Front Page Titles (by Subject) PART I: CRITIQUE OF THE AESTHETICAL JUDGEMENT - The Critique of Judgement
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PART I: CRITIQUE OF THE AESTHETICAL JUDGEMENT - Immanuel Kant, The Critique of Judgement 
Kant’s Critique of Judgement, translated with Introduction and Notes by J.H. Bernard (2nd ed. revised) (London: Macmillan, 1914).
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CRITIQUE OF THE AESTHETICAL JUDGEMENT
ANALYTIC OF THE AESTHETICAL JUDGEMENT
ANALYTIC OF THE BEAUTIFUL
OF THE JUDGEMENT OF TASTE1 ACCORDING TO QUALITY
The judgement of taste is aesthetical
In order to decide whether anything is beautiful or not, we refer the representation, not by the Understanding to the Object for cognition but, by the Imagination (perhaps in conjunction with the Understanding) to the subject, and its feeling of pleasure or pain. The judgement of taste is therefore not a judgement of cognition, and is consequently not logical but aesthetical, by which we understand that whose determining ground can be no other than subjective. Every reference of representations, even that of sensations, may be objective (and then it signifies the real in an empirical representation); save only the reference to the feeling of pleasure and pain, by which nothing in the Object is signified, but through which there is a feeling in the subject, as it is affected by the representation.
To apprehend a regular, purposive building by means of one’s cognitive faculty (whether in a clear or a confused way of representation) is something quite different from being conscious of this representation as connected with the sensation of satisfaction. Here the representation is altogether referred to the subject and to its feeling of life, under the name of the feeling of pleasure or pain. This establishes a quite separate faculty of distinction and of judgement, adding nothing to cognition, but only comparing the given representation in the subject with the whole faculty of representations, of which the mind is conscious in the feeling of its state. Given representations in a judgement can be empirical (consequently, aesthetical); but the judgement which is formed by means of them is logical, provided they are referred in the judgement to the Object. Conversely, if the given representations are rational, but are referred in a judgement simply to the subject (to its feeling), the judgement is so far always aesthetical.
The satisfaction which determines the judgement of taste is disinterested
The satisfaction which we combine with the representation of the existence of an object is called interest. Such satisfaction always has reference to the faculty of desire, either as its determining ground or as necessarily connected with its determining ground. Now when the question is if a thing is beautiful, we do not want to know whether anything depends or can depend on the existence of the thing either for myself or for any one else, but how we judge it by mere observation (intuition or reflection). If any one asks me if I find that palace beautiful which I see before me, I may answer: I do not like things of that kind which are made merely to be stared at. Or I can answer like that Iroquois sachem who was pleased in Paris by nothing more than by the cook-shops. Or again after the manner of Rousseau I may rebuke the vanity of the great who waste the sweat of the people on such superfluous things. In fine I could easily convince myself that if I found myself on an uninhabited island without the hope of ever again coming among men, and could conjure up just such a splendid building by my mere wish, I should not even give myself the trouble if I had a sufficiently comfortable hut. This may all be admitted and approved; but we are not now talking of this. We wish only to know if this mere representation of the object is accompanied in me with satisfaction, however indifferent I may be as regards the existence of the object of this representation. We easily see that in saying it is beautiful and in showing that I have taste, I am concerned, not with that in which I depend on the existence of the object, but with that which I make out of this representation in myself. Every one must admit that a judgement about beauty, in which the least interest mingles, is very partial and is not a pure judgement of taste. We must not be in the least prejudiced in favour of the existence of the things, but be quite indifferent in this respect, in order to play the judge in things of taste.
We cannot, however, better elucidate this proposition, which is of capital importance, than by contrasting the pure disinterested1 satisfaction in judgements of taste, with that which is bound up with an interest, especially if we can at the same time be certain that there are no other kinds of interest than those which are now to be specified.
The satisfaction in the PLEASANT is bound up with interest
That which pleases the senses in sensation ispleasant. Here the opportunity presents itself of censuring a very common confusion of the double sense which the word sensation can have, and of calling attention to it. All satisfaction (it is said or thought) is itself sensation (of a pleasure). Consequently everything that pleases is pleasant because it pleases (and according to its different degrees or its relations to other pleasant sensations it is agreeable, lovely, delightful, enjoyable, etc.). But if this be admitted, then impressions of Sense which determine the inclination, fundamental propositions of Reason which determine the Will, mere reflective forms of intuition which determine the Judgement, are quite the same, as regards the effect upon the feeling of pleasure. For this would be pleasantness in the sensation of one’s state, and since in the end all the operations of our faculties must issue in the practical and unite in it as their goal, we could suppose no other way of estimating things and their worth than that which consists in the gratification that they promise. It is of no consequence at all how this is attained, and since then the choice of means alone could make a difference, men could indeed blame one another for stupidity and indiscretion, but never for baseness and wickedness. For all, each according to his own way of seeing things, seek one goal, that is, gratification.
If a determination of the feeling of pleasure or pain is called sensation, this expression signifies something quite different from what I mean when I call the representation of a thing (by sense, as a receptivity belonging to the cognitive faculty) sensation. For in the latter case the representation is referred to the Object, in the former simply to the subject, and is available for no cognition whatever, not even for that by which the subject cognises itself.
In the above elucidation we understand by the word sensation, an objective representation of sense; and in order to avoid misinterpretation, we shall call that, which must always remain merely subjective and can constitute absolutely no representation of an object, by the ordinary term “feeling.” The green colour 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. to feeling, by which the object is considered as an Object of satisfaction (which does not furnish a cognition of it).
Now that a judgement about an object, by which I describe it as pleasant, expresses an interest in it, is plain from the fact that by sensation it excites a desire for objects of that kind; consequently the satisfaction presupposes not the mere judgement about it, but the relation of its existence to my state, so far as this is affected by such an Object. Hence we do not merely say of the pleasant, it pleases; but, it gratifies. I give to it no mere approval, but inclination is aroused by it; and in the case of what is pleasant in the most lively fashion, there is no judgement at all upon the character of the Object, for those who always lay themselves out only for enjoyment (for that is the word describing intense gratification) would fain dispense with all judgement.
The satisfaction in the GOOD is bound up with interest
Whatever by means of Reason pleases through the mere concept is good. That which pleases only as a means we call good for something (the useful); but that which pleases for itself is good in itself. In both there is always involved the concept of a purpose, and consequently the relation of Reason to the (at least possible) volition, and thus a satisfaction in the presence of an Object or an action, i.e. some kind of interest.
In order to find anything good, I must always know what sort of a thing the object ought to be, i.e. I must have a concept of it. But there is no need of this, to find a thing beautiful. Flowers, free delineations, outlines intertwined with one another without design and called foliage, have no meaning, depend on no definite concept, and yet they please. The satisfaction in the beautiful must depend on the reflection upon an object, leading to any concept (however indefinite); and it is thus distinguished from the pleasant which rests entirely upon sensation.
It is true, the Pleasant seems in many cases to be the same as the Good. Thus people are accustomed to say that all gratification (especially if it lasts) is good in itself; which is very much the same as to say that lasting pleasure and the good are the same. But we can soon see that this is merely a confusion of words; for the concepts which properly belong to these expressions can in no way be interchanged. The pleasant, which, as such, represents the object simply in relation to Sense, must first be brought by the concept of a purpose under principles of Reason, in order to call it good, as an object of the Will. But that there is [involved] a quite different relation to satisfaction in calling that which gratifies at the same time good, may be seen from the fact that in the case of the good the question always is, whether it is mediately or immediately good (useful or good in itself); but on the contrary in the case of the pleasant there can be no question about this at all, for the word always signifies something which pleases immediately. (The same is applicable to what I call beautiful).
Even in common speech men distinguish the Pleasant from the Good. Of a dish which stimulates the taste by spices and other condiments we say unhesitatingly that it is pleasant, though it is at the same time admitted not to be good; for though it immediately delights the senses, yet mediately, i.e. considered by Reason which looks to the after results, it displeases. Even in the judging of health we may notice this distinction. It is immediately pleasant to every one possessing it (at least negatively, i.e. as the absence of all bodily pains). But in order to say that it is good, it must be considered by Reason with reference to purposes; viz. that it is a state which makes us fit for all our business. Finally in respect of happiness every one believes himself entitled to describe the greatest sum of the pleasantnesses of life (as regards both their number and their duration) as a true, even as the highest, good. However Reason is opposed to this. Pleasantness is enjoyment. And if we were concerned with this alone, it would be foolish to be scrupulous as regards the means which procure it for us, or [to care] whether it is obtained passively by the bounty of nature or by our own activity and work. But Reason can never be persuaded that the existence of a man who merely lives for enjoyment (however busy he may be in this point of view), has a worth in itself; even if he at the same time is conducive as a means to the best enjoyment of others, and shares in all their gratifications by sympathy. Only what he does, without reference to enjoyment, in full freedom and independently of what nature can procure for him passively, gives an [absolute1 ] worth to his being, as the existence of a person; and happiness, with the whole abundance of its pleasures, is far from being an unconditioned good.2
However, notwithstanding all this difference between the pleasant and the good, they both agree in this that they are always bound up with an interest in their object. [This is true] not only of the pleasant (§ 3) , and the mediate good (the useful) which is pleasing as a means towards pleasantness somewhere, but also of that which is good absolutely and in every aspect, viz. moral good, which brings with it the highest interest. For the good is the Object of will (i.e. of a faculty of desire determined by Reason). But to will something, and to have a satisfaction in its existence, i.e. to take an interest in it, are identical.
Comparison of the three specifically different kinds of satisfaction
The pleasant and the good have both a reference to the faculty of desire; and they bring with them—the former a satisfaction pathologically conditioned (by impulses, stimuli)—the latter a pure practical satisfaction, which is determined not merely by the representation of the object, but also by the represented connexion of the subject with the existence of the object. [It is not merely the object that pleases, but also its existence.1 ] On the other hand, the judgement of taste is merely contemplative; i.e. it is a judgement which, indifferent as regards the being of an object, compares its character with the feeling of pleasure and pain. But this contemplation itself is not directed to concepts; for the judgement of taste is not a cognitive judgement (either theoretical or practical), and thus is not based on concepts, nor has it concepts as its purpose.
The Pleasant, the Beautiful, and the Good, designate then, three different relations of representations to the feeling of pleasure and pain, in reference to which we distinguish from each other objects or methods of representing them. And the expressions corresponding to each, by which we mark our complacency in them, are not the same. That which gratifies a man is called pleasant; that which merely pleases him is beautiful; that which is esteemed [or approved1 ] by him, i.e. that to which he accords an objective worth, is good. Pleasantness concerns irrational animals also; but Beauty only concerns men, i.e. animal, but still rational, beings—not merely quâ rational (e.g. spirits), but quâ animal also; and the Good concerns every rational being in general. This is a proposition which can only be completely established and explained in the sequel. We may say that of all these three kinds of satisfaction, that of taste in the Beautiful is alone a disinterested and free satisfaction; for no interest, either of Sense or of Reason, here forces our assent. Hence we may say of satisfaction that it is related in the three aforesaid cases to inclination, to favour, or to respect. Now favour is the only free satisfaction. An object of inclination, and one that is proposed to our desire by a law of Reason, leave us no freedom in forming for ourselves anywhere an object of pleasure. All interest presupposes or generates a want; and, as the determining ground of assent, it leaves the judgement about the object no longer free.
As regards the interest of inclination in the case of the Pleasant, every one says that hunger is the best sauce, and everything that is eatable is relished by people with a healthy appetite; and thus a satisfaction of this sort does not indicate choice directed by taste. It is only when the want is appeased that we can distinguish which of many men has or has not taste. In the same way there may be manners (conduct) without virtue, politeness without good-will, decorum without modesty, etc. For where the moral law speaks there is no longer, objectively, a free choice as regards what is to be done; and to display taste in its fulfilment (or in judging of another’s fulfilment of it) is something quite different from manifesting the moral attitude of thought. For this involves a command and generates a want, whilst moral taste only plays with the objects of satisfaction, without attaching itself to one of them.
EXPLANATION OF THE BEAUTIFUL RESULTING FROM THE FIRST MOMENT
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.1
OF THE JUDGEMENT OF TASTE, VIZ. ACCORDING TO QUANTITY
The beautiful is that which apart from concepts is represented as the object of a universal satisfaction
This explanation of the beautiful can be derived from the preceding explanation of it as the object of an entirely disinterested satisfaction. For the fact of which every one is conscious, that the satisfaction is for him quite disinterested, implies in his judgement a ground of satisfaction for every one. For since it does not rest on any inclination of the subject (nor upon any other premeditated interest), but since he who judges feels himself quite free as regards the satisfaction which he attaches to the object, he cannot find the ground of this satisfaction in any private conditions connected with his own subject; and hence it must be regarded as grounded on what he can presuppose in every other man. Consequently he must believe that he has reason for attributing a similar satisfaction to every one. He will therefore speak of the beautiful, as if beauty were a characteristic of the object and the judgement logical (constituting a cognition of the Object by means of concepts of it); although it is only aesthetical and involves merely a reference of the representation of the object to the subject. For it has this similarity to a logical judgement that we can presuppose its validity for every one. But this universality cannot arise from concepts; for from concepts there is no transition to the feeling of pleasure or pain (except in pure practical laws, which bring an interest with them such as is not bound up with the pure judgement of taste). Consequently the judgement of taste, accompanied with the consciousness of separation from all interest, must claim validity for every one, without this universality depending on Objects. That is, there must be bound up with it a title to subjective universality.
Comparison of the Beautiful with the Pleasant and the Good by means of the above characteristic
As regards the Pleasant every one is content that his judgement, which he bases upon private feeling, and by which he says of an object that it pleases him, should be limited merely to his own person. Thus he is quite contented that if he says “Canary wine is pleasant,” another man may correct his expression and remind him that he ought to say “It is pleasant to me.” And this is the case not only as regards the taste of the tongue, the palate, and the throat, but for whatever is pleasant to any one’s eyes and ears. To one violet colour is soft and lovely, to another it is faded and dead. One man likes the tone of wind instruments, another that of strings. To strive here with the design of reproving as incorrect another man’s judgement which is different from our own, as if the judgements were logically opposed, would be folly. As regards the pleasant therefore the fundamental proposition is valid, every one has his own taste (the taste of Sense).
The case is quite different with the Beautiful. It would (on the contrary) be laughable if a man who imagined anything to his own taste, thought to justify himself by saying: “This object (the house we see, the coat that person wears, the concert we hear, the poem submitted to our judgement) is beautiful for me.” For he must not call it beautiful if it merely pleases himself. Many things may have for him charm and pleasantness; no one troubles himself at that; but if he gives out anything as beautiful, he supposes in others the same satisfaction—he judges not merely for himself, but for every one, and speaks of beauty as if it were a property of things. Hence he says “the thing is beautiful”; and he does not count on the agreement of others with this his judgement of satisfaction, because he has found this agreement several times before, but he demands it of them. He blames them if they judge otherwise and he denies them taste, which he nevertheless requires from them. Here then we cannot say that each man has his own particular taste. For this would be as much as to say that there is no taste whatever; i.e. no aesthetical judgement, which can make a rightful claim upon every one’s assent.
At the same time we find as regards the Pleasant that there is an agreement among men in their judgements upon it, in regard to which we deny Taste to some and attribute it to others; by this not meaning one of our organic senses, but a faculty of judging in respect of the pleasant generally. Thus we say of a man who knows how to entertain his guests with pleasures (of enjoyment for all the senses), so that they are all pleased, “he has taste.” But here the universality is only taken comparatively; and there emerge rules which are only general (like all empirical ones), and not universal; which latter the judgement of Taste upon the beautiful undertakes or lays claim to. It is a judgement in reference to sociability, so far as this rests on empirical rules. In respect of the Good it is true that judgements make rightful claim to validity for every one; but the Good is represented only by means of a concept as the Object of a universal satisfaction, which is the case neither with the Pleasant nor with the Beautiful.
The universality of the satisfaction is represented in a judgement of Taste only as subjective
This particular determination of the universality of an aesthetical judgement, which is to be met with in a judgement of taste, is noteworthy, not indeed for the logician, but for the transcendental philosopher. It requires no small trouble to discover its origin, but we thus detect a property of our cognitive faculty which without this analysis would remain unknown.
First, we must be fully convinced of the fact that in a judgement of taste (about the Beautiful) the satisfaction in the object is imputed to every one, without being based on a concept (for then it would be the Good). Further, this claim to universal validity so essentially belongs to a judgement by which we describe anything as beautiful, that if this were not thought in it, it would never come into our thoughts to use the expression at all, but everything which pleases without a concept would be counted as pleasant. In respect of the latter every one has his own opinion; and no one assumes, in another, agreement with his judgement of taste, which is always the case in a judgement of taste about beauty. I may call the first the taste of Sense, the second the taste of Reflection; so far as the first lays down mere private judgements, and the second judgements supposed to be generally valid (public), but in both cases aesthetical (not practical) judgements about an object merely in respect of the relation of its representation to the feeling of pleasure and pain. Now here is something strange. As regards the taste of Sense not only does experience show that its judgement (of pleasure or pain connected with anything) is not valid universally, but every one is content not to impute agreement with it to others (although actually there is often found a very extended concurrence in these judgements). On the other hand, the taste of Reflection has its claim to the universal validity of its judgements (about the beautiful) rejected often enough, as experience teaches; although it may find it possible (as it actually does) to represent judgements which can demand this universal agreement. In fact for each of its judgements of taste it imputes this to every one, without the persons that judge disputing as to the possibility of such a claim; although in particular cases they cannot agree as to the correct application of this faculty.
Here we must, in the first place, remark that a universality which does not rest on concepts of Objects (not even on empirical ones) is not logical but aesthetical, i.e. it involves no objective quantity of the judgement but only that which is subjective. For this I use the expression general validity which signifies the validity of the reference of a representation, not to the cognitive faculty but, to the feeling of pleasure and pain for every subject. (We can avail ourselves also of the same expression for the logical quantity of the judgement, if only we prefix objective to “universal validity,” to distinguish it from that which is merely subjective and aesthetical.)
A judgement with objective universal validity is also always valid subjectively; i.e. if the judgement holds for everything contained under a given concept, it holds also for every one who represents an object by means of this concept. But from a subjective universal validity, i.e. aesthetical and resting on no concept, we cannot infer that which is logical; because that kind of judgement does not extend to the Object. Hence the aesthetical universality which is ascribed to a judgement must be of a particular kind, because it does not unite the predicate of beauty with the concept of the Object, considered in its whole logical sphere, and yet extends it to the whole sphere of judging persons.
In respect of logical quantity all judgements of taste are singular judgements. For because I must refer the object immediately to my feeling of pleasure and pain, and that not by means of concepts, they cannot have the quantity of objective generally valid judgements. Nevertheless if the singular representation of the Object of the judgement of taste in accordance with the conditions determining the latter, were transformed by comparison into a concept, a logically universal judgement could result therefrom. E.g. I describe by a judgement of taste the rose, that I see, as beautiful. But the judgement which results from the comparison of several singular judgements, “Roses in general are beautiful” is no longer described simply as aesthetical, but as a logical judgement based on an aesthetical one. Again the judgement “The rose is pleasant” (to smell) is, although aesthetical and singular, not a judgement of Taste but of Sense. It is distinguished from the former by the fact that the judgement of Taste carries with it an aesthetical quantity of universality, i.e. of validity for every one; which cannot be found in a judgement about the Pleasant. It is only judgements about the Good which—although they also determine satisfaction in an object,—have logical and not merely aesthetical universality; for they are valid of the Object, as cognitive of it, and thus are valid for every one.
If we judge Objects merely according to concepts, then all representation of beauty is lost. Thus there can be no rule according to which any one is to be forced to recognise anything as beautiful. We cannot press [upon others] by the aid of any reasons or fundamental propositions our judgement that a coat, a house, or a flower is beautiful. We wish to submit the Object to our own eyes, as if the satisfaction in it depended on sensation; and yet if we then call the object beautiful, we believe that we speak with a universal voice, and we claim the assent of every one, although on the contrary all private sensation can only decide for the observer himself and his satisfaction.
We may see now that in the judgement of taste nothing is postulated but such a universal voice, in respect of the satisfaction without the intervention of concepts; and thus the possibility of an aesthetical judgement that can, at the same time, be regarded as valid for every one. The judgement of taste itself does not postulate the agreement of every one (for that can only be done by a logically universal judgement because it can adduce reasons); it only imputes this agreement to every one, as a case of the rule in respect of which it expects, not confirmation by concepts, but assent from others. The universal voice is, therefore, only an Idea (we do not yet inquire upon what it rests). It may be uncertain whether or not the man, who believes that he is laying down a judgement of taste, is, as a matter of fact, judging in conformity with that idea; but that he refers his judgement thereto, and, consequently, that it is intended to be a judgement of taste, he announces by the expression “beauty.” He can be quite certain of this for himself by the mere consciousness of the separation of everything belonging to the Pleasant and the Good from the satisfaction which is left; and this is all for which he promises himself the agreement of every one—a claim which would be justifiable under these conditions, provided only he did not often make mistakes, and thus lay down an erroneous judgement of taste.
Investigation of the question whether in the judgement of taste the feeling of pleasure precedes or follows the judging of the object
The solution of this question is the key to the Critique of Taste, and so is worthy of all attention.
If the pleasure in the given object precedes, and it is only its universal communicability that is to be acknowledged in the judgement of taste about the representation of the object, there would be a contradiction. For such pleasure would be nothing different from the mere pleasantness in the sensation, and so in accordance with its nature could have only private validity, because it is immediately dependent on the representation through which the object is given.
Hence, it is the universal capability of communication of the mental state in the given representation which, as the subjective condition of the judgement of taste, must be fundamental, and must have the pleasure in the object as its consequent. But nothing can be universally communicated except cognition and representation, so far as it belongs to cognition. For it is only thus that this latter can be objective; and only through this has it a universal point of reference, with which the representative power of every one is compelled to harmonise. If the determining ground of our judgement as to this universal communicability of the representation is to be merely subjective, i.e. is conceived independently of any concept of the object, it can be nothing else than the state of mind, which is to be met with in the relation of our representative powers to each other, so far as they refer a given representation to cognition in general.
The cognitive powers, which are involved by this representation, are here in free play, because no definite concept limits them to a particular1 rule of cognition. Hence, the state of mind in this representation must be a feeling of the free play of the representative powers in a given representation with reference to a cognition in general. Now a representation by which an object is given, that is to become a cognition in general, requires Imagination, for the gathering together the manifold of intuition, and Understanding, for the unity of the concept uniting the representations. This state of free play of the cognitive faculties in a representation by which an object is given, must be universally communicable; because cognition, as the determination of the Object with which given representations (in whatever subject) are to agree, is the only kind of representation which is valid for every one.
The subjective universal communicability of the mode of representation in a judgement of taste, since it is to be possible without presupposing a definite concept, can refer to nothing else than the state of mind in the free play of the Imagination and the Understanding (so far as they agree with each other, as is requisite for cognition in general). We are conscious that this subjective relation, suitable for cognition in general, must be valid for every one, and thus must be universally communicable, just as if it were a definite cognition, resting always on that relation as its subjective condition.
This merely subjective (aesthetical) judging of the object, or of the representation by which it is given, precedes the pleasure in it, and is the ground of this pleasure in the harmony of the cognitive faculties; but on the universality of the subjective conditions for judging of objects is alone based the universal subjective validity of the satisfaction bound up by us with the representation of the object that we call beautiful.
The power of communicating one’s state of mind, even though only in respect of the cognitive faculties, carries a pleasure with it, as we can easily show from the natural propension of man towards sociability (empirical and psychological). But this is not enough for our design. The pleasure that we feel is, in a judgement of taste, necessarily imputed by us to every one else; as if, when we call a thing beautiful, it is to be regarded as a characteristic of the object which is determined in it according to concepts; though beauty, without a reference to the feeling of the subject, is nothing by itself. But we must reserve the examination of this question until we have answered another, viz. “If and how aesthetical judgements are possible a priori?”
We now occupy ourselves with the easier question, in what way we are conscious of a mutual subjective harmony of the cognitive powers with one another in the judgement of taste; is it aesthetically by mere internal sense and sensation? or is it intellectually by the consciousness of our designed activity, by which we bring them into play?
If the given representation, which occasions the judgement of taste, were a concept uniting Understanding and Imagination in the judging of the object, into a cognition of the Object, the consciousness of this relation would be intellectual (as in the objective schematism of the Judgement of which the Critique1 treats). But then the judgement would not be laid down in reference to pleasure and pain, and consequently would not be a judgement of taste. But the judgement of taste, independently of concepts, determines the Object in respect of satisfaction and of the predicate of beauty. Therefore that subjective unity of relation can only make itself known by means of sensation. The excitement of both faculties (Imagination and Understanding) to indeterminate, but yet, through the stimulus of the given sensation, harmonious activity, viz. that which belongs to cognition in general, is the sensation whose universal communicability is postulated by the judgement of taste. An objective relation can only be thought, but yet, so far as it is subjective according to its conditions, can be felt in its effect on the mind; and, of a relation based on no concept (like the relation of the representative powers to a cognitive faculty in general), no other consciousness is possible than that through the sensation of the effect, which consists in the more lively play of both mental powers (the Imagination and the Understanding) when animated by mutual agreement. A representation which, as singular and apart from comparison with others, yet has an agreement with the conditions of universality which it is the business of the Understanding to supply, brings the cognitive faculties into that proportionate accord which we require for all cognition, and so regard as holding for every one who is determined to judge by means of Understanding and Sense in combination (i.e. for every man).
EXPLANATION OF THE BEAUTIFUL RESULTING FROM THE SECOND MOMENT
The beautiful is that which pleases universally, without a concept.
OF JUDGEMENTS OF TASTE, ACCORDING TO THE RELATION OF THE PURPOSES WHICH ARE BROUGHT INTO CONSIDERATION THEREIN.
Of purposiveness in general
If we wish to explain what a purpose is according to its transcendental determinations (without presupposing anything empirical like the feeling of pleasure) [we say that] the purpose is the object of a concept, in so far as the concept is regarded as the cause of the object (the real ground of its possibility); and the causality of a concept in respect of its Object is its purposiveness (forma finalis). Where then not merely the cognition of an object, but the object itself (its form and existence) is thought as an effect only possible by means of the concept of this latter, there we think a purpose. The representation of the effect is here the determining ground of its cause and precedes it. The consciousness of the causality of a representation, for maintaining the subject in the same state, may here generally denote what we call pleasure; while on the other hand pain is that representation which contains the ground of the determination of the state of representations into their opposite [of restraining or removing them1 ].
The faculty of desire, so far as it is determinable only through concepts, i.e. to act in conformity with the representation of a purpose, would be the Will. But an Object, or a state of mind, or even an action, is called purposive, although its possibility does not necessarily presuppose the representation of a purpose, merely because its possibility can be explained and conceived by us only so far as we assume for its ground a causality according to purposes, i.e. a will which would have so disposed it according to the representation of a certain rule. There can be, then, purposiveness without2 purpose, so far as we do not place the causes of this form in a will, but yet can only make the explanation of its possibility intelligible to ourselves by deriving it from a will. Again, we are not always forced to regard what we observe (in respect of its possibility) from the point of view of Reason. Thus we can at least observe a purposiveness according to form, without basing it on a purpose (as the material of the nexus finalis), and we can notice it in objects, although only by reflection.
The judgement of taste has nothing at its basis but the form of the purposiveness of an object ( or of its mode of representation)
Every purpose, if it be regarded as a ground of satisfaction, always carries with it an interest—as the determining ground of the judgement—about the object of pleasure. Therefore no subjective purpose can lie at the basis of the judgement of taste. But neither can the judgement of taste be determined by any representation of an objective purpose, i.e. of the possibility of the object itself in accordance with principles of purposive combination, and consequently it can be determined by no concept of the good; because it is an aesthetical and not a cognitive judgement. It therefore has to do with no concept of the character and internal or external possibility of the object by means of this or that cause, but merely with the relation of the representative powers to one another, so far as they are determined by a representation.
Now this relation in the determination of an object as beautiful is bound up with the feeling of pleasure, which is declared by the judgement of taste to be valid for every one; hence a pleasantness, accompanying the representation, can as little contain the determining ground [of the judgement] as the representation of the perfection of the object and the concept of the good can. Therefore it can be nothing else than the subjective purposiveness in the representation of an object without any purpose (either objective or subjective); and thus it is the mere form of purposiveness in the representation by which an object is given to us, so far as we are conscious of it, which constitutes the satisfaction that we without a concept judge to be universally communicable; and, consequently, this is the determining ground of the judgement of taste.
The judgement of taste rests on a priori grounds
To establish a priori the connexion of the feeling of a pleasure or pain as an effect, with any representation whatever (sensation or concept) as its cause, is absolutely impossible; for that would be a [particular]1 causal relation which (with objects of experience) can always only be cognised a posteriori, and through the medium of experience itself. We actually have, indeed, in the Critique of practical Reason, derived from universal moral concepts a priori the feeling of respect (as a special and peculiar modification of feeling which will not strictly correspond either to the pleasure or the pain that we get from empirical objects). But there we could go beyond the bounds of experience and call in a causality which rested on a supersensible attribute of the subject, viz. freedom. And even there, properly speaking, it was not this feeling which we derived from the Idea of the moral as cause, but merely the determination of the will. But the state of mind which accompanies any determination of the will is in itself a feeling of pleasure and identical with it, and therefore does not follow from it as its effect. This last must only be assumed if the concept of the moral as a good precede the determination of the will by the law; for in that case the pleasure that is bound up with the concept could not be derived from it as from a mere cognition.
Now the case is similar with the pleasure in aesthetical judgements, only that here it is merely contemplative and does not bring about an interest in the Object, which on the other hand in the moral judgement it is practical.1 The consciousness of the mere formal purposiveness in the play of the subject’s cognitive powers, in a representation through which an object is given, is the pleasure itself; because it contains a determining ground of the activity of the subject in respect of the excitement of its cognitive powers, and therefore an inner causality (which is purposive) in respect of cognition in general without however being limited to any definite cognition; and consequently contains a mere form of the subjective purposiveness of a representation in an aesthetical judgement. This pleasure is in no way practical, neither like that arising from the pathological ground of pleasantness, nor that from the intellectual ground of the represented good. But yet it involves causality, viz. of maintaining the state of the representation itself, and the exercise of the cognitive powers without further design. We linger over the contemplation of the beautiful, because this contemplation strengthens and reproduces itself, which is analogous to (though not of the same kind as) that lingering which takes place when a [physical] charm in the representation of the object repeatedly arouses the attention, the mind being passive.
The pure judgement of taste is independent of charm and emotion
Every interest spoils the judgement of taste and takes from its impartiality, especially if the purposiveness is not, as with the interest of Reason, placed before the feeling of pleasure but grounded on it. This last always happens in an aesthetical judgement upon anything so far as it gratifies or grieves us. Hence judgements so affected can lay no claim at all to a universally valid satisfaction, or at least so much the less claim, in proportion as there are sensations of this sort among the determining grounds of taste. That taste is still barbaric which needs a mixture of charms and emotions in order that there may be satisfaction, and still more so if it make these the measure of its assent.
Nevertheless charms are often not only taken account of in the case of beauty (which properly speaking ought merely to be concerned with form) as contributory to the aesthetical universal satisfaction; but they are passed off as in themselves beauties, and thus the matter of satisfaction is substituted for the form. This misconception, however, like so many others which have something true at their basis, may be removed by a careful definition of these concepts.
A judgement of taste on which charm and emotion have no influence (although they may be bound up with the satisfaction in the beautiful),—which therefore has as its determining ground merely the purposiveness of the form,—is a pure judgement of taste.
Elucidation by means of examples
Aesthetical judgements can be divided just like theoretical (logical) judgements into empirical and pure. The first assert pleasantness or unpleasantness; the second assert the beauty of an object or of the manner of representing it. The former are judgements of Sense (material aesthetical judgements); the latter [as formal1 ] are alone strictly judgements of Taste.
A judgement of taste is therefore pure, only so far as no merely empirical satisfaction is mingled with its determining ground. But this always happens if charm or emotion have any share in the judgement by which anything is to be described as beautiful.
Now here many objections present themselves, which fallaciously put forward charm not merely as a necessary ingredient of beauty, but as alone sufficient [to justify] a thing’s being called beautiful. A mere colour, e.g. the green of a grass plot, a mere tone (as distinguished from sound and noise) like that of a violin, are by most people described as beautiful in themselves; although both seem to have at their basis merely the matter of representations, viz. simply sensation, and therefore only deserve to be called pleasant. But we must at the same time remark that the sensations of colours and of tone have a right to be regarded as beautiful only in so far as they are pure. This is a determination which concerns their form, and is the only [element] of these representations which admits with certainty of universal communicability; for we cannot assume that the quality of sensations is the same in all subjects, and we can hardly say that the pleasantness of one colour or the tone of one musical instrument is judged preferable to that of another in the same1 way by every one.
If we assume with Euler that colours are isochronous vibrations (pulsus) of the aether, as sounds are of the air in a state of disturbance, and,—what is most important,—that the mind not only perceives by sense the effect of these in exciting the organ, but also perceives by reflection the regular play of impressions (and thus the form of the combination of different representations)—which I still do not doubt2 —then colours and tone cannot be reckoned as mere sensations, but as the formal determination of the unity of a manifold of sensations, and thus as beauties in themselves.
