Front Page Titles (by Subject) § 22.: 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 - The Critique of Judgement
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§ 22.: 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 - 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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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.
[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.]