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Название: Kant on Beauty and Biology: An Interpretation of the 'Critique of Judgment'
Автор: Zuckert R.
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