But “pure” in a simple mode of sensation means that its uniformity is troubled and interrupted by no foreign sensation, and it belongs merely to the form; because here we can abstract from the quality of that mode of sensation (abstract from the colours and tone, if any, which it represents). Hence all simple colours, so far as they are pure, are regarded as beautiful; composite colours have not this advantage, because, as they are not simple, we have no standard for judging whether they should be called pure or not.
But as regards the beauty attributed to the object on account of its form, to suppose it to be capable of augmentation through the charm of the object is a common error, and one very prejudicial to genuine, uncorrupted, well-founded taste. We can doubtless add these charms to beauty, in order to interest the mind by the representation of the object, apart from the bare satisfaction [received]; and thus they may serve as a recommendation of taste and its cultivation, especially when it is yet crude and unexercised. But they actually do injury to the judgement of taste if they draw attention to themselves as the grounds for judging of beauty. So far are they from adding to beauty that they must only be admitted by indulgence as aliens; and provided always that they do not disturb the beautiful form, in cases when taste is yet weak and untrained.
In painting, sculpture, and in all the formative arts—in architecture, and horticulture, so far as they are beautiful arts—the delineation is the essential thing; and here it is not what gratifies in sensation but what pleases by means of its form that is fundamental for taste. The colours which light up the sketch belong to the charm; they may indeed enliven1 the object for sensation, but they cannot make it worthy of contemplation and beautiful. In most cases they are rather limited by the requirements of the beautiful form; and even where charm is permissible it is ennobled solely by this.
Every form of the objects of sense (both of external sense and also mediately of internal) is either figure or play. In the latter case it is either play of figures (in space, viz. pantomime and dancing), or the mere play of sensations (in time). The charm of colours or of the pleasant tones of an instrument may be added; but the delineation in the first case and the composition in the second constitute the proper object of the pure judgement of taste. To say that the purity of colours and of tones, or their variety and contrast, seems to add to beauty, does not mean that they supply a homogeneous addition to our satisfaction in the form because they are pleasant in themselves; but they do so, because they make the form more exactly, definitely, and completely, intuitible, and besides by their charm [excite the representation, whilst they1 ] awaken and fix our attention on the object itself.
Even what we call ornaments [parerga1 ], i.e. those things which do not belong to the complete representation of the object internally as elements but only externally as complements, and which augment the satisfaction of taste, do so only by their form; as for example [the frames of pictures,1 or] the draperies of statues or the colonnades of palaces. But if the ornament does not itself consist in beautiful form, and if it is used as a golden frame is used, merely to recommend the painting by its charm, it is then called finery and injures genuine beauty.
Emotion, i.e. a sensation in which pleasantness is produced by means of a momentary checking and a consequent more powerful outflow of the vital force, does not belong at all to beauty. But sublimity [with which the feeling of emotion is bound up1 ] requires a different standard of judgement from that which is at the foundation of taste; and thus a pure judgement of taste has for its determining ground neither charm nor emotion, in a word, no sensation as the material of the aesthetical judgement.
The judgement of taste is quite independent of the concept of perfection
Objective purposiveness can only be cognised by means of the reference of the manifold to a definite purpose, and therefore only through a concept. From this alone it is plain that the Beautiful, the judging of which has at its basis a merely formal purposiveness, i.e. a purposiveness without purpose, is quite independent of the concept of the Good; because the latter presupposes an objective purposiveness, i.e. the reference of the object to a definite purpose.
Objective purposiveness is either external, i.e. the utility, or internal, i.e. the perfection of the object. That the satisfaction in an object, on account of which we call it beautiful, cannot rest on the representation of its utility, is sufficiently obvious from the two preceding sections; because in that case it would not be an immediate satisfaction in the object, which is the essential condition of a judgement about beauty. But objective internal purposiveness, i.e. perfection, comes nearer to the predicate of beauty; and it has been regarded by celebrated philosophers1 as the same as beauty, with the proviso, if it is thought in a confused way. It is of the greatest importance in a Critique of Taste to decide whether beauty can thus actually be resolved into the concept of perfection.
To judge of objective purposiveness we always need not only the concept of a purpose, but (if that purposiveness is not to be external utility but internal) the concept of an internal purpose which shall contain the ground of the internal possibility of the object. Now as a purpose in general is that whose concept can be regarded as the ground of the possibility of the object itself; so, in order to represent objective purposiveness in a thing, the concept of what sort of thing it is to be must come first. The agreement of the manifold in it with this concept (which furnishes the rule for combining the manifold) is the qualitative perfection of the thing. Quite different from this is quantitative perfection, the completeness of a thing after its kind, which is a mere concept of magnitude (of totality).1 In this what the thing ought to be is conceived as already determined, and it is only asked if it has all its requisites. The formal [element] in the representation of a thing, i.e. the agreement of the manifold with a unity (it being undetermined what this ought to be), gives to cognition no objective purposiveness whatever. For since abstraction is made of this unity as purpose (what the thing ought to be), nothing remains but the subjective purposiveness of the representations in the mind of the intuiting subject. And this, although it furnishes a certain purposiveness of the representative state of the subject, and so a facility of apprehending a given form by the Imagination, yet furnishes no perfection of an Object, since the Object is not here conceived by means of the concept of a purpose. For example, if in a forest I come across a plot of sward, round which trees stand in a circle, and do not then represent to myself a purpose, viz. that it is intended to serve for country dances, not the least concept of perfection is furnished by the mere form. But to represent to oneself a formal objective purposiveness without purpose, i.e. the mere form of a perfection (without any matter and without the concept of that with which it is accordant, even if it were merely the Idea of conformity to law in general1 ) is a veritable contradiction.
Now the judgement of taste is an aesthetical judgement, i.e. such as rests on subjective grounds, the determining ground of which cannot be a concept, and consequently cannot be the concept of a definite purpose. Therefore in beauty, regarded as a formal subjective purposiveness, there is in no way thought a perfection of the object, as a wouldbe formal purposiveness, which yet is objective. And thus to distinguish between the concepts of the Beautiful and the Good, as if they were only different in logical form, the first being a confused, the second a clear concept of perfection, but identical in content and origin, is quite fallacious. For then there would be no specific difference between them, but a judgement of taste would be as much a cognitive judgement as the judgement by which a thing is described as good; just as when the ordinary man says that fraud is unjust he bases his judgement on confused grounds, whilst the philosopher bases it on clear grounds, but both on identical principles of Reason. I have already, however, said that an aesthetical judgement is unique of its kind, and gives absolutely no cognition (not even a confused cognition) of the Object; this is only supplied by a logical judgement. On the contrary, it simply refers the representation, by which an Object is given, to the subject; and brings to our notice no characteristic of the object, but only the purposive form in the determination of the representative powers which are occupying themselves therewith. The judgement is called aesthetical just because its determining ground is not a concept, but the feeling (of internal sense) of that harmony in the play of the mental powers, so far as it can be felt in sensation. On the other hand, if we wish to call confused concepts and the objective judgement based on them, aesthetical, we shall have an Understanding judging sensibly or a Sense representing its Objects by means of concepts [both of which are contradictory.1 ] The faculty of concepts, be they confused or clear, is the Understanding; and although Understanding has to do with the judgement of taste, as an aesthetical judgement (as it has with all judgements), yet it has to do with it not as a faculty by which an object is cognised, but as the faculty which determines the judgement and its representation (without any concept) in accordance with its relation to the subject and the subject’s internal feeling, in so far as this judgement may be possible in accordance with a universal rule.
The judgement of taste, by which an object is declared to be beautiful under the condition of a definite concept, is not pure
There are two kinds of beauty; free beauty (pulchritudo vaga) or merely dependent beauty (pulchritudo adhaerens). The first presupposes no concept of what the object ought to be; the second does presuppose such a concept and the perfection of the object in accordance therewith. The first is called the (self-subsistent) beauty of this or that thing; the second, as dependent upon a concept (conditioned beauty), is ascribed to Objects which come under the concept of a particular purpose.
Flowers are free natural beauties. Hardly any one but a botanist knows what sort of a thing a flower ought to be; and even he, though recognising in the flower the reproductive organ of the plant, pays no regard to this natural purpose if he is passing judgement on the flower by Taste. There is then at the basis of this judgement no perfection of any kind, no internal purposiveness, to which the collection of the manifold is referred. Many birds (such as the parrot, the humming bird, the bird of paradise), and many sea shells are beauties in themselves, which do not belong to any object determined in respect of its purpose by concepts, but please freely and in themselves. So also delineations à la grecque, foliage for borders or wall-papers, mean nothing in themselves; they represent nothing — no Object under a definite concept,—and are free beauties. We can refer to the same class what are called in music phantasies (i.e. pieces without any theme), and in fact all music without words.
In the judging of a free beauty (according to the mere form) the judgement of taste is pure. There is presupposed no concept of any purpose, for which the manifold should serve the given Object, and which therefore is to be represented therein. By such a concept the freedom of the Imagination which disports itself in the contemplation of the figure would be only limited.
But human beauty (i.e. of a man, a woman, or a child), the beauty of a horse, or a building (be it church, palace, arsenal, or summer-house) presupposes a concept of the purpose which determines what the thing is to be, and consequently a concept of its perfection; it is therefore adherent beauty. Now as the combination of the Pleasant (in sensation) with Beauty, which properly is only concerned with form, is a hindrance to the purity of the judgement of taste; so also is its purity injured by the combination with Beauty of the Good (viz. that manifold which is good for the thing itself in accordance with its purpose).
We could add much to a building which would immediately please the eye, if only it were not to be a church. We could adorn a figure with all kinds of spirals and light but regular lines, as the New Zealanders do with their tattooing, if only it were not the figure of a human being. And again this could have much finer features and a more pleasing and gentle cast of countenance provided it were not intended to represent a man, much less a warrior.
Now the satisfaction in the manifold of a thing in reference to the internal purpose which determines its possibility is a satisfaction grounded on a concept; but the satisfaction in beauty is such as presupposes no concept, but is immediately bound up with the representation through which the object is given (not through which it is thought). If now the judgement of Taste in respect of the beauty of a thing is made dependent on the purpose in its manifold, like a judgement of Reason, and thus limited, it is no longer a free and pure judgement of Taste.
It is true that taste gains by this combination of aesthetical with intellectual satisfaction, inasmuch as it becomes fixed; and though it is not universal, yet in respect to certain purposively determined Objects it becomes possible to prescribe rules for it. These, however, are not rules of taste, but merely rules for the unification of Taste with Reason, i.e. of the Beautiful with the Good, by which the former becomes available as an instrument of design in respect of the latter. Thus the tone of mind which is self-maintaining and of subjective universal validity is subordinated to the way of thinking which can be maintained only by painful resolve, but is of objective universal validity. Properly speaking, however, perfection gains nothing by beauty or beauty by perfection; but, when we compare the representation by which an object is given to us with the Object (as regards what it ought to be) by means of a concept, we cannot avoid considering along with it the sensation in the subject. And thus when both states of mind are in harmony our whole faculty of representative power gains.
A judgement of taste, then, in respect of an object with a definite internal purpose, can only be pure, if either the person judging has no concept of this purpose, or else abstracts from it in his judgement. Such a person, although forming an accurate judgement of taste in judging of the object as free beauty, would yet by another who considers the beauty in it only as a dependent attribute (who looks to the purpose of the object) be blamed, and accused of false taste; although both are right in their own way, the one in reference to what he has before his eyes, the other in reference to what he has in his thought. By means of this distinction we can settle many disputes about beauty between judges of taste; by showing that the one is speaking of free, the other of dependent, beauty,—that the first is making a pure, the second an applied, judgement of taste.
Of the Ideal of beauty
There can be no objective rule of taste which shall determine by means of concepts what is beautiful. For every judgement from this source is aesthetical; i.e. the feeling of the subject, and not a concept of the Object, is its determining ground. To seek for a principle of taste which shall furnish, by means of definite concepts, a universal criterion of the beautiful, is fruitless trouble; because what is sought is impossible and self-contradictory. The universal communicability of sensation (satisfaction or dissatisfaction) without the aid of a concept—the agreement, as far as is 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 a taste, thus confirmed by examples, from the deep-lying grounds of agreement common to all men, in judging of the forms under which objects are given to them.
Hence, we consider some products of taste as exemplary. Not that taste can be acquired by imitating others; for it must be an original faculty. He who imitates a model shows, no doubt, in so far as he attains to it, skill; but only shows taste in so far as he can judge of this model itself.1 It follows from hence that the highest model, the archetype of taste, is a mere Idea, which every one must produce in himself; and according to which he must judge every Object of taste, every example of judgement by taste, and even the taste of every one. Idea properly means a rational concept, and Ideal the representation of an individual being, regarded as adequate to an Idea.2 Hence that archetype of taste, which certainly rests on the indeterminate Idea that Reason has of a maximum, but which cannot be represented by concepts, but only in an individual presentation, is better called the Ideal of the beautiful. Although we are not in possession of this, we yet strive to produce it in ourselves. But it can only be an Ideal of the Imagination, because it rests on a presentation and not on concepts, and the Imagination is the faculty of presentation.— How do we arrive at such an Ideal of beauty? A priori, or empirically? Moreover, what species of the beautiful is susceptible of an Ideal?
First, it is well to remark that the beauty for which an Ideal is to be sought cannot be vague beauty, but is fixed by a concept of objective purposiveness; and thus it cannot appertain to the Object of a quite pure judgement of taste, but to that of a judgement of taste which is in part intellectual. That is, in whatever grounds of judgement an Ideal is to be found, an Idea of Reason in accordance with definite concepts must lie at its basis; which determines a priori the purpose on which the internal possibility of the object rests. An Ideal of beautiful flowers, of a beautiful piece of furniture, of a beautiful view, is inconceivable. 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.; presumably because their purpose is not sufficiently determined and fixed by the concept, and thus the purposiveness is nearly as free as in the case of vague beauty. The only being which has the purpose of its existence in itself is man, who can determine his purposes by Reason; or, where he must receive them from external perception, yet can compare them with essential and universal purposes, and can judge this their accordance aesthetically. This man is, then, alone of all objects in the world, susceptible of an Ideal of beauty; as it is only humanity in his person, as an intelligence, that is susceptible of the Ideal of perfection.
But there are here two elements. First, there is the aesthetical normal Idea, which is an individual intuition (of the Imagination), representing the standard of our judgement [upon man] as a thing belonging to a particular animal species. Secondly, there is the rational Idea which makes the purposes of humanity, so far as they cannot be sensibly represented, the principle for judging of a figure through which, as their phenomenal effect, those purposes are revealed. The normal Idea of the figure of an animal of a particular race must take its elements from experience. But the greatest purposiveness in the construction of the figure, that would be available for the universal standard of aesthetical judgement upon each individual of this species—the image which is as it were designedly at the basis of nature’s Technic, to which only the whole race and not any isolated individual is adequate — this lies merely in the Idea of the judging [subject]. And this, with its proportions, as an aesthetical Idea, can be completely presented in concreto in a model. In order to make intelligible in some measure (for who can extract her whole secret from nature?) how this comes to pass, we shall attempt a psychological explanation.
We must remark that, in a way quite incomprehensible by us, the Imagination can not only recall, on occasion, the signs for concepts long past, but can also reproduce the image of the figure of the object out of an unspeakable number of objects of different kinds or even of the same kind. Further, if the mind is concerned with comparisons, the Imagination can, in all probability, actually though unconsciously let one image glide into another, and thus by the concurrence of several of the same kind come by an average, which serves as the common measure of all. Every one has seen a thousand full-grown men. Now if you wish to judge of their normal size, estimating it by means of comparison, the Imagination (as I think) allows a great number of images (perhaps the whole thousand) to fall on one another. If I am allowed to apply here the analogy of optical presentation, it is in the space where most of them are combined and inside the contour, where the place is illuminated with the most vivid colours, that the average size is cognisable; which, both in height and breadth, is equally far removed from the extreme bounds of the greatest and smallest stature. And this is the stature of a beautiful man. (We could arrive at the same thing mechanically, by adding together all thousand magnitudes, heights, breadths, and thicknesses, and dividing the sum by a thousand. But the Imagination does this by means of a dynamical effect, which arises from the various impressions of such figures on the organ of internal sense.) If now in a similar way for this average man we seek the average head, for this head the average nose, etc., such figure is at the basis of the normal Idea in the country where the comparison is instituted. Thus necessarily under these empirical conditions a negro must have a different normal Idea of the beauty of the [human figure] from a white man, a Chinaman a different normal Idea from a European, etc. And the same is the case with the model of a beautiful horse or dog (of a certain breed).— This normal Idea is not derived from proportions got from experience [and regarded] as definite rules; but in accordance with it rules for judging become in the first instance possible. It is the image for the whole race, which floats among all the variously different intuitions of individuals, which nature takes as archetype in her productions of the same species, but which seems not to be fully reached in any individual case. It is by no means the whole archetype of beauty in the race, but only the form constituting the indispensable condition of all beauty, and thus merely correctness in the [mental] presentation of the race. It is, like the celebrated Doryphorus of Polycletus,1 the rule (Myron’s2 Cow might also be used thus for its kind). It can therefore contain nothing specifically characteristic, for otherwise it would not be the normal Idea for the race. Its presentation pleases, not by its beauty, but merely because it contradicts no condition, under which alone a thing of this kind can be beautiful. The presentation is merely correct.3
We must yet distinguish the normal Idea of the beautiful from the Ideal, which latter, on grounds already alleged, we can only expect in the human figure. In this the Ideal consists in the expression of the moral, without which the object would not please universally and thus positively (not merely negatively in a correct presentation). The visible expression of moral Ideas that rule men inwardly, can indeed only be got from experience; but to make its connexion with all which our Reason unites with the morally good in the Idea of the highest purposiveness,—goodness of heart, purity, strength, peace, etc.,—visible as it were in bodily manifestation (as the effect of that which is internal), requires a union of pure Ideas of Reason with great imaginative power, even in him who wishes to judge of it, still more in him who wishes to present it. The correctness of such an Ideal of beauty is shown by its permitting no sensible charm to mingle with the satisfaction in the Object and yet allowing us to take a great interest therein. This shows that a judgement in accordance with such a standard can never be purely aesthetical, and that a judgement in accordance with an Ideal of beauty is not a mere judgement of taste.
EXPLANATION OF THE BEAUTIFUL DERIVED FROM THIS THIRD MOMENT
Beauty is the form of the purposiveness of an object, so far as this is perceived in it without any representation of a purpose.1
OF THE JUDGEMENT OF TASTE, ACCORDING TO THE MODALITY OF THE SATISFACTION IN THE OBJECT
What the modality in a judgement of taste is
I can say of every representation that it is at least possible that (as a cognition) it should be bound up with a pleasure. Of a representation that I call pleasant I say that it actually excites pleasure in me. But the beautiful we think as having a necessary reference to satisfaction. Now this necessity is of a peculiar kind. It is not a theoretical objective necessity; in which case it would be cognised a priori that every one will feel this satisfaction in the object called beautiful by me. It is not a practical necessity; in which case, by concepts of a pure rational will serving as a rule for freely acting beings, the satisfaction is the necessary result of an objective law and only indicates that we absolutely (without any further design) ought to act in a certain way. But the necessity which is thought in an aesthetical judgement can only be called exemplary; i.e. a necessity of the assent of all to a judgement which is regarded as the example of a universal rule that we cannot state. Since an aesthetical judgement is not an objective cognitive judgement, this necessity cannot be derived from definite concepts, and is therefore not apodictic. Still less can it be inferred from the universality of experience (of a complete agreement of judgements as to the beauty of a certain object). For not only would experience hardly furnish sufficiently numerous vouchers for this; but also, on empirical judgements we can base no concept of the necessity of these judgements.
The subjective necessity, which we ascribe to the judgement of taste, is conditioned
The judgement of taste requires the agreement of every one; and he who describes anything as beautiful claims that every one ought to give his approval to the object in question and also describe it as beautiful. The ought in the aesthetical judgement is therefore pronounced in accordance with all the data which are required for judging and yet is only conditioned. We ask for the agreement of every one else, because we have for it a ground that is common to all; and we could count on this agreement, provided we were always sure that the case was correctly subsumed under that ground as rule of assent.
The condition of necessity which a judgement of taste asserts is the Idea of a common sense
If judgements of taste (like cognitive judgements) had a definite objective principle, then the person who lays them down in accordance with this latter would claim an unconditioned necessity for his judgement. If they were devoid of all principle, like those of the mere taste of sense, we would not allow them in thought any necessity whatever. Hence they must have a subjective principle which determines what pleases or displeases only by feeling and not by concepts, but yet with universal validity. But such a principle could only be regarded as a common sense, which is essentially different from common Understanding which people sometimes call common Sense (sensus communis); for the latter does not judge by feeling but always by concepts, although ordinarily only as by obscurely represented principles.
Hence it is only under the presupposition that there is a common sense (by which we do not understand an external sense, but the effect resulting from the free play of our cognitive powers)—it is only under this presupposition, I say, that the judgement of taste can be laid down.
Have we ground for presupposing a common sense?
Cognitions and judgements must, along with the conviction that accompanies them, admit of universal communicability; for otherwise there would be no harmony between them and the Object, and they would be collectively a mere subjective play of the representative powers, exactly as scepticism would have it. But if cognitions are to admit of communicability, so must also the state of mind,—i.e. the accordance of the cognitive powers with a cognition generally, and that proportion of them which is suitable for a representation (by which an object is given to us) in order that a cognition may be made out of it—admit of universal communicability. For without this as the subjective condition of cognition, knowledge as an effect could not arise. This actually always takes place when a given object by means of Sense excites the Imagination to collect the manifold, and the Imagination in its turn excites the Understanding to bring about a unity of this collective process in concepts. But this accordance of the cognitive powers has a different proportion according to the variety of the Objects which are given. However, it must be such that this internal relation, by which one mental faculty is excited by another, shall be generally the most beneficial for both faculties in respect of cognition (of given objects); and this accordance can only be determined by feeling (not according to concepts). Since now this accordance itself must admit of universal communicability, and consequently also our feeling of it (in a given representation), and since the universal communicability of a feeling presupposes a common sense, we have grounds for assuming this latter. And this common sense is assumed without relying on psychological observations, but simply as the necessary condition of the universal communicability of our knowledge, which is presupposed in every Logic and in every principle of knowledge that is not sceptical.
The necessity of the universal agreement that is thought in a judgement of taste is a subjective necessity, which is represented as objective under the presupposition of a common sense
In all judgements by which we describe anything as beautiful, we allow no one to be of another opinion; without however grounding our judgement on concepts but only on our feeling, which we therefore place at its basis not as a private, but as a communal feeling.1 Now this common sense cannot be grounded on experience; for it aims at justifying judgements which contain an ought. It does not say that every one will agree with my judgement, but that he ought. And so common sense, as an example of whose judgement I here put forward my judgement of taste and on account of which I attribute to the latter an exemplary validity, is a mere ideal norm, under the supposition of which I have a right to make into a rule for every one a judgement that accords therewith, as well as the satisfaction in an Object expressed in such judgement. For the principle, which concerns the agreement of different judging persons, although only subjective, is yet assumed as subjectively universal (an Idea necessary for every one); and thus can claim universal assent (as if it were objective) provided we are sure that we have correctly subsumed [the particulars] under it.
This indeterminate norm of a common sense is actually presupposed by us; as is shown by our claim to lay down judgements of taste. Whether there is in fact such a common sense, as a constitutive principle of the possibility of experience, or whether a yet higher principle of Reason makes it only into a regulative principle for producing in us a common sense for higher purposes: whether therefore Taste is an original and natural faculty, or only the Idea of an artificial one yet to be acquired, so that a judgement of taste with its assumption of a universal assent in fact, is only a requirement of Reason for producing such harmony of sentiment; whether the “ought,” i.e. the objective necessity of the confluence of the feeling of any one man with that of every other, only signifies the possibility of arriving at this accord, and the judgement of taste only affords an example of the application of this principle: these questions we have neither the wish nor the power to investigate as yet; we have now only to resolve the faculty of taste into its elements in order to unite them at last in the Idea of a common sense.
EXPLANATION OF THE BEAUTIFUL RESULTING FROM THE FOURTH MOMENT
The beautiful is that which without any concept is cognised as the object of a necessary satisfaction.
GENERAL REMARK ON THE FIRST SECTION OF THE ANALYTIC
If we seek the result of the preceding analysis we find that everything runs up into this concept of Taste, that it is a faculty for judging an object in reference to the Imagination’s free conformity to law. Now if in the judgement of taste the Imagination must be considered in its freedom, it is in the first place not regarded as reproductive, as it is subject to the laws of association, but as productive and spontaneous (as the author of arbitrary forms of possible intuition). And although in the apprehension of a given object of sense it is tied to a definite form of this Object, and so far has no free play (such as that of poetry) yet it may readily be conceived that the object can furnish it with such a form containing a collection of the manifold, as the Imagination itself, if it were left free, would project in accordance with the conformity to law of the Understanding in general. But that the imaginative power should be free and yet of itself conformed to law, i.e. bringing antonomy with it, is a contradiction. The Understanding alone gives the law. If, however, the Imagination is compelled to proceed according to a definite law, its product in respect of form is determined by concepts as to what it ought to be. But then, as is above shown, the satisfaction is not that in the Beautiful, but in the Good (in perfection, at any rate in mere formal perfection); and the judgement is not a judgement of taste. Hence it is a conformity to law without a law; and a subjective agreement of the Imagination and Understanding,—without such an objective agreement as there is when the representation is referred to a definite concept of an object,—can subsist along with the free conformity to law of the Understanding (which is also called purposiveness without purpose) and with the peculiar feature of a judgement of taste.
Now geometrically regular figures, such as a circle, a square, a cube, etc., are commonly adduced by critics of taste as the simplest and most indisputable examples of beauty; and yet they are called regular, because we can only represent them by regarding them as mere presentations of a definite concept which prescribes the rule for the figure (according to which alone it is possible). One of these two must be wrong, either that judgement of the critic which ascribes beauty to the said figures, or ours, which regards purposiveness apart from a concept as requisite for beauty.
Hardly any one will say that a man must have taste in order that he should find more satisfaction in a circle than in a scrawled outline, in an equilateral and equiangular quadrilateral than in one which is oblique, irregular, and as it were deformed, for this belongs to the ordinary Understanding and is not Taste at all. Where, e.g. our design is to judge of the size of an area, or to make intelligible the relation of the parts of it, when divided, to one another and to the whole, then regular figures and those of the simplest kind are needed, and the satisfaction does not rest immediately on the aspect of the figure, but on its availability for all kinds of possible designs. A room whose walls form oblique angles, or a parterre of this kind, even every violation of symmetry in the figure of animals (e.g. being one-eyed), of buildings, or of flower beds, displeases, because it contradicts the purpose of the thing, not only practically in respect of a definite use of it, but also when we pass judgement on it as regards any possible design. This is not the case in the judgement of taste, which when pure combines satisfaction or dissatisfaction,—without any reference to its use or to a purpose,—with the mere consideration of the object.
The regularity which leads to the concept of an object is indeed the indispensable condition (conditio sine qua non) for grasping the object in a single representation and determining the manifold in its form. This determination is a purpose in respect of cognition, and in reference to this it is always bound up with satisfaction (which accompanies the execution of every, even problematical, design). There is here, however, merely the approval of the solution satisfying a problem, and not a free and indefinite purposive entertainment of the mental powers with what we call beautiful, where the Understanding is at the service of Imagination and not vice versa.
In a thing that is only possible by means of design,—a building, or even an animal,—the regularity consisting in symmetry must express the unity of the intuition that accompanies the concept of purpose, and this regularity belongs to cognition. But where only a free play of the representative powers (under the condition, however, that the Understanding is to suffer no shock thereby) is to be kept up, in pleasure gardens, room decorations, all kinds of tasteful furniture, etc., regularity that shows constraint is avoided as much as possible. Thus in the English taste in gardens, or in bizarre taste in furniture, the freedom of the Imagination is pushed almost near to the grotesque, and in this separation from every constraint of rule we have the case, where taste can display its greatest perfection in the enterprises of the Imagination.
All stiff regularity (such as approximates to mathematical regularity) has something in it repugnant to taste; for our entertainment in the contemplation of it lasts for no length of time, but it rather, in so far as it has not expressly in view cognition or a definite practical purpose, produces weariness. On the other hand that with which Imagination can play in an unstudied and purposive manner is always new to us, and one does not get tired of looking at it. Marsden in his description of Sumatra makes the remark that the free beauties of nature surround the spectator everywhere and thus lose their attraction for him.1 On the other hand a pepper-garden, where the stakes on which this plant twines itself form parallel rows, had much attractiveness for him, if he met with it in the middle of a forest. And hence he infers that wild beauty, apparently irregular, only pleases as a variation from the regular beauty of which one has seen enough. But he need only have made the experiment of spending one day in a pepper-garden, to have been convinced that, once the Understanding, by the aid of this regularity, has put itself in accord with the order that it always needs, the object will not entertain for long,—nay rather it will impose a burdensome constraint upon the Imagination. On the other hand, nature, which there is prodigal in its variety even to luxuriance, that is subjected to no constraint of artificial rules, can supply constant food for taste.— Even the song of birds, which we can bring under no musical rule, seems to have more freedom, and therefore more for taste, than a song of a human being which is produced in accordance with all the rules of music; for we very much sooner weary of the latter, if it is repeated often and at length. Here, however, we probably confuse our participation in the mirth of a little creature that we love, with the beauty of its song; for if this were exactly imitated by man (as sometimes the notes of the nightingale are)1 it would seem to our ear quite devoid of taste.
Again, beautiful objects are to be distinguished from beautiful views of objects (which often on account of their distance cannot be clearly recognised). In the latter case taste appears not so much in what the Imagination apprehends in this field, as in the impulse it thus gets to fiction, i.e. in the peculiar fancies with which the mind entertains itself, whilst it is continually being aroused by the variety which strikes the eye. An illustration is afforded, e.g. by the sight of the changing shapes of a fire on the hearth or of a rippling brook; neither of these has beauty, but they bring with them a charm for the Imagination, because they entertain it in free play.
ANALYTIC OF THE SUBLIME
Transition from the faculty which judges of the Beautiful to that which judges of the Sublime
The Beautiful and the Sublime agree in this, that both please in themselves. Further, neither presupposes a judgement of sense nor a judgement logically determined, but a judgement of reflection. Consequently the satisfaction [belonging to them] does not depend on a sensation, as in the case of the Pleasant, nor on a definite concept, as in the case of the Good; but it is nevertheless referred to concepts although indeterminate ones. And so the satisfaction is connected with the mere presentation [of the object] or with the faculty of presentation; so that in the case of a given intuition this faculty or the Imagination is considered as in agreement with the faculty of concepts of Understanding or Reason (in its furtherane of these latter). Hence both kinds of judgements are singular, and yet announce themselves as universally valid for every subject; although they lay claim merely to the feeling of pleasure and not to any knowledge of the object.
But there are also remarkable differences between the two. The Beautiful in nature is connected with the form of the object, which consists in having boundaries. The Sublime, on the other hand, is to be found in a formless object, so far as in it or by occasion of it boundlessness is represented, and yet its totality is also present to thought. Thus the Beautiful seems to be regarded as the presentation of an indefinite concept of Understanding; the Sublime as that of a like concept of Reason. Therefore the satisfaction in the one case is bound up with the representation of quality, in the other with that of quantity. And the latter satisfaction is quite different in kind from the former, for this [the Beautiful1 ] directly brings with it a feeling of the furtherance of life, and thus is compatible with charms and with the play of the Imagination. But the other [the feeling of the Sublime1 ] is a pleasure that arises only indirectly; viz. it is produced by the feeling of a momentary checking of the vital powers and a consequent stronger outflow of them, so that it seems to be regarded as emotion,—not play, but earnest in the exercise of the Imagination.—Hence it is incompatible with charms; and as the mind is not merely attracted by the object but is ever being alternately repelled, the satisfaction in the sublime does not so much involve a positive pleasure as admiration or respect, which rather deserves to be called negative pleasure.
But the inner and most important distinction between the Sublime and Beautiful is, certainly, as follows. (Here, as we are entitled to do, we only bring under consideration in the first instance the sublime in natural Objects; for the sublime of Art is always limited by the conditions of agreement with Nature.) Natural beauty (which is self-subsisting) brings with it a purposiveness in its form by which the object seems to be, as it were, pre-adapted to our Judgement, and thus constitutes in itself an object of satisfaction. On the other hand, that which excites in us, without any reasoning about it, but in the mere apprehension of it, the feeling of the sublime, may appear as regards its form to violate purpose in respect of the Judgement, to be unsuited to our presentative faculty, and, as it were, to do violence to the Imagination; and yet it is judged to be only the more sublime.
