow with "unconditional necessity" and would be unconditionally valid for all.
If judgments of taste were only private (devoid of any principle) they would be arbitrary like the taste of sense.
But they are in between these two extremes: they have a subjective principle which determines what pleases and what displeases with universal validity.
Common Sense That subjective principle is common sense. The German word does not denote common understanding but rather the aesthetic common sense. The aesthetic common sense manifests itself as "the effect resulting from the play of cognitive powers". It is the "universal voice" (allgemeine Stimme) or "accord" (Stimmung) between understanding and imagination. See the deduction of taste in the outline on the sublime.
Note: It is tempting to link this common sense with the common human nature of Hume that was conceived purely physiologically. The difference is that Kant's common sense judges by feelings but not of purely sensual nature; Rather it is about those stemming from the free interplay of cognitive faculties although their principles could not be explained. The interplay is free because it is released from all constraints of knowledge and morality. Whenever a form gives the pleasure we articulate as the feeling of the beautiful the dissonances between understanding (concepts) and imagination grow small.
22 The necessity of the universal agreement is represented as objective under the presupposition of a sensus communis.

Although we ground our judgments on feelings and not on concepts we make them in a manner that does not leave room for dissent.
The psychological state is now turned into a logical harmony of faculties.

<= harmonious

The reason for this exclusion of disagreement is that we give out this feeling as a common feel - common sense.

Norm The common feeling is not factual ("grounded on experience"). Otherwise it would warrant that everyone agrees with my judgment - which is not the case. It is an ideal norm which I put forward in order to be able to assume a binding rule out of my judgment along with my satisfaction.
This is an idea that everyone must have when pronouncing judgments of taste because they implicitly claim universal assent.
Subjective Purposiveness This is the purposiveness that includes even the pleasures arising from the relation of objects to the faculties of knowledge. Precisely this relation justifies the claim to universality.
Question At the end of this paragraph Kant raises the following question about the "indeterminate norm" of common sense: Is it a constitutive principle of our experience or just a regulative principle produced by another principle of reason? This question could be rephrased in a less Kantian manner by simply asking whether it is an "original" (innate) or acquired principle? Kant does not answer this interesting question either here or anywhere else in the book. He indicates that his current intellectual powers do not suffice to resolve the matter and contends himself with the claim that the elements of the faculty of taste are united in the idea of common sense.
Complex Model of Taste
Representation of Object Disinterested Satisfaction
Free Play of Imagination and Understanding Awareness of the Form of Purposiveness
Reference to Indefinite Concepts Judgment of the Beautiful = Claim to Universal Assent
  1. Subjective but disinterested.
2. Non-conceptual but universal.
3. Without purpose but purposive.
4. Free but necessary.
Explanation "The beautiful is that which without any concept is cognized as the object of a necessary satisfaction..."



Non-Conceptual Purposiveness
Non-Apodictic Necessity


The Critique of Judgment Its influence has been constantly strong ever since its appearance. The whole strain of aesthetics that emphasizes the significant form draws heavily on the Critique of Judgment. When formalism lost its appeal it looked for a while that Kant's aesthetics cannot any longer connect with the development of modern art. However, the last decades of the twentieth century saw an unprecedented surge of interest in Kant's "third critique" (as is it often called). In recent years we witnessed a true renaissance of the scholarship dealing particularly with its aesthetic part. Since the seventies the Critique of Judgment has become the subject of intensive study owing to its strong case for the autonomy and exemplarity of artworks. The claim for the irreducibility of various discursive genres finds its support in it as well. While we may differently value the place of Kant's two main aesthetical notions (the beautiful and the sublime) it is hard to ignore the relevance of his analysis of both for our better understanding of the role of judgment in different spheres of human discourse.

Kant: Since "hunger is the best sauce" you are getting empty plates along with the transcendental explanation of taste.


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