The Critique of Judgement, by Immanuel Kant

Second Division

Dialectic of the Aesthetical Judgement

§ 55.

A faculty of Judgement that is to be dialectical must in the first place be rationalising, i.e. its judgements must claim universality1 and that a priori; for it is in the opposition of such judgements that Dialectic consists. Hence the incompatibility of aesthetical judgements of Sense (about the pleasant and the unpleasant) is not dialectical. And again, the conflict between judgements of Taste, so far as each man depends merely on his own taste, forms no Dialectic of taste; because no one proposes to make his own judgement a universal rule. There remains therefore no other concept of a Dialectic which has to do with taste than that of a Dialectic of the Critique of taste (not of taste itself) in respect of its principles; for here concepts that contradict one another (as to the ground of the possibility of judgements of taste in general) naturally and unavoidably present themselves. The transcendental Critique of taste will therefore contain a part which can bear the name of a Dialectic of the aesthetical Judgement, only if and so far as there is found an antinomy of the principles of this faculty which renders its conformity to law, and consequently also its internal possibility, doubtful.

1 We may describe as a rationalising judgement (judicium ratiocinans) one which proclaims itself as universal, for as such it can serve as the major premise of a syllogism. On the other hand, we can only speak of a judgement as rational (judicium ratiocinatum) which is thought as the conclusion of a syllogism, and consequently as grounded a priori.

§ 56.

Representation of the antinomy of Taste

The first commonplace of taste is contained in the proposition, with which every tasteless person proposes to avoid blame: every one has his own taste. That is as much as to say that the determining ground of this judgement is merely subjective (gratification or grief), and that the judgement has no right to the necessary assent of others.

The second commonplace invoked even by those who admit for judgements of taste the right to speak with validity for every one is: there is no disputing about taste. That is as much as to say that the determining ground of a judgement of taste may indeed be objective, but that it cannot be reduced to definite concepts, and that consequently about the judgement itself nothing can be decided by proofs, although much may rightly be contested. For contesting [quarrelling] and disputing [controversy] are doubtless the same in this, that by means of the mutual opposition of judgements they seek to produce their accordance; but different in that the latter hopes to bring this about according to definite concepts as determining grounds, and consequently assumes objective concepts as grounds of the judgement. But where this is regarded as impracticable, controversy is regarded as alike impracticable.

We easily see that between these two commonplaces there is a proposition wanting, which, though it has not passed into a proverb, is yet familiar to every one, viz. there may be a quarrel about taste (although there can be no controversy). But this proposition involves the contradictory of the former one. For wherever quarrelling is permissible, there must be a hope of mutual reconciliation; and consequently we can count on grounds of our judgement that have not merely private validity, and therefore are not merely subjective. And to this the proposition, every one has his own taste, is directly opposed.

There emerges therefore in respect of the principle of taste the following Antinomy:—

(1) Thesis. The judgement of taste is not based upon concepts; for otherwise it would admit of controversy (would be determinable by proofs).

(2) Antithesis. The judgement of taste is based on concepts; for otherwise, despite its diversity, we could not quarrel about it (we could not claim for our judgement the necessary assent of others).

§ 57.

Solution of the antinomy of Taste

There is no possibility of removing the conflict between these principles that underlie every judgement of taste (which are nothing else than the two peculiarities of the judgement of taste exhibited above in the Analytic), except by showing that the concept to which we refer the Object in this kind of judgement is not taken in the same sense in both maxims of the aesthetical Judgement. This twofold sense or twofold point of view is necessary to our transcendental Judgement; but also the illusion which arises from the confusion of one with the other is natural and unavoidable.

The judgement of taste must refer to some concept; otherwise it could make absolutely no claim to be necessarily valid for every one. But it is not therefore capable of being proved from a concept; because a concept may be either determinable or in itself undetermined and undeterminable. The concepts of the Understanding are of the former kind; they are determinable through predicates of sensible intuition which can correspond to them. But the transcendental rational concept of the supersensible, which lies at the basis of all sensible intuition, is of the latter kind, and therefore cannot be theoretically determined further.