Now from this we may see that in general we express ourselves incorrectly if we call any object of nature sublime, although we can quite correctly call many objects of nature beautiful. For how can that be marked by an expression of approval, which is apprehended in itself as being a violation of purpose? All that we can say is that the object is fit for the presentation of a sublimity which can be found in the mind; for no sensible form can contain the sublime properly so-called. This concerns only Ideas of the Reason, which, although no adequate presentation is possible for them, by this inadequacy that admits of sensible presentation, are aroused and summoned into the mind. Thus the wide ocean, agitated by the storm, cannot be called sublime. Its aspect is horrible; and the mind must be already filled with manifold Ideas if it is to be determined by such an intuition to a feeling itself sublime, as it is incited to abandon sensibility and to busy itself with Ideas that involve higher purposiveness.
Self-subsisting natural beauty discovers to us a Technic of nature, which represents it as a system in accordance with laws, the principle of which we do not find in the whole of our faculty of Understanding. That principle is the principle of purposiveness, in respect of the use of our Judgement in regard to phenomena; [which requires] that these must not be judged as merely belonging to nature in its purposeless mechanism, but also as belonging to something analogous to art. It, therefore, actually extends, not indeed our cognition of natural Objects, but our concept of nature; [which is now not regarded] as mere mechanism but as art. This leads to profound investigations as to the possibility of such a form. But in what we are accustomed to call sublime there is nothing at all that leads to particular objective principles and forms of nature corresponding to them; so far from it that for the most part nature excites the Ideas of the sublime in its chaos or in its wildest and most irregular disorder and desolation, provided size and might are perceived. Hence, we see that the concept of the Sublime is not nearly so important or rich in consequences as the concept of the Beautiful; and that in general it displays nothing purposive in nature itself, but only in that possible use of our intuitions of it by which there is produced in us a feeling of a purposiveness quite independent of nature. We must seek a ground external to ourselves for the Beautiful of nature; but seek it for the Sublime merely in ourselves and in our attitude of thought which introduces sublimity into the representation of nature. This is a very needful preliminary remark, which quite separates the Ideas of the sublime from that of a purposiveness of nature, and makes the theory of the sublime a mere appendix to the aesthetical judging of that purposiveness; because by means of it no particular form is represented in nature, but there is only developed a purposive use which the Imagination makes of its representation.
Of the divisions of an investigation into the feeling of the sublime
As regards the division of the moments of the aesthetical judging of objects in reference to the feeling of the sublime, the Analytic can proceed according to the same principle as was adapted in the analysis of judgements of taste. For as an act of the aesthetical reflective Judgement, the satisfaction in the Sublime must be represented just as in the case of the Beautiful,—according to quantity as universally valid, according to quality as devoid of interest, according to relation as subjective purposiveness, and according to modality as necessary. And so the method here will not diverge from that of the preceding section; unless, indeed, we count it a difference that in the case where the aesthetical Judgement is concerned with the form of the Object we began with the investigation of its quality, but here, in view of the formlessness which may belong to what we call sublime, we shall begin with quantity, as the first moment of the aesthetical judgement as to the sublime. The reason for this may be seen from the preceding paragraph.
But the analysis of the Sublime involves a division not needed in the case of the Beautiful, viz. a division into the mathematically and the dynamically sublime.
For the feeling of the Sublime brings with it as its characteristic feature a movement of the mind bound up with the judging of the object, while in the case of the Beautiful taste presupposes and maintains the mind in restful contemplation. Now this movement ought to be judged as subjectively purposive (because the sublime pleases us), and thus it is referred through the Imagination either to the faculty of cognition or of desire. In either reference the purposiveness of the given representation ought to be judged only in respect of this faculty (without purpose or interest); but in the first case it is ascribed to the Object as a mathematical determination of the Imagination, in the second as dynamical. And hence we have this twofold way of representing the sublime.
—Of the Mathematically Sublime
Explanation of the term “sublime”
We call that sublime which is absolutely great. But to be great, and to be a great something are quite different concepts (magnitudo and quantitas). In like manner to say simply (simpliciter) that anything is great is quite different from saying that it is absolutely great (absolute, non comparative magnum). The latter is what is great beyond all comparison.— What now is meant by the expression that anything is great or small or of medium size? It is not a pure concept of Understanding that is thus signified; still less is it an intuition of Sense, and just as little is it a concept of Reason, because it brings with it no principle of cognition. It must therefore be a concept of Judgement or derived from one; and a subjective purposiveness of the representation in reference to the Judgement must lie at its basis. That anything is a magnitude (quantum) may be cognised from the thing itself, without any comparison of it with other things; viz. if there is a multiplicity of the homogeneous constituting one thing. But to cognise how great it is always requires some other magnitude as a measure. But because the judging of magnitude depends not merely on multiplicity (number), but also on the magnitude of the unit (the measure), and since, to judge of the magnitude of this latter again requires another as measure with which it may be compared, we see that the determination of the magnitude of phenomena can supply no absolute concept whatever of magnitude, but only a comparative one.
If now I say simply that anything is great, it appears that I have no comparison in view, at least none with an objective measure; because it is thus not determined at all how great the object is. But although the standard of comparison is merely subjective, yet the judgement none the less claims universal assent; “this man is beautiful,” and “he is tall,” are judgements not limited merely to the judging subject, but, like theoretical judgements, demanding the assent of every one.
In a judgement by which anything is designated simply as great, it is not merely meant that the object has a magnitude, but that this magnitude is superior to that of many other objects of the same kind, without, however, any exact determination of this superiority. Thus there is always at the basis of our judgement a standard which we assume as the same for every one; this, however, is not available for any logical (mathematically definite) judging of magnitude, but only for aesthetical judging of the same, because it is a merely subjective standard lying at the basis of the reflective judgement upon magnitude. It may be empirical, as, e.g. the average size of the men known to us, of animals of a certain kind, trees, houses, mountains, etc. Or it may be a standard given a priori, which through the defects of the judging subject is limited by the subjective conditions of presentation in concreto; as, e.g. in the practical sphere, the greatness of a certain virtue, or of the public liberty and justice in a country; or, in the theoretical sphere, the greatness of the accuracy or the inaccuracy of an observation or measurement that has been made, etc.
Here it is remarkable that, although we have no interest whatever in an Object,—i.e. its existence is indifferent to us,—yet its mere size, even if it is considered as formless, may bring a satisfaction with it that is universally communicable, and that consequently involves the consciousness of a subjective purposiveness in the use of our cognitive faculty. This is not indeed a satisfaction in the Object (because it may be formless), as in the case of the Beautiful, in which the reflective Judgement finds itself purposively determined in reference to cognition in general; but [a satisfaction] in the extension of the Imagination by itself.
If (under the above limitation) we say simply of an object “it is great,” this is no mathematically definite judgement but a mere judgement of reflection upon the representation of it, which is subjectively purposive for a certain use of our cognitive powers in the estimation of magnitude; and we always then bind up with the representation a kind of respect, as also a kind of contempt for what we simply call “small.” Further, the judging of things as great or small extends to everything, even to all their characteristics; thus we describe beauty as great or small. The reason of this is to be sought in the fact that whatever we present in intuition according to the precept of the Judgement (and thus represent aesthetically) is always a phenomenon and thus a quantum.
But if we call anything not only great, but absolutely great in every point of view (great beyond all comparison), i.e. sublime, we soon see that it is not permissible to seek for an adequate standard of this outside itself, but merely in itself. It is a magnitude which is like itself alone. It follows hence that the sublime is not to be sought in the things of nature, but only in our Ideas; but in which of them it lies must be reserved for the Deduction.
The foregoing explanation can be thus expressed: the sublime is that in comparison with which everything else is small. Here we easily see that nothing can be given in nature, however great it is judged by us to be, which could not if considered in another relation be reduced to the infinitely small; and conversely there is nothing so small, which does not admit of extension by our Imagination to the greatness of a world, if compared with still smaller standards. Telescopes have furnished us with abundant material for making the first remark, microscopes for the second. Nothing, therefore, which can be an object of the senses, is, considered on this basis, to be called sublime. But because there is in our Imagination a striving towards infinite progress, and in our Reason a claim for absolute totality, regarded as a real Idea, therefore this very inadequateness for that Idea in our faculty for estimating the magnitude of things of sense, excites in us the feeling of a supersensible faculty. And it is not the object of sense, but the use which the Judgement naturally makes of certain objects on behalf of this latter feeling, that is absolutely great; and in comparison every other use is small. Consequently it is the state of mind produced by a certain representation with which the reflective Judgement is occupied, and not the Object, that is to be called sublime.
We may therefore append to the preceding formulas explaining the sublime this other: the sublime is that, the mere ability to think which, shows a faculty of the mind surpassing every standard of Sense.
Of that estimation of the magnitude of natural things which is requisite for the Idea of the Sublime
The estimation of magnitude by means of concepts of number (or their signs in Algebra) is mathematical; but that in mere intuition (by the measurement of the eye) is aesthetical. Now we can come by definite concepts of how great a thing is, [only]1 by numbers, of which the unit is the measure (at all events by series of numbers progressing to infinity); and so far all logical estimation of magnitude is mathematical. But since the magnitude of the measure must then be assumed known, and this again is only to be estimated mathematically by means of numbers,—the unit of which must be another [smaller] measure,—we can never have a first or fundamental measure, and therefore can never have a definite concept of a given magnitude. So the estimation of the magnitude of the fundamental measure must consist in this, that we can immediately apprehend it in intuition and use it by the Imagination for the presentation of concepts of number. That is, all estimation of the magnitude of the objects of nature is in the end aesthetical (i.e. subjectively and not objectively determined).
Now for the mathematical estimation of magnitude there is, indeed, no maximum (for the power of numbers extends to infinity); but for its aesthetical estimation there is always a maximum, and of this I say that if it is judged as the absolute measure than which no greater is possible subjectively (for the judging subject), it brings with it the Idea of the sublime and produces that emotion which no mathematical estimation of its magnitude by means of numbers can bring about (except so far as the aesthetical fundamental measure remains vividly in the Imagination). For the former only presents relative magnitude by means of comparison with others of the same kind; but the latter presents magnitude absolutely, so far as the mind can grasp it in an intuition.
In receiving a quantum into the Imagination by intuition, in order to be able to use it for a measure or as a unit for the estimation of magnitude by means of numbers, there are two operations of the Imagination involved: apprehension (apprehensio) and comprehension (comprehensio aesthetica). As to apprehension there is no difficulty, for it can go on ad infinitum; but comprehension becomes harder the further apprehension advances, and soon attains to its maximum, viz. the aesthetically greatest fundamental measure for the estimation of magnitude. For when apprehension has gone so far that the partial representations of sensuous intuition at first apprehended begin to vanish in the Imagination, whilst this ever proceeds to the apprehension of others, then it loses as much on the one side as it gains on the other; and in comprehension there is a maximum beyond which it cannot go.
Hence can be explained what Savary1 remarks in his account of Egypt, viz. that we must keep from going very near the Pyramids just as much as we keep from going too far from them, in order to get the full emotional effect from their size. For if we are too far away, the parts to be apprehended (the stones lying one over the other) are only obscurely represented, and the representation of them produces no effect upon the aesthetical judgement of the subject. But if we are very near, the eye requires some time to complete the apprehension of the tiers from the bottom up to the apex; and then the first tiers are always partly forgotten before the Imagination has taken in the last, and so the comprehension of them is never complete.— The same thing may sufficiently explain the bewilderment or, as it were, perplexity which, it is said, seizes the spectator on his first entrance into St. Peter’s at Rome. For there is here a feeling of the inadequacy of his Imagination for presenting the Ideas of a whole, wherein the Imagination reaches its maximum, and, in striving to surpass it, sinks back into itself, by which, however, a kind of emotional satisfaction is produced.
I do not wish to speak as yet of the ground of this satisfaction, which is bound up with a representation from which we should least of all expect it, viz. a representation which lets us remark its inadequacy and consequently its subjective want of purposiveness for the Judgement in the estimation of magnitude. I only remark that if the aesthetical judgement is pure (i.e. mingled with no teleological judgement or judgement of Reason) and is to be given as a completely suitable example of the Critique of the aesthetical Judgement, we must not exhibit the sublime in products of art (e.g. buildings, pillars, etc.) where human purpose determines the form as well as the size; nor yet in things of nature the concepts of which bring with them a definite purpose (e.g. animals with a known natural destination); but in rude nature (and in this only in so far as it does not bring with it any charm or emotion produced by actual danger) merely as containing magnitude. For in this kind of representation nature contains nothing monstrous (either magnificent or horrible); the magnitude that is apprehended may be increased as much as you wish provided it can be comprehended in a whole by the Imagination. An object is monstrous if by its size it destroys the purpose which constitutes the concept of it. But the mere presentation of a concept is called colossal, which is almost too great for any presentation (bordering on the relatively monstrous); because the purpose of the presentation of a concept is made harder [to realise] by the intuition of the object being almost too great for our faculty of apprehension.— A pure judgement upon the sublime must, however, have no purpose of the Object as its determining ground, if it is to be aesthetical and not mixed up with any judgement of Understanding or Reason.
Because everything which is to give disinterested pleasure to the merely reflective Judgement must bring with the representation of it, subjective and, as subjective, universally valid purposiveness—although no purposiveness of the form of the object lies (as in the case of the Beautiful) at the ground of the judgement—the question arises “what is this subjective purposiveness?” And how does it come to be prescribed as the norm by which a ground for universally valid satisfaction is supplied in the mere estimation of magnitude, even in that which is forced up to the point where our faculty of Imagination is inadequate for the presentation of the concept of magnitude?
In the process of combination requisite for the estimation of magnitude, the Imagination proceeds of itself to infinity without anything hindering it; but the Understanding guides it by means of concepts of number, for which the Imagination must furnish the schema. And in this procedure, as belonging to the logical estimation of magnitude, there is indeed something objectively purposive,—in accordance with the concept of a purpose (as all measurement is),—but nothing purposive and pleasing for the aesthetical Judgement. There is also in this designed purposiveness nothing which would force us to push the magnitude of the measure, and consequently the comprehension of the manifold in an intuition, to the bounds of the faculty of Imagination, or as far as ever this can reach in its presentations. For in the estimation of magnitude by the Understanding (Arithmetic) we only go to a certain point whether we push the comprehension of the units up to the number 10 (as in the decimal scale) or only up to 4 (as in the quaternary scale); the further production of magnitude proceeds by combination or, if the quantum is given in intuition, by apprehension, but merely by way of progression (not of comprehension) in accordance with an assumed principle of progression. In this mathematical estimation of magnitude the Understanding is equally served and contented whether the Imagination chooses for unit a magnitude that we can take in in a glance, e.g. a foot or rod, or a German mile or even the earth’s diameter,—of which the apprehension is indeed possible, but not the comprehension in an intuition of the Imagination (not possible by comprehensio aesthetica, although quite possible by comprehensio logica in a concept of number). In both cases the logical estimation of magnitude goes on without hindrance to infinity.
But now the mind listens to the voice of Reason which, for every given magnitude,—even for those that can never be entirely apprehended, although (in sensible representation) they are judged as entirely given,— requires totality. Reason consequently desires comprehension in one intuition, and so the presentation of all these members of a progressively increasing series. It does not even exempt the infinite (space and past time) from this requirement; it rather renders it unavoidable to think the infinite (in the judgement of common Reason) as entirely given (according to its totality).
But the infinite is absolutely (not merely comparatively) great. Compared with it everything else (of the same kind of magnitudes) is small. And what is most important is that to be able only to think it as a whole indicates a faculty of mind which surpasses every standard of Sense. For [to represent it sensibly] would require a comprehension having for unit a standard bearing a definite relation, expressible in numbers, to the infinite; which is impossible. Nevertheless, the bare capability of thinking this infinite without contradiction requires in the human mind a faculty itself supersensible. For it is only by means of this faculty and its Idea of a noumenon,— which admits of no intuition, but which yet serves as the substrate for the intuition of the world, as a mere phenomenon,—that the infinite of the world of sense, in the pure intellectual estimation of magnitude, can be completely comprehended under a concept, although in the mathematical estimation of magnitude by means of concepts of number it can never be completely thought. The faculty of being able to think the infinite of supersensible intuition as given (in its intelligible substrate), surpasses every standard of sensibility, and is great beyond all comparison even with the faculty of mathematical estimation; not of course in a theoretical point of view and on behalf of the cognitive faculty, but as an extension of the mind which feels itself able in another (practical) point of view to go beyond the limit of sensibility.
Nature is therefore sublime in those of its phenomena, whose intuition brings with it the Idea of their infinity. This last can only come by the inadequacy of the greatest effort of our Imagination to estimate the magnitude of an object. But now in mathematical estimation of magnitude the Imagination is equal to providing a sufficient measure for every object; because the numerical concepts of the Understanding, by means of progression, can make any measure adequate to any given magnitude. Therefore it must be the aesthetical estimation of magnitude in which it is felt that the effort towards comprehension surpasses the power of the Imagination to grasp in a whole of intuition the progressive apprehension; and at the same time is perceived the inadequacy of this faculty, unbounded in its progress, for grasping and using, for the estimation of magnitude, a fundamental measure which could be made available by the Understanding with little trouble. Now the proper unchangeable fundamental measure of nature is its absolute whole; which, regarding nature as a phenomenon, would be infinity comprehended. But since this fundamental measure is a self-contradictory concept (on account of the impossibility of the absolute totality of an endless progress), that magnitude of a natural Object, on which the Imagination fruitlessly spends its whole faculty of comprehension, must carry our concept of nature to a supersensible substrate (which lies at its basis and also at the basis of our faculty of thought). As this, however, is great beyond all standards of sense, it makes us judge as sublime, not so much the object, as our own state of mind in the estimation of it.
Therefore, just as the aesthetical Judgement in judging the Beautiful refers the Imagination in its free play to the Understanding, in order to harmonise it with the concepts of the latter in general (without any determination of them); so does the same faculty when judging a thing as Sublime refer itself to the Reason in order that it may subjectively be in accordance with its Ideas (no matter what they are):—i.e. that it may produce a state of mind conformable to them and compatible with that brought about by the influence of definite (practical) Ideas upon feeling.
We hence see also that true sublimity must be sought only in the mind of the [subject] judging, not in the natural Object, the judgement upon which occasions this state. Who would call sublime, e.g. shapeless mountain masses piled in wild disorder upon each other with their pyramids of ice, or the gloomy raging sea? But the mind feels itself elevated in its own judgement if, while contemplating them without any reference to their form, and abandoning itself to the Imagination and to the Reason—which although placed in combination with the Imagination without any definite purpose, merely extends it—it yet finds the whole power of the Imagination inadequate to its Ideas.
Examples of the mathematically Sublime of nature in mere intuition are all the cases in which we are given, not so much a larger numerical concept as a large unit for the measure of the Imagination (for shortening the numerical series). A tree, [the height of] which we estimate with reference to the height of a man, at all events gives a standard for a mountain; and if this were a mile high, it would serve as unit for the number expressive of the earth’s diameter, so that the latter might be made intuitible. The earth’s diameter [would supply a unit] for the known planetary system; this again for the Milky Way; and the immeasurable number of milky way systems called nebulae,—which presumably constitute a system of the same kind among themselves—lets us expect no bounds here. Now the Sublime in the aesthetical judging of an immeasurable whole like this lies not so much in the greatness of the number [of units], as in the fact that in our progress we ever arrive at yet greater units. To this the systematic division of the universe contributes, which represents every magnitude in nature as small in its turn; and represents our Imagination with its entire freedom from bounds, and with it Nature, as a mere nothing in comparison with the Ideas of Reason, if it is sought to furnish a presentation which shall be adequate to them.
Of the quality of the satisfaction in our judgements upon the Sublime
The feeling of our incapacity to attain to an Idea, which is a law for us, is respect. Now the Idea of the comprehension of every phenomenon that can be given us in the intuition of a whole, is an Idea prescribed to us by a law of Reason, which recognises no other measure, definite, valid for every one, and invariable, than the absolute whole. But our Imagination, even in its greatest efforts, in respect of that comprehension, which we expect from it, of a given object in a whole of intuition (and thus with reference to the presentation of the Idea of Reason), exhibits its own limits and inadequacy; although at the same time it shows that its destination is to make itself adequate to this Idea regarded as a law. Therefore the feeling of the Sublime in nature is respect for our own destination, which by a certain subreption we attribute to an Object of nature (conversion of respect for the Idea of humanity in our own subject into respect for the Object). This makes intuitively evident the superiority of the rational determination of our cognitive faculties to the greatest faculty of our Sensibility.
The feeling of the Sublime is therefore a feeling of pain, arising from the want of accordance between the aesthetical estimation of magnitude formed by the Imagination and the estimation of the same formed by Reason. There is at the same time a pleasure thus excited, arising from the correspondence with rational Ideas of this very judgement of the inadequacy of our greatest faculty of Sense; in so far as it is a law for us to strive after these Ideas. In fact it is for us a law (of Reason), and belongs to our destination, to estimate as small, in comparison with Ideas of Reason, everything which nature, regarded as an object of Sense, contains that is great for us; and that which arouses in us the feeling of this supersensible destination agrees with that law. Now the greatest effort of the Imagination in the presentation of the unit for the estimation of magnitude indicates a reference to something absolutely great; and consequently a reference to the law of Reason, which bids us take this alone as the supreme measure of magnitude. Therefore the inner perception of the inadequacy of all sensible standards for rational estimation of magnitude indicates a correspondence with rational laws; it involves a pain, which arouses in us the feeling of our supersensible destination, according to which it is purposive and therefore pleasurable to find every standard of Sensibility inadequate to the Ideas of Understanding.
The mind feels itself moved in the representation of the Sublime in nature; whilst in aesthetical judgements about the Beautiful it is in restful contemplation. This movement may (especially in its beginnings) be compared to a vibration, i.e. to a quickly alternating attraction towards, and repulsion from, the same Object. The transcendent (towards which the Imagination is impelled in its apprehension of intuition) is for the Imagination like an abyss in which it fears to lose itself; but for the rational Idea of the supersensible it is not transcendent but in conformity with law to bring about such an effort of the Imagination, and consequently here there is the same amount of attraction as there was of repulsion for the mere Sensibility. But the judgement itself always remains in this case only aesthetical, because—without having any determinate concept of the Object at its basis—it merely represents the subjective play of the mental powers (Imagination and Reason) as harmonious through their very contrast. For just as Imagination and Understanding, in judging of the Beautiful, generate a subjective purposiveness of the mental powers by means of their harmony, so [here1 ] Imagination and Reason do so by means of their conflict. That is, they bring about a feeling that we possess pure self-subsistent Reason, or a faculty for the estimation of magnitude, whose pre-eminence can be made intuitively evident only by the inadequacy of that faculty [Imagination] which is itself unbounded in the presentation of magnitudes (of sensible objects).
The measurement of a space (regarded as apprehension) is at the same time a description of it, and thus an objective movement in the act of Imagination and a progress. On the other hand, the comprehension of the manifold in the unity,—not of thought but of intuition,—and consequently the comprehension of the successively apprehended [elements] in one glance, is a regress, which annihilates the condition of time in this progress of the Imagination and makes coexistence intuitible.2 It is therefore (since the time-series is a condition of the internal sense and of an intuition) a subjective movement of the Imagination, by which it does violence to the internal sense; this must be the more noticeable, the greater the quantum is which the Imagination comprehends in one intuition. The effort, therefore, to receive in one single intuition a measure for magnitudes that requires an appreciable time to apprehend, is a kind of representation, which, subjectively considered, is contrary to purpose: but objectively, as requisite for the estimation of magnitude, it is purposive. Thus that very violence which is done to the subject through the Imagination is judged as purposive in reference to the whole determination of the mind.
The quality of the feeling of the Sublime is that it is a feeling of pain in reference to the faculty by which we judge aesthetically of an object, which pain, however, is represented at the same time as purposive. This is possible through the fact that the very incapacity in question discovers the consciousness of an unlimited faculty of the same subject, and that the mind can only judge of the latter aesthetically by means of the former.
In the logical estimation of magnitude the impossibility of ever arriving at absolute totality, by means of the progress of the measurement of things of the sensible world in time and space, was cognised as objective, i.e. as an impossibility of thinking the infinite as entirely given; and not as merely subjective or that there was only an incapacity to grasp it. For there we have not to do with the degree of comprehension in an intuition, regarded as a measure, but everything depends on a concept of number. But in aesthetical estimation of magnitude the concept of number must disappear or be changed, and the comprehension of the Imagination in reference to the unit of measure (thus avoiding the concepts of a law of the successive production of concepts of magnitude) is alone purposive for it.—If now a magnitude almost reaches the limit of our faculty of comprehension in an intuition, and yet the Imagination is invited by means of numerical magnitudes (in respect of which we are conscious that our faculty is unbounded) to aesthetical comprehension in a greater unit, then we mentally feel ourselves confined aesthetically within bounds. But nevertheless the pain in regard to the necessary extension of the Imagination for accordance with that which is unbounded in our faculty of Reason, viz. the Idea of the absolute whole, and consequently the very unpurposiveness of the faculty of Imagination for rational Ideas and the arousing of them, are represented as purposive. Thus it is that the aesthetical judgement itself is subjectively purposive for the Reason as the source of Ideas, i.e. as the source of an intellectual comprehension for which all aesthetical comprehension is small; and there accompanies the reception of an object as sublime a pleasure, which is only possible through the medium of a pain.
—Of the Dynamically Sublime in Nature
Of Nature regarded as Might
Might is that which is superior to great hindrances. It is called dominion if it is superior to the resistance of that which itself possesses might. Nature considered in an aesthetical judgement as might that has no dominion over us, is dynamically sublime.
If nature is to be judged by us as dynamically sublime, it must be represented as exciting fear (although it is not true conversely that every object which excites fear is regarded in our aesthetical judgement as sublime). For in aesthetical judgements (without the aid of concepts) superiority to hindrances can only be judged according to the greatness of the resistance. Now that which we are driven to resist is an evil, and, if we do not find our faculties a match for it, is an object of fear. Hence nature can be regarded by the aesthetical Judgement as might, and consequently as dynamically sublime, only so far as it is considered an object of fear.
But we can regard an object as fearful, without being afraid of it; viz. if we judge of it in such a way that we merely think a case in which we would wish to resist it, and yet in which all resistance would be altogether vain. Thus the virtuous man fears God without being afraid of Him; because to wish to resist Him and His commandments, he thinks is a case as to which he need not be anxious. But in every such case that he thinks as not impossible, he cognises Him as fearful.
He who fears can form no judgement about the Sublime in nature; just as he who is seduced by inclination and appetite can form no judgement about the Beautiful. The former flies from the sight of an object which inspires him with awe; and it is impossible to find satisfaction in a terror that is seriously felt. Hence the pleasurableness arising from the cessation of an uneasiness is a state of joy. But this, on account of the deliverance from danger [which is involved], is a state of joy conjoined with the resolve not to expose ourselves to the danger again; we cannot willingly look back upon our sensations [of danger], much less seek the occasion for them again.
Bold, overhanging, and as it were threatening, rocks; clouds piled up in the sky, moving with lightning flashes and thunder peals; volcanoes in all their violence of destruction; hurricanes with their track of devastation; the boundless ocean in a state of tumult; the lofty waterfall of a mighty river, and such like; these exhibit our faculty of resistance as insignificantly small in comparison with their might. But the sight of them is the more attractive, the more fearful it is, provided only that we are in security; and we readily call these objects sublime, because they raise the energies of the soul above their accustomed height, and discover in us a faculty of resistance of a quite different kind, which gives us courage to measure ourselves against the apparent almightiness of nature.
Now, in the immensity of nature, and in the inadequacy of our faculties for adopting a standard proportionate to the aesthetical estimation of the magnitude of its realm, we find our own limitation; although at the same time in our rational faculty we find a different, non-sensuous standard, which has that infinity itself under it as a unit, and in comparison with which everything in nature is small. Thus in our mind we find a superiority to nature even in its immensity. And so also the irresistibility of its might, while making us recognise our own [physical1 ] impotence, considered as beings of nature, discloses to us a faculty of judging independently of, and a superiority over, nature; on which is based a kind of self-preservation, entirely different from that which can be attacked and brought into danger by external nature. Thus, humanity in our person remains unhumiliated, though the individual might have to submit to this dominion. In this way nature is not judged to be sublime in our aesthetical judgements, in so far as it excites fear; but because it calls up that power in us (which is not nature) of regarding as small the things about which we are solicitous (goods, health, and life), and of regarding its might (to which we are no doubt subjected in respect of these things), as nevertheless without any dominion over us and our personality to which we must bow where our highest fundamental propositions, and their assertion or abandonment, are concerned. Therefore nature is here called sublime merely because it elevates the Imagination to a presentation of those cases in which the mind can make felt the proper sublimity of its destination, in comparison with nature itself.
This estimation of ourselves loses nothing through the fact that we must regard ourselves as safe in order to feel this inspiriting satisfaction; and that hence, as there is no seriousness in the danger, there might be also (as might seem to be the case) just as little seriousness in the sublimity of our spiritual faculty. For the satisfaction here concerns only the destination of our faculty which discloses itself in such a case, so far as the tendency to this destination lies in our nature, whilst its development and exercise remain incumbent and obligatory. And in this there is truth, however conscious the man may be of his present actual powerlessness, when he stretches his reflection so far.
No doubt this principle seems to be too farfetched and too subtly reasoned, and consequently seems to go beyond the scope of an aesthetical judgement; but observation of men proves the opposite, and shows that it may lie at the root of the most ordinary judgements, although we are not always conscious of it. For what is that which is, even to the savage, an object of the greatest admiration? It is a man who shrinks from nothing, who fears nothing, and therefore does not yield to danger, but rather goes to face it vigorously with the fullest deliberation. Even in the most highly civilised state this peculiar veneration for the soldier remains, though only under the condition that he exhibit all the virtues of peace, gentleness, compassion, and even a becoming care for his own person; because even by these it is recognised that his mind is unsubdued by danger. Hence whatever disputes there may be about the superiority of the respect which is to be accorded them, in the comparison of a statesman and a general, the aesthetical judgement decides for the latter. War itself, if it is carried on with order and with a sacred respect for the rights of citizens, has something sublime in it, and makes the disposition of the people who carry it on thus, only the more sublime, the more numerous are the dangers to which they are exposed, and in respect of which they behave with courage. On the other hand, a long peace generally brings about a predominant commercial spirit, and along with it, low selfishness, cowardice, and effeminacy, and debases the disposition of the people.1
It appears to conflict with this solution of the concept of the sublime, so far as sublimity is ascribed to might, that we are accustomed to represent God as presenting Himself in His wrath and yet in His sublimity, in the tempest, the storm, the earthquake, etc.; and that it would be foolish and criminal to imagine a superiority of our minds over these works of His, and, as it seems, even over the designs of such might. Hence it would appear that no feeling of the sublimity of our own nature, but rather subjection, abasement, and a feeling of complete powerlessness, is a fitting state of mind before the manifestation of such an object, and this is generally bound up with the Idea of it during natural phenomena of this kind. Generally in religion, prostration, adoration with bent head, with contrite, anxious demeanour and voice, seems to be the only fitting behaviour in presence of the Godhead; and hence most peoples have adopted and still observe it. But this state of mind is far from being necessarily bound up with the Idea of the sublimity of a religion and its object. The man who is actually afraid, because he finds reasons for fear in himself, whilst conscious by his culpable disposition of offending against a Might whose will is irresistible and at the same time just, is not in the frame of mind for admiring the divine greatness. For this a mood of calm contemplation and a quite free judgement are needed. Only if he is conscious of an upright disposition pleasing to God do those operations of might serve to awaken in him the Idea of the sublimity of this Being, for then he recognises in himself a sublimity of disposition conformable to His will; and thus he is raised above the fear of such operations of nature, which he no longer regards as outbursts of His wrath. Even humility, in the shape of a stern judgement upon his own faults,—which otherwise, with a consciousness of good intentions, could be easily palliated from the frailty of human nature,—is a sublime state of mind, consisting in a voluntary subjection of himself to the pain of remorse, in order that its causes may be gradually removed. In this way religion is essentially distinguished from superstition. The latter establishes in the mind, not reverence for the Sublime, but fear and apprehension of the all-powerful Being to whose will the terrified man sees himself subject, without according Him any high esteem. From this nothing can arise but a seeking of favour, and flattery, instead of a religion which consists in a good life.1
Sublimity, therefore, does not reside in anything of nature, but only in our mind, in so far as we can become conscious that we are superior to nature within, and therefore also to nature without us (so far as it influences us). Everything that excites this feeling in us, e.g. the might of nature which calls forth our forces, is called then (although improperly) sublime. Only by supposing this Idea in ourselves, and in reference to it, are we capable of attaining to the Idea of the sublimity of that Being, which produces respect in us, not merely by the might that it displays in nature, but rather by means of the faculty which resides in us of judging it fearlessly and of regarding our destination as sublime in respect of it.
Of the modality of the judgement upon the sublime in nature
There are numberless beautiful things in nature about which we can assume and even expect, without being far mistaken, the harmony of every one’s judgement with our own. But in respect of our judgement upon the sublime in nature, we cannot promise ourselves so easily the accordance of others. For a far greater culture, as well of the aesthetical Judgement as of the cognitive faculties which lie at its basis, seems requisite in order to be able to pass judgement on this pre-eminent quality of natural objects.
