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The Critique of Judgment (Great Books in Philosophy) [Paperback]

By Immanuel Kant, J. H. Bernard (Translator), Mark Heike (Illustrator), Lisa Lavelle, Robert Crow (Translator) & Gunnar Myrdal
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Pages   432
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.34" Width: 5.42" Height: 0.99"
Weight:   1.25 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Nov 1, 2000
Publisher   Prometheus Books
ISBN  1573928372  
EAN  9781573928373  

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Item Description...
Considered by Kant to be the culmination of his critical philosophy, "The Critique of Judgement" was the last work in the trilogy begun with "The Critique of Pure Reason" and continued with "The Critique of Practical Reason." In this work Kant seeks to establish the a priori principles underlying the faculty of judgement, just as he did in his previous analyses of pure and practical reason. The first part deals with the subject of our aesthetic sensibility; we respond to certain natural phenomena as beautiful, says Kant, when we recognise in nature a harmonious order that satisfies the mind's own need for order. The second half of the critique concentrates on the apparent teleology in nature's design of organisms, i.e., organisms display a complex inter-working of parts, which are subordinated as means to serve the purpose of the whole. All of this suggests, concludes Kant, that our minds are inclined to attribute a final purpose to nature's design and to life as a whole. This natural tendency to see purpose in nature is the main principle underlying all of our judgements. Although this might imply a super-sensible Designer behind nature and a theistic interpretation of the world, in the final analysis Kant maintains an agnostic stance. Ever the objective philosopher he insists that though we are predisposed to read design and purpose into nature, we cannot therefore prove a supernatural dimension or the existence of God. Such considerations are beyond reason and are solely the province of faith.

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More About Immanuel Kant, J. H. Bernard, Mark Heike, Lisa Lavelle, Robert Crow & Gunnar Myrdal

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Allen W. Wood is a professor of philosophy at Stanford University. He is the author of "Kant s Rational Theology" and "Kant s Ethical Thought" and, with Paul Guyer, general editor of the "Cambridge Edition of the Works of Kant.

Immanuel Kant was born in 1724 and died in 1804 and has an academic affiliation as follows - University of California, San Diego, University of Pennsylvania.

Immanuel Kant has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Cambridge Edition of the Works of Immanuel Kant
  2. Cambridge Edition of the Works of Immanuel Kant in Translation
  3. Cambridge Texts in the History of Philosophy
  4. Great Books in Philosophy
  5. Modern Library Classics (Paperback)

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Kant's argument for finding the universal concept of beauty  Dec 26, 2008
I read this book for a graduate seminar on the philosophy of art. Kant is one of the major figures in expression theory. What we understand as aesthetics changed only recently. Kant lays this out well in his "Critique of Judgment," which is one of his easier books to comprehend! Science and math development was momentous in re-interpreting how nature is understood, and all this starts in his time. The modern science narrative that says ancient thought erred; caused a split between science and philosophy. Scientific method and math causes nature to be seen in a "mechanistic" way, there are no "value" judgments anymore so this valueless nature by science caused the split because nature can't explain values anymore. Thus, philosophy finds that "values" are in humans, not in nature, we are the "location" of values now. Beauty, which is a value, is an idea in our minds. This expression theory says something about us it is in our minds. Kant agrees with this notion of how modern science operates especially in "Critique of Pure Reason." However, with questions of art he doesn't rely on science.

Kant begins that there is such a thing as an experience of beauty, and that we normally presuppose that it must be compelling rather than just mere opinion unlike taste in food. Then he asks why would there be such a thing? He is now trying to lay out possible answers to that question. In the experience of beauty, the mind gets a special perspective on its own powers. Thus, this special perspective is free of the normal constraints of the things we do in our lives like knowing and worrying. Kant realizes that the aesthetic experience is subjective; it is in the human mind not in reality. He wants to make artistic judgments. Not just interested in individual subjectivity, he looks for a "universal" character of experience of judgment. It is not real useful to just catalogue people's subjective opinions. Kant says inter-subjective principle is part of the human mind as more of a collective. Thus, humans can make judgment. Kant's idea of taste is not to merely have a subjective opinion; people have a kind of competency they have discernment. The difficulty in this notion is, how does one know when they find a universal.

