Autonomy and Community in Kant's Theory of Taste

The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism (forthcoming)
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In this paper, I argue that Kant has a far more communitarian theory of aesthetic life than is usually acknowledged. I focus on two aspects of Kant’s theory that might otherwise be taken to support an individualist reading, namely, Kant’s emphasis on aesthetic autonomy and his characterization of judgments of taste as involving demands for agreement. I argue that the full expression of autonomy in fact requires being a member of an aesthetic community and that within such a community, judgments of taste are issued as invitations to others to engage their faculties towards the goal of shared aesthetic appreciation.

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Jessica Williams
University of South Florida


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