That the mind be attuned to feel the sublime postulates a susceptibility of the mind for Ideas. For in the very inadequacy of nature to these latter, and thus only by presupposing them and by straining the Imagination to use nature as a schema for them, is to be found that which is terrible to sensibility and yet is attractive. [It is attractive] because Reason exerts a dominion over sensibility in order to extend it in conformity with its own realm (the practical) and to make it look out into the Infinite, which is for it an abyss. In fact, without development of moral Ideas, that which we, prepared by culture, call sublime, presents itself to the uneducated man merely as terrible. In the indications of the dominion of nature in destruction, and in the great scale of its might, in comparison with which his own is a vanishing quantity, he will only see the misery, danger, and distress which surround the man who is exposed to it. So the good, and indeed intelligent, Savoyard peasant (as Herr von Saussure1 relates) unhesitatingly called all lovers of snow-mountains fools. And who knows, whether he would have been so completely wrong, if Saussure had undertaken the danger to which he exposed himself merely, as most travellers do, from amateur curiosity, or that he might be able to give a pathetic account of them? But his design was the instruction of men; and this excellent man gave the readers of his Travels, soul-stirring sensations such as he himself had, into the bargain.
But although the judgement upon the Sublime in nature needs culture (more than the judgement upon the Beautiful), it is not therefore primarily produced by culture and introduced in a merely conventional way into society. Rather has it root in human nature, even in that which, alike with common Understanding, we can impute to and expect of every one, viz. in the tendency to the feeling for (practical) Ideas, i.e. to the moral feeling.
Hereon is based the necessity of that agreement of the judgement of others about the sublime with our own which we include in the latter. For just as we charge with want of taste the man who is indifferent when passing judgement upon an object of nature that we regard as beautiful; so we say of him who remains unmoved in the presence of that which we judge to be sublime, he has no feeling. But we claim both from every man, and we presuppose them in him if he has any culture at all; only with the difference, that we expect the former directly of every one, because in it the Judgement refers the Imagination merely to the Understanding, the faculty of concepts; but the latter, because in it the Imagination is related to the Reason, the faculty of Ideas, only under a subjective presupposition (which, however, we believe we are authorised in imputing to every one), viz. the presupposition of the moral feeling [in man.1 ] Thus it is that we ascribe necessity to this aesthetical judgement also.
In this modality of aesthetical judgements, viz. in the necessity claimed for them, lies an important moment of the Critique of Judgement. For it enables us to recognise in them an a priori principle, and raises them out of empirical psychology, in which otherwise they would remain buried amongst the feelings of gratification and grief (only with the unmeaning addition of being called finer feelings). Thus it enables us too to place the Judgement among those faculties that have a priori principles at their basis, and so to bring it into Transcendental Philosophy.
GENERAL REMARK UPON THE EXPOSITION OF THE AESTHETICAL REFLECTIVE JUDGEMENT
In reference to the feeling of pleasure an object is to be classified as either pleasant, or beautiful, or sublime, or good (absolutely), (jucundum, pulchrum, sublime, honestum).
The pleasant, as motive of desire, is always of one and the same kind, no matter whence it comes and however specifically different the representation (of sense, and sensation objectively considered) may be. Hence in judging its influence on the mind, account is taken only of the number of its charms (simultaneous and successive), and so only of the mass, as it were, of the pleasant sensation; and this can be made intelligible only by quantity. It has no reference to culture, but belongs to mere enjoyment.— On the other hand, the beautiful requires the representation of a certain quality of the Object, that can be made intelligible and reduced to concepts (although it is not so reduced in an aesthetical judgement); and it cultivates us, in that it teaches us to attend to the purposiveness in the feeling of pleasure.— The sublime consists merely in the relation by which the sensible in the representation of nature is judged available for a possible supersensible use.— The absolutely good, subjectively judged according to the feeling that it inspires (the Object of the moral feeling), as capable of determining the powers of the subject through the representation of an absolutely compelling law, is specially distinguished by the modality of a necessity that rests a priori upon concepts. This necessity involves not merely a claim, but a command for the assent of every one, and belongs in itself to the pure intellectual, rather than to the aesthetical Judgement; and is by a determinant and not a mere reflective judgement ascribed not to Nature but to Freedom. But the determinability of the subject by means of this Idea, and especially of a subject that can feel hindrances in sensibility, and at the same time its superiority to them by their subjugation involving a modification of its state—i.e. the moral feeling,—is yet so far cognate to the aesthetical Judgement and its formal conditions that it can serve to represent the conformity to law of action from duty as aesthetical, i.e. as sublime or even as beautiful, without losing its purity. This would not be so, if we were to put it in natural combination with the feeling of the pleasant.
If we take the result of the foregoing exposition of the two kinds of aesthetical judgements, there arise therefrom the following short explanations:
The Beautiful is what pleases in the mere judgement (and therefore not by the medium of sensation in accordance with a concept of the Understanding). It follows at once from this that it must please apart from all interest.
The Sublime is what pleases immediately through its opposition to the interest of sense.
Both, as explanations of aesthetical universally valid judging, are referred to subjective grounds; in the one case to grounds of sensibility, in favour of the contemplative Understanding; in the other case in opposition to sensibility, but on behalf of the purposes of practical Reason. Both, however, united in the same subject, are purposive in reference to the moral feeling. The Beautiful prepares us to love disinterestedly something, even nature itself; the Sublime prepares us to esteem something highly even in opposition to our own (sensible) interest.
We may describe the Sublime thus: it is an object (of nature) the representation of which determines the mind to think the unattainability of nature regarded as a presentation of Ideas.
Literally taken and logically considered, Ideas cannot be presented. But if we extend our empirical representative faculty (mathematically or dynamically) to the intuition of nature, Reason inevitably intervenes, as the faculty expressing the independence of absolute totality,1 and generates the effort of the mind, vain though it be, to make the representation of the senses adequate to this. This effort,—and the feeling of the unattainability of the Idea by means of the Imagination,—is itself a presentation of the subjective purposiveness of our mind in the employment of the Imagination for its supersensible destination; and forces us, subjectively, to think nature itself in its totality as a presentation of something supersensible, without being able objectively to arrive at this presentation.
For we soon see that nature in space and time entirely lacks the unconditioned, and, consequently, that absolute magnitude, which yet is desired by the most ordinary Reason. It is by this that we are reminded that we only have to do with nature as phenomenon, and that it must be regarded as the mere presentation of a nature in itself (of which Reason has the Idea). But this Idea of the supersensible, which we can no further determine,—so that we cannot know but only think nature as its presentation,—is awakened in us by means of an object, whose aesthetical appreciation strains the Imagination to its utmost bounds, whether of extension (mathematical) or of its might over the mind (dynamical). And this judgement is based upon a feeling of the mind’s destination, which entirely surpasses the realm of the former (i.e. upon the moral feeling), in respect of which the representation of the object is judged as subjectively purposive.
In fact, a feeling for the Sublime in nature cannot well be thought without combining therewith a mental disposition which is akin to the Moral. And although the immediate pleasure in the Beautiful of nature likewise presupposes and cultivates a certain liberality in our mental attitude, i.e. a satisfaction independent of mere sensible enjoyment, yet freedom is thus represented as in play rather than in that law-directed occupation which is the genuine characteristic of human morality, in which Reason must exercise dominion over Sensibility. But in aesthetical judgements upon the Sublime this dominion is represented as exercised by the Imagination, regarded as an instrument of Reason.
The satisfaction in the Sublime of nature is then only negative (whilst that in the Beautiful is positive); viz. a feeling that the Imagination is depriving itself of its freedom, while it is purposively determined according to a different law from that of its empirical employment. It thus acquires an extension and a might greater than it sacrifices,—the ground of which, however, is concealed from itself; whilst yet it feels the sacrifice or the deprivation and, at the same time, the cause to which it is subjected. Astonishment, that borders upon terror, the dread and the holy awe which seizes the observer at the sight of mountain peaks rearing themselves to heaven, deep chasms and streams raging therein, deep-shadowed solitudes that dispose one to melancholy meditations—this, in the safety in which we know ourselves to be, is not actual fear, but only an attempt to feel fear by the aid of the Imagination; that we may feel the might of this faculty in combining with the mind’s repose the mental movement thereby excited, and being thus superior to internal nature,—and therefore to external,—so far as this can have any influence on our feeling of well-being. For the Imagination by the laws of Association makes our state of contentment dependent on physical [causes]; but it also, by the principles of the Schematism of the Judgement (being so far, therefore, ranked under freedom), is the instrument of Reason and its Ideas, and, as such, has might to maintain our independence of natural influences, to regard as small what in reference to them is great, and so to place the absolutely great only in the proper destination of the subject. The raising of this reflection of the aesthetical Judgement so as to be adequate to Reason (though without a definite concept of Reason) represents the object as subjectively purposive, even by the objective want of accordance between the Imagination in its greatest extension and the Reason (as the faculty of Ideas).
We must here, generally, attend to what has been already noted, that in the Transcendental Aesthetic of Judgement we must speak solely of pure aesthetical judgements; consequently our examples are not to be taken from such beautiful or sublime objects of Nature as presuppose the concept of a purpose. For, if so, the purposiveness would be either teleological, or would be based on mere sensations of an object (gratification or grief); and thus would be in the former case not aesthetical, in the latter not merely formal. If then we call the sight of the starry heaven sublime, we must not place at the basis of our judgement concepts of worlds inhabited by rational beings, and regard the bright points, with which we see the space above us filled, as their suns moving in circles purposively fixed with reference to them; but we must regard it, just as we see it, as a distant, all-embracing vault. Only under such a representation can we range that sublimity which a pure aesthetical judgement ascribes to this object. And in the same way, if we are to call the sight of the ocean sublime, we must not think of it as we [ordinarily] do, endowed as we are with all kinds of knowledge (not contained, however, in the immediate intuition). For example, we sometimes think of the ocean as a vast kingdom of aquatic creatures; or as the great source of those vapours that fill the air with clouds for the benefit of the land; or again as an element which, though dividing continents from each other, yet promotes the greatest communication between them: but these furnish merely teleological judgements. To call the ocean sublime we must regard it as poets do, merely by what strikes the eye; if it is at rest, as a clear mirror of water only bounded by the heaven; if it is restless, as an abyss threatening to overwhelm everything. The like is to be said of the Sublime and Beautiful in the human figure. We must not regard as the determining grounds of our judgement the concepts of the purposes which all our limbs serve, and we must not allow this coincidence to influence our aesthetical judgement (for then it would no longer be pure); although it is certainly a necessary condition of aesthetical satisfaction that there should be no conflict between them. Aesthetical purposiveness is the conformity to law of the Judgement in its freedom. The satisfaction in the object depends on the relation in which we wish to place the Imagination; always provided that it by itself entertains the mind in free occupation. If, on the other hand, the judgement be determined by anything else,—whether sensation or concept,—although it may be conformable to law, it cannot be the act of a free Judgement.
If then we speak of intellectual beauty or sublimity, these expressions are, first, not quite accurate, because beauty and sublimity are aesthetical modes of representation, which would not be found in us at all if we were pure intelligences (or even regarded ourselves as such in thought). Secondly, although both, as objects of an intellectual (moral) satisfaction, are so far compatible with aesthetical satisfaction that they rest upon no interest, yet they are difficult to unite with it, because they are meant to produce an interest. This, if its presentation is to harmonise with the satisfaction in the aesthetical judgement, could only arise by means of a sensible interest that we combine with it in the presentation; and thus damage would be done to the intellectual purposiveness, and it would lose its purity.
The object of a pure and unconditioned intellectual satisfaction is the Moral Law in that might which it exercises in us over all mental motives that precede it. This might only makes itself aesthetically known to us through sacrifices (which causing a feeling of deprivation, though on behalf of internal freedom, in return discloses in us an unfathomable depth of this supersensible faculty, with consequences extending beyond our ken); thus the satisfaction on the aesthetical side (in relation to sensibility) is negative, i.e. against this interest, but regarded from the intellectual side it is positive and combined with an interest. Hence it follows that the intellectual, in itself purposive, (moral) good, aesthetically judged, must be represented as sublime rather than beautiful, so that it rather awakens the feeling of respect (which disdains charm) than that of love and familiar inclination; for human nature does not attach itself to this good spontaneously, but only by the authority which Reason exercises over Sensibility. Conversely also, that which we call sublime in nature, whether external or internal (e.g. certain affections), is only represented as a might in the mind to overcome [certain]1 hindrances of the Sensibility by means of moral fundamental propositions, and only thus does it interest.
I will dwell a moment on this latter point. The Idea of the Good conjoined with affection is called enthusiasm. This state of mind seems to be sublime, to the extent that we commonly assert that nothing great could be done without it. Now every affection2 is blind, either in the choice of its purpose, or, if this be supplied by Reason, in its accomplishment; for it is a mental movement which makes it impossible to exercise a free deliberation about fundamental propositions so as to determine ourselves thereby. It can therefore in no way deserve the approval of the Reason. Nevertheless, aesthetically, enthusiasm is sublime, because it is a tension of forces produced by Ideas, which give an impulse to the mind, that operates far more powerfully and lastingly than the impulse arising from sensible representations. But (which seems strange) the absence of affection (apatheia, phlegma in significatu bono) in a mind that vigorously follows its unalterable principles is sublime, and in a far preferable way, because it has also on its side the satisfaction of pure Reason.1 It is only a mental state of this kind that is called noble; and this expression is subsequently applied to things, e.g. a building, a garment, literary style, bodily presence, etc., when these do not so much arouse astonishment (the affection produced by the representation of novelty exceeding our expectations), as admiration (astonishment that does not cease when the novelty disappears); and this is the case when Ideas agree in their presentation undesignedly and artlessly with the aesthetical satisfaction.
Every affection of the strenuous kind (viz. that excites the consciousness of our power to overcome every obstacle—animi strenui) is aesthetically sublime, e.g. wrath, even despair (i.e. the despair of indignation, not of faintheartedness). But affections of the languid kind (which make the very effort of resistance an object of pain—animum languidum) have nothing noble in themselves, but they may be reckoned under the sensuously beautiful. Emotions, which may rise to the strength of affections, are very different. We have both spirited and tender emotions. The latter, if they rise to the height of affections, are worthless; the propensity to them is called sentimentality. A sympathetic grief that will not admit of consolation, or one referring to imaginary evils to which we deliberately surrender ourselves—being deceived by fancy—as if they were actual, indicates and produces a tender,2 though weak, soul—which shows a beautiful side and which can be called fanciful, though not enthusiastic. Romances, lacrymose plays, shallow moral precepts, which toy with (falsely) so-called moral dispositions, but in fact make the heart languid, insensible to the severe precept of duty, and incapable of all respect for the worth of humanity in our own person, and for the rights of men (a very different thing from their happiness), and in general incapable of all steady principle; even a religious discourse,1 which recommends a cringing, abject seeking of favour and ingratiation of ourselves, which proposes the abandonment of all confidence in our own faculties in opposition to the evil within us, instead of a sturdy resolution to endeavour to overcome our inclinations by means of those powers which with all our frailty yet remain to us; that false humility which sets the only way of pleasing the Supreme Being in self-depreciation, in whining hypocritical repentance and in a mere passive state of mind—these are not compatible with any frame of mind that can be counted beautiful, still less with one which is to be counted sublime.
But even stormy movements of mind which may be connected under the name of edification with Ideas of religion, or—as merely belonging to culture—with Ideas containing a social interest, can in no way, however they strain the Imagination, lay claim to the honour of being sublime presentations, unless they leave after them a mental mood which, although only indirectly, has influence upon the mind’s consciousness of its strength, and its resolution in reference to that which involves pure intellectual purposiveness (the supersensible). For otherwise all these emotions belong only to motion, which one would fain enjoy for the sake of health. The pleasant exhaustion, consequent upon such disturbance produced by the play of the affections, is an enjoyment of our well-being arising from the restored equilibrium of the various vital forces. This in the end amounts to the same thing as that state which Eastern voluptuaries find so delightful, when they get their bodies as it were kneaded and all their muscles and joints softly pressed and bent; only that in this case the motive principle is for the most part external, in the other case it is altogether internal. Many a man believes himself to be edified by a sermon, when indeed there is no edification at all (no system of good maxims); or to be improved by a tragedy, when he is only glad at his ennui being happily dispelled. So the Sublime must always have reference to the disposition, i.e. to the maxims which furnish to the intellectual [part] and to the Ideas of Reason a superiority over sensibility.
We need not fear that the feeling of the sublime will lose by so abstract a mode of presentation,—which is quite negative in respect of what is sensible,—for the Imagination, although it finds nothing beyond the sensible to which it can attach itself, yet feels itself unbounded by this removal of its limitations; and thus that very abstraction is a presentation of the Infinite, which can be nothing but a mere negative presentation, but which yet expands the soul. Perhaps there is no sublimer passage in the Jewish Law than the command, Thou shalt not make to thyself any graven image, nor the likeness of anything which is in heaven or on the earth or under the earth, etc. This command alone can explain the enthusiasm that the Jewish people in their moral period felt for their religion, when they compared themselves with other peoples; or explain the pride which Mahommedanism inspires. The same is true of the moral law and of the tendency to morality in us. It is quite erroneous to fear that if we deprive this [tendency] of all that can recommend it to sense it will only involve a cold lifeless assent and no moving force or emotion. It is quite the other way, for where the senses see nothing more before them, and the unmistakable and indelible Idea of morality remains, it would be rather necessary to moderate the impetus of an unbounded Imagination, to prevent it from rising to enthusiasm, than through fear of the powerlessness of these Ideas to seek aid for them in images and childish ritual. Thus governments have willingly allowed religion to be abundantly provided with the latter accessories; and seeking thereby to relieve their subjects of trouble, they have also sought to deprive them of the faculty of extending their spiritual powers beyond the limits that are arbitrarily assigned to them, and by means of which they can be the more easily treated as mere passive1 beings.
This pure, elevating, merely negative presentation of morality brings with it, on the other hand, no danger of fanaticism, which is a delusion that we can will ourselves to see something beyond all bounds of sensibility, i.e. to dream in accordance with fundamental propositions (or to go mad with Reason); and this is so just because this presentation is merely negative. For the inscrutableness of the Idea of Freedom quite cuts it off from any positive presentation; but the moral law is in itself sufficiently and originally determinant in us, so that it does not permit us to cast a glance at any ground of determination external to itself. If enthusiasm is comparable to madness, fanaticism is comparable to monomania; of which the latter is least of all compatible with the sublime, because in its detail it is ridiculous. In enthusiasm, regarded as an affection, the Imagination is without bridle; in fanaticism, regarded as an inveterate, brooding passion, it is without rule. The first is a transitory accident which sometimes befalls the soundest Understanding; the second is a disease which unsettles it.
Simplicity (purposiveness without art) is as it were the style of Nature in the sublime, and so also of Morality which is a second (supersensible) nature; of which we only know the laws without being able to reach by intuition that supersensible faculty in ourselves which contains the ground of the legislation.
Now the satisfaction in the Beautiful, like that in the Sublime, is not alone distinguishable from other aesthetical judgements by its universal communicability, but also because, through this very property, it acquires an interest in reference to society (in which this communication is possible). We must, however, remark that separation from all society is regarded as sublime, if it rests upon Ideas that overlook all sensible interest. To be sufficient for oneself, and consequently to have no need of society, without at the same time being unsociable, i.e. without flying from it, is something bordering on the sublime; as is any dispensing with wants. On the other hand, to fly from men from misanthropy, because we bear ill-will to them, or from anthropophoby (shyness), because we fear them as foes, is partly hateful, partly contemptible. There is indeed a misanthropy (very improperly so-called), the tendency to which frequently appears with old age in many right-thinking men; which is philanthropic enough as far as goodwill to men is concerned, but which through long and sad experience is far removed from satisfaction with men. Evidence of this is afforded by the propensity to solitude, the fantastic wish for a secluded country seat, or (in the case of young persons) by the dream of the happiness of passing one’s life with a little family upon some island unknown to the rest of the world; a dream of which story-tellers or writers of Robinsonades know how to make good use. Falsehood, ingratitude, injustice, the childishness of the purposes regarded by ourselves as important and great, in the pursuit of which men inflict upon each other all imaginable evils, are so contradictory to the Idea of what men might be if they would, and conflict so with our lively wish to see them better, that, in order that we may not hate them (since we cannot love them), the renunciation of all social joys seems but a small sacrifice. This sadness—not the sadness (of which sympathy is the cause) for the evils which fate brings upon others,—but for those things which men do to one another (which depends upon an antipathy in fundamental propositions), is sublime, because it rests upon Ideas, whilst the former can only count as beautiful.— The brilliant and thorough Saussure,1 in his account of his Alpine travels, says of one of the Savoy mountains, called Bonhomme, “There reigns there a certain insipid sadness.” He therefore recognised an interesting sadness, that the sight of a solitude might inspire, to which men might wish to transport themselves that they might neither hear nor experience any more of the world; which, however, would not be quite so inhospitable that it would offer only an extremely painful retreat.— I make this remark solely with the design of indicating again that even depression (not dejected sadness) may be counted among the sturdy affections, if it has its ground in moral Ideas. But if it is grounded on sympathy and, as such, is amiable, it belongs merely to the languid affections. [I make this remark] to call attention to the state of mind which is sublime only in the first case.
We can now compare the above Transcendental Exposition of aesthetical judgements with the Physiological worked out by Burke and by many clear-headed men among us, in order to see whither a merely empirical exposition of the Sublime and Beautiful leads. Burke, who deserves to be regarded as the most important author who adopts this mode of treatment, infers by this method “that the feeling of the Sublime rests on the impulse towards self-preservation and on fear, i.e. on a pain, which not going so far as actually to derange the parts of the body, produces movements which, since they purify the finer or grosser vessels of dangerous or troublesome stoppages, are capable of exciting pleasant sensations; not indeed pleasure, but a kind of satisfying horror, a certain tranquillity tinged with terror.”1 The Beautiful, which he founded on love (which he wishes to keep quite separate from desire), he reduces to “the relaxing, slackening, and enervating of the fibres of the body, and a consequent weakening, languor, and exhaustion, a fainting, dissolving, and melting away for enjoyment.”1 And he confirms this explanation not only by cases in which the Imagination in combination with the Understanding can excite in us the feeling of the Beautiful or of the Sublime, but by cases in which it is combined with sensation.— As psychological observations, these analyses of the phenomena of our mind are exceedingly beautiful, and afford rich material for the favourite investigations of empirical anthropology. It is also not to be denied that all representations in us, whether, objectively viewed, they are merely sensible or are quite intellectual, may yet subjectively be united to gratification or grief, however imperceptible either may be; because they all affect the feeling of life, and none of them, so far as it is a modification of the subject, can be indifferent. And so, as Epicurus maintained, all gratification or grief may ultimately be corporeal, whether it arises from the representations of the Imagination or the Understanding; because life without a feeling of bodily organs would be merely a consciousness of existence, without any feeling of well-being or the reverse, i.e. of the furthering or the checking of the vital powers. For the mind is by itself alone life (the principle of life), and hindrances or furtherances must be sought outside it and yet in the man, consequently in union with his body.
If, however, we place the satisfaction in the object altogether in the fact that it gratifies us by charm or emotion, we must not assume that any other man agrees with the aesthetical judgement which we pass; for as to these each one rightly consults his own individual sensibility. But in that case all censorship of taste would disappear, except indeed the example afforded by the accidental agreement of others in their judgements were regarded as commanding our assent; and this principle we should probably resist, and should appeal to the natural right of subjecting the judgement, which rests on the immediate feeling of our own well-being, to our own sense and not to that of any other man.
If then the judgement of taste is not to be valid merely egoistically, but according to its inner nature,—i.e. on account of itself and not on account of the examples that others give of their taste,—to be necessarily valid pluralistically, if we regard it as a judgement which may exact the adhesion of every one; then there must lie at its basis some a priori principle (whether objective or subjective) to which we can never attain by seeking out the empirical laws of mental changes. For these only enable us to know how we judge, but do not prescribe to us how we ought to judge. They do not supply an unconditioned command,1 such as judgements of taste presuppose, inasmuch as they require that the satisfaction be immediately connected with the representation. Thus the empirical exposition of aesthetical judgements may be a beginning of a collection of materials for a higher investigation; but a transcendental discussion of this faculty is also possible, and is an essential part of the Critique of Taste. For if it had not a priori principles, it could not possibly pass sentence on the judgements of others, and it could not approve or blame them with any appearance of right.
The remaining part of the Analytic of the Aesthetical Judgement contains first the
DEDUCTION OF [PURE1 ] AESTHETICAL JUDGEMENTS
The Deduction of aesthetical judgements on the objects of nature must not be directed to what we call Sublime in nature, but only to the Beautiful.
The claim of an aesthetical judgement to universal validity for every subject requires, as a judgement resting on some a priori principle, a Deduction (or legitimatising of its pretensions) in addition to its Exposition; if it is concerned with satisfaction or dissatisfaction in the form of the Object. Of this kind are judgements of taste about the Beautiful in Nature. For in that case the purposiveness has its ground in the Object and in its figure, although it does not indicate the reference of this to other objects according to concepts (for a cognitive judgement), but merely has to do in general with the apprehension of this form, so far as it shows itself conformable in the mind to the faculty of concepts and to that of their presentation (which is identical with that of apprehension). We can thus, in respect of the Beautiful in nature, suggest many questions touching the cause of this purposiveness of their forms, e.g. to explain why nature has scattered abroad beauty with such profusion, even in the depth of the ocean, where the human eye (for which alone that purposiveness exists) but seldom penetrates.
But the Sublime in nature—if we are passing upon it a pure aesthetical judgement, not mixed up with any concepts of perfection or objective purposiveness, in which case it would be a teleological judgement—may be regarded as quite formless or devoid of figure, and yet as the object of a pure satisfaction; and it may display a subjective purposiveness in the given representation. And we ask if, for an aesthetical judgement of this kind,—over and above the Exposition of what is thought in it,—a Deduction also of its claim to any (subjective) a priori principle may be demanded?
To which we may answer that the Sublime in nature is improperly so called, and that properly speaking the word should only be applied to a state of mind, or rather to its foundation in human nature. The apprehension of an otherwise formless and unpurposive object gives merely the occasion, through which we become conscious of such a state; the object is thus employed as subjectively purposive, but is not judged as such in itself and on account of its form (it is, as it were, a species finalis accepta, non data). Hence our Exposition of judgements concerning the Sublime in nature was at the same time their Deduction. For when we analysed the reflection of the Judgement in such acts, we found in them a purposive relation of the cognitive faculties, which must be ascribed ultimately to the faculty of purposes (the will), and hence is itself purposive a priori. This then immediately involves the Deduction, i.e. the justification of the claim of such a judgement to universal and necessary validity.
We shall therefore only have to seek for the deduction of judgements of Taste, i.e. of judgements about the Beauty of natural things; we shall thus treat satisfactorily the problem with which the whole faculty of aesthetical Judgement is concerned.
Of the method of deduction of judgements of Taste
A Deduction, i.e. the guarantee of the legitimacy of a class of judgements, is only obligatory if the judgement lays claim to necessity. This it does, if it demands even subjective universality or the agreement of every one, although it is not a judgement of cognition but only one of pleasure or pain in a given object; i.e. it assumes a subjective purposiveness thoroughly valid for every one, which must not be based on any concept of the thing, because the judgement is one of taste.
We have before us in the latter case no cognitive judgement—neither a theoretical one based on the concept of a Nature in general formed by the Understanding, nor a (pure) practical one based on the Idea of Freedom, as given a priori by Reason. Therefore we have to justify a priori the validity neither of a judgement which represents what a thing is, nor of one which prescribes that I ought to do something in order to produce it. We have merely to prove for the Judgement generally the universal validity of a singular judgement that expresses the subjective purposiveness of an empirical representation of the form of an object; in order to explain how it is possible that a thing can please in the mere act of judging it (without sensation or concept), and how the satisfaction of one man can be proclaimed as a rule for every other; just as the act of judging of an object for the sake of a cognition in general has universal rules.
If now this universal validity is not to be based on any collecting of the suffrages of others, or on any questioning of them as to the kind of sensations they have, but is to rest, as it were, on an autonomy of the judging subject in respect of the feeling of pleasure (in the given representation), i.e. on his own taste, and yet is not to be derived from concepts; then a judgement like this—such as the judgement of taste is, in fact—has a twofold logical peculiarity. First, there is its a priori universal validity, which is not a logical universality in accordance with concepts, but the universality of a singular judgement. Secondly, it has a necessity (which must always rest on a priori grounds), which however does not depend on any a priori grounds of proof, through the representation of which the assent that every one concedes to the judgement of taste could be exacted.
The solution of these logical peculiarities, wherein a judgement of taste is different from all cognitive judgements—if we at the outset abstract from all content, viz. from the feeling of pleasure, and merely compare the aesthetical form with the form of objective judgements as logic prescribes it—is sufficient by itself for the deduction of this singular faculty. We shall then represent and elucidate by examples these characteristic properties of taste.
First peculiarity of the judgement of Taste
The judgement of taste determines its object in respect of satisfaction (in its beauty) with an accompanying claim for the assent of every one, just as if it were objective.
To say that “this flower is beautiful” is the same as to assert its proper claim to satisfy every one. By the pleasantness of its smell it has no such claim. A smell which one man enjoys gives another a headache. Now what are we to presume from this except that beauty is to be regarded as a property of the flower itself, which does not accommodate itself to any diversity of persons or of their sensitive organs, but to which these must accommodate themselves if they are to pass any judgement upon it? And yet this is not so. For a judgement of taste consists in calling a thing beautiful just because of that characteristic in respect of which it accommodates itself to our mode of apprehension.
Moreover, it is required of every judgement which is to prove the taste of the subject, that the subject shall judge by himself, without needing to grope about empirically among the judgements of others, and acquaint himself previously as to their satisfaction or dissatisfaction with the same object; thus his judgement should be pronounced a priori, and not be a mere imitation because the thing actually gives universal pleasure. One would think, however, that an a priori judgement must contain a concept of the Object, for the cognition of which it contains the principle; but the judgement of taste is not based upon concepts at all, and is in general not a cognitive but an aesthetical judgement.
Thus a young poet does not permit himself to be dissuaded from his conviction that his poem is beautiful, by the judgement of the public or of his friends; and if he gives ear to them he does so, not because he now judges differently, but because, although (in regard to him) the whole public has false taste, in his desire for applause he finds reason for accommodating himself to the common error (even against his judgement). It is only at a later time, when his Judgement has been sharpened by exercise, that he voluntarily departs from his former judgements; just as he proceeds with those of his judgements which rest upon Reason. Taste [merely]1 claims autonomy. To make the judgements of others the determining grounds of his own would be heteronomy.
That we, and rightly, recommend the works of the ancients as models and call their authors classical, thus forming among writers a kind of noble class who give laws to the people by their example, seems to indicate a posteriori sources of taste, and to contradict the autonomy of taste in every subject. But we might just as well say that the old mathematicians,—who are regarded up to the present day as supplying models not easily to be dispensed with for the supreme profundity and elegance of their synthetical methods,—prove that our Reason is only imitative, and that we have not the faculty of producing from it in combination with intuition rigid proofs by means of the construction of concepts.2 There is no use of our powers, however free, no use of Reason itself (which must create all its judgements a priori from common sources) which would not give rise to faulty attempts, if every subject had always to begin anew from the rude basis of his natural state, and if others had not preceded him with their attempts. Not that these make mere imitators of those who come after them, but rather by their procedure they put others on the track of seeking in themselves principles and so of pursuing their own course, often a better one. Even in religion—where certainly every one has to derive the rule of his conduct from himself, because he remains responsible for it and cannot shift the blame of his transgressions upon others, whether his teachers or his predecessors—there is never as much accomplished by means of universal precepts, either obtained from priests or philosophers or got from oneself, as by means of an example of virtue or holiness which, exhibited in history, does not dispense with the autonomy of virtue based on the proper and original Idea of morality (a priori), or change it into a mechanical imitation. Following, involving something precedent, not “imitation,” is the right expression for all influence that the products of an exemplary author may have upon others. And this only means that we draw from the same sources as our predecessor did, and learn from him only the way to avail ourselves of them. But of all faculties and talents Taste, because its judgement is not determinable by concepts and precepts, is just that one which most needs examples of what has in the progress of culture received the longest approval; that it may not become again uncivilised and return to the crudeness of its first essays.
Second peculiarity of the judgement of Taste
The judgement of taste is not determinable by grounds of proof, just as if it were merely subjective.
If a man, in the first place, does not find a building, a prospect, or a poem beautiful, a hundred voices all highly praising it will not force his inmost agreement. He may indeed feign that it pleases him in order that he may not be regarded as devoid of taste; he may even begin to doubt whether he has formed his taste on a knowledge of a sufficient number of objects of a certain kind (just as one, who believes that he recognises in the distance as a forest, something which all others regard as a town, doubts the judgement of his own sight). But he clearly sees that the agreement of others gives no valid proof of the judgement about beauty. Others might perhaps see and observe for him; and what many have seen in one way, although he believes that he has seen it differently, might serve him as an adequate ground of proof of a theoretical and consequently logical judgement. But that a thing has pleased others could never serve as the basis of an aesthetical judgement. A judgement of others which is unfavourable to ours may indeed rightly make us scrutinise our own with care, but it can never convince us of its incorrectness. There is therefore no empirical ground of proof which would force a judgement of taste upon any one.
