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§1 A Judgment of Taste Is Aesthetic / Kant's Critique of Judgment

Posted by Hsinping 
If we wish to decide whether something is beautiful or not, we do not use understanding to refer the presentation4 to the object so as to give rise to cognition;5 rather, we use imagination (perhaps in connection with understanding) to refer the presentation to the subject and his feeling of pleasure or displeasure. Hence a judgment of taste is not a cognitive judgment and so is not a logical judgment but an aesthetic one, by which we mean a judgment whose determining basis cannot be other than subjective. But any reference of presentations, even of sensations, can be objective (in which case it signifies what is real [rather than formal] in an empirical presentation); excepted is a reference to the feeling of pleasure and displeasurethis reference designates nothing whatsoever in the object, but here the subject feels himself, [namely] how he is affected by the presentation.

To apprehend a regular, purposive building with one's cognitive power6 (whether the presentation is distinct or confused) is very different from being conscious of this presentation with a sensation of liking. Here the presentation is referred only to the subject, namely, to his feeling of life, under the name feeling of pleasure or displeasure, and this forms the basis of a very special power of discriminating and judging.7

This power does not contribute anything to cognition, but merely compares the given presentation in the subject with the entire presentational power, of which the mind becomes conscious when it feels its own state. The presentations given in a judgment may be empirical (and hence aesthetic8), but if we refer them to the object, the judgment we make by means of them is logical. On the other hand, even if the given presentations were rational, they would still be aesthetic if, and to the extent that, the subject referred them, in his judgment, solely to himself (to his feeling).

4[ Vorstellung, traditionally rendered as `representation: (See above, Ak. 175 br. n. 17.) `Presentation' is a generic term referring to such objects of our direct awareness as sensations, intuitions, perceptions, concepts, cognitions, ideas, and schemata. Cf. the Critique of Pure Reason, A 320 = B 376-77 and A 140 = B 179.1
5[Erkenntnis. Cf. above, Ak. 167 br. n. 2.]
6[ For my use of 'power,' rather than `faculty,' see above, Ak. 167 br. n. 3.1
7[Beurteilung. On Kant's attempt to make a terminological distinction between 'beurteilen' and 'urteilen,'see above, Ak. 169 br. n. 9.1
8[ From Greek aisthesthai`to sense']

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/07/2011 02:19AM by Hsinping.

Very interesting discussion. Thank you for your effort to put this in the web. I am wondering about if you have any chance to talk about Kant’s Critique of Judgment in terms of morality and religion. To my understanding, the third critique was the heart amongst the 3 critiques (my own opinion), specially the reflective judgment, and “as-if” metaphor. To use “as-if”, Kant made a leap by employing an amazing way of to discribe something so hard to explain–”something is not there, but so often it appears to be there.” Kant explained asethetics not for the sake of it, but as a door to explain moral and the final end, for that matter, to explain what is human.

May I discuss Kant's "as-if"? There are limited resources about "as-if" discussion on the web.

What is your opinion on Heisenberg's indeterminacy (uncertainty principle) relating to Kant's noumenon?