Kant astutely argues that one can't argue towards an aesthetic judgment like in logic, aesthetics is subjective but he wants humans to be able to say; "this painting is beautiful, and not just to me." Important point: is there such a thing as subjective universality? This is his dilemma, although he thinks there is if you can use the principle of "disinterest." The realm of subjectivity is realm of interests. Once one is divorced of all normal interest, one can view art with a "disinterested" view. This notion of disinterest screens out allot but has to be connected to pleasure but not mere opinion universally. The other important element of disinterest has been the continuing idea and even could be something that could be applicable to any area of art. There is something about art that has some relationship to a "pause" from normal relationships. There is something special about artworks that even though there was no such thing as a museum in Greece, Greek statuary and architecture was all part of the cityscape, part of the actual landscape and livingscape of Greece, and therefore part of the city so no such thing as a museum. However, whenever a statue was put up or a temple, or a play was put on, that would seem to be something different from the normal relationships with objects either in terms of using them for some practical purpose and therefore using them up giving the works some special reserve, special status. Disinterest wouldn't require that it have the subjectivism term because you would simply say that the whole point of art could be disengaged normal ways of engaging things, even if it didn't have a subjective theory of expression. According to this notion of "disinterest," the idea of political art would be a contradiction in terms. Art as applied as nothing more than serving political needs. Like how the Soviet Union used art for nothing else but to serve the workers revolution. Kant is saying, the whole idea of engaging beauty is to be divorced from the normal ways of things, and that would include end purposes, goals, and outcomes.

Distinction between subjective universal validity and objective universal validity.
An important argument Kant makes is that all judgments of "taste" and "beauty" are of a singular judgment. If it is unique, it cannot fit in the universal concept of beauty. There are no formulas, principles, or rules for identifying beauty. There is only the "possibility" of aesthetic judgments, so he can't list items of art that conform to his aesthetic judgment. Kant says something about art is different than everything else it doesn't have interest, axioms, rules, can't list things, but it has some positives, it is pleasurable, it draws us, it satisfies us, it isn't pleasure of practical needs or pleasure of knowledge or any interests. It doesn't excite our personal desires, it just gives us a direct experience of pleasure. Thus, Kant gives an intellectual picture of aesthetic taste and he says it is always a species of pleasure. The category of disinterest provides two notions for Kant, one is freedom, and the other is universality. By freedom, he means, freedom from both desire and knowledge, and that is the interesting part.

Another important concept for Kant is that the free play of imagination is one of the features that make up beauty. Free play of imagination of art gives pleasure because the mind is free from normal cognitive needs, logical rules, or empirical findings, practical needs, and therefore it has an element of openness. Thus, imagination is very important here, imagination is the ability to conjure up something that is not a fact in the real world. The free play in the imagination in art gives pleasure, because here the mind can simply enjoy its own cognitive powers independent of the constraints of the other realms, like science, math, logic, and other practical needs. Free play opens the idea that the artist has allot of leeway. The artist is not bound by facts and realities, nor is the audience someone who has to have that attitude either. Therefore, when you are looking at a painting or you are reading a poem or listening to music in this mode you are not bound by other ways of knowing. You are going to be free of that. What does that mean? First of all, all art is going to have a tangible means of presentation through sound or sight or color, texture, structure, so forth. This excites pleasure because art is a less ordered realm than other areas. Kant wouldn't say you could take pleasure in something that was chaotic. Kant says you can't force aesthetic judgment on others, but beauty has a universal claim, that is the tightrope he is walking. It is complicated, beauty is not chaotic, but not private opinion.

Disinterest and free play of mind is two sides of same coin. Imagination is not bound by normal modes of knowing, or normal needs or desires so it is associated with free play. Normally our desires are compelling to us. Imagination is the faculty, which is not bound to any particular object in the world that has to govern what we say. Then he goes to say that pleasure is the other element that has to be; that beauty has to be experienced as pleasure, and the theory does say something that is culturally specific, that pleasure comes from the experience of the harmony of the faculties. The free play of imagination is pleasurable, when within certain principles of harmony and order. This really is a kind of formalism, because it is not bound by the particular aesthetic object. This is one of the fullest senses of expression theory means, the expression of the mind's capacity rather then the direct reading out of the object itself.