Still less, in the second place, can an a priori proof determine according to definite rules a judgement about beauty. If a man reads me a poem of his or brings me to a play, which does not after all suit my taste, he may bring forward in proof of the beauty of his poem Batteux1 or Lessing or still more ancient and famous critics of taste, and all the rules laid down by them; certain passages which displease me may agree very well with rules of beauty (as they have been put forth by these writers and are universally recognised): but I stop my ears, I will listen to no arguments and no reasoning; and I will rather assume that these rules of the critics are false, or at least that they do not apply to the case in question, than admit that my judgement should be determined by grounds of proof a priori. For it is to be a judgement of Taste and not of Understanding or Reason.
It seems that this is one of the chief reasons why this aesthetical faculty of judgement has been given the name of Taste. For though a man enumerate to me all the ingredients of a dish, and remark that each is separately pleasant to me and further extol with justice the wholesomeness of this particular food—yet am I deaf to all these reasons; I try the dish with my tongue and my palate, and thereafter (and not according to universal principles) do I pass my judgement.
In fact the judgement of Taste always takes the form of a singular judgement about an Object. The Understanding can form a universal judgement by comparing the Object in point of the satisfaction it affords with the judgement of others upon it: e.g. “all tulips are beautiful.” But then this is not a judgement of taste but a logical judgement, which takes the relation of an Object to taste as the predicate of things of a certain species. That judgement, however, in which I find an individual given tulip beautiful, i.e. in which I find my satisfaction in it to be universally valid, is alone a judgement of taste. Its peculiarity consists in the fact that, although it has merely subjective validity, it claims the assent of all subjects, exactly as it would do if it were an objective judgement resting on grounds of knowledge, that could be established by a proof.
There is no objective principle of Taste possible
By a principle of taste I mean a principle under the condition of which we could subsume the concept of an object and thus infer by means of a syllogism that the object is beautiful. But that is absolutely impossible. For I must feel the pleasure immediately in the representation of the object, and of that I can be persuaded by no grounds of proof whatever. Although, as Hume says,1 all critics can reason more plausibly than cooks, yet the same fate awaits them. They cannot expect the determining ground of their judgement [to be derived] from the force of the proofs, but only from the reflection of the subject upon its own proper state (of pleasure or pain), all precepts and rules being rejected.
But although critics can and ought to pursue their reasonings so that our judgements of taste may be corrected and extended, it is not with a view to set forth the determining ground of this kind of aesthetical judgements in a universally applicable formula, which is impossible; but rather to investigate the cognitive faculties and their exercise in these judgements, and to explain by examples the reciprocal subjective purposiveness, the form of which, as has been shown above, in a given representation, constitutes the beauty of the object. Therefore the Critique of Taste is only subjective as regards the representation through which an Object is given to us; viz. it is the art or science of reducing to rules the reciprocal relation between the Understanding and the Imagination in the given representation (without reference to any preceding sensation or concept). That is, it is the art or science of reducing to rules their accordance or discordance, and of determining them with regard to their conditions. it is an art, if it only shows this by examples; it is a science if it derives the possibility of such judgements from the nature of these faculties, as cognitive faculties in general. We have here, in Transcendental Criticism, only to do with the latter. It should develop and justify the subjective principle of taste, as an a priori principle of the Judgement. This Critique, as an art, merely seeks to apply, in the judging of objects, the physiological (here psychological), and therefore empirical rules, according to which taste actually proceeds (without taking any account of their possibility); and it criticises the products of beautiful art just as, regarded as a science, it criticises the faculty by which they are judged.
The principle of Taste is the subjective principle of Judgement in general
The judgement of taste is distinguished from a logical judgement in this, that the latter subsumes a representation under the concept of the Object, while the former does not subsume it under any concept; because otherwise the necessary universal agreement [in these judgements] would be capable of being enforced by proofs. Nevertheless it is like the latter in this, that it claims universality and necessity, though not according to concepts of the Object, and consequently a merely subjective necessity. Now, because the concepts in a judgement constitute its content (what belongs to the cognition of the Object), but the judgement of taste is not determinable by concepts, it is based only on the subjective formal condition of a judgement in general. The subjective condition of all judgements is the faculty of Judgement itself. This when used with reference to a representation by which an object is given, requires the accordance of two representative powers: viz. Imagination (for the intuition and comprehension of the manifold) and Understanding (for the concept as a representation of the unity of this comprehension). Now because no concept of the Object lies here at the basis of the judgement, it can only consist in the subsumption of the Imagination itself (in the case of a representation by which an object is given) under the conditions that the Understanding requires to pass from intuition to concepts. That is, because the freedom of the Imagination consists in the fact that it schematises without any concept, the judgement of taste must rest on a mere sensation of the reciprocal activity of the Imagination in its freedom and the Understanding with its conformity to law. It must therefore rest on a feeling, which makes us judge the object by the purposiveness of the representation (by which an object is given) in respect of the furtherance of the cognitive faculty in its free play. Taste, then, as subjective Judgement, contains a principle of subsumption, not of intuitions under concepts, but of the faculty of intuitions or presentations (i.e. the Imagination) under the faculty of the concepts (i.e. the Understanding); so far as the former in its freedom harmonises with the latter in its conformity to law.
In order to discover this ground of legitimacy by a Deduction of the judgements of taste we can only take as a clue the formal peculiarities of this kind of judgements, and consequently can only consider their logical form.
Of the problem of a Deduction of judgements of Taste
The concept of an Object in general can immediately be combined with the perception of an object, containing its empirical predicates, so as to form a cognitive judgement; and it is thus that a judgement of experience is produced.1 At the basis of this lie a priori concepts of the synthetical unity of the manifold of intuition, by which the manifold is thought as the determination of an Object. These concepts (the Categories) require a Deduction, which is given in the Critique of pure Reason; and by it we can get the solution of the problem, how are synthetical a priori cognitive judgements possible? This problem concerns then the a priori principles of the pure Understanding and its theoretical judgements.
But with a perception there can also be combined a feeling of pleasure (or pain) and a satisfaction, that accompanies the representation of the Object and serves instead of its predicate; thus there can result an aesthetical non-cognitive judgement. At the basis of such a judgement—if it is not a mere judgement of sensation but a formal judgement of reflection, which imputes the same satisfaction necessarily to every one,—must lie some a priori principle; which may be merely subjective (if an objective one should prove impossible for judgements of this kind), but also as such may need a Deduction, that we may thereby comprehend how an aesthetical judgement can lay claim to necessity. On this is founded the problem with which we are now occupied, how are judgements of taste possible? This problem then has to do with the a priori principles of the pure faculty of Judgement in aesthetical judgements; i.e. judgements in which it has not (as in theoretical ones) merely to subsume under objective concepts of Understanding, and in which it is subject to a law, but in which it is, itself, subjectively, both object and law.
This problem then may be thus represented: how is a judgement possible, in which merely from our own feeling of pleasure in an object, independently of its concept, we judge that this pleasure attaches to the representation of the same Object in every other subject, and that a priori without waiting for the accordance of others?
It is easy to see that judgements of taste are synthetical, because they go beyond the concept and even beyond the intuition of the Object, and add to that intuition as predicate something that is not a cognition, viz. a feeling of pleasure (or pain). Although the predicate (of the personal pleasure bound up with the representation) is empirical, nevertheless, as concerns the required assent of every one the judgements are a priori, or desire to be regarded as such; and this is already involved in the expressions of this claim. Thus this problem of the Critique of Judgement belongs to the general problem of transcendental philosophy, how are synthetical a priori judgements possible?
What is properly asserted a priori of an object in a judgement of Taste
That the representation of an object is immediately bound up with pleasure can only be internally perceived, and if we did not wish to indicate anything more than this it would give a merely empirical judgement. For I cannot combine a definite feeling (of pleasure or pain) with any representation except where there is at bottom an a priori principle in the Reason determining the Will. In that case the pleasure (in the moral feeling) is the consequence of the principle, but cannot be compared with the pleasure in taste, because it requires a definite concept of a law; and the latter pleasure, on the contrary, must be bound up with the mere act of judging, prior to all concepts. Hence also all judgements of taste are singular judgements, because they do not combine their predicate of satisfaction with a concept, but with a given individual empirical representation.
And so it is not the pleasure, but the universal validity of this pleasure, perceived as mentally bound up with the mere judgement upon an object, which is represented a priori in a judgement of taste as a universal rule for the Judgement and valid for every one. It is an empirical judgement [to say] that I perceive and judge an object with pleasure. But it is an a priori judgement [to say] that I find it beautiful, i.e. I attribute this satisfaction necessarily to every one.
Deduction of judgements of Taste
If it be admitted that in a pure judgement of taste the satisfaction in the object is combined with the mere act of judging its form, it is nothing else than its subjective purposiveness for the Judgement which we feel to be mentally combined with the representation of the object. The Judgement, as regards the formal rules of its action, apart from all matter (whether sensation or concept), can only be directed to the subjective conditions of its employment in general (it is applied1 neither to a particular mode of sense nor to a particular concept of the Understanding); and consequently to that subjective [element] which we can presuppose in all men (as requisite for possible cognition in general). Thus the agreement of a representation with these conditions of the Judgement must be capable of being assumed as valid a priori for every one. I.e. we may rightly impute to every one the pleasure or the subjective purposiveness of the representation for the relation between the cognitive faculties in the act of judging a sensible object in general.1
This Deduction is thus easy, because it has no need to justify the objective reality of any concept, for Beauty is not a concept of the Object and the judgement of taste is not cognitive. It only maintains that we are justified in presupposing universally in every man those subjective conditions of the Judgement which we find in ourselves; and further, that we have rightly subsumed the given Object under these conditions. The latter has indeed unavoidable difficulties which do not beset the logical Judgement. There we subsume under concepts, but in the aesthetical Judgement under a merely sensible relation between the Imagination and Understanding mutually harmonising in the representation of the form of the Object,—in which case the subsumption may easily be fallacious. Yet the legitimacy of the claim of the Judgement in counting upon universal assent is not thus annulled; it reduces itself merely to the correctness of the principle of judging validly for every one from subjective grounds. For as to the difficulty or doubt concerning the correctness of the subsumption under that principle, it makes the legitimacy of the claim of an aesthetical judgement in general to such validity and the principle of the same, as little doubtful, as the like faulty (though neither so commonly nor readily faulty) subsumption of the logical Judgement under its principle can make the latter, an objective principle, doubtful. But if the question were to be, how is it possible to assume nature a priori to be a complex of objects of taste? this problem has reference to Teleology, because it must be regarded as a purpose of nature essentially belonging to its concept to exhibit forms that are purposive for our Judgement. But the correctness of this latter assumption is very doubtful, whereas the efficacy of natural beauties is patent to experience.
Of the communicability of a Sensation
If sensation, as the real in perception, is related to knowledge, it is called sensation of the senses; and its specific quality may be represented as generally communicable in a uniform way, if we assume that every one has senses like our own. But this cannot at all be presupposed of any single sensation. To a man who is deficient in the sense of smell, this kind of sensation cannot be communicated; and even if it is not wholly deficient, we cannot be certain that he gets exactly the same sensation from a flower that we have. But even more must we represent men as differing in respect of the pleasantness or unpleasantness involved in the sensation from the same object of sense; and it is absolutely not to be required that every man should take pleasure in the same objects. Pleasure of this kind, because it comes into the mind through the senses, in respect of which therefore we are passive, we may call the pleasure of enjoyment.
Satisfaction in an action because of its moral character is on the other hand not the pleasure of enjoyment, but of spontaneity and its accordance with the Idea of its destination. But this feeling, called moral, requires concepts, and presents not free purposiveness, but purposiveness that is conformable to law; it therefore admits of being universally communicated only by means of Reason, and, if the pleasure is to be homogeneous for every one, by very definite practical concepts of Reason.
Pleasure in the Sublime in nature, regarded as a pleasure of rational contemplation, also makes claim to universal participation; but it presupposes, besides, a different feeling, viz. that of our supersensible destination, which, however obscurely, has a moral foundation. But that other men will take account of it, and will find a satisfaction in the consideration of the wild greatness of nature (that certainly cannot be ascribed to its aspect, which is rather terrifying), I am not absolutely justified in supposing. Nevertheless, in consideration of the fact that on every suitable occasion regard should be had to these moral dispositions, I can impute such satisfaction to every man, but only by means of the moral law which on its side again is based on concepts of Reason.
On the contrary, pleasure in the Beautiful is neither a pleasure of enjoyment nor of a law-abiding activity, nor even of rational contemplation in accordance with Ideas, but of mere reflection. Without having as rule any purpose or fundamental proposition, this pleasure accompanies the ordinary apprehension of an object by the Imagination, as faculty of intuition, in relation with the Understanding, as faculty of concepts, by means of a procedure of the Judgement which it must also exercise on behalf of the commonest experience; only that in the latter case it is in order to perceive an empirical objective concept, in the former case (in aesthetical judgements) merely to perceive the accordance of the representation with the harmonious (subjectively purposive) activity of both cognitive faculties in their freedom, i.e. to feel with pleasure the mental state produced by the representation. This pleasure must necessarily depend for every one on the same conditions, for they are subjective conditions of the possibility of a cognition in general; and the proportion between these cognitive faculties requisite for Taste is also requisite for that ordinary sound Understanding which we have to presuppose in every one. Therefore he who judges with taste (if only he does not go astray in this act of consciousness and mistake matter for form or charm for beauty) may impute to every one subjective purposiveness, i.e. his satisfaction in the Object, and may assume his feeling to be universally communicable and that without the mediation of concepts.
Of Taste as a kind of sensus communis
We often give to the Judgement, if we are considering the result rather than the act of its reflection, the name of a sense, and we speak of a sense of truth, or of a sense of decorum, of justice, etc. And yet we know, or at least we ought to know, that these concepts cannot have their place in Sense, and further, that Sense has not the least capacity for expressing universal rules; but that no representation of truth, fitness, beauty, or justice, and so forth, could come into our thoughts if we could not rise beyond Sense to higher faculties of cognition. The common Understanding of men, which, as the mere sound (not yet cultivated) Understanding, we regard as the least to be expected from any one claiming the name of man, has therefore the doubtful honour of being given the name of common sense (sensus communis); and in such a way that by the name common (not merely in our language, where the word actually has a double signification, but in many others) we understand vulgar, that which is everywhere met with, the possession of which indicates absolutely no merit or superiority.
But under the sensus communis we must include the Idea of a communal sense, i.e. of a faculty of judgement, which in its reflection takes account (a priori) of the mode of representation of all other men in thought; in order as it were to compare its judgement with the collective Reason of humanity, and thus to escape the illusion arising from the private conditions that could be so easily taken for objective, which would injuriously affect the judgement. This is done by comparing our judgement with the possible rather than the actual judgements of others, and by putting ourselves in the place of any other man, by abstracting from the limitations which contingently attach to our own judgement. This, again, is brought about by leaving aside as much as possible the matter of our representative state, i.e. sensation, and simply having respect to the formal peculiarities of our representation or representative state. Now this operation of reflection seems perhaps too artificial to be attributed to the faculty called common sense; but it only appears so, when expressed in abstract formulae. In itself there is nothing more natural than to abstract from charm or emotion if we are seeking a judgement that is to serve as a universal rule.
The following Maxims of common human Understanding do not properly come in here, as parts of the Critique of Taste; but yet they may serve to elucidate its fundamental propositions. They are: 1° to think for oneself; 2° to put ourselves in thought in the place of every one else; 3° always to think consistently. The first is the maxim of unprejudiced thought; the second of enlarged thought; the third of consecutive thought.1 The first is the maxim of a Reason never passive. The tendency to such passivity, and therefore to heteronomy of the Reason, is called prejudice; and the greatest prejudice of all is to represent nature as not subject to the rules that the Understanding places at its basis by means of its own essential law, i.e. is superstition. Deliverance from superstition is called enlightenment;2 because although this name belongs to deliverance from prejudices in general, yet superstition specially (in sensu eminenti) deserves to be called a prejudice. For the blindness in which superstition places us, which it even imposes on us as an obligation, makes the need of being guided by others, and the consequent passive state of our Reason, peculiarly noticeable. As regards the second maxim of the mind, we are otherwise wont to call him limited (borné, the opposite of enlarged) whose talents attain to no great use (especially as regards intensity). But here we are not speaking of the faculty of cognition, but of the mode of thought which makes a purposive use thereof. However small may be the area or the degree to which a man’s natural gifts reach, yet it indicates a man of enlarged thought if he disregards the subjective private conditions of his own judgement, by which so many others are confined, and reflects upon it from a universal standpoint (which he can only determine by placing himself at the standpoint of others). The third maxim, viz. that of consecutive thought, is the most difficult to attain, and can only be attained by the combination of both the former, and after the constant observance of them has grown into a habit. We may say that the first of these maxims is the maxim of Understanding, the second of Judgement, and the third of Reason.
I take up again the threads interrupted by this digression, and I say that Taste can be called sensus communis with more justice than sound Understanding can; and that the aesthetical Judgement rather than the intellectual may bear the name of a communal sense,1 if we are willing to use the word “sense” of an effect of mere reflection upon the mind: for then we understand by sense the feeling of pleasure. We could even define Taste as the faculty of judging of that which makes universally communicable, without the mediation of a concept, our feeling in a given representation.
The skill that men have in communicating their thoughts requires also a relation between the Imagination and the Understanding in order to associate intuitions with concepts, and concepts again with those concepts, which then combine in a cognition. But in that case the agreement of the two mental powers is according to law, under the constraint of definite concepts. Only where the Imagination in its freedom awakens the Understanding, and is put by it into regular play without the aid of concepts, does the representation communicate itself not as a thought but as an internal feeling of a purposive state of the mind.
Taste is then the faculty of judging a priori of the communicability of feelings that are bound up with a given representation (without the mediation of a concept).
If we could assume that the mere universal communicability of a feeling must carry in itself an interest for us with it (which, however, we are not justified in concluding from the character of a merely reflective Judgement), we should be able to explain why the feeling in the judgement of taste comes to be imputed to every one, so to speak, as a duty.
Of the empirical interest in the Beautiful
That the judgement of taste by which something is declared beautiful must have no interest as its determining ground has been sufficiently established above. But it does not follow that after it has been given as a pure aesthetical judgement, no interest can be combined with it. This combination, however, can only be indirect, i.e. taste must first of all be represented as combined with something else, in order that we may unite with the satisfaction of mere reflection upon an object a pleasure in its existence (as that wherein all interest consists). For here also in aesthetical judgements what we say in cognitive judgements (of things in general) is valid; a posse ad esse non valet consequentia. This something else may be empirical, viz. an inclination proper to human nature, or intellectual, as the property of the Will of being capable of a priori determination by Reason. Both these involve a satisfaction in the presence of an Object, and so can lay the foundation for an interest in what has by itself pleased without reference to any interest whatever.
Empirically the Beautiful interests only in society. If we admit the impulse to society as natural to man, and his fitness for it, and his propension towards it, i.e. sociability, as a requisite for man as a being destined for society, and so as a property belonging to humanity, we cannot escape from regarding taste as a faculty for judging everything in respect of which we can communicate our feeling to all other men, and so as a means of furthering that which every one’s natural inclination desires.
A man abandoned by himself on a desert island would adorn neither his hut nor his person; nor would he seek for flowers, still less would he plant them, in order to adorn himself therewith. It is only in society that it occurs to him to be not merely a man, but a refined man after his kind (the beginning of civilisation). For such do we judge him to be who is both inclined and apt to communicate his pleasure to others, and who is not contented with an Object if he cannot feel satisfaction in it in common with others. Again, every one expects and requires from every one else this reference to universal communication [of pleasure], as it were from an original compact dictated by humanity itself. Thus, doubtless, in the beginning only those things which attracted the senses, e.g. colours for painting oneself (roucou among the Carabs and cinnabar among the Iroquois), flowers, mussel shells, beautiful feathers, etc.,—but in time beautiful forms also (e.g. in their canoes, and clothes, etc.), which bring with them no gratification, or satisfaction of enjoyment—were important in society, and were combined with great interest. Until at last civilisation, having reached its highest point, makes out of this almost the main business of refined inclination; and sensations are only regarded as of worth in so far as they can be universally communicated. Here, although the pleasure which every one has in such an object is inconsiderable and in itself without any marked interest, yet the Idea of its universal communicability increases its worth in an almost infinite degree.
But this interest that indirectly attaches to the Beautiful through our inclination to society, and consequently is empirical, is of no importance for us here; because we have only to look to what may have a reference, although only indirectly, to the judgement of taste a priori. For if even in this form an interest bound up therewith should discover itself, taste would discover a transition of our judging faculty from sense-enjoyment to moral feeling; and so not only would we be the better guided in employing taste purposively, but there would be thus presented a link in the chain of the human faculties a priori, on which all legislation must depend. We can only say thus much about the empirical interest in objects of taste and in taste itself. Since it is subservient to inclination, however refined the latter may be, it may easily be confounded with all the inclinations and passions, which attain their greatest variety and highest degree in society; and the interest in the Beautiful, if it is grounded thereon, can only furnish a very ambiguous transition from the Pleasant to the Good. But whether this can or cannot be furthered by taste, taken in its purity, is what we now have to investigate.
Of the intellectual interest in the Beautiful
With the best intentions those persons who refer all activities, to which their inner natural dispositions impel men, to the final purpose of humanity, viz. the morally good, have regarded the taking an interest in the Beautiful in general as a mark of good moral character. But it is not without reason that they have been contradicted by others who rely on experience; for this shows that connoisseurs in taste, not only often but generally, are given up to idle, capricious, and mischievous passions, and that they could perhaps make less claim than others to any pre-eminent attachment to moral principles. Thus it would seem that the feeling for the Beautiful is not only (as actually is the case) specifically different from the Moral feeling; but that the interest which can be bound up with it is hardly compatible with moral interest, and certainly has no inner affinity therewith.
Now I admit at once that the interest in the Beautiful of Art (under which I include the artificial use of natural beauties for adornment and so for vanity) furnishes no proof whatever of a disposition attached to the morally good or even inclined thereto. But on the other hand, I maintain that to take an immediate interest in the Beauty of Nature (not merely to have taste in judging it) is always a mark of a good soul; and that when this interest is habitual it at least indicates a frame of mind favourable to the moral feeling, if it is voluntarily bound up with the contemplation of nature. It is to be remembered, however, that I here speak strictly of the beautiful forms of Nature, and I set aside the charms, that she is wont to combine so abundantly with them; because, though the interest in the latter is indeed immediate, it is only empirical.
He who by himself (and without any design of communicating his observations to others) regards the beautiful figure of a wild flower, a bird, an insect, etc., with admiration and love—who would not willingly miss it in Nature, although it may bring him some hurt, who still less wants any advantage from it—he takes an immediate and also an intellectual interest in the beauty of Nature. I.e. it is not merely the form of the product of nature which pleases him, but its very presence pleases him, the charms of sense having no share in this pleasure and no purpose whatever being combined with it.
But it is noteworthy that if we secretly deceived this lover of the beautiful by planting in the ground artificial flowers (which can be manufactured exactly like natural ones), or by placing artificially carved birds on the boughs of trees, and he discovered the deceit, the immediate interest that he previously took in them would disappear at once; though, perhaps, a different interest, viz. the interest of vanity in adorning his chamber with them for the eyes of others, would take its place. This thought then must accompany our intuition and reflection on beauty, viz. that nature has produced it; and on this alone is based the immediate interest that we take in it. Otherwise, there remains a mere judgement of taste, either devoid of all interest, or bound up with a mediate interest, viz. in that it has reference to society; which latter [interest] furnishes no certain indications of a morally good disposition.
This superiority of natural to artificial beauty in that it alone arouses an immediate interest, although as regards form the first may be surpassed by the second, harmonises with the refined and well-grounded habit of thought of all men who have cultivated their moral feeling. If a man who has taste enough to judge of the products of beautiful Art with the greatest accuracy and refinement willingly leaves a chamber where are to be found those beauties that minister to vanity or to any social joys, and turns to the beautiful in Nature in order to find, as it were, delight for his spirit in a train of thought that he can never completely evolve, we will regard this choice of his with veneration, and attribute to him a beautiful soul, to which no connoisseur or lover [of Art] can lay claim on account of the interest he takes in his [artistic] objects.— What now is the difference in our estimation of these two different kinds of Objects, which in the judgement of mere taste it is hard to compare in point of superiority?
We have a faculty of mere aesthetical Judgement by which we judge forms without the aid of concepts, and find a satisfaction in this mere act of judgement; this we make into a rule for every one, without this judgement either being based on or producing any interest.— On the other hand, we have also a faculty of intellectual Judgement which determines an a priori satisfaction for the mere forms of practical maxims (so far as they are in themselves qualified for universal legislation); this we make into a law for every one, without our judgement being based on any interest whatever, though in this case it produces such an interest. The pleasure or pain in the former judgement is called that of taste, in the latter, that of moral feeling.
But it also interests Reason that the Ideas (for which in moral feeling it arouses an immediate interest) should have objective reality; i.e. that nature should at least show a trace or give an indication that it contains in itself some ground for assuming a regular agreement of its products with our entirely disinterested satisfaction (which we recognise a priori as a law for every one, without being able to base it upon proofs). Hence Reason must take an interest in every expression on the part of nature of an agreement of this kind. Consequently, the mind cannot ponder upon the beauty of Nature without finding itself at the same time interested therein. But this interest is akin to moral, and he who takes such an interest in the beauties of nature can do so only in so far as he previously has firmly established his interest in the morally good. If, therefore, the beauty of Nature interests a man immediately we have reason for attributing to him, at least, a basis for a good moral disposition.
It will be said that this account of aesthetical judgements, as akin to the moral feeling, seems far too studied to be regarded as the true interpretation of that cipher through which Nature speaks to us figuratively in her beautiful forms. However, in the first place, this immediate interest in the beautiful is actually not common; but is peculiar to those whose mental disposition either has already been cultivated in the direction of the good or is eminently susceptible of such cultivation. In that case the analogy between the pure judgement of taste which, independently of any interest, causes us to feel a satisfaction, and also represents it a priori as suitable to humanity in general, and the moral judgement that does the same thing from concepts without any clear, subtle, and premeditated reflection—this analogy leads to a similar immediate interest in the objects of the former as in those of the latter; only that in the one case the interest is free, in the other it is based on objective laws. To this is to be added our admiration for Nature, which displays itself in its beautiful products as Art, not merely by chance, but as it were designedly, in accordance with a regular arrangement, and as purposiveness without purpose. This latter, as we never meet with it outside ourselves, we naturally seek in ourselves; and, in fact, in that which constitutes the ultimate purpose of our being, viz. our moral destination. (Of this question as to the ground of the possibility of such natural purposiveness we shall first speak in the Teleology.)
It is easy to explain why the satisfaction in the pure aesthetical judgement in the case of beautiful Art is not combined with an immediate interest as it is in the case of beautiful Nature. For the former is either such an imitation of the latter that it reaches the point of deception and then produces the same effect as natural beauty (for which it is taken); or it is an art obviously directed designedly to our satisfaction. In the latter case the satisfaction in the product would, it is true, be brought about immediately by taste, but it would be only a mediate interest in the cause lying at its root, viz. an art that can only interest by means of its purpose and never in itself. It will, perhaps, be said that this is also the case, if an Object of nature interests us by its beauty only so far as it is associated with a moral Idea. But it is not the Object itself which immediately interests us, but its character in virtue of which it is qualified for such association, which therefore essentially belongs to it.
The charms in beautiful Nature, which are so often found, as it were, blended with beautiful forms, may be referred to modifications either of light (colours) or of sound (tones). For these are the only sensations that imply not merely a sensible feeling but also reflection upon the form of these modifications of Sense; and thus they involve in themselves as it were a language by which nature speaks to us, which thus seems to have a higher sense. Thus the white colour of lilies seems to determine the mind to Ideas of innocence; and the seven colours in order from the red to the violet seem to suggest the Ideas of (1) Sublimity, (2) Intrepidity, (3) Candour, (4) Friendliness, (5) Modesty, (6) Constancy, (7) Tenderness. The song of birds proclaims gladsomeness and contentment with existence. At least so we interpret nature, whether it have this design or not. But the interest which we here take in beauty has only to do with the beauty of Nature; it vanishes altogether as soon as we notice that we are deceived and that it is only Art—vanishes so completely that taste can no longer find the thing beautiful or sight find it charming. What is more highly praised by poets than the bewitching and beautiful note of the nightingale in a lonely copse on a still summer evening by the soft light of the moon? And yet we have instances of a merry host, where no such songster was to be found, deceiving to their great contentment the guests who were staying with him to enjoy the country air, by hiding in a bush a mischievous boy who knew how to produce this sound exactly like nature (by means of a reed or a tube in his mouth). But as soon as we are aware that it is a cheat, no one will remain long listening to the song which before was counted so charming. And it is just the same with the songs of all other birds. It must be Nature or be regarded as Nature, if we are to take an immediate interest in the Beautiful as such; and still more is this the case if we can require that others should take an interest in it too. This happens as a matter of fact when we regard as coarse and ignoble the mental attitude of those persons who have no feeling for beautiful Nature (for thus we describe a susceptibility to interest in its contemplation), and who confine themselves to eating and drinking—to the mere enjoyments of sense.
Of Art in general
(1). Art is distinguished from Nature, as doing (facere) is distinguished from acting or working generally (agere), and as the product or result of the former is distinguished as work (opus) from the working (effectus) of the latter.
By right we ought only to describe as Art, production through freedom, i.e. through a will that places Reason at the basis of its actions. For although we like to call the product of bees (regularly built cells of wax) a work of art, this is only by way of analogy: as soon as we feel that this work of theirs is based on no proper rational deliberation, we say that it is a product of Nature (of instinct), and as Art only ascribe it to their Creator.
If, as sometimes happens, in searching through a bog we come upon a bit of shaped wood, we do not say: this is a product of Nature, but, of Art. Its producing cause has conceived a purpose to which the bit of wood owes its form. Elsewhere too we should see art in everything which is made so that a representation of it in its cause must have preceded its actuality (as even in the case of the bees), though the effect could not have been thought by the cause. But if we call anything absolutely a work of art in order to distinguish it from a natural effect, we always understand by that a work of man.
(2). Art regarded as human skill differs from science (as can from know) as a practical faculty does from a theoretical, as Technic does from Theory (as mensuration from geometry). And so what we can do, as soon as we merely know what ought to be done and therefore are sufficiently cognisant of the desired effect, is not called Art. Only that which a man, even if he knows it completely, may not therefore have the skill to accomplish, belongs to Art. Camper1 describes very exactly how the best shoes must be made, but he certainly could not make one.2
(3). Art also differs from handicraft; the first is called free, the other may be called mercenary. We regard the first as if it could only prove purposive as play, i.e. as occupation that is pleasant in itself. But the second is regarded as if it could only be compulsorily imposed upon one as work, i.e. as occupation which is unpleasant (a trouble) in itself, and which is only attractive on account of its effect (e.g. the wage). Whether or not in the graded list of the professions we ought to count watchmakers as artists, but smiths only as handicraftsmen, would require another point of view from which to judge than that which we are here taking up; viz. [we should have to consider] the proportion of talents which must be assumed requisite in these several occupations. Whether or not, again, under the socalled seven free arts some may be included which ought to be classed as sciences, and many that are akin rather to handicraft, I shall not here discuss. But it is not inexpedient to recall that in all free arts there is yet requisite something compulsory, or, as it is called, mechanism, without which the spirit, which must be free in art and which alone inspires the work, would have no body and would evaporate altogether; e.g. in poetry there must be an accuracy and wealth of language, and also prosody and metre. [It is not inexpedient, I say, to recall this], for many modern educators believe that the best way to produce a free art is to remove it from all constraint, and thus to change it from work into mere play.
Of beautiful Art
There is no Science of the Beautiful, but only a Critique of it; and there is no such thing as beautiful Science, but only beautiful Art. For as regards the first point, if it could be decided scientifically, i.e. by proofs, whether a thing was to be regarded as beautiful or not, the judgement upon beauty would belong to science and would not be a judgement of taste. And as far as the second point is concerned, a science which should be beautiful as such is a nonentity. For if in such a science we were to ask for grounds and proofs, we would be put off with tasteful phrases (bonmots).— The source of the common expression, beautiful science, is without doubt nothing else than this, as it has been rightly remarked, that for beautiful art in its entire completeness much science is requisite; e.g. a knowledge of ancient languages, a learned familiarity with classical authors, history, a knowledge of antiquities, etc. And hence these historical sciences, because they form the necessary preparation and basis for beautiful art, and also partly because under them is included the knowledge of the products of beautiful art (rhetoric and poetry), have come to be called beautiful sciences by a confusion of words.
If art which is adequate to the cognition of a possible object performs the actions requisite therefor merely in order to make it actual, it is mechanical art; but if it has for its immediate design the feeling of pleasure, it is called aesthetical art. This is again either pleasant or beautiful. It is the first, if its purpose is that the pleasure should accompany the representations [of the object] regarded as mere sensations; it is the second if they are regarded as modes of cognition.