Now the judgement of taste is applied to objects of Sense, but not with a view of determining a concept of them for the Understanding; for it is not a cognitive judgement. It is thus only a private judgement, in which a singular representation intuitively perceived is referred to the feeling of pleasure; and so far would be limited as regards its validity to the individual judging. The object is for me an object of satisfaction; by others it may be regarded quite differently — every one has his own taste.

Nevertheless there is undoubtedly contained in the judgement of taste a wider reference of the representation of the Object (as well as of the subject), whereon we base an extension of judgements of this kind as necessary for every one. At the basis of this there must necessarily be a concept somewhere; though a concept which cannot be determined through intuition. But through a concept of this sort we know nothing, and consequently it can supply no proof for the judgement of taste. Such a concept is the mere pure rational concept of the supersensible which underlies the object (and also the subject judging it), regarded as an Object of sense and thus as phenomenon.1 For if we do not admit such a reference, the claim of the judgement of taste to universal validity would not hold good. If the concept on which it is based were only a mere confused concept of the Understanding, like that of perfection, with which we could bring the sensible intuition of the Beautiful into correspondence, it would be at least possible in itself to base the judgement of taste on proofs; which contradicts the thesis.

But all contradiction disappears if I say: the judgement of taste is based on a concept (viz. the concept of the general ground of the subjective purposiveness of nature for the Judgement); from which, however, nothing can be known and proved in respect of the Object, because it is in itself undeterminable and useless for knowledge. Yet at the same time and on that very account the judgement has validity for every one (though of course for each only as a singular judgement immediately accompanying his intuition); because its determining ground lies perhaps in the concept of that which may be regarded as the supersensible substrate of humanity.

The solution of an antinomy only depends on the possibility of showing that two apparently contradictory propositions do not contradict one another in fact, but that they may be consistent; although the explanation of the possibility of their concept may transcend our cognitive faculties. That this illusion is natural and unavoidable by human Reason, and also why it is so, and remains so, although it ceases to deceive after the analysis of the apparent contradiction, may be thus explained.

In the two contradictory judgements we take the concept, on which the universal validity of a judgement must be based, in the same sense; and yet we apply to it two opposite predicates. In the Thesis we mean that the judgement of taste is not based upon determinate concepts; and in the Antithesis that the judgement of taste is based upon a concept, but an indeterminate one (viz. of the supersensible substrate of phenomena). Between these two there is no contradiction.

We can do nothing more than remove this conflict between the claims and counter-claims of taste. It is absolutely impossible to give a definite objective principle of taste, in accordance with which its judgements could be derived, examined, and established; for then the judgement would not be one of taste at all. The subjective principle, viz. the indefinite Idea of the supersensible in us, can only be put forward as the sole key to the puzzle of this faculty whose sources are hidden from us: it can be made no further intelligible.

The proper concept of taste, that is of a merely reflective aesthetical Judgement, lies at the basis of the antinomy here exhibited and adjusted. Thus the two apparently contradictory principles are reconciled — both can be true; which is sufficient. If, on the other hand, we assume, as some do, pleasantness as the determining ground of taste (on account of the singularity of the representation which lies at the basis of the judgement of taste), or, as others will have it, the principle of perfection (on account of the universality of the same), and settle the definition of taste accordingly; then there arises an antinomy which it is absolutely impossible to adjust except by showing that both the contrary (though not contradictory) propositions are false. And this would prove that the concept on which they are based is self-contradictory. Hence we see that the removal of the antinomy of the aesthetical Judgement takes a course similar to that pursued by the Critique in the solution of the antinomies of pure theoretical Reason. And thus here, as also in the Critique of practical Reason, the antinomies force us against our will to look beyond the sensible and to seek in the supersensible the point of union for all our a priori faculties; because no other expedient is left to make our Reason harmonious with itself.

1 [Cf. p. 241 infra.]

Remark I.

As we so often find occasion in Transcendental Philosophy for distinguishing Ideas from concepts of the Understanding, it may be of use to introduce technical terms to correspond to this distinction. I believe that no one will object if I propose some. — In the most universal signification of the word, Ideas are representations referred to an object, according to a certain (subjective or objective) principle, but so that they can never become a cognition of it. They are either referred to an intuition, according to a merely subjective principle of the mutual harmony of the cognitive powers (the Imagination and the Understanding), and they are then called aesthetical; or they are referred to a concept according to an objective principle, although they can never furnish a cognition of the object and are called rational Ideas. In the latter case the concept is a transcendent one, which is different from a concept of the Understanding, to which an adequately corresponding experience can always be supplied, and which therefore is called immanent.

