Two Feelings in the Beautiful: Kant on the Structure of Judgments of Beauty

Philosophers' Imprint 19 (34):1-17 (2019)
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Abstract
In this paper, I propose a solution to a notorious puzzle that lies at the heart of Kant’s Critique of Judgment. The puzzle arises because Kant asserts two apparently conflicting claims: (1) F→J: A judgment of beauty is aesthetic, i.e., grounded in feeling. (2) J→F: A judgment of beauty could not be based on and must ground the feeling of pleasure in the beautiful. I argue that (1) and (2) are consistent. Kant’s text indicates that he distinguishes two feelings: the feeling of the harmony of the cognitive faculties that is the ground of judgments of beauty (F1 → J), and the feeling of pleasure that is its consequence (J → F2). I develop and defend a view of Kant’s account of the structure of judgments of beauty that incorporates this crucial distinction. Next, I argue that my view resolves another long-standing problem for Kant’s “Deduction” of judgments of beauty: it allows him to claim that the harmony of the faculties is a condition of judgment in general without implying, absurdly, that all judgments are pleasurable.
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Archival date: 2019-08-10
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