Pleasant arts are those that are directed merely to enjoyment. Of this class are all those charming arts that can gratify a company at table; e.g. the art of telling stories in an entertaining way, of starting the company in frank and lively conversation, of raising them by jest and laugh to a certain pitch of merriment;1 when, as people say, there may be a great deal of gossip at the feast, but no one will be answerable for what he says, because they are only concerned with momentary entertainment, and not with any permanent material for reflection or subsequent discussion. (Among these are also to be reckoned the way of arranging the table for enjoyment, and, at great feasts, the management of the music. This latter is a wonderful thing. It is meant to dispose to gaiety the minds of the guests, regarded solely as a pleasant noise, without any one paying the least attention to its composition; and it favours the free conversation of each with his neighbour.) Again, to this class belong all games which bring with them no further interest than that of making the time pass imperceptibly.
On the other hand, beautiful art is a mode of representation which is purposive for itself, and which, although devoid of [definite] purpose, yet furthers the culture of the mental powers in reference to social communication.
The universal communicability of a pleasure carries with it in its very concept that the pleasure is not one of enjoyment, from mere sensation, but must be derived from reflection; and thus aesthetical art, as the art of beauty, has for standard the reflective Judgement and not sensation.
Beautiful Art is an art, in so far as it seems like nature
In a product of beautiful art we must become conscious that it is Art and not Nature; but yet the purposiveness in its form must seem to be as free from all constraint of arbitrary rules as if it were a product of mere nature. On this feeling of freedom in the play of our cognitive faculties, which must at the same time be purposive, rests that pleasure which alone is universally communicable, without being based on concepts. Nature is beautiful because it looks like Art; and Art can only be called beautiful if we are conscious of it as Art while yet it looks like Nature.
For whether we are dealing with natural or with artificial beauty we can say generally: That is beautiful which pleases in the mere act of judging it (not in the sensation of it, or by means of a concept). Now art has always a definite design of producing something. But if this something were bare sensation (something merely subjective), which is to be accompanied with pleasure, the product would please in the act of judgement only by mediation of sensible feeling. And again, if the design were directed towards the production of a definite Object, then, if this were attained by art, the Object would only please by means of concepts. But in both cases the art would not please in the mere act of judging; i.e. it would not please as beautiful, but as mechanical.
Hence the purposiveness in the product of beautiful art, although it is designed, must not seem to be designed; i.e. beautiful art must look like nature, although we are conscious of it as art. But a product of art appears like nature when, although its agreement with the rules, according to which alone the product can become what it ought to be, is punctiliously observed, yet this is not painfully apparent; [the form of the schools does not obtrude itself]1 —it shows no trace of the rule having been before the eyes of the artist and having fettered his mental powers.
Beautiful Art is the art of genius
Genius is the talent (or natural gift) which gives the rule to Art. Since talent, as the innate productive faculty of the artist, belongs itself to Nature, we may express the matter thus: Genius is the innate mental disposition (ingenium) through which Nature gives the rule to Art.
Whatever may be thought of this definition, whether it is merely arbitrary or whether it is adequate to the concept that we are accustomed to combine with the word genius (which is to be examined in the following paragraphs), we can prove already beforehand that according to the signification of the word here adopted, beautiful arts must necessarily be considered as arts of genius.
For every art presupposes rules by means of which in the first instance a product, if it is to be called artistic, is represented as possible. But the concept of beautiful art does not permit the judgement upon the beauty of a product to be derived from any rule, which has a concept as its determining ground, and therefore has at its basis a concept of the way in which the product is possible. Therefore, beautiful art cannot itself devise the rule according to which it can bring about its product. But since at the same time a product can never be called Art without some precedent rule, Nature in the subject must (by the harmony of its faculties) give the rule to Art; i.e. beautiful Art is only possible as a product of Genius.
We thus see (1) that genius is a talent for producing that for which no definite rule can be given; it is not a mere aptitude for what can be learnt by a rule. Hence originality must be its first property. (2) But since it also can produce original nonsense, its products must be models, i.e. exemplary; and they consequently ought not to spring from imitation, but must serve as a standard or rule of judgement for others. (3) It cannot describe or indicate scientifically how it brings about its products, but it gives the rule just as nature does. Hence the author of a product for which he is indebted to his genius does not himself know how he has come by his Ideas; and he has not the power to devise the like at pleasure or in accordance with a plan, and to communicate it to others in precepts that will enable them to produce similar products. (Hence it is probable that the word genius is derived from genius, that peculiar guiding and guardian spirit given to a man at his birth, from whose suggestion these original Ideas proceed.) (4) Nature by the medium of genius does not prescribe rules to Science, but to Art; and to it only in so far as it is to be beautiful Art.
Elucidation and confirmation of the above explanation of Genius
Every one is agreed that genius is entirely opposed to the spirit of imitation. Now since learning is nothing but imitation, it follows that the greatest ability and teachableness (capacity) regarded quâ teachableness, cannot avail for genius. Even if a man thinks or invents for himself, and does not merely take in what others have taught, even if he discovers many things in art and science, this is not the right ground for calling such a (perhaps great) head, a genius (as opposed to him who because he can only learn and imitate is called a shallow-pate). For even these things could be learned, they lie in the natural path of him who investigates and reflects according to rules; and they do not differ specifically from what can be acquired by industry through imitation. Thus we can readily learn all that Newton has set forth in his immortal work on the Principles of Natural Philosophy, however great a head was required to discover it; but we cannot learn to write spirited poetry, however express may be the precepts of the art and however excellent its models. The reason is that Newton could make all his steps, from the first elements of geometry to his own great and profound discoveries, intuitively plain and definite as regards consequence, not only to himself but to every one else. But a Homer or a Wieland cannot show how his Ideas, so rich in fancy and yet so full of thought, come together in his head, simply because he does not know and therefore cannot teach others. In Science then the greatest discoverer only differs in degree from his laborious imitator and pupil; but he differs specifically from him whom Nature has gifted for beautiful Art. And in this there is no depreciation of those great men to whom the human race owes so much gratitude, as compared with nature’s favourites in respect of the talent for beautiful art. For in the fact that the former talent is directed to the ever-advancing greater perfection of knowledge and every advantage depending on it, and at the same time to the imparting this same knowledge to others—in this it has a great superiority over [the talent of] those who deserve the honour of being called geniuses. For art stands still at a certain point; a boundary is set to it beyond which it cannot go, which presumably has been reached long ago and cannot be extended further. Again, artistic skill cannot be communicated; it is imparted to every artist immediately by the hand of nature; and so it dies with him, until nature endows another in the same way, so that he only needs an example in order to put in operation in a similar fashion the talent of which he is conscious.
If now it is a natural gift which must prescribe its rule to art (as beautiful art), of what kind is this rule? It cannot be reduced to a formula and serve as a precept, for then the judgement upon the beautiful would be determinable according to concepts; but the rule must be abstracted from the fact, i.e. from the product, on which others may try their own talent by using it as a model, not to be copied but to be imitated. How this is possible is hard to explain. The Ideas of the artist excite like Ideas in his pupils if nature has endowed them with a like proportion of their mental powers. Hence models of beautiful art are the only means of handing down these Ideas to posterity. This cannot be done by mere descriptions, especially not in the case of the arts of speech, and in this latter classical models are only to be had in the old dead languages, now preserved only as “the learned languages.”
Although mechanical and beautiful art are very different, the first being a mere art of industry and learning and the second of genius, yet there is no beautiful art in which there is not a mechanical element that can be comprehended by rules and followed accordingly, and in which therefore there must be something scholastic as an essential condition. For [in every art] some purpose must be conceived; otherwise we could not ascribe the product to art at all, and it would be a mere product of chance. But in order to accomplish a purpose, definite rules from which we cannot dispense ourselves are requisite. Now since the originality of the talent constitutes an essential (though not the only) element in the character of genius, shallow heads believe that they cannot better show themselves to be full-blown geniuses than by throwing off the constraint of all rules; they believe, in effect, that one could make a braver show on the back of a wild horse than on the back of a trained animal. Genius can only furnish rich material for products of beautiful art; its execution and its form require talent cultivated in the schools, in order to make such a use of this material as will stand examination by the Judgement. But it is quite ridiculous for a man to speak and decide like a genius in things which require the most careful investigation by Reason. One does not know whether to laugh more at the impostor who spreads such a mist round him that we cannot clearly use our Judgement and so use our Imagination the more, or at the public which naïvely imagines that his inability to cognise clearly and to comprehend the masterpiece before him arises from new truths crowding in on him in such abundance that details (duly weighed definitions and accurate examination of fundamental propositions) seem but clumsy work.
Of the relation of Genius to Taste
For judging of beautiful objects as such, taste is requisite; but for beautiful art, i.e. for the production of such objects, genius is requisite.
If we consider genius as the talent for beautiful art (which the special meaning of the word implies) and in this point of view analyse it into the faculties which must concur to constitute such a talent, it is necessary in the first instance to determine exactly the difference between natural beauty, the judging of which requires only Taste, and artificial beauty, whose possibility (to which reference must be made in judging such an object) requires Genius.
A natural beauty is a beautiful thing; artificial beauty is a beautiful representation of a thing.
In order to judge of a natural beauty as such I need not have beforehand a concept of what sort of thing the object is to be; i.e. I need not know its material purposiveness (the purpose), but its mere form pleases by itself in the act of judging it without any knowledge of the purpose. But if the object is given as a product of art, and as such is to be declared beautiful, then, because art always supposes a purpose in the cause (and its causality), there must be at bottom in the first instance a concept of what the thing is to be. And as the agreement of the manifold in a thing with its inner destination, its purpose, constitutes the perfection of the thing, it follows that in judging of artificial beauty the perfection of the thing must be taken into account; but in judging of natural beauty (as such) there is no question at all about this.— It is true that in judging of objects of nature, especially objects endowed with life, e.g. a man or a horse, their objective purposiveness also is commonly taken into consideration in judging of their beauty; but then the judgement is no longer purely aesthetical, i.e. a mere judgement of taste. Nature is no longer judged inasmuch as it appears like art, but in so far as it is actual (although superhuman) art; and the teleological judgement serves as the basis and condition of the aesthetical, as a condition to which the latter must have respect. In such a case, e.g. if it is said “that is a beautiful woman,” we think nothing else than this: nature represents in her figure the purposes in view in the shape of a woman’s figure. For we must look beyond the mere form to a concept, if the object is to be thought in such a way by means of a logically conditioned aesthetical judgement.
Beautiful art shows its superiority in this, that it describes as beautiful things which may be in nature ugly or displeasing.1 The Furies, diseases, the devastations of war, etc., may [even regarded as calamitous],2 be described as very beautiful, and even represented in a picture. There is only one kind of ugliness which cannot be represented in accordance with nature, without destroying all aesthetical satisfaction and consequently artificial beauty; viz. that which excites disgust. For in this peculiar sensation, which rests on mere imagination, the object is represented as it were obtruding itself for our enjoyment while we strive against it with all our might. And the artistic representation of the object is no longer distinguished from the nature of the object itself in our sensation, and thus it is impossible that it can be regarded as beautiful. The art of sculpture again, because in its products art is almost interchangeable with nature, excludes from its creations the immediate representation of ugly objects; e.g. it represents death by a beautiful genius, the warlike spirit by Mars, and permits [all such things] to be represented only by an allegory or attribute3 that has a pleasing effect, and thus only indirectly by the aid of the interpretation of Reason, and not for the mere aesthetical Judgement.
So much for the beautiful representation of an object, which is properly only the form of the presentation of a concept, and the means by which the latter is communicated universally.— But to give this form to the product of beautiful art, mere taste is requisite. By taste, after he has exercised and corrected it by manifold examples from art or nature, the artist checks his work; and after many, often toilsome, attempts to content taste he finds the form which satisfies him. Hence this form is not, as it were, a thing of inspiration or the result of a free swing of the mental powers, but of a slow and even painful process of improvement, by which he seeks to render it adequate to his thought, without detriment to the freedom of the play of his powers.
But taste is merely a judging and not a productive faculty; and what is appropriate to it is not therefore a work of beautiful art. It may be only a product belonging to useful and mechanical art or even to science, produced according to definite rules that can be learned and must be exactly followed. But the pleasing form that is given to it is only the vehicle of communication, and a mode, as it were, of presenting it, in respect of which we remain free to a certain extent, although it is combined with a definite purpose. Thus we desire that table appointments, a moral treatise, even a sermon, should have in themselves this form of beautiful art, without it seeming to be sought: but we do not therefore call these things works of beautiful art. Under the latter class are reckoned a poem, a piece of music, a picture gallery, etc.; and in some wouldbe works of beautiful art we find genius without taste, while in others we find taste without genius.
Of the faculties of the mind that constitute Genius
We say of certain products of which we expect that they should at least in part appear as beautiful art, they are without spirit1 ; although we find nothing to blame in them on the score of taste. A poem may be very neat and elegant, but without spirit. A history may be exact and well arranged, but without spirit. A festal discourse may be solid and at the same time elaborate, but without spirit. Conversation is often not devoid of entertainment, but yet without spirit: even of a woman we say that she is pretty, an agreeable talker, and courteous, but without spirit. What then do we mean by spirit?
Spirit, in an aesthetical sense, is the name given to the animating principle of the mind. But that whereby this principle animates the soul, the material which it applies to that [purpose], is that which puts the mental powers purposively into swing, i.e. into such a play as maintains itself and strengthens the [mental] powers in their exercise.
Now I maintain that this principle is no other than the faculty of presenting aesthetical Ideas. And by an aesthetical Idea I understand that representation of the Imagination which occasions much thought, without, however, any definite thought, i.e. any concept, being capable of being adequate to it; it consequently cannot be completely compassed and made intelligible by language.— We easily see that it is the counterpart (pendant) of a rational Idea, which conversely is a concept to which no intuition (or representation of the Imagination) can be adequate.
The Imagination (as a productive faculty of cognition) is very powerful in creating another nature, as it were, out of the material that actual nature gives it. We entertain ourselves with it when experience proves too commonplace, and by it we remould experience, always indeed in accordance with analogical laws, but yet also in accordance with principles which occupy a higher place in Reason (laws too which are just as natural to us as those by which Understanding comprehends empirical nature). Thus we feel our freedom from the law of association (which attaches to the empirical employment of Imagination), so that the material which we borrow from nature in accordance with this law can be worked up into something different which surpasses nature.
Such representations of the Imagination we may call Ideas, partly because they at least strive after something which lies beyond the bounds of experience, and so seek to approximate to a presentation of concepts of Reason (intellectual Ideas), thus giving to the latter the appearance of objective reality,—but especially because no concept can be fully adequate to them as internal intuitions. The poet ventures to realise to sense, rational Ideas of invisible beings, the kingdom of the blessed, hell, eternity, creation, etc.; or even if he deals with things of which there are examples in experience,—e.g. death, envy and all vices, also love, fame, and the like,—he tries, by means of Imagination, which emulates the play of Reason in its quest after a maximum, to go beyond the limits of experience and to present them to Sense with a completeness of which there is no example in nature. It is, properly speaking, in the art of the poet, that the faculty of aesthetical Ideas can manifest itself in its full measure. But this faculty, considered in itself, is properly only a talent (of the Imagination).
If now we place under a concept a representation of the Imagination belonging to its presentation, but which occasions solely by itself more thought than can ever be comprehended in a definite concept, and which therefore enlarges aesthetically the concept itself in an unbounded fashion,—the Imagination is here creative, and it brings the faculty of intellectual Ideas (the Reason) into movement; i.e. a movement, occasioned by a representation, towards more thought (though belonging, no doubt, to the concept of the object) than can be grasped in the representation or made clear.
Those forms which do not constitute the presentation of a given concept itself but only, as approximate representations of the Imagination, express the consequences bound up with it and its relationship to other concepts, are called (aesthetical) attributes of an object, whose concept as a rational Idea cannot be adequately presented. Thus Jupiter’s eagle with the lightning in its claws is an attribute of the mighty king of heaven, as the peacock is of its magnificent queen. They do not, like logical attributes, represent what lies in our concepts of the sublimity and majesty of creation, but something different, which gives occasion to the Imagination to spread itself over a number of kindred representations, that arouse more thought than can be expressed in a concept determined by words. They furnish an aesthetical Idea, which for that rational Idea takes the place of logical presentation; and thus as their proper office they enliven the mind by opening out to it the prospect into an illimitable field of kindred representations. But beautiful art does this not only in the case of painting or sculpture (in which the term “attribute” is commonly employed): poetry and rhetoric also get the spirit that animates their works simply from the aesthetical attributes of the object, which accompany the logical and stimulate the Imagination, so that it thinks more by their aid, although in an undeveloped way, than could be comprehended in a concept and therefore in a definite form of words.— For the sake of brevity I must limit myself to a few examples only.
When the great King1 in one of his poems expresses himself as follows:
he quickens his rational Idea of a cosmopolitan disposition at the end of life by an attribute which the Imagination (in remembering all the pleasures of a beautiful summer day that are recalled at its close by a serene evening) associates with that representation, and which excites a number of sensations and secondary representations for which no expression is found. On the other hand, an intellectual concept may serve conversely as an attribute for a representation of sense and so can quicken this latter by means of the Idea of the supersensible; but only by the aesthetical [element], that subjectively attaches to the concept of the latter, being here employed. Thus, for example, a certain poet1 says, in his description of a beautiful morning:
The consciousness of virtue, even if one only places oneself in thought in the position of a virtuous man, diffuses in the mind a multitude of sublime and restful feelings and a boundless prospect of a joyful future, to which no expression measured by a definite concept completely attains.2
In a word the aesthetical Idea is a representation of the Imagination associated with a given concept, which is bound up with such a multiplicity of partial representations in its free employment, that for it no expression marking a definite concept can be found; and such a representation, therefore, adds to a concept much ineffable thought, the feeling of which quickens the cognitive faculties, and with language, which is the mere letter, binds up spirit also.
The mental powers, therefore, whose union (in a certain relation) constitutes genius are Imagination and Understanding. In the employment of the Imagination for cognition it submits to the constraint of the Understanding and is subject to the limitation of being conformable to the concept of the latter. On the other hand, in an aesthetical point of view it is free to furnish unsought, over and above that agreement with a concept, abundance of undeveloped material for the Understanding; to which the Understanding paid no regard in its concept, but which it applies, though not objectively for cognition, yet subjectively to quicken the cognitive powers and therefore also indirectly to cognitions. Thus genius properly consists in the happy relation [between these faculties], which no science can teach and no industry can learn, by which Ideas are found for a given concept; and on the other hand, we thus find for these Ideas the expression, by means of which the subjective state of mind brought about by them, as an accompaniment of the concept, can be communicated to others. The latter talent is properly speaking what is called spirit; for to express the ineffable element in the state of mind implied by a certain representation and to make it universally communicable—whether the expression be in speech or painting or statuary—this requires a faculty of seizing the quickly passing play of Imagination and of unifying it in a concept (which is even on that account original and discloses a new rule that could not have been inferred from any preceding principles or examples), that can be communicated without any constraint [of rules].1
If after this analysis we look back to the explanation given above of what is called genius, we find: first, that it is a talent for Art, not for Science, in which clearly known rules must go beforehand and determine the procedure. Secondly, as an artistic talent it presupposes a definite concept of the product, as the purpose, and therefore Understanding; but it also presupposes a representation (although an indeterminate one) of the material, i.e. of the intuition, for the presentment of this concept; and, therefore, a relation between the Imagination and the Understanding. Thirdly, it shows itself not so much in the accomplishment of the proposed purpose in a presentment of a definite concept, as in the enunciation or expression of aesthetical Ideas, which contain abundant material for that very design; and consequently it represents the Imagination as free from all guidance of rules and yet as purposive in reference to the presentment of the given concept. Finally, in the fourth place, the unsought undesigned subjective purposiveness in the free accordance of the Imagination with the legality of the Understanding presupposes such a proportion and disposition of these faculties as no following of rules, whether of science or of mechanical imitation, can bring about, but which only the nature of the subject can produce.
In accordance with these suppositions genius is the exemplary originality of the natural gifts of a subject in the free employment of his cognitive faculties. In this way the product of a genius (as regards what is to be ascribed to genius and not to possible learning or schooling) is an example, not to be imitated (for then that which in it is genius and constitutes the spirit of the work would be lost), but to be followed, by another genius; whom it awakens to a feeling of his own originality and whom it stirs so to exercise his art in freedom from the constraint of rules, that thereby a new rule is gained for art, and thus his talent shows itself to be exemplary. But because a genius is a favourite of nature and must be regarded by us as a rare phenomenon, his example produces for other good heads a school, i.e. a methodical system of teaching according to rules, so far as these can be derived from the peculiarities of the products of his spirit. For such persons beautiful art is so far imitation, to which nature through the medium of a genius supplied the rule.
But this imitation becomes a mere aping, if the scholar copies everything down to the deformities, which the genius must have let pass only because he could not well remove them without weakening his Idea. This mental characteristic is meritorious only in the case of a genius. A certain audacity in expression—and in general many a departure from common rules—becomes him well, but it is in no way worthy of imitation; it always remains a fault in itself which we must seek to remove, though the genius is as it were privileged to commit it, because the inimitable rush of his spirit would suffer from over-anxious carefulness. Mannerism is another kind of aping, viz. of mere peculiarity (originality) in general; by which a man separates himself as far as possible from imitators, without however possessing the talent to be at the same time exemplary.—There are indeed in general two ways (modi) in which such a man may put together his notions of expressing himself; the one is called a manner (modus aestheticus), the other a method (modus logicus). They differ in this, that the former has no other standard than the feeling of unity in the presentment, but the latter follows definite principles; hence the former alone avails for beautiful art. But an artistic product is said to show mannerism only when the exposition of the artist’s Idea is founded on its very singularity, and is not made appropriate to the Idea itself. The ostentatious (précieux), contorted, and affected [manner, adopted] to differentiate oneself from ordinary persons (though devoid of spirit) is like the behaviour of a man of whom we say, that he hears himself talk, or who stands and moves about as if he were on a stage in order to be stared at; this always betrays a bungler.
Of the combination of Taste with Genius in the products of beautiful Art
To ask whether it is more important for the things of beautiful art that Genius or Taste should be displayed, is the same as to ask whether in it more depends on Imagination or on Judgement. Now, since in respect of the first an art is rather said to be full of spirit, but only deserves to be called a beautiful art on account of the second; this latter is at least, as its indispensable condition (conditio sine qua non), the most important thing to which one has to look in the judging of art as beautiful art. Abundance and originality of Ideas are less necessary to beauty than the accordance of the Imagination in its freedom with the conformity to law of the Understanding. For all the abundance of the former produces in lawless freedom nothing but nonsense; on the other hand, the Judgement is the faculty by which it is adjusted to the Understanding.
Taste, like the Judgement in general, is the discipline (or training) of Genius; it clips its wings closely, and makes it cultured and polished; but, at the same time, it gives guidance as to where and how far it may extend itself, if it is to remain purposive. And while it brings clearness and order into the multitude of the thoughts, it makes the Ideas susceptible of being permanently and, at the same time, universally assented to, and capable of being followed by others, and of an ever-progressive culture. If, then, in the conflict of these two properties in a product something must be sacrificed, it should be rather on the side of genius; and the Judgement, which in the things of beautiful art gives its decision from its own proper principles, will rather sacrifice the freedom and wealth of the Imagination than permit anything prejudicial to the Understanding.
For beautiful art, therefore, Imagination, Understanding, Spirit, and Taste are requisite.1
Of the division of the beautiful arts
We may describe beauty in general (whether natural or artificial) as the expression of aesthetical Ideas; only that in beautiful Art this Idea must be occasioned by a concept of the Object; whilst in beautiful Nature the mere reflection upon a given intuition, without any concept of what the object is to be, is sufficient for the awakening and communicating of the Idea of which that Object is regarded as the expression.
If, then, we wish to make a division of the beautiful arts, we cannot choose a more convenient principle, at least tentatively, than the analogy of art with the mode of expression of which men avail themselves in speech, in order to communicate to one another as perfectly as possible not merely their concepts but also their sensations.1 — This is done by word, deportment, and tone (articulation, gesticulation, and modulation). It is only by the combination of these three kinds of expression that communication between the speaker [and his hearers] can be complete. For thus thought, intuition, and sensation are transmitted to others simulataneously and conjointly.
There are, therefore, only three kinds of beautiful arts; the arts of speech, the formative arts, and the art of the play of sensations (as external sensible impressions). We may also arrange a division by dichotomy; thus beautiful art may be divided into the art of expression of thoughts and of intuitions; and these further subdivided in accordance with their form or their matter (sensation). But this would appear to be too abstract, and not so accordant with ordinary concepts.
(1) The arts of speech are rhetoric and poetry. Rhetoric is the art of carrying on a serious business of the Understanding as if it were a free play of the Imagination; poetry, the art of conducting a free play of the Imagination as if it were a serious business of the Understanding.
The orator, then, promises a serious business, and in order to entertain his audience conducts it as if it were a mere play with Ideas. The poet merely promises an entertaining play with Ideas, and yet it has the same effect upon the Understanding as if he had only intended to carry on its business. The combination and harmony of both cognitive faculties, Sensibility and Understanding, which cannot dispense with one another, but which yet cannot well be united without constraint and mutual prejudice, must appear to be undesigned and so to be brought about by themselves: otherwise it is not beautiful art. Hence, all that is studied and anxious must be avoided in it, for beautiful art must be free art in a double sense. It is not a work like that of a tradesman, the magnitude of which can be judged, exacted, or paid for, according to a definite standard; and again, though the mind is occupied, still it feels itself contented and stimulated, without looking to any other purpose (independently of reward.)
The orator therefore gives something which he does not promise, viz. an entertaining play of the Imagination; but he also fails to supply what he did promise, which is indeed his announced business, viz. the purposive occupation of the Understanding. On the other hand, the poet promises little and announces a mere play with Ideas; but he supplies something which is worth occupying ourselves with, because he provides in this play food for the Understanding, and by the aid of Imagination gives life to his concepts. [Thus the orator on the whole gives less, the poet more, than he promises.]1
(2) The formative arts, or those by which expression is found for Ideas in sensible intuition (not by representations of mere Imagination that are aroused by words), are either arts of sensible truth or of sensible illusion. The former is called Plastic, the latter Painting. Both express Ideas by figures in space; the former makes figures cognisable by two senses, sight and touch (although not by the latter as far as beauty is concerned); the latter only by one, the first of these. The aesthetical Idea (the archetype or original image) is fundamental for both in the Imagination, but the figure which expresses this (the ectype or copy) is either given in its bodily extension (as the object itself exists), or as it paints itself on the eye (according to its appearance when projected on a flat surface). In the first case1 the condition given to reflection may be either the reference to an actual purpose or only the semblance of it.
To Plastic, the first kind of beautiful formative Art, belong Sculpture and Architecture. The first presents corporeally concepts of things, as they might have existed in nature (though as beautiful art it has regard to aesthetical purposiveness). The second is the art of presenting concepts of things that are possible only through Art, and whose form has for its determining ground not nature but an arbitrary purpose, with the view of presenting them with aesthetical purposiveness. In the latter the chief point is a certain use of the artistic object, by which condition the aesthetical Ideas are limited. In the former the main design is the mere expression of aesthetical Ideas. Thus statues of men, gods, animals, etc., are of the first kind; but temples, splendid buildings for public assemblies, even dwelling-houses, triumphal arches, columns, mausoleums, and the like, erected in honourable remembrance, belong to Architecture. Indeed all house furniture (upholsterer’s work and such like things which are for use) may be reckoned under this art; because the suitability of a product for a certain use is the essential thing in an architectural work. On the other hand, a mere piece of sculpture, which is simply made for show and which is to please in itself, is as a corporeal presentation a mere imitation of nature, though with a reference to aesthetical Ideas; in it sensible truth is not to be carried so far that the product ceases to look like art and looks like a product of the elective will.
Painting, as the second kind of formative art, which presents a sensible illusion artificially combined with Ideas, I would divide into the art of the beautiful depicting of nature and that of the beautiful arrangement of its products. The first is painting proper, the second is the art of landscape gardening. The first gives only the illusory appearance of corporeal extension; the second gives this in accordance with truth, but only the appearance of utility and availableness for other purposes than the mere play of the Imagination in the contemplation of its forms.1 This latter is nothing else than the ornamentation of the soil with a variety of those things (grasses, flowers, shrubs, trees, even ponds, hillocks, and dells) which nature presents to an observer, only arranged differently and in conformity with certain Ideas. But, again, the beautiful arrangement of corporeal things is only apparent to the eye, like painting; the sense of touch cannot supply any intuitive presentation of such a form. Under painting in the wide sense I would reckon the decoration of rooms by the aid of tapestry, bric-a-brac, and all beautiful furniture which is merely available to be looked at; and the same may be said of the art of tasteful dressing (with rings, snuff-boxes, etc.). For a bed of various flowers, a room filled with various ornaments (including under this head even ladies’ finery), make at a fête a kind of picture; which, like pictures properly so-called (that are not intended to teach either history or natural science), has in view merely the entertainment of the Imagination in free play with Ideas, and the occupation of the aesthetical Judgement without any definite purpose. The detailed work in all this decoration may be quite distinct in the different cases and may require very different artists; but the judgement of taste upon whatever is beautiful in these various arts is always determined in the same way: viz. it only judges the forms (without any reference to a purpose) as they present themselves to the eye either singly or in combination, according to the effect they produce upon the Imagination.— But that formative art may be compared (by analogy) with deportment in speech is justified by the fact that the spirit of the artist supplies by these figures a bodily expression to his thought and its mode, and makes the thing itself as it were speak in mimic language. This is a very common play of our fancy, which attributes to lifeless things a spirit suitable to their form by which they speak to us.
(3) The art of the beautiful play of sensations (externally stimulated), which admits at the same time of universal communication, can be concerned with nothing else than the proportion of the different degrees of the disposition (tension) of the sense, to which the sensation belongs, i.e. with its tone. In this far-reaching signification of the word it may be divided into the artistic play of the sensations of hearing and sight, i.e. into Music and the Art of colour.— It is noteworthy that these two senses, besides their susceptibility for impressions so far as these are needed to gain concepts of external objects, are also capable of a peculiar sensation bound up therewith, of which we cannot strictly decide whether it is based on sense or reflection. This susceptibility may sometimes be wanting, although in other respects the sense, as regards its use for the cognition of Objects, is not at all deficient but is peculiarly fine. That is, we cannot say with certainty whether colours or tones (sounds) are merely pleasant sensations or whether they form in themselves a beautiful play of sensations, and as such bring with them in aesthetical judgement a satisfaction in their form. If we think of the velocity of the vibrations of light, or in the second case of the air, which probably far surpasses all our faculty of judging immediately in perception the time interval between them, we must believe that it is only the effect of these vibrations upon the elastic parts of our body that is felt, but that the time interval between them is not remarked or brought into judgement; and thus that only pleasantness and not beauty of composition is bound up with colours and tones. But on the other hand, first, we think of the mathematical [element] which enables us to pronounce on the proportion between these oscillations in music and thus to judge of them; and by analogy with which we easily may judge of the distinctions between colours. Secondly, we recall instances (although they are rare) of men who with the best sight in the world cannot distinguish colours, and with the sharpest hearing cannot distinguish tones; whilst for those who can do this the perception of an altered quality (not merely of the degree of sensation) in the different intensities in the scale of colours and tones is definite; and further, the very number of these is fixed by intelligible differences. Thus we may be compelled to see that both kinds of sensations are to be regarded not as mere sensible impressions, but as the effects of a judgement passed upon the form in the play of divers sensations. The difference in our definition, according as we adopt the one or the other opinion in judging of the grounds of Music, would be just this: either, as we have done, we must explain it as the beautiful play of sensations (of hearing), or else as a play of pleasant sensations. According to the former mode of explanation music is represented altogether as a beautiful art; according to the latter, as a pleasant art (at least in part).
Of the combination of beautiful arts in one and the same product
Rhetoric may be combined with a pictorial presentation of its subjects and objects in a theatrical piece; poetry may be combined with music in a song, and this again with pictorial (theatrical) presentation in an opera; the play of sensations in music may be combined with the play of figures in the dance, and so on. Even the presentation of the sublime, so far as it belongs to beautiful art, may combine with beauty in a tragedy in verse, in a didactic poem, in an oratorio; and in these combinations beautiful art is yet more artistic. Whether it is also more beautiful may in some of these cases be doubted (since so many different kinds of satisfaction cross one another). Yet in all beautiful art the essential thing is the form, which is purposive as regards our observation and judgement, where the pleasure is at the same time cultivation and disposes the spirit to Ideas, and consequently makes it susceptible of still more of such pleasure and entertainment. The essential element is not the matter of sensation (charm or emotion), which has only to do with enjoyment; this leaves behind nothing in the Idea, and it makes the spirit dull, the object gradually distasteful, and the mind, on account of its consciousness of a disposition that conflicts with purpose in the judgement of Reason, discontented with itself and peevish.
If the beautiful arts are not brought into more or less close combination with moral Ideas, which alone bring with them a self-sufficing satisfaction, this latter fate must ultimately be theirs. They then serve only as a distraction, of which we are the more in need the more we avail ourselves of them to disperse the discontent of the mind with itself; so that we thus render ourselves ever more useless and ever more discontented. The beauties of nature are generally of most benefit in this point of view, if we are early accustomed to observe, appreciate, and admire them.