An aesthetical Idea cannot become a cognition, because it is an intuition (of the Imagination) for which an adequate concept can never be found. A rational Idea can never become a cognition, because it involves a concept (of the supersensible), corresponding to which an intuition can never be given.

Now I believe we might call the aesthetical Idea an inexponible representation of the Imagination, and a rational Idea an indemonstrable concept of Reason. It is assumed of both that they are not generated without grounds, but (according to the above explanation of an Idea in general) in conformity with certain principles of the cognitive faculties to which they belong (subjective principles in the one case, objective in the other).

Concepts of the Understanding must, as such, always be demonstrable [if by demonstration we understand, as in anatomy, merely presentation];1i.e. the object corresponding to them must always be capable of being given in intuition (pure or empirical); for thus alone could they become cognitions. The concept of magnitude can be given a priori in the intuition of space, e.g. of a right line, etc.; the concept of cause in impenetrability, in the collision of bodies, etc. Consequently both can be authenticated by means of an empirical intuition, i.e. the thought of them can be proved (demonstrated, verified) by an example; and this must be possible, for otherwise we should not be certain that the concept was not empty, i.e. devoid of any Object.

In Logic we ordinarily use the expressions demonstrable or indemonstrable only in respect of propositions, but these might be better designated by the titles respectively of mediately and immediately certain propositions; for pure Philosophy has also propositions of both kinds, i.e. true propositions, some of which are susceptible of proof and others not. It can, as philosophy, prove them on a priori grounds, but it cannot demonstrate them; unless we wish to depart entirely from the proper meaning of this word, according to which to demonstrate (ostendere, exhibere) is equivalent to presenting a concept in intuition (whether in proof or merely in definition). If the intuition is a priori this is called construction; but if it is empirical, then the Object is displayed by means of which objective reality is assured to the concept. Thus we say of an anatomist that he demonstrates the human eye, if by a dissection of this organ he makes intuitively evident the concept which he has previously treated discursively.

It hence follows that the rational concept of the supersensible substrate of all phenomena in general, or even of that which must be placed at the basis of our arbitrary will in respect of the moral law, viz. of transcendental freedom, is already, in kind, an indemonstrable concept and a rational Idea; while virtue is so, in degree. For there can be given in experience, as regards its quality, absolutely nothing corresponding to the former; whereas in the latter case no empirical product attains to the degree of that causality, which the rational Idea prescribes as the rule.

As in a rational Idea the Imagination with its intuitions does not attain to the given concept, so in an aesthetical Idea the Understanding by its concepts never attains completely to that internal intuition which the Imagination binds up with a given representation. Since, now, to reduce a representation of the Imagination to concepts is the same thing as to expound it, the aesthetical Idea may be called an inexponible representation of the Imagination (in its free play). I shall have occasion in the sequel to say something more of Ideas of this kind; now I only note that both kinds of Ideas, rational and aesthetical, must have their principles; and must have them in Reason — the one in the objective, the other in the subjective principles of its employment.

We can consequently explain genius as the faculty of aesthetical Ideas; by which at the same time is shown the reason why in the products of genius it is the nature (of the subject) and not a premeditated purpose that gives the rule to the art (of the production of the beautiful). For since the beautiful must not be judged by concepts, but by the purposive attuning of the Imagination to agreement with the faculty of concepts in general, it cannot be rule and precept which can serve as the subjective standard of that aesthetical but unconditioned purposiveness in beautiful art, that can rightly claim to please every one. It can only be that in the subject which is nature and cannot be brought under rules or concepts, i.e. the supersensible substrate of all his faculties (to which no concept of the Understanding extends), and consequently that with respect to which it is the final purpose given by the intelligible [part] of our nature to harmonise all our cognitive faculties. Thus alone is it possible that there should be a priori at the basis of this purposiveness, for which we can prescribe no objective principle, a principle subjective and yet of universal validity.

1 [Second Edition.]

Remark II.