So, what is aesthetic beauty, what is aesthetic judgment? Aesthetic judgment has to do with the sensuous form. So it obviously has to do with some kind of sensuous medium, some kind of visual or auditory stuff, which is probably what art is about, a sensuous form producing a harmony of the faculties that are released from normal judgments like science, and hence free to notice and explore structural relations and patterns as such. Not tied to condition or use or even the abstract universality of mere concepts (that is where singularity comes in). The abstract universality of mere concepts is there is a dog; the abstract concept of "dog" is the universal organization of all particular dogs. Here pleasure is excited which would not occur in logical form. So remember there are sensuous pleasures that are different from cognition; thus, scientific cognition has nothing to do with pleasure, it solely has to do with truth. So art is something that is disinterested, so therefore, it is relieved from the normal kinds of pleasures or normal kinds of things, but it is pleasure and in that respect, it is different from logic or reason.

Art is not something useful and you have to pick out what it isn't and say that yes aesthetic judgments can be made and there is such a thing as beauty. However, it doesn't operate the same way as normal reason does, it doesn't operate the way practical reason does, and it is not mere cognition because it has elements of sensuality and pleasure. The universality part of art has to do with disinterest and Kant is filling out the concept a little bit more. Kant argues that disinterest opens the door for the mind to enjoy its faculties independent of the usual ways in which the faculties are applied. The usual ways the faculties are applied are in science, the scientific accounts of nature, practical reasons like, "how do I get this thing done," these are the faculties that reach out towards something to understand. The artwork is obviously something that is out there, but with the power of aesthetic appreciation with artwork is not simply in the artwork but in the mind, the appreciation of the work by way of the mind's faculties and experience of pleasure.

Thus, Kant argues that everyone has there own taste, but the concept of the beautiful is universal. For Kant, the beautiful is a special characteristic. Thus, people can't deny an aesthetic judgment of taste. This sounds like Kant believes in cultural and foundational forms of beauty, which he observed in his Prussian society.

I recommend this work for anyone interested in philosophy and philosophy of art.
Aesthetics, Teleology, and Kant  Oct 7, 2005
This book, the 'Critique of Judgement', is the third volume in Immanuel Kant's Critique project, which began with 'Critique of Pure Reason' and continued in 'Critique of Practical Reason'. Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) is considered one of the giants of philosophy, of his age or any other. It is largely this book that provides the foundation of this assessment. Whether one loves Kant or hates him (philosophically, that is), one cannot really ignore him; even when one isn't directly dealing with Kantian ideas, chances are great that Kant is made an impact.

Kant was a professor of philosophy in the German city of Konigsberg, where he spent his entire life and career. Kant had a very organised and clockwork life - his habits were so regular that it was considered that the people of Konigsberg could set their clocks by his walks. The same regularity was part of his publication history, until 1770, when Kant had a ten-year hiatus in publishing. This was largely because he was working on this book, the 'Critique of Pure Reason'.

Kant as a professor of philosophy was familiar with the Rationalists, such as Descartes, who founded the Enlightenment and in many ways started the phenomenon of modern philosophy. He was also familiar with the Empiricist school (John Locke and David Hume are perhaps the best known names in this), which challenged the rationalist framework. Between Leibniz' monads and Hume's development of Empiricism to its logical (and self-destructive) conclusion, coupled with the Romantic ideals typified by Rousseau, the philosophical edifice of the Enlightenment seemed about to topple.

This book is divided into two major sections, the Critique of Aesthetic Judgement, and the Critique of Teleological Judgement. In the part on Aesthetics, Kant sets up for possible judgements - agreeable, good, sublime and beautiful. This relates back to the 'Critique of Pure Reason' (and scholar J.H. Bernard indicates that this framework is sometimes a bit of a shackle placed on Kant). Those things that are agreeable are wholly sensory in character, whereas those things that are good are ethical in nature. Kant argues that those things that are beautiful and sublime fall between the two poles of 'agreeable' and 'good'. Beauty is involved in purpose (teleology), whereas sublimity is that which goes beyond comprehension (and can be an object of fear). This also involves an idea of mind that allows for genius and creative activity.

In the section on teleology, this is a way of looking at things based on their ends (telos), and links to aesthetics in terms of beauty (which has a sense of finality of form) as well as links to scientific purposes - Kant particularly is concerned to explore biology and the telos of the natural world. This also involves physics and logical principles, bringing Kant full circle back to some of the ideas from the 'Critique of Pure Reason'.