Comparison of the respective aesthetical worth of the beautiful arts
Of all the arts poetry (which owes its origin almost entirely to genius and will least be guided by precept or example) maintains the first rank. It expands the mind by setting the Imagination at liberty; and by offering within the limits of a given concept amid the unbounded variety of possible forms accordant therewith, that which unites the presentment of this concept with a wealth of thought, to which no verbal expression is completely adequate; and so rising aesthetically to Ideas. It strengthens the mind by making it feel its faculty—free, spontaneous and independent of natural determination—of considering and judging nature as a phenomenon in accordance with aspects which it does not present in experience either for Sense or Understanding, and therefore of using it on behalf of, and as a sort of schema for, the supersensible. It plays with illusion, which it produces at pleasure, but without deceiving by it; for it declares its exercise to be mere play, which however can be purposively used by the Understanding.— Rhetoric, in so far as this means the art of persuasion, i.e. of deceiving by a beautiful show (ars oratoria), and not mere elegance of speech (eloquence and style), is a Dialectic, which borrows from poetry only so much as is needful to win minds to the side of the orator before they have formed a judgement, and to deprive them of their freedom; it cannot therefore be recommended either for the law courts or for the pulpit. For if we are dealing with civil law, with the rights of individual persons, or with lasting instruction and determination of people’s minds to an accurate knowledge and a conscientious observance of their duty, it is unworthy of so important a business to allow a trace of any exuberance of wit and imagination to appear, and still less any trace of the art of talking people over and of captivating them for the advantage of any chance person. For although this art may sometimes be directed to legitimate and praiseworthy designs, it becomes objectionable, when in this way maxims and dispositions are spoiled in a subjective point of view, though the action may objectively be lawful. It is not enough to do what is right; we should practise it solely on the ground that it is right. Again, the mere concept of this species of matters of human concern, when clear and combined with a lively presentation of it in examples, without any offence against the rules of euphony of speech or propriety of expression, has by itself for Ideas of Reason (which collectively constitute eloquence), sufficient influence upon human minds; so that it is not needful to add the machinery of persuasion, which, since it can be used equally well to beautify or to hide vice and error, cannot quite lull the secret suspicion that one is being artfully overreached. In poetry everything proceeds with honesty and candour. It declares itself to be a mere entertaining play of the Imagination, which wishes to proceed as regards form in harmony with the laws of the Understanding; and it does not desire to steal upon and ensnare the Understanding by the aid of sensible presentation.1
After poetry, if we are to deal with charm and mental movement, I would place that art which comes nearest to the art of speech and can very naturally be united with it, viz. the art of tone. For although it speaks by means of mere sensations without concepts, and so does not, like poetry, leave anything over for reflection, it yet moves the mind in a greater variety of ways and more intensely, although only transitorily. It is, however, rather enjoyment than culture (the play of thought that is incidentally excited by its means is merely the effect of a kind of mechanical association); and in the judgement of Reason it has less worth than any other of the beautiful arts. Hence, like all enjoyment, it desires constant change, and does not bear frequent repetition without producing weariness. Its charm, which admits of universal communication, appears to rest on this, that every expression of speech has in its context a tone appropriate to the sense. This tone indicates more or less an affection of the speaker, and produces it also in the hearer; which affection excites in its turn in the hearer the Idea that is expressed in speech by the tone in question. Thus as modulation is as it were a universal language of sensations intelligible to every man, the art of tone employs it by itself alone in its full force, viz. as a language of the affections, and thus communicates universally according to the laws of association the aesthetical Ideas naturally combined therewith. Now these aesthetical Ideas are not concepts or determinate thoughts. Hence the form of the composition of these sensations (harmony and melody) only serves instead of the form of language, by means of their proportionate accordance, to express the aesthetical Idea of a connected whole of an unspeakable wealth of thought, corresponding to a certain theme which produces the dominating affection in the piece. This can be brought mathematically under certain rules, because it rests in the case of tones on the relation between the number of vibrations of the air in the same time, so far as these tones are combined simultaneously or successively. To this mathematical form, although not represented by determinate concepts, alone attaches the satisfaction that unites the mere reflection upon such a number of concomitant or consecutive sensations with this their play, as a condition of its beauty valid for every man. It is this alone which permits Taste to claim in advance a rightful authority over every one’s judgement.
But in the charm and mental movement produced by Music, Mathematic has certainly not the slightest share. It is only the indispensable condition (conditio sine qua non) of that proportion of the impressions in their combination and in their alternation by which it becomes possible to gather them together and prevent them from destroying one another, and to harmonise them so as to produce a continual movement and animation of the mind, by means of affections consonant therewith, and thus a delightful personal enjoyment.
If, on the other hand, we estimate the worth of the Beautiful Arts by the culture they supply to the mind, and take as a standard the expansion of the faculties which must concur in the Judgement for cognition, Music will have the lowest place among them (as it has perhaps the highest among those arts which are valued for their pleasantness), because it merely plays with sensations. The formative arts are far before it in this point of view; for in putting the Imagination in a free play, which is also accordant with the Understanding, they at the same time carry on a serious business. This they do by producing a product that serves for concepts as a permanent self-commendatory vehicle for promoting their union with sensibility and thus, as it were, the urbanity of the higher cognitive powers. These two species of art take quite different courses; the first proceeds from sensations to indeterminate Ideas, the second from determinate Ideas to sensations. The latter produce permanent, the former only transitory impressions. The Imagination can recall the one and entertain itself pleasantly therewith; but the other either vanish entirely, or if they are recalled involuntarily by the Imagination they are rather wearisome than pleasant.1 Besides, there attaches to Music a certain want of urbanity from the fact that, chiefly from the character of its instruments, it extends its influence further than is desired (in the neighbourhood), and so as it were obtrudes itself, and does violence to the freedom of others who are not of the musical company. The Arts which appeal to the eyes do not do this; for we need only turn our eyes away, if we wish to avoid being impressed. The case of music is almost like that of the delight derived from a smell that diffuses itself widely. The man who pulls his perfumed handkerchief out of his pocket attracts the attention of all round him, even against their will, and he forces them, if they are to breathe at all, to enjoy the scent; hence this habit has gone out of fashion.1
Among the formative arts I would give the palm to painting; partly because as the art of delineation it lies at the root of all the other formative arts, and partly because it can penetrate much further into the region of Ideas, and can extend the field of intuition in conformity with them further than the others can.
As we have often shown, there is an essential difference between what satisfies simply in the act of judging it, and that which gratifies (pleases in sensation). We cannot ascribe the latter to every one, as we can the former. Gratification (the causes of which may even be situate in Ideas) appears always to consist in a feeling of the furtherance of the whole life of the man, and consequently, also of his bodily well-being, i.e. his health; so that Epicurus, who gave out that all gratification was at bottom bodily sensation, may, perhaps, not have been wrong, but only misunderstood himself when he reckoned intellectual and even practical satisfaction under gratification. If we have this distinction in view we can explain how a gratification may dissatisfy the man who sensibly feels it (e.g. the joy of a needy but well-meaning man at becoming the heir of an affectionate but penurious father); or how a deep grief may satisfy the person experiencing it (the sorrow of a widow at the death of her excellent husband); or how a gratification can in addition satisfy (as in the sciences that we pursue); or how a grief (e.g. hatred, envy, revenge) can moreover dissatisfy. The satisfaction or dissatisfaction here depends on Reason, and is the same as approbation or disapprobation; but gratification and grief can only rest on the feeling or prospect of a possible (on whatever grounds) well-being or its opposite.
All changing free play of sensations (that have no design at their basis) gratifies, because it promotes the feeling of health. In the judgement of Reason we may or may not have any satisfaction in its object or even in this gratification; and this latter may rise to the height of an affection, although we take no interest in the object, at least none that is proportionate to the degree of the affection. We may subdivide this free play of sensations into the play of fortune [games of chance], the play of tone [music], and the play of thought [wit]. The first requires an interest, whether of vanity or of selfishness; which, however, is not nearly so great as the interest that attaches to the way in which we are striving to procure it. The second requires merely the change of sensations, all of which have a relation to affection, though they have not the degree of affection, and excite aesthetical Ideas. The third springs merely from the change of representations in the Judgement; by it, indeed, no thought that brings an interest with it is produced, but yet the mind is animated thereby.
How much gratification games must afford, without any necessity of placing at their basis an interested design, all our evening parties show; for hardly any of them can be carried on without a game. But the affections of hope, fear, joy, wrath, scorn, are put in play by them, alternating every moment; and they are so vivid that by them, as by a kind of internal motion, all the vital processes of the body seem to be promoted, as is shown by the mental vivacity excited by them, although nothing is gained or learnt thereby. But as the beautiful does not enter into games of chance, we will here set them aside. On the other hand, music and that which excites laughter are two different kinds of play with aesthetical Ideas, or with representations of the Understanding through which ultimately nothing is thought; and yet they can give lively gratification merely by their changes. Thus we recognise pretty clearly that the animation in both cases is merely bodily, although it is excited by Ideas of the mind; and that the feeling of health produced by a motion of the intestines corresponding to the play in question makes up that whole gratification of a gay party, which is regarded as so refined and so spiritual. It is not the judging the harmony in tones or sallies of wit,—which serves only in combination with their beauty as a necessary vehicle,—but the furtherance of the vital bodily processes, the affection that moves the intestines and the diaphragm, in a word, the feeling of health (which without such inducements one does not feel) that makes up the gratification felt by us; so that we can thus reach the body through the soul and use the latter as the physician of the former.
In music this play proceeds from bodily sensations to aesthetical Ideas (the Objects of our affections), and then from these back again to the body with redoubled force. In the case of jokes (the art of which, just like music, should rather be reckoned as pleasant than beautiful) the play begins with the thoughts which together occupy the body, so far as they admit of sensible expression; and as the Understanding stops suddenly short at this presentment, in which it does not find what it expected, we feel the effect of this slackening in the body by the oscillation of the organs, which promotes the restoration of equilibrium and has a favourable influence upon health.
In everything that is to excite a lively convulsive laugh there must be something absurd (in which the Understanding, therefore, can find no satisfaction). Laughter is an affection arising from the sudden transformation of a strained expectation into nothing.1 This transformation, which is certainly not enjoyable by the Understanding, yet indirectly gives it very active enjoyment for a moment. Therefore its cause must consist in the influence of the representation upon the body, and the reflex effect of this upon the mind; not, indeed, through the representation being objectively an object of gratification1 (for how could a delusive expectation gratify?), but simply through it as a mere play of representations bringing about an equilibrium of the vital powers in the body.
Suppose this story to be told: An Indian at the table of an Englishman in Surat, when he saw a bottle of ale opened and all the beer turned into froth and overflowing, testified his great astonishment with many exclamations. When the Englishman asked him, “What is there in this to astonish you so much?” he answered, “I am not at all astonished that it should flow out, but I do wonder how you ever got it in.” At this story we laugh, and it gives us hearty pleasure; not because we deem ourselves cleverer than this ignorant man, or because of anything else in it that we note as satisfactory to the Understanding, but because our expectation was strained [for a time] and then was suddenly dissipated into nothing. Again: The heir of a rich relative wished to arrange for an imposing funeral, but he lamented that he could not properly succeed; “for” (said he) “the more money I give my mourners to look sad, the more cheerful they look!”2 When we hear this story we laugh loud, and the reason is that an expectation is suddenly transformed into nothing. We must note well that it does not transform itself into the positive opposite of an expected object—for then there would still be something, which might even be a cause of grief—but it must be transformed into nothing. For if a man arouses great expectations in us when telling a story, and at the end we see its falsehood immediately, it displeases us; e.g. the story of the people whose hair in consequence of great grief turned gray in one night. But if a wag, to repair the effect of this story, describes very circumstantially the grief of the merchant returning from India to Europe with all his wealth in merchandise who was forced to throw it overboard in a heavy storm, and who grieved thereat so much that his wig turned gray the same night—we laugh and it gives us gratification. For we treat our own mistake in the case of an object otherwise indifferent to us, or rather the Idea which we are following out, as we treat a ball which we knock to and fro for a time, though our only serious intention is to seize it and hold it fast. It is not the mere rebuff of a liar or a simpleton that arouses our gratification; for the latter story told with assumed seriousness would set a whole company in a roar of laughter, while the former would ordinarily not be regarded as worth attending to.
It is remarkable that in all such cases the jest must contain something that is capable of deceiving for a moment. Hence, when the illusion is dissipated, the mind turns back to try it once again, and thus through a rapidly alternating tension and relaxation it is jerked back and put into a state of oscillation. This, because the strain on the cord as it were is suddenly (and not gradually) relaxed, must occasion a mental movement, and an inner bodily movement harmonising therewith, which continues involuntarily and fatigues, even while cheering us (the effects of a motion conducive to health).
For if we admit that with all our thoughts is harmonically combined a movement in the organs of the body, we shall easily comprehend how to this sudden transposition of the mind, now to one now to another standpoint in order to contemplate its object, may correspond an alternating tension and relaxation of the elastic portions of our intestines, which communicates itself to the diaphragm (like that which ticklish people feel). In connexion with this the lungs expel the air at rapidly succeeding intervals, and thus bring about a movement beneficial to health; which alone, and not what precedes it in the mind, is the proper cause of the gratification in a thought that at bottom represents nothing.— Voltaire said that heaven had given us two things to counterbalance the many miseries of life, hope and sleep.1 He could have added laughter, if the means of exciting it in reasonable men were only as easily attainable, and the requisite wit or originality of humour were not so rare, as the talent is common of imagining things which break one’s head, as mystic dreamers do, or which break one’s neck, as your genius does, or which break one’s heart, as sentimental romance-writers (and even moralists of the same kidney) do.
We may therefore, as it seems to me, readily concede to Epicurus that all gratification, even that which is occasioned through concepts, excited by aesthetical Ideas, is animal, i.e. bodily sensation; without the least prejudice to the spiritual feeling of respect for moral Ideas, which is not gratification at all but an esteem for self (for humanity in us), that raises us above the need of gratification, and even without the slightest prejudice to the less noble [feeling] of taste.
We find a combination of these two last in naiveté, which is the breaking out of the sincerity originally natural to humanity in opposition to that art of dissimulation which has become a second nature. We laugh at the simplicity that does not understand how to dissemble; and yet we are delighted with the simplicity of the nature which thwarts that art. We look for the commonplace manner of artificial utterance devised with foresight to make a fair show; and behold! it is the unspoiled innocent nature which we do not expect to find, and which he who displays it did not think of disclosing. That the fair but false show which generally has so much influence upon our judgement is here suddenly transformed into nothing, so that, as it were, the rogue in us is laid bare, produces a movement of the mind in two opposite directions, which gives a wholesome shock to the body. But the fact that something infinitely better than all assumed manner, viz. purity of disposition (or at least the tendency thereto), is not quite extinguished yet in human nature, blends seriousness and high esteem with this play of the Judgement. But because it is only a transitory phenomenon and the veil of dissimulation is soon drawn over it again, there is mingled therewith a compassion which is an emotion of tenderness; this, as play, readily admits of combination with a good-hearted laugh, and ordinarily is actually so combined, and withal is wont to compensate him who supplies its material for the embarrassment which results from not yet being wise after the manner of men.— An art that is to be naive is thus a contradiction; but the representation of naiveté in a fictitious personage is quite possible, and is a beautiful though a rare art. Naiveté must not be confounded with open-hearted simplicity, which does not artificially spoil nature solely because it does not understand the art of social intercourse.
The humorous manner again may be classified as that which, as exhilarating us, is near akin to the gratification that proceeds from laughter; and belongs to the originality of spirit, but not to the talent of beautiful art. Humour in the good sense means the talent of being able voluntarily to put oneself into a certain mental disposition, in which everything is judged quite differently from the ordinary method (reversed, in fact), and yet in accordance with certain rational principles in such a frame of mind. He who is involuntarily subject to such mutations is called a man of humours [launisch]; but he who can assume them voluntarily and purposively (on behalf of a lively presentment brought about by the aid of a contrast that excites a laugh)—he and his manner of speech are called humorous [launigt]. This manner, however, belongs rather to pleasant than to beautiful art, because the object of the latter must always exhibit intrinsic worth, and hence requires a certain seriousness in the presentation, as taste does in the act of judgement.
DIALECTIC OF THE AESTHETICAL JUDGEMENT
A faculty of Judgement that is to be dialectical must in the first place be rationalising, i.e. its judgements must claim universality1 and that a priori; for it is in the opposition of such judgements that Dialectic consists. Hence the incompatibility of aesthetical judgements of Sense (about the pleasant and the unpleasant) is not dialectical. And again, the conflict between judgements of Taste, so far as each man depends merely on his own taste, forms no Dialectic of taste; because no one proposes to make his own judgement a universal rule. There remains therefore no other concept of a Dialectic which has to do with taste than that of a Dialectic of the Critique of taste (not of taste itself) in respect of its principles; for here concepts that contradict one another (as to the ground of the possibility of judgements of taste in general) naturally and unavoidably present themselves. The transcendental Critique of taste will therefore contain a part which can bear the name of a Dialectic of the aesthetical Judgement, only if and so far as there is found an antinomy of the principles of this faculty which renders its conformity to law, and consequently also its internal possibility, doubtful.
Representation of the antinomy of Taste
The first commonplace of taste is contained in the proposition, with which every tasteless person proposes to avoid blame: every one has his own taste. That is as much as to say that the determining ground of this judgement is merely subjective (gratification or grief), and that the judgement has no right to the necessary assent of others.
The second commonplace invoked even by those who admit for judgements of taste the right to speak with validity for every one is: there is no disputing about taste. That is as much as to say that the determining ground of a judgement of taste may indeed be objective, but that it cannot be reduced to definite concepts, and that consequently about the judgement itself nothing can be decided by proofs, although much may rightly be contested. For contesting [quarrelling] and disputing [controversy] are doubtless the same in this, that by means of the mutual opposition of judgements they seek to produce their accordance; but different in that the latter hopes to bring this about according to definite concepts as determining grounds, and consequently assumes objective concepts as grounds of the judgement. But where this is regarded as impracticable, controversy is regarded as alike impracticable.
We easily see that between these two commonplaces there is a proposition wanting, which, though it has not passed into a proverb, is yet familiar to every one, viz. there may be a quarrel about taste (although there can be no controversy). But this proposition involves the contradictory of the former one. For wherever quarrelling is permissible, there must be a hope of mutual reconciliation; and consequently we can count on grounds of our judgement that have not merely private validity, and therefore are not merely subjective. And to this the proposition, every one has his own taste, is directly opposed.
There emerges therefore in respect of the principle of taste the following Antinomy:—
(1) Thesis. The judgement of taste is not based upon concepts; for otherwise it would admit of controversy (would be determinable by proofs).
(2) Antithesis. The judgement of taste is based on concepts; for otherwise, despite its diversity, we could not quarrel about it (we could not claim for our judgement the necessary assent of others).
Solution of the antinomy of Taste
There is no possibility of removing the conflict between these principles that underlie every judgement of taste (which are nothing else than the two peculiarities of the judgement of taste exhibited above in the Analytic), except by showing that the concept to which we refer the Object in this kind of judgement is not taken in the same sense in both maxims of the aesthetical Judgement. This twofold sense or twofold point of view is necessary to our transcendental Judgement; but also the illusion which arises from the confusion of one with the other is natural and unavoidable.
The judgement of taste must refer to some concept; otherwise it could make absolutely no claim to be necessarily valid for every one. But it is not therefore capable of being proved from a concept; because a concept may be either determinable or in itself undetermined and undeterminable. The concepts of the Understanding are of the former kind; they are determinable through predicates of sensible intuition which can correspond to them. But the transcendental rational concept of the supersensible, which lies at the basis of all sensible intuition, is of the latter kind, and therefore cannot be theoretically determined further.
Now the judgement of taste is applied to objects of Sense, but not with a view of determining a concept of them for the Understanding; for it is not a cognitive judgement. It is thus only a private judgement, in which a singular representation intuitively perceived is referred to the feeling of pleasure; and so far would be limited as regards its validity to the individual judging. The object is for me an object of satisfaction; by others it may be regarded quite differently—every one has his own taste.
Nevertheless there is undoubtedly contained in the judgement of taste a wider reference of the representation of the Object (as well as of the subject), whereon we base an extension of judgements of this kind as necessary for every one. At the basis of this there must necessarily be a concept somewhere; though a concept which cannot be determined through intuition. But through a concept of this sort we know nothing, and consequently it can supply no proof for the judgement of taste. Such a concept is the mere pure rational concept of the supersensible which underlies the object (and also the subject judging it), regarded as an Object of sense and thus as phenomenon.1 For if we do not admit such a reference, the claim of the judgement of taste to universal validity would not hold good. If the concept on which it is based were only a mere confused concept of the Understanding, like that of perfection, with which we could bring the sensible intuition of the Beautiful into correspondence, it would be at least possible in itself to base the judgement of taste on proofs; which contradicts the thesis.
But all contradiction disappears if I say: the judgement of taste is based on a concept (viz. the concept of the general ground of the subjective purposiveness of nature for the Judgement); from which, however, nothing can be known and proved in respect of the Object, because it is in itself undeterminable and useless for knowledge. Yet at the same time and on that very account the judgement has validity for every one (though of course for each only as a singular judgement immediately accompanying his intuition); because its determining ground lies perhaps in the concept of that which may be regarded as the supersensible substrate of humanity.
The solution of an antinomy only depends on the possibility of showing that two apparently contradictory propositions do not contradict one another in fact, but that they may be consistent; although the explanation of the possibility of their concept may transcend our cognitive faculties. That this illusion is natural and unavoidable by human Reason, and also why it is so, and remains so, although it ceases to deceive after the analysis of the apparent contradiction, may be thus explained.
In the two contradictory judgements we take the concept, on which the universal validity of a judgement must be based, in the same sense; and yet we apply to it two opposite predicates. In the Thesis we mean that the judgement of taste is not based upon determinate concepts; and in the Antithesis that the judgement of taste is based upon a concept, but an indeterminate one (viz. of the supersensible substrate of phenomena). Between these two there is no contradiction.
We can do nothing more than remove this conflict between the claims and counter-claims of taste. It is absolutely impossible to give a definite objective principle of taste, in accordance with which its judgements could be derived, examined, and established; for then the judgement would not be one of taste at all. The subjective principle, viz. the indefinite Idea of the supersensible in us, can only be put forward as the sole key to the puzzle of this faculty whose sources are hidden from us: it can be made no further intelligible.
The proper concept of taste, that is of a merely reflective aesthetical Judgement, lies at the basis of the antinomy here exhibited and adjusted. Thus the two apparently contradictory principles are reconciled—both can be true; which is sufficient. If, on the other hand, we assume, as some do, pleasantness as the determining ground of taste (on account of the singularity of the representation which lies at the basis of the judgement of taste), or, as others will have it, the principle of perfection (on account of the universality of the same), and settle the definition of taste accordingly; then there arises an antinomy which it is absolutely impossible to adjust except by showing that both the contrary (though not contradictory) propositions are false. And this would prove that the concept on which they are based is self-contradictory. Hence we see that the removal of the antinomy of the aesthetical Judgement takes a course similar to that pursued by the Critique in the solution of the antinomies of pure theoretical Reason. And thus here, as also in the Critique of practical Reason, the antinomies force us against our will to look beyond the sensible and to seek in the supersensible the point of union for all our a priori faculties; because no other expedient is left to make our Reason harmonious with itself.
As we so often find occasion in Transcendental Philosophy for distinguishing Ideas from concepts of the Understanding, it may be of use to introduce technical terms to correspond to this distinction. I believe that no one will object if I propose some.—In the most universal signification of the word, Ideas are representations referred to an object, according to a certain (subjective or objective) principle, but so that they can never become a cognition of it. They are either referred to an intuition, according to a merely subjective principle of the mutual harmony of the cognitive powers (the Imagination and the Understanding), and they are then called aesthetical; or they are referred to a concept according to an objective principle, although they can never furnish a cognition of the object and are called rational Ideas. In the latter case the concept is a transcendent one, which is different from a concept of the Understanding, to which an adequately corresponding experience can always be supplied, and which therefore is called immanent.
An aesthetical Idea cannot become a cognition, because it is an intuition (of the Imagination) for which an adequate concept can never be found. A rational Idea can never become a cognition, because it involves a concept (of the supersensible), corresponding to which an intuition can never be given.
Now I believe we might call the aesthetical Idea an inexponible representation of the Imagination, and a rational Idea an indemonstrable concept of Reason. It is assumed of both that they are not generated without grounds, but (according to the above explanation of an Idea in general) in conformity with certain principles of the cognitive faculties to which they belong (subjective principles in the one case, objective in the other).
Concepts of the Understanding must, as such, always be demonstrable [if by demonstration we understand, as in anatomy, merely presentation];1i.e. the object corresponding to them must always be capable of being given in intuition (pure or empirical); for thus alone could they become cognitions. The concept of magnitude can be given a priori in the intuition of space, e.g. of a right line, etc.; the concept of cause in impenetrability, in the collision of bodies, etc. Consequently both can be authenticated by means of an empirical intuition, i.e. the thought of them can be proved (demonstrated, verified) by an example; and this must be possible, for otherwise we should not be certain that the concept was not empty, i.e. devoid of any Object.
In Logic we ordinarily use the expressions demonstrable or indemonstrable only in respect of propositions, but these might be better designated by the titles respectively of mediately and immediately certain propositions; for pure Philosophy has also propositions of both kinds, i.e. true propositions, some of which are susceptible of proof and others not. It can, as philosophy, prove them on a priori grounds, but it cannot demonstrate them; unless we wish to depart entirely from the proper meaning of this word, according to which to demonstrate (ostendere, exhibere) is equivalent to presenting a concept in intuition (whether in proof or merely in definition). If the intuition is a priori this is called construction; but if it is empirical, then the Object is displayed by means of which objective reality is assured to the concept. Thus we say of an anatomist that he demonstrates the human eye, if by a dissection of this organ he makes intuitively evident the concept which he has previously treated discursively.
It hence follows that the rational concept of the supersensible substrate of all phenomena in general, or even of that which must be placed at the basis of our arbitrary will in respect of the moral law, viz. of transcendental freedom, is already, in kind, an indemonstrable concept and a rational Idea; while virtue is so, in degree. For there can be given in experience, as regards its quality, absolutely nothing corresponding to the former; whereas in the latter case no empirical product attains to the degree of that causality, which the rational Idea prescribes as the rule.
As in a rational Idea the Imagination with its intuitions does not attain to the given concept, so in an aesthetical Idea the Understanding by its concepts never attains completely to that internal intuition which the Imagination binds up with a given representation. Since, now, to reduce a representation of the Imagination to concepts is the same thing as to expound it, the aesthetical Idea may be called an inexponible representation of the Imagination (in its free play). I shall have occasion in the sequel to say something more of Ideas of this kind; now I only note that both kinds of Ideas, rational and aesthetical, must have their principles; and must have them in Reason—the one in the objective, the other in the subjective principles of its employment.
We can consequently explain genius as the faculty of aesthetical Ideas; by which at the same time is shown the reason why in the products of genius it is the nature (of the subject) and not a premeditated purpose that gives the rule to the art (of the production of the beautiful). For since the beautiful must not be judged by concepts, but by the purposive attuning of the Imagination to agreement with the faculty of concepts in general, it cannot be rule and precept which can serve as the subjective standard of that aesthetical but unconditioned purposiveness in beautiful art, that can rightly claim to please every one. It can only be that in the subject which is nature and cannot be brought under rules or concepts, i.e. the supersensible substrate of all his faculties (to which no concept of the Understanding extends), and consequently that with respect to which it is the final purpose given by the intelligible [part] of our nature to harmonise all our cognitive faculties. Thus alone is it possible that there should be a priori at the basis of this purposiveness, for which we can prescribe no objective principle, a principle subjective and yet of universal validity.
The following important remark occurs here: There are three kinds of Antinomies of pure Reason, which, however, all agree in this, that they compel us to give up the otherwise very natural hypothesis that objects of sense are things in themselves, and force us to regard them merely as phenomena, and to supply to them an intelligible substrate (something supersensible of which the concept is only an Idea, and supplies no proper knowledge). Without such antinomies Reason could never decide upon accepting a principle narrowing so much the field of its speculation, and could never bring itself to sacrifices by which so many otherwise brilliant hopes must disappear. For even now when, by way of compensation for these losses, a greater field in a practical aspect opens out before it, it appears not to be able without grief to part from those hopes, and disengage itself from its old attachment.
That there are three kinds of antinomies has its ground in this, that there are three cognitive faculties,—Understanding, Judgement, and Reason; of which each (as a superior cognitive faculty) must have its a priori principles. For Reason, in so far as it judges of these principles and their use, inexorably requires, in respect of them all, the unconditioned for the given conditioned; and this can never be found if we consider the sensible as belonging to things in themselves, and do not rather supply to it, as mere phenomenon, something supersensible (the intelligible substrate of nature both external and internal) as the reality in itself [Sache an sich selbst]. There are then: (1) For the cognitive faculty an antinomy of Reason in respect of the theoretical employment of the Understanding extended to the unconditioned; (2) for the feeling of pleasure and pain an antinomy of Reason in respect of the aesthetical employment of the Judgement; and (3) for the faculty of desire an antinomy in respect of the practical employment of the self-legislative Reason; so far as all these faculties have their superior principles a priori, and, in conformity with an inevitable requirement of Reason, must judge and be able to determine their Object, unconditionally according to those principles.
As for the two antinomies of the theoretical and practical employment of the superior cognitive faculties, we have already shown their unavoidableness, if judgements of this kind are not referred to a supersensible substrate of the given Objects, as phenomena; and also the possibility of their solution, as soon as this is done. And as for the antinomies in the employment of the Judgement, in conformity with the requirements of Reason, and their solution which is here given, there are only two ways of avoiding them. Either: we must deny that any a priori principle lies at the basis of the aesthetical judgement of taste; we must maintain that all claim to necessary universal agreement is a groundless and vain fancy, and that a judgement of taste only deserves to be regarded as correct because it happens that many people agree about it; and this, not because we assume an a priori principle behind this agreement, but because (as in the taste of the palate) of the contingent similar organisation of the different subjects. Or: we must assume that the judgement of taste is really a disguised judgement of Reason upon the perfection discovered in a thing and the reference of the manifold in it to a purpose, and is consequently only called aesthetical on account of the confusion here attaching to our reflection, although it is at bottom teleological. In the latter case we could declare the solution of the antinomies by means of transcendental Ideas to be needless and without point, and thus could harmonise these laws of taste with Objects of sense, not as mere phenomena but as things in themselves. But we have shown in several places in the exposition of judgements of taste how little either of these expedients will satisfy.
However, if it be granted that our deduction at least proceeds by the right method, although it be not yet plain enough in all its parts, three Ideas manifest themselves. First, there is the Idea of the supersensible in general, without any further determination of it, as the substrate of nature. Secondly, there is the Idea of the same as the principle of the subjective purposiveness of nature for our cognitive faculty. And thirdly, there is the Idea of the same as the principle of the purposes of freedom, and of the agreement of freedom with its purposes in the moral sphere.
Of the Idealism of the purposiveness of both Nature and Art as the unique principle of the aesthetical Judgement.
To begin with, we can either place the principle of taste in the fact that it always judges in accordance with grounds which are empirical and therefore are only given a posteriori by sense, or concede that it judges on a priori grounds. The former would be the empiricism of the Critique of Taste; the latter its rationalism. According to the former the Object of our satisfaction would not differ from the pleasant; according to the latter, if the judgement rests on definite concepts, it would not differ from the good. Thus all beauty would be banished from the world, and only a particular name, expressing perhaps a certain mingling of the two above-named kinds of satisfaction, would remain in its place. But we have shown that there are also a priori grounds of satisfaction which can subsist along with the principle of rationalism, although they cannot be comprehended in definite concepts.
On the other hand, the rationalism of the principle of taste is either that of the realism of the purposiveness, or of its idealism. Because a judgement of taste is not a cognitive judgement, and beauty is not a characteristic of the Object, considered in itself, the rationalism of the principle of taste can never be placed in the fact that the purposiveness in this judgement is thought as objective, i.e. that the judgement theoretically, and therefore also logically (although only in a confused way), refers to the perfection of the Object. It only refers aesthetically to the agreement of the representation of the Object in the Imagination with the essential principles of Judgement in general in the subject. Consequently, even according to the principle of rationalism, the judgement of taste and the distinction between its realism and idealism can only be settled thus. Either in the first case, this subjective purposiveness is assumed as an actual (designed) purpose of nature (or art) harmonising with our Judgement; or, in the second case, as a purposive harmony with the needs of Judgement, in respect of nature and its forms produced according to particular laws, which shows itself, without purpose, spontaneously, and contingently.
The beautiful formations in the kingdom of organised nature speak loudly for the realism of the aesthetical purposiveness of nature; since we might assume that behind the production of the beautiful there is an Idea of the beautiful in the producing cause, viz. a purpose in respect of our Imagination. Flowers, blossoms, even the shapes of entire plants; the elegance of animal formations of all kinds, unneeded for their proper use, but, as it were, selected for our taste; especially the charming variety so satisfying to the eye and the harmonious arrangement of colours (in the pheasant, in shell-fish, in insects, even in the commonest flowers), which, as it only concerns the surface and not the figure of these creations (though perhaps requisite in regard of their internal purposes), seems to be entirely designed for external inspection; these things give great weight to that mode of explanation which assumes actual purposes of nature for our aesthetical Judgement.
