Communicability Of Pleasure And Normativity Of Taste In Kant’s Third Critique

Postgraduate Journal of Aesthetics 4 (2):11-18 (2007)
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Do claims of taste function as validity claims? Our ordinary use of aesthetic notions suggests as much. When I assert that Rodin’s Camille Claudel is ‘beautiful’ I mean my claim to be, in a sense, correct. I expect others to concur and if they do not I think that they are mistaken. But am I justified in attributing an error to the judgment of someone who, unlike me, does not find Rodin’s Camille Claudel beautiful? Not obviously. For it looks, on the other hand, that my assertion “The sculpture of Camille Claudel is beautiful” is not an assertion about a property of that sculpture, not, that is, about a feature of the world which exists for others as well as for me. Quite the opposite, I seem to base my claim on a subjective response, on a certain feeling of mine. I maintain that the sculpture of Camille Claudel is ‘beautiful’ because it produces a particular effect upon me, namely it pleases me aesthetically. But how can the feeling of pleasure, being a subjective response on my part, serve as a normative ground for a claim?

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Iskra Fileva
University of Colorado, Boulder


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