This is one of Kant's master works, and while there is much that modern philosophers disagree with, there is also the sense in which no subsequent philosophy can ignore the developments and implications of Kant's Critique project.
You kan't get away from your own presuppositions  Jun 10, 2004
Kant is a genius; I give him that. Still, his primary problem is that he presupposes in all his philosophy that there can be nothing beyond the natural and material world. His aesthetics suffer as he tries to find a completely "objective" way of interpreting and appreciating the arts. Not only does this not work in theory, but every human knows empirically that music, sunsets, and Monet are simply not capable of being interpreted completely void of feeling or pleasure.
Someday we will understand this book  Apr 21, 2001
The Critique of the Power of Judgment (the 3rd Critique) is the most important work in Modern philosophical aesthetics. The Guyer and Pluhar editions are to be preferred to that of Bernard, as the first two have more extenisve notes, and better translations, including of the First Introduction.

The 3rd Critique presents a vision of beauty, sublimity, and art that avoids reduction of them to them to the biological, a la Nietzsche or Freud. Instead, Kant describes the *justification* of reflective aesthetic judgments in terms of the conditions for using jugment, stressing the contemplative and harmonious character of the experience of beauty. Beauty is linked to cognitive and moral betterment; sublimity, a secondary subject, is discussed more purely in terms of it connection with morality.

The work is difficult; however, there is no substitute for close reading of the whole work. (Certainly not Schiller, who goes far beyond Kant in claiming beauty and art as foundational for knowledge). The 3rd Critique is still very contemporary in its import, including its theory of disinterestedness, which is compatible with intelligent accounts of affect.

Reductive and, in parts, outmoded aesthetics  Sep 23, 2000
The "Critique of Judgement" is Kant's third and crowning work of his critical-transcendental philosophy. In it, he expounds his theory of aesthetics, broken down into two divisions, the "Analytic of the Beautiful" and the "Analytic of the Sublime". The "Analytic of the Beautiful" attempts to explain what we perceive to be beautiful, which is, Kant contends, a four-step process. First, the material for the perception of the beautiful is supplied by the faculty of sensibility, as the basis of the judgement of the beautiful. Secondly, the faculty of the understanding is linked, by means of a unique causal mechanism, to the faculty of the imagination, thus enabling a judgement to be made. In the third part of the process, the judgement is presumed to be disinterested, i.e. "purposive without purpose" -- the subject making the judgement, Kant argues, has no stake in the object of contemplation (being disinterested). Which is to say, he/she regards it as merely beautiful for its own sake. Fourth, this judgement of the beautiful, though singular in logical form, -- i.e., "the vase is beautiful", has the status of universal validity, since the judgement is made in the "a priori" supposition that all rational beings should regard it as valid. Kant's valuable formulation is that there is a distinction between an object which is sensually attractive (the basis of a mere "sensory judgement") and the true object of aesthetic contemplation -- the beautiful itself. However this reductive analytic aesthetics fails to acknowledge that the line between the sensory and the aesthetic may be very unstable. It also cannot preclude the dimension (stressed by later aestheticians such as Nietzsche and Freud and many contemporary philosophers of art) of the drives, out of which the whole realm of the aesthetics exclusively derives, though via the sublimation of affects and percepts, thus ruling out by fiat that any aesthetic contemplation could be "disinterested". The "Analytic of the Sublime" is perhaps the most enduring contribution of Kantian aesthetics, which has been seized on by one of the leading philosophers of postmodernity, namely, Lyotard. Kant defines the sublime as possibly being contained in an object "even devoid of form, so far as it immediately involves, or its presence provokes, a representation of 'limitlessness', yet a superadded thought of its totality." -- In other words, the sublime lies beyond the confines of sense-experience, leading us to form concepts of pure reason. Like the rest of Kant's critical philosophic works, "The Critique of Judgement" is written in the eighteenth century style of the German academy, and is devoid of anything even remotely resembling a single literary flourish. It is best approached as reference text. A livelier work of critical-transcendental aesthetics would be Schiller's "Letters On the Aesthetic Education of Man". Schiller casts his own artistic, political and ethical interests within the paradigm of his master Kant, but being a man of letters, he at leasts presents the theory to the reader in a more amenable form.

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