On the other hand, not only is Reason opposed to this assumption in its maxims, which bid us always avoid as far as possible unnecessary multiplication of principles; but nature everywhere shows in its free formations much mechanical tendency to the productions of forms which seem, as it were, to be made for the aesthetical exercise of our Judgement, without affording the least ground for the supposition that there is need of anything more than its mechanism, merely as nature, according to which, without any Idea lying at their root, they can be purposive for our judgement. But I understand by free formations of nature those whereby from a fluid at rest, through the volatilisation or separation of a portion of its constituents (sometimes merely of caloric), the remainder in becoming solid assumes a definite shape or tissue (figure or texture), which is different according to the specific difference of the material, but in the same material is constant. Here it is always presupposed that we are speaking of a perfect fluid, i.e. that the material in it is completely dissolved, and that it is not a mere medley of solid particles in a state of suspension.
Formation, then, takes place by a shooting together, i.e. by a sudden solidification, not by a gradual transition from the fluid to the solid state, but all at once by a saltus; which transition is also called crystallisation. The commonest example of this kind of formation is the freezing of water, where first icicles are produced, which combine at angles of 60°, while others attach themselves to each vertex, until it all becomes ice; and so that, while this is going on, the water does not gradually become viscous, but is as perfectly fluid as if its temperature were far higher, although it is absolutely ice-cold. The matter that disengages itself, which is dissipated suddenly at the moment of solidification, is a considerable quantum of caloric, the disappearance of which, as it was only required for preserving fluidity, leaves the new ice not in the least colder than the water which shortly before was fluid.
Many salts, and also rocks, of a crystalline figure, are produced thus from a species of earth dissolved in water, we do not exactly know how. Thus are formed the glandular configurations of many minerals, the cubical sulphide of lead, the ruby silver ore, etc., in all probability in water and by the shooting together of particles, as they become forced by some cause to dispense with this vehicle and to unite in definite external shapes.
But also all kinds of matter, which have been kept in a fluid state by heat, and have become solid by cooling, show internally, when fractured, a definite texture. This makes us judge that if their own weight or the disturbance of the air had not prevented it, they would also have exhibited on the outer surface their specifically peculiar shapes. This has been observed in some metals on their inner surface, which have been hardened externally by fusion but are fluid in the interior, by the drawing off the internal fluid and the consequent undisturbed crystallisation of the remainder. Many of these mineral crystallisations, such as spars, hematite, arragonite, etc., often present beautiful shapes, the like of which art can only conceive; and the halo in the cavern of Antiparos1 is merely produced by water trickling down strata of gypsum.
The fluid state is, to all appearance, older than the solid state, and plants as well as animal bodies are fashioned out of fluid nutritive matter, so far as this forms itself in a state of rest. This last of course primarily combines and forms itself in freedom according to a certain original disposition directed towards purposes (which, as will be shown in Part II., must not be judged aesthetically but teleologically according to the principle of realism), but also perhaps in conformity with the universal law of the affinity of materials. Again, the watery fluids dissolved in an atmosphere that is a mixture of different gases, if they separate from the latter on account of cooling, produce snow figures, which in correspondence with the character of the special mixture of gases, often seem very artistic and are extremely beautiful. So, without detracting from the teleological principle by which we judge of organisation, we may well think that the beauty of flowers, of the plumage of birds, or of shell-fish, both in shape and colour, may be ascribed to nature and its faculty of producing forms in an aesthetically purposive way, in its freedom, without particular purposes adapted thereto, according to chemical laws by the arrangement of the material requisite for the organisation in question.
But what shows the principle of the Ideality of the purposiveness in the beauty of nature, as that which we always place at the basis of an aesthetical judgement, and which allows us to employ, as a ground of explanation for our representative faculty, no realism of purpose, is the fact that in judging beauty we invariably seek its gauge in ourselves a priori, and that our aesthetical Judgement is itself legislative in respect of the judgement whether anything is beautiful or not. This could not be, on the assumption of the Realism of the purposiveness of nature; because in that case we must have learned from nature what we ought to find beautiful, and the aesthetical judgement would be subjected to empirical principles. For in such an act of judging the important point is not, what nature is, or even, as a purpose, is in relation to us, but how we take it. There would be an objective purposiveness in nature if it had fashioned its forms for our satisfaction; and not a subjective purposiveness which depended upon the play of the Imagination in its freedom, where it is we who receive nature with favour, not nature which shows us favour. The property of nature that gives us occasion to perceive the inner purposiveness in the relation of our mental faculties in judging certain of its products—a purposiveness which is to be explained on supersensible grounds as necessary and universal—cannot be a natural purpose or be judged by us as such; for otherwise the judgement hereby determined would not be free, and would have at its basis heteronomy, and not, as beseems a judgement of taste, autonomy.
In beautiful Art the principle of the Idealism of purposiveness is still clearer. As in the case of the beautiful in Nature, an aesthetical Realism of this purposiveness cannot be perceived by sensations (for then the art would be only pleasant, not beautiful). But that the satisfaction produced by aesthetical Ideas must not depend on the attainment of definite purposes (as in mechanically designed art), and that consequently, in the very rationalism of the principle, the ideality of the purposes and not their reality must be fundamental, appears from the fact that beautiful Art, as such, must not be considered as a product of Understanding and Science, but of Genius, and therefore must get its rule through aesthetical Ideas, which are essentially different from rational Ideas of definite purposes.
Just as the ideality of the objects of sense as phenomena is the only way of explaining the possibility of their forms being susceptible of a priori determination, so the idealism of purposiveness, in judging the beautiful in nature and art, is the only hypothesis under which Criticism can explain the possibility of a judgement of taste which demands a priori validity for every one (without grounding on concepts the purposiveness that is represented in the Object).
Of Beauty as the symbol of Morality
Intuitions are always required to establish the reality of our concepts. If the concepts are empirical, the intuitions are called examples. If they are pure concepts of Understanding, the intuitions are called schemata. If we desire to establish the objective reality of rational concepts, i.e. of Ideas, on behalf of theoretical cognition, then we are asking for something impossible, because absolutely no intuition can be given which shall be adequate to them.
All hypotyposis (presentation, subjectio sub adspectum), or sensible illustration, is twofold. It is either schematical, when to a concept comprehended by the Understanding the corresponding intuition is given a priori; or it is symbolical. In the latter case to a concept only thinkable by the Reason, to which no sensible intuition can be adequate, an intuition is supplied with which accords a procedure of the Judgement analogous to what it observes in schematism: it accords with it, that is, in respect of the rule of this procedure merely, not of the intuition itself; consequently in respect of the form of reflection merely, and not of its content.
There is a use of the word symbolical that has been adopted by modern logicians, which is misleading and incorrect, i.e. to speak of the symbolical mode of representation as if it were opposed to the intuitive; for the symbolical is only a mode of the intuitive. The latter (the intuitive), that is, may be divided into the schematical and the symbolical modes of representation. Both are hypotyposes, i.e. presentations (exhibitiones); not mere characterisations, or designations of concepts by accompanying sensible signs which contain nothing belonging to the intuition of the Object, and only serve as a means for reproducing the concepts, according to the law of association of the Imagination, and consequently in a subjective point of view. These are either words, or visible (algebraical, even mimetical) signs, as mere expressions for concepts.1
All intuitions, which we supply to concepts a priori, are therefore either schemata or symbols, of which the former contain direct, the latter indirect, presentations of the concept. The former do this demonstratively; the latter by means of an analogy (for which we avail ourselves even of empirical intuitions) in which the Judgement exercises a double function; first applying the concept to the object of a sensible intuition, and then applying the mere rule of the reflection made upon that intuition to a quite different object of which the first is only the symbol. Thus a monarchical state is represented by a living body, if it is governed by national laws, and by a mere machine (like a hand-mill) if governed by an individual absolute will; but in both cases only symbolically. For between a despotic state and a hand-mill there is, to be sure, no similarity; but there is a similarity in the rules according to which we reflect upon these two things and their causality. This matter has not been sufficiently analysed hitherto, for it deserves a deeper investigation; but this is not the place to linger over it. Our language [i.e. German] is full of indirect presentations of this sort, in which the expression does not contain the proper schema for the concept, but merely a symbol for reflection. Thus the words ground (support, basis), to depend (to be held up from above), to flow from something (instead of, to follow), substance (as Locke expresses it, the support of accidents), and countless others, are not schematical but symbolical hypotyposes and expressions for concepts, not by means of a direct intuition, but only by analogy with it, i.e. by the transference of reflection upon an object of intuition to a quite different concept to which perhaps an intuition can never directly correspond. If we are to give the name of cognition to a mere mode of representation (which is quite permissible if the latter is not a principle of the theoretical determination of what an object is in itself, but of the practical determination of what the Idea of it should be for us and for its purposive use), then all our knowledge of God is merely symbolical; and he who regards it as schematical, along with the properties of Understanding, Will, etc., which only establish their objective reality in beings of this world, falls into Anthropomorphism, just as he who gives up every intuitive element falls into Deism, by which nothing at all is cognised, not even in a practical point of view.
Now I say the Beautiful is the symbol of the morally Good, and that it is only in this respect (a reference which is natural to every man and which every man postulates in others as a duty) that it gives pleasure with a claim for the agreement of every one else. By this the mind is made conscious of a certain ennoblement and elevation above the mere sensibility to pleasure received through sense, and the worth of others is estimated in accordance with a like maxim of their Judgement. That is the intelligible, to which, as pointed out in the preceding paragraph, Taste looks; with which our higher cognitive faculties are in accord; and without which a downright contradiction would arise between their nature and the claims made by taste. In this faculty the Judgement does not see itself, as in empirical judging, subjected to a heteronomy of empirical laws; it gives the law to itself in respect of the objects of so pure a satisfaction, just as the Reason does in respect of the faculty of desire. Hence, both on account of this inner possibility in the subject and of the external possibility of a nature that agrees with it, it finds itself to be referred to something within the subject as well as without him, something which is neither nature nor freedom, but which yet is connected with the supersensible ground of the latter. In this supersensible ground, therefore, the theoretical faculty is bound together in unity with the practical, in a way which though common is yet unknown. We shall indicate some points of this analogy, while at the same time we shall note the differences.
(1) The beautiful pleases immediately (but only in reflective intuition, not, like morality, in its concept). (2) It pleases apart from any interest (the morally good is indeed necessarily bound up with an interest, though not with one which precedes the judgement upon the satisfaction, but with one which is first of all produced by it). (3) The freedom of the Imagination (and therefore of the sensibility of our faculty) is represented in judging the beautiful as harmonious with the conformity to law of the Understanding (in the moral judgement the freedom of the will is thought as the harmony of the latter with itself according to universal laws of Reason). (4) The subjective principle in judging the beautiful is represented as universal, i.e. as valid for every man, though not cognisable through any universal concept. (The objective principle of morality is also expounded as universal, i.e. for every subject and for every action of the same subject, and thus as cognisable by means of a universal concept). Hence the moral judgement is not only susceptible of definite constitutive principles, but is possible only by grounding its maxims on these in their universality.
A reference to this analogy is usual even with the common Understanding [of men], and we often describe beautiful objects of nature or art by names that seem to put a moral appreciation at their basis. We call buildings or trees majestic and magnificent, landscapes laughing and gay; even colours are called innocent, modest, tender, because they excite sensations which have something analogous to the consciousness of the state of mind brought about by moral judgements. Taste makes possible the transition, without any violent leap, from the charm of Sense to habitual moral interest; for it represents the Imagination in its freedom as capable of purposive determination for the Understanding, and so teaches us to find even in objects of sense a free satisfaction apart from any charm of sense.
Of the method of Taste
The division of a Critique into Elementology and Methodology, as preparatory to science, is not applicable to the Critique of taste, because there neither is nor can be a science of the Beautiful, and the judgement of taste is not determinable by means of principles. As for the scientific element in every art, which regards truth in the presentation of its Object, this is indeed the indispensable condition (conditio sine qua non) of beautiful art, but not beautiful art itself. There is therefore for beautiful art only a manner (modus), not a method of teaching (methodus). The master must show what the pupil is to do and how he is to do it; and the universal rules, under which at last he brings his procedure, serve rather for bringing the main points back to his remembrance when occasion requires, than for prescribing them to him. Nevertheless regard must be had here to a certain ideal, which art must have before its eyes, although it cannot be completely attained in practice. It is only through exciting the Imagination of the pupil to accordance with a given concept, by making him note the inadequacy of the expression for the Idea, to which the concept itself does not attain because it is an aesthetical Idea, and by severe criticism, that he can be prevented from taking the examples set before him as types and models for imitation, to be subjected to no higher standard or independent judgement. Iit is thus that genius, and with it the freedom of the Imagination, is stifled by its very conformity to law; and without these no beautiful art, and not even an accurately judging individual taste, is possible.
The propaedeutic to all beautiful art, regarded in the highest degree of its perfection, seems to lie, not in precepts, but in the culture of the mental powers by means of those elements of knowledge called humaniora, probably because humanity on the one side indicates the universal feeling of sympathy, and on the other the faculty of being able to communicate universally our inmost [feelings]. For these properties taken together constitute the characteristic social spirit1 of humanity by which it is distinguished from the limitations of animal life. The age and peoples, in which the impulse towards a law-abiding social life, by which a people becomes a permanent community, contended with the great difficulties presented by the difficult problem of uniting freedom (and therefore equality also) with compulsion (rather of respect and submission from a sense of duty than of fear)—such an age and such a people naturally first found out the art of reciprocal communication of Ideas between the cultivated and uncultivated classes and thus discovered how to harmonise the large-mindedness and refinement of the former with the natural simplicity and originality of the latter. In this way they first found that mean between the higher culture and simple nature which furnishes that true standard for taste as a sense common to all men which no universal rules can supply.
With difficulty will a later age dispense with those models, because it will be always farther from nature; and in fine, without having permanent examples before it, a concept will hardly be possible, in one and the same people, of the happy union of the law-abiding constraint of the highest culture with the force and truth of free nature which feels its own proper worth.
Now taste is at bottom a faculty for judging of the sensible illustration of moral Ideas (by means of a certain analogy involved in our reflection upon both these); and it is from this faculty also and from the greater susceptibility grounded thereon for the feeling arising from the latter (called moral feeling), that the pleasure is derived which taste regards as valid for mankind in general and not merely for the private feeling of each. Hence it appears plain that the true propaedeutic for the foundation of taste is the development of moral Ideas and the culture of the moral feeling; because it is only when sensibility is brought into agreement with this that genuine taste can assume a definite invariable form.
[1 ]The definition of taste which is laid down here is that it is the faculty of judging of the beautiful. But the analysis of judgements of taste must show what is required in order to call an object beautiful. The moments, to which this Judgement has regard in its reflection, I have sought in accordance with the guidance of the logical functions of judgement (for in a judgement of taste a reference to the Understanding is always involved). I have considered the moment of quality first, because the aesthetical judgement upon the beautiful first pays attention to it.
[1 ]A judgement upon an object of satisfaction may be quite disinterested, but yet very interesting, i.e. not based upon an interest, but bringing an interest with it; of this kind are all pure moral judgements. Judgements of taste, however, do not in themselves establish any interest. Only in society is it interesting to have taste: the reason of this will be shown in the sequel.
[1 ][Second Edition.]
[2 ]An obligation to enjoyment is a manifest absurdity. Thus the obligation to all actions which have merely enjoyment for their aim can only be a pretended one; however spiritually it may be conceived (or decked out), even if it is a mystical, or so-called heavenly, enjoyment.
[1 ][Second Edition.]
[1 ][Second Edition.]
[1 ][Ueberweg points out (Hist. of Phil., ii. 528, Eng. Trans.) that Mendelssohn had already called attention to the disinterestedness of our satisfaction in the Beautiful. “It appears,” says Mendelssohn, “to be a particular mark of the beautiful, that it is contemplated with quiet satisfaction, that it pleases, even though it be not in our possession, and even though we be never so far removed from the desire to put it to our use.” But, of course, as Ueberweg remarks, Kant’s conception of disinterestedness extends far beyond the absence of a desire to possess the object.]
[1 ][Reading besondere with Windelband; Hartenstein reads bestimmte.]
[1 ][I.e. The Critique of Pure Reason, Analytic, bk. ii. c. i.]
[1 ][Second Edition. Spencer expresses much more concisely what Kant has in his mind here. “Pleasure . . . is a feeling which we seek to bring into consciousness and retain there; pain is . . . a feeling which we seek to get out of consciousness and to keep out.” Principles of Psychology,§ 125 .]
[2 ][The editions of Hartenstein and Kirchmann omit ohne before zweck, which makes havoc of the sentence. It is correctly printed by Rosenkranz and Windelband.]
[1 ][First Edition.]
[1 ][Cf. Metaphysic of Morals, Introd. I. “The pleasure which is necessarily bound up with the desire (of the object whose representation affects feeling) may be called practical pleasure, whether it be cause or effect of the desire. On the contrary, the pleasure which is not necessarily bound up with the desire of the object, and which, therefore, is at bottom not a pleasure in the existence of the Object of the representation, but clings to the representation only, may be called mere contemplative pleasure or passive satisfaction. The feeling of the latter kind of pleasure we call taste.”]
[1 ][Second Edition.]
[1 ][First Edition has gleiche; Second Edition has solche.]
[2 ][First and Second Editions have sehr zweifle; but this was corrected to nicht zweifle in the Third Edition of 1799.]
[1 ][Belebt machen; First Edition had beliebt.]
[1 ][Second Edition.]
[1 ][Second Edition.]
[1 ][Second Edition.]
[1 ][Second Edition.]
[1 ][Kant probably alludes here to Baumgarten (1714–1762), who was the first writer to give the name of Aesthetics to the Philosophy of Taste. He defined beauty as “perfection apprehended through the senses.” Kant is said to have used as a text-book at lectures a work by Meier, a pupil of Baumgarten’s, on this subject.]
[1 ][Cf. Preface to the Metaphysical Elements of Ethics, v.: “The word perfection is liable to many misconceptions. It is sometimes understood as a concept belonging to Transcendental Philosophy; viz. the concept of the totality of the manifold, which, taken together, constitutes a Thing; sometimes, again, it is understood as belonging to Teleology, so that it signifies the agreement of the characteristics of a thing with a purpose. Perfection in the former sense might be called quantitative (material), in the latter qualitative (formal) perfection.”]
[1 ][The words even if . . . general were added in the Second Edition.]
[1 ][Second Edition.]
[1 ]Models of taste as regards the arts of speech must be composed in a dead and learned language. The first, in order that they may not suffer that change which inevitably comes over living languages, in which noble expressions become flat, common ones antiquated, and newly created ones have only a short currency. The second, because learned languages have a grammar which is subject to no wanton change of fashion, but the rules of which are preserved unchanged.
[2 ][This distinction between an Idea and an Ideal, as also the further contrast between Ideals of the Reason and Ideals of the Imagination, had already been given by Kant in the Critique of Pure Reason, Dialectic, bk. ii. c. iii. § 1 .]
[1 ][Polycletus of Argos flourished about 430 b.c. His statue of the Spearbearer (Doryphorus), afterwards became known as the Canon; because in it the artist was supposed to have embodied a perfect representation of the ideal of the human figure.]
[2 ][This was a celebrated statue executed by Myron, a Greek sculptor, contemporary with Polycletus. It is frequently mentioned in the Greek Anthology.]
[3 ]It will be found that a perfectly regular countenance, such as a painter might wish to have for a model, ordinarily tells us nothing; because it contains nothing characteristic, and therefore rather expresses the Idea of the race than the specific [traits] of a person. The exaggeration of a characteristic of this kind, i.e. such as does violence to the normal Idea (the purposiveness of the race) is called caricature. Experience also shows that these quite regular countenances commonly indicate internally only a mediocre man; presumably (if it may be assumed that external nature expresses the proportions of internal) because, if no mental disposition exceeds that proportion which is requisite in order to constitute a man free from faults, nothing can be expected of what is called genius, in which nature seems to depart from the ordinary relations of the mental powers on behalf of some special one.
[1 ]It might be objected to this explanation that there are things, in which we see a purposive form without cognising any [definite] purpose in them, like the stone implements often got from old sepulchral tumuli with a hole in them as if for a handle. These, although they plainly indicate by their shape a purposiveness of which we do not know the purpose, are nevertheless not described as beautiful. But if we regard a thing as a work of art, that is enough to make us admit that its shape has reference to some design and definite purpose. And hence there is no immediate satisfaction in the contemplation of it. On the other hand a flower, e.g. a tulip, is regarded as beautiful; because in perceiving it we find a certain purposiveness which, in our judgement, is referred to no purpose at all.
[1 ][Cp. p. 170, infra.]
[1 ][See The History of Sumatra, by W. Marsden (London, 1783), p. 113.]
[1 ][Cf. § 42infra.]
[1 ][Second Edition.]
[1 ][Second Edition.]
[1 ][Second Edition.]
[1 ][Lettres sur l’Égypte, par M. Savary, Amsterdam, 1787.]
[1 ][Second Edition.]
[2 ][With this should be compared the similar discussion in the Critique of Pure Reason, Dialectic, bk. ii. c. ii. § 1 , On the System of Cosmological Ideas.]
[1 ][Second Edition.]
[1 ][Cf. § 83 , infra.]
[1 ][In the Philosophical Theory of Religion, pt. i. sub fin. (Abbott’s Translation, p. 360), Kant, as here, divides “all religions into two classes—favour-seeking religion (mere worship) and moral religion, that is, the religion of a good life;” and he concludes that “amongst all the public religions that have ever existed the Christian alone is moral.”]
[1 ][Voyages dans les Alpes, par H. B. de Saussure; vol. i. was published at Neuchatel in 1779; vol. ii. at Geneva in 1786.]
[1 ][Second Edition.]
[1 ][Als Vermögen der Independenz der absoluten Totalität, a curious phrase.]
[1 ][Second Edition.]
[2 ]Affections are specifically different from passions. The former are related merely to feeling; the latter belong to the faculty of desire, and are inclinations which render difficult or impossible all determination of the [elective] will by principles. The former are stormy and unpremeditated; the latter are steady and deliberate; thus indignation in the form of wrath is an affection, but in the form of hatred (revenge) is a passion. The latter can never and in no reference be called sublime; because while in an affection the freedom of the mind is hindered, in a passion it is abolished. [Cf. Preface to the Metaphysical Elements of Ethics,§ xvi. , where this distinction is more fully drawn out. Affection is described as hasty; and passion is defined as the sensible appetite grown into a permanent inclination.]
[1 ][In the Preface to the Metaphysical Elements of Ethics,§ xvii. , Kant gives the term moral apathy to that freedom from the sway of the affections, which is distinguished from indifference to them.]
[2 ][Reading weiche with Rosenkranz and Windelband; Hartenstein and Kirchmann have weise, which yields no sense.]
[1 ][Cf. p. 129 supra.]
[1 ][Kirchmann has positiv; but this is probably a mere misprint.]
[1 ][L.c. vol. ii. p. 181.]
[1 ][See Burke, On the Sublime and Beautiful, Part IV., Sect. vii. “If the pain and terror are so modified as not to be actually noxious; if the pain is not carried to violence, and the terror is not conversant about the present destruction of the person, as these emotions clear the parts, whether fine or gross, of a dangerous and troublesome incumbrance, they are capable of producing delight; not pleasure, but a sort of delightful horror, a sort of tranquillity tinged with terror; which, as it belongs to self-preservation, is one of the strongest of all the passions.” Kant quotes from the German version published at Riga in 1773. This was a free translation made from Burke’s fifth edition.]
[1 ][See Burke, l.c., Part IV., Sect. xix. “Beauty acts by relaxing the solids of the whole system. There are all the appearances of such a relaxation; and a relaxation somewhat below the natural tone seems to me to be the cause of all positive pleasure. Who is a stranger to that manner of expression so common in all times and in all countries, of being softened, relaxed, enervated, dissolved, melted away by pleasure?”]
[1 ][Reading Gebot; Kirchmann has Gesetz.]
[1 ][Second Edition.]
[1 ][Second Edition.]
[2 ][Cf. Critique of Pure Reason, Methodology, c. 1, § 1 . “The construction of a concept is the a priori presentation of the corresponding intuition.”]
[1 ][Charles Batteux (1713–1780), author of Les Beaux Arts reduits à un même principe.]
[1 ][Essay XVIII, The Sceptic. “Critics can reason and dispute more plausibly than cooks or perfumers. We may observe, however, that this uniformity among human kind, hinders not, but that there is a considerable diversity in the sentiments of beauty and worth, and that education, custom, prejudice, caprice, and humour, frequently vary our taste of this kind. . . . Beauty and worth are merely of a relative nature, and consist in an agreeable sentiment, produced by an object in a particular mind, according to the peculiar structure and constitution of that mind.”]
[1 ][For the distinction, an important one in Kant, between judgements of experience and judgements of perception, see his Prolegomena,§ 18 . Cf. Kant’s Critical Philosophy for English Readers, vol. i. p. 116.]
[1 ][First Edition has “limited.”]
[1 ]In order to be justified in claiming universal assent for an aesthetical judgement that rests merely on subjective grounds, it is sufficient to assume, (1) that the subjective conditions of the Judgement, as regards the relation of the cognitive powers thus put into activity to a cognition in general, are the same in all men. This must be true, because otherwise men would not be able to communicate their representations or even their knowledge. (2) The judgement must merely have reference to this relation (consequently to the formal condition of the Judgement) and be pure, i.e. not mingled either with concepts of the Object or with sensations, as determining grounds. If there has been any mistake as regards this latter condition, then there is only an inaccurate application of the privilege, which a law gives us, to a particular case; but that does not destroy the privilege itself in general.
[1 ][Kant lays down these three maxims in his Introduction to Logic,§ vii. , as “general rules and conditions of the avoidance of error.”]
[2 ]We soon see that although enlightenment is easy in thesi, yet in hypothesi it is difficult and slow of accomplishment. For not to be passive as regards Reason, but to be always self-legislative, is indeed quite easy for the man who wishes only to be in accordance with his essential purpose, and does not desire to know what is beyond his Understanding. But since we can hardly avoid seeking this, and there are never wanting others who promise with much confidence that they are able to satisfy our curiosity, it must be very hard to maintain in or restore to the mind (especially the mind of the public) that bare negative which properly constitutes enlightenment.
[1 ]We may designate Taste as sensus communis aestheticus, common Understanding as sensus communis logicus.
[1 ][Peter Camper (1722–1789), a celebrated naturalist and comparative anatomist; for some years professor at Groningen.]
[2 ]In my country a common man, if you propose to him such a problem as that of Columbus with his egg, says, that is not art, it is only science. I.e. if we know how, we can do it; and he says the same of all the pretended arts of jugglers. On the other hand, he will not refuse to apply the term art to the performance of a ropedancer.
[1 ][Kant was accustomed to say that the talk at a dinner table should always pass through these three stages—narrative, discussion, and jest; and punctilious in this, as in all else, he is said to have directed the conversation at his own table accordingly (Wallace’s Kant, p. 39).]
[1 ][Second Edition.]
[1 ][Cf. Aristotle’s Poetics, c. iv. p. 1448 b: ἃ γὰρ αὐτὰ λυπηρωˆς ὁρωˆμεν, τούτων τὰς εἰκόνας τὰς μάλιςτα ἠκριβωμένας χαίρομεν θεωρονˆντες οἱ̂ον θηρίων τε μορϕὰς τωˆν ἀτιμοτάτων καὶ νεκρωˆν. Cf. also Rhetoric, I. 11, p. 1371 b; and Burke on the Sublime and Beautiful, Part I. § 16 . Boileau (L’art poétique, chant 3), makes a similar observation:
[2 ][Second Edition.]
[3 ][Cf. p. 199, infra.]
[1 ][In English we would rather say “without soul”; but I prefer to translate Geist consistently by spirit, to avoid the confusion of it with Seele.]
[1 ][These lines occur in one of Frederick the Great’s French poems: Épître au maréchal Keith XVIII., “sur les vaines terreurs de la mort et les frayeurs d’une autre vie.” Kant here translates them into German.]
[1 ][Withof, whose “Moral Poems” appeared in 1755. This reference was supplied by H. Krebs in Notes and Queries 5th January 1895.]
[2 ]Perhaps nothing more sublime was ever said and no sublimer thought ever expressed than the famous inscription on the Temple of Isis (Mother Nature): “I am all that is and that was and that shall be, and no mortal hath lifted my veil.” Segner availed himself of this Idea in a suggestive vignette prefixed to his Natural Philosophy, in order to inspire beforehand the pupil whom he was about to lead into that temple with a holy awe, which should dispose his mind to serious attention. [J. A. de Segner (1704–1777) was Professor of Natural Philosophy at Göttingen, and the author of several scientific works of repute.]
[1 ][Second Edition.]
[1 ]The three former faculties are united in the first instance by means of the fourth. Hume gives us to understand in his History of England that although the English are inferior in their productions to no people in the world as regards the evidences they display of the three former properties, separately considered, yet they must be put after their neighbours the French as regards that which unites these properties. [In his Observations on the Beautiful and Sublime,§ iv.sub init., Kant remarks that the English have the keener sense of the sublime, the French of the beautiful.]
[1 ]The reader is not to judge this scheme for a possible division of the beautiful arts as a deliberate theory. It is only one of various attempts which we may and ought to devise.
[1 ][Second Edition.]
[1 ][I.e. the case of Plastic art, with its subdivisions of Architecture and Sculpture, as is explained in the next paragraph.]
[1 ]That landscape gardening may be regarded as a species of the art of painting, although it presents its forms corporeally, seems strange. But since it actually takes its forms from nature (trees, shrubs, grasses, and flowers from forest and field—at least in the first instance), and so far is not an art like Plastic; and since it also has no concept of the object and its purpose (as in Architecture) conditioning its arrangements, but involves merely the free play of the Imagination in contemplation,—it so far agrees with mere aesthetical painting which has no definite theme (which arranges sky, land, and water, so as to entertain us by means of light and shade only).—In general the reader is only to judge of this as an attempt to combine the beautiful arts under one principle, viz. that of the expression of aesthetical Ideas (according to the analogy of speech), and not to regard it as a definitive analysis of them.
[1 ]I must admit that a beautiful poem has always given me a pure gratification; whilst the reading of the best discourse, whether of a Roman orator or of a modern parliamentary speaker or of a preacher, has always been mingled with an unpleasant feeling of disapprobation of a treacherous art, which means to move men in important matters like machines to a judgement that must lose all weight for them on quiet reflection. Readiness and accuracy in speaking (which taken together constitute Rhetoric) belong to beautiful art; but the art of the orator (ars oratoria), the art of availing oneself of the weaknesses of men for one’s own designs (whether these be well meant or even actually good does not matter) is worthy of no respect. Again, this art only reached its highest point, both at Athens and at Rome, at a time when the state was hastening to its ruin and true patriotic sentiment had disappeared. The man who along with a clear insight into things has in his power a wealth of pure speech, and who with a fruitful Imagination capable of presenting his Ideas unites a lively sympathy with what is truly good, is the vir bonus dicendi peritus, the orator without art but of great impressiveness, as Cicero has it; though he may not always remain true to this ideal.
[1 ][From this to the end of the paragraph, and the next note, were added in the Second Edition.]
[1 ]Those who recommend the singing of spiritual songs at family prayers do not consider that they inflict a great hardship upon the public by such noisy (and therefore in general pharisaical) devotions; for they force the neighbours either to sing with them or to abandon their meditations. [Kant suffered himself from such annoyances, which may account for the asperity of this note. At one period he was disturbed by the devotional exercises of the prisoners in the adjoining jail. In a letter to the burgomaster “he suggested the advantage of closing the windows during these hymn-singings, and added that the warders of the prison might probably be directed to accept less sonorous and neighbour-annoying chants as evidence of the penitent spirit of their captives” (Wallace’s Kant, p. 42).]
[1 ][Cf. “Parturiunt montes, nascitur ridiculus mus.”]
[1 ][The First Edition adds “as in the case of a man who gets the news of a great commercial success.”
[2 ][The jest may have been taken from Steele’s play, “The Funeral or Grief à la mode,” where it occurs verbatim. This play was published in 1702.]
[1 ][ Henriade, Chant 7, sub init.
[1 ]We may describe as a rationalising judgement (judicium ratiocinans) one which proclaims itself as universal, for as such it can serve as the major premise of a syllogism. On the other hand, we can only speak of a judgement as rational (judicium ratiocinatum) which is thought as the conclusion of a syllogism, and consequently as grounded a priori.
[1 ][Cf. p. 241 infra.]
[1 ][Second Edition.]
[1 ][Antiparos is a small island in the Cyclades, remarkable for a splendid stalactite cavern near the southern coast.]
[1 ]The intuitive in cognition must be opposed to the discursive (not to the symbolical). The former is either schematical, by demonstration; or symbolical as a representation in accordance with a mere analogy.
[1 ][I read Geselligkeit with Rosenkranz and Windelband; Hartenstein and Kirchmann have Gluckseligkeit.]