The following important remark occurs here: There are three kinds of Antinomies of pure Reason, which, however, all agree in this, that they compel us to give up the otherwise very natural hypothesis that objects of sense are things in themselves, and force us to regard them merely as phenomena, and to supply to them an intelligible substrate (something supersensible of which the concept is only an Idea, and supplies no proper knowledge). Without such antinomies Reason could never decide upon accepting a principle narrowing so much the field of its speculation, and could never bring itself to sacrifices by which so many otherwise brilliant hopes must disappear. For even now when, by way of compensation for these losses, a greater field in a practical aspect opens out before it, it appears not to be able without grief to part from those hopes, and disengage itself from its old attachment.

That there are three kinds of antinomies has its ground in this, that there are three cognitive faculties — Understanding, Judgement, and Reason; of which each (as a superior cognitive faculty) must have its a priori principles. For Reason, in so far as it judges of these principles and their use, inexorably requires, in respect of them all, the unconditioned for the given conditioned; and this can never be found if we consider the sensible as belonging to things in themselves, and do not rather supply to it, as mere phenomenon, something supersensible (the intelligible substrate of nature both external and internal) as the reality in itself [Sache an sich selbst]. There are then: (1) For the cognitive faculty an antinomy of Reason in respect of the theoretical employment of the Understanding extended to the unconditioned; (2) for the feeling of pleasure and pain an antinomy of Reason in respect of the aesthetical employment of the Judgement; and (3) for the faculty of desire an antinomy in respect of the practical employment of the self-legislative Reason; so far as all these faculties have their superior principles a priori, and, in conformity with an inevitable requirement of Reason, must judge and be able to determine their Object, unconditionally according to those principles.

As for the two antinomies of the theoretical and practical employment of the superior cognitive faculties, we have already shown their unavoidableness, if judgements of this kind are not referred to a supersensible substrate of the given Objects, as phenomena; and also the possibility of their solution, as soon as this is done. And as for the antinomies in the employment of the Judgement, in conformity with the requirements of Reason, and their solution which is here given, there are only two ways of avoiding them. Either: we must deny that any a priori principle lies at the basis of the aesthetical judgement of taste; we must maintain that all claim to necessary universal agreement is a groundless and vain fancy, and that a judgement of taste only deserves to be regarded as correct because it happens that many people agree about it; and this, not because we assume an a priori principle behind this agreement, but because (as in the taste of the palate) of the contingent similar organisation of the different subjects. Or: we must assume that the judgement of taste is really a disguised judgement of Reason upon the perfection discovered in a thing and the reference of the manifold in it to a purpose, and is consequently only called aesthetical on account of the confusion here attaching to our reflection, although it is at bottom teleological. In the latter case we could declare the solution of the antinomies by means of transcendental Ideas to be needless and without point, and thus could harmonise these laws of taste with Objects of sense, not as mere phenomena but as things in themselves. But we have shown in several places in the exposition of judgements of taste how little either of these expedients will satisfy.

However, if it be granted that our deduction at least proceeds by the right method, although it be not yet plain enough in all its parts, three Ideas manifest themselves. First, there is the Idea of the supersensible in general, without any further determination of it, as the substrate of nature. Secondly, there is the Idea of the same as the principle of the subjective purposiveness of nature for our cognitive faculty. And thirdly, there is the Idea of the same as the principle of the purposes of freedom, and of the agreement of freedom with its purposes in the moral sphere.

§ 58.

Of the Idealism of the purposiveness of both Nature and Art as the unique principle of the aesthetical Judgement.

To begin with, we can either place the principle of taste in the fact that it always judges in accordance with grounds which are empirical and therefore are only given a posteriori by sense, or concede that it judges on a priori grounds. The former would be the empiricism of the Critique of Taste; the latter its rationalism. According to the former the Object of our satisfaction would not differ from the pleasant; according to the latter, if the judgement rests on definite concepts, it would not differ from the good. Thus all beauty would be banished from the world, and only a particular name, expressing perhaps a certain mingling of the two above-named kinds of satisfaction, would remain in its place. But we have shown that there are also a priori grounds of satisfaction which can subsist along with the principle of rationalism, although they cannot be comprehended in definite concepts.

