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Eaton, Marcia Muelder, , . Kantian and contextual beauty
1999, Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 57 (1):11-15.
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Added by: Chris Blake-Turner, Contributed by: Christy Mag Uidhir

Introduction: Two conflicting but strongly entrenched intu itions about beauty hold sway in the hearts and minds of many. On the one hand, many people believe that attributions of beauty to objects or events are unmediated-that all that matters is one’s direct, personal response. If something is beautiful, one just sees it; cognitive or ethical concerns matter little. On the other hand, many people are drawn to the view that the beautiful is not independent of other human values and atti tudes-that our attributions of beauty are related to beliefs or moral judgments. At the end of the eighteenth century, Immanuel Kant represented the former view with such cleverness that his ar guments continue to disturb even those who re main unconvinced by them. At the end of the nineteenth century, partly as a result of the influ ence of Kant’s theory of beauty, Leo Tolstoy felt forced to downplay the importance of beauty’s role in explaining the value of art-a trend that continued for several decades. At the end of the twentieth century, increasing numbers of aes thetic theorists and practitioners are persuaded that beauty does matter in art, and although many, including me, believe that beauty is a con textual property deeply connected to factual be liefs and moral attitudes, the tug of Kant’s arguments remains strong.

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Ginsborg, Hannah, , . Aesthetic Judgment and Perceptual Normativity
2006, Inquiry 49(5): 403-437.
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Added by: Ben McGorrigan, Contributed by: Christy Mag Uidhir

Abstract: I draw a connection between the question, raised by Hume and Kant, of how aesthetic judgments can claim universal agreement, and the question, raised in recent discussions of nonconceptual content, of how concepts can be acquired on the basis of experience. Developing an idea suggested by Kant’s linkage of aesthetic judgment with the capacity for empirical conceptualization, I propose that both questions can be resolved by appealing to the idea of “perceptual normativity”. Perceptual experience, on this proposal, involves the awareness of its own appropriateness with respect to the object perceived, where this appropriateness is more primitive than truth or veridicality. This means that a subject can take herself to be perceiving an object as she (and anyone else) ought to perceive it, without first recognizing the object as falling under a corresponding concept. I motivate the proposal through a criticism of Peacocke’s account of concept-acquisition, which, I argue, rests on a confusion between the notion of a way something is perceived, and that of a way it is perceived as being. Whereas Peacocke’s account of concept-acquisition depends on an illicit slide between these two notions, the notion of perceptual normativity allows a legitimate transition between them: if someone’s perceiving something a certain way involves her taking it that she ought to perceive it that way, then she perceives the thing as being a certain way, so that the corresponding concept is available to her in perceptual experience.

Comment: This paper will mainly be of relevance in relation to the antinomy or paradox of taste, a problem famously examined by Hume and Kant. It may also be of use in relation to topics in the Philosophy of Perception or Epistemology, or in teaching on Kant’s Critique of Judgment. Ginsbourg presents a very thorough discussion of the notion that perceptions make concepts available by involving implicit claims to their own appropriateness; she uses this idea to make an interesting and plausible contribution to the debate regarding the antinomy of taste.

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Kwang-Myung Kim, , . Korean Aesthetic Consciousness and the Problem of Aesthetic Rationality
1998, Canadian Aesthetics Journal, 2
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Added by: Meilin Chinn, Contributed by:

Abstract: Aesthetic emotions are reputed to be irrational, but, aesthetic emotions as mental phenomena bear complex relations to rationality. Emotions give us knowledge about the world. The aesthetic consciousness of Korean is the internal roots of the Korean’s mentality. The aesthetic consciousness and the mentality are inseparably related to each other. The aesthetic consciousness as the analogy of reason, in the context of A.G. Baumgarten plays a role to extend the logical world. Aesthetic rationality is the common sense or the communicative rationality of it. For the argument of universality we discuss the problem of aesthetic rationality. Since the modern aesthetics, the problem of aesthetic rationality came on the stage of aesthetics. Shamanism as the deep-rooted element of Korean mentality is the most authentic cultural legacy of Koreans. Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, and other religious elements influence the unique nature of the Korean character together with shamanism. They play a decisive role in determining the Korean mentality or consciousness. For Koreans, nature is a mirror of the self and a world of meditation which gives life, restoring all things to their proper state. As a peculiar color consciousness, Korean monochrome is characterized by vitality, spontaneity and unconcern for technical perfection. Korean art also tends to be devoid of an artificial movement and this reflects dislike of disturbance, deformation and convention.
If we are to consider Korean contemporary art from an international perspective, we must define what it means to be Korean, i.e. our cultural habits and artistic elements hidden in the artist’s unconsciousness. In this age of multiculturalism, the new interpretation on tradition makes it possible to merge the Korean art with the world stage. The extension of aesthetic emotion through experimentation shows us the change of aesthetic consciousness as a new possibility of interpretation.

Comment: Kim argues for aesthetic rationality, as a kind of aesthetic consciousness, at the heart of Korean identity. He traces its unique cultural legacy in Korean shamanism, Buddhism, Confucianism, and Daoism in order to account for the characteristic vitality and spontaneity in Korean art. This text is appropriate for an aesthetics course. It does not require a background in Korean philosophy, but at least an introductory knowledge of aesthetics would be beneficial.

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Zuckert, Rachel, , . Kant on Beauty and Biology: An Interpretation of the ‘Critique of Judgment’
2007, Cambridge University Press.
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Added by: Clotilde Torregrossa, Contributed by: Jonas Jervell Indregard

Publisher’s Note: Kant’s Critique of Judgment has often been interpreted by scholars as comprising separate treatments of three uneasily connected topics: beauty, biology, and empirical knowledge. Rachel Zuckert’s book interprets the Critique as a unified argument concerning all three domains. She argues that on Kant’s view, human beings demonstrate a distinctive cognitive ability in appreciating beauty and understanding organic life: an ability to anticipate a whole that we do not completely understand according to preconceived categories. This ability is necessary, moreover, for human beings to gain knowledge of nature in its empirical character as it is, not as we might assume it to be. Her wide-ranging and original study will be valuable for readers in all areas of Kant’s philosophy.

Comment: Perfect for a course on Kant’s Third Critique. Covers both of the main parts of that work, namely the critique of aesthetic judgment and the critique of teleological judgment.

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