On the other hand, the rationalism of the principle of taste is either that of the realism of the purposiveness, or of its idealism. Because a judgement of taste is not a cognitive judgement, and beauty is not a characteristic of the Object, considered in itself, the rationalism of the principle of taste can never be placed in the fact that the purposiveness in this judgement is thought as objective, i.e. that the judgement theoretically, and therefore also logically (although only in a confused way), refers to the perfection of the Object. It only refers aesthetically to the agreement of the representation of the Object in the Imagination with the essential principles of Judgement in general in the subject. Consequently, even according to the principle of rationalism, the judgement of taste and the distinction between its realism and idealism can only be settled thus. Either in the first case, this subjective purposiveness is assumed as an actual (designed) purpose of nature (or art) harmonising with our Judgement; or, in the second case, as a purposive harmony with the needs of Judgement, in respect of nature and its forms produced according to particular laws, which shows itself, without purpose, spontaneously, and contingently.

The beautiful formations in the kingdom of organised nature speak loudly for the realism of the aesthetical purposiveness of nature; since we might assume that behind the production of the beautiful there is an Idea of the beautiful in the producing cause, viz. a purpose in respect of our Imagination. Flowers, blossoms, even the shapes of entire plants; the elegance of animal formations of all kinds, unneeded for their proper use, but, as it were, selected for our taste; especially the charming variety so satisfying to the eye and the harmonious arrangement of colours (in the pheasant, in shell-fish, in insects, even in the commonest flowers), which, as it only concerns the surface and not the figure of these creations (though perhaps requisite in regard of their internal purposes), seems to be entirely designed for external inspection; these things give great weight to that mode of explanation which assumes actual purposes of nature for our aesthetical Judgement.

On the other hand, not only is Reason opposed to this assumption in its maxims, which bid us always avoid as far as possible unnecessary multiplication of principles; but nature everywhere shows in its free formations much mechanical tendency to the productions of forms which seem, as it were, to be made for the aesthetical exercise of our Judgement, without affording the least ground for the supposition that there is need of anything more than its mechanism, merely as nature, according to which, without any Idea lying at their root, they can be purposive for our judgement. But I understand by free formations of nature those whereby from a fluid at rest, through the volatilisation or separation of a portion of its constituents (sometimes merely of caloric), the remainder in becoming solid assumes a definite shape or tissue (figure or texture), which is different according to the specific difference of the material, but in the same material is constant. Here it is always presupposed that we are speaking of a perfect fluid, i.e. that the material in it is completely dissolved, and that it is not a mere medley of solid particles in a state of suspension.

Formation, then, takes place by a shooting together, i.e. by a sudden solidification, not by a gradual transition from the fluid to the solid state, but all at once by a saltus; which transition is also called crystallisation. The commonest example of this kind of formation is the freezing of water, where first icicles are produced, which combine at angles of 60°, while others attach themselves to each vertex, until it all becomes ice; and so that, while this is going on, the water does not gradually become viscous, but is as perfectly fluid as if its temperature were far higher, although it is absolutely ice-cold. The matter that disengages itself, which is dissipated suddenly at the moment of solidification, is a considerable quantum of caloric, the disappearance of which, as it was only required for preserving fluidity, leaves the new ice not in the least colder than the water which shortly before was fluid.

Many salts, and also rocks, of a crystalline figure, are produced thus from a species of earth dissolved in water, we do not exactly know how. Thus are formed the glandular configurations of many minerals, the cubical sulphide of lead, the ruby silver ore, etc., in all probability in water and by the shooting together of particles, as they become forced by some cause to dispense with this vehicle and to unite in definite external shapes.

But also all kinds of matter, which have been kept in a fluid state by heat, and have become solid by cooling, show internally, when fractured, a definite texture. This makes us judge that if their own weight or the disturbance of the air had not prevented it, they would also have exhibited on the outer surface their specifically peculiar shapes. This has been observed in some metals on their inner surface, which have been hardened externally by fusion but are fluid in the interior, by the drawing off the internal fluid and the consequent undisturbed crystallisation of the remainder. Many of these mineral crystallisations, such as spars, hematite, arragonite, etc., often present beautiful shapes, the like of which art can only conceive; and the halo in the cavern of Antiparos1 is merely produced by water trickling down strata of gypsum.

The fluid state is, to all appearance, older than the solid state, and plants as well as animal bodies are fashioned out of fluid nutritive matter, so far as this forms itself in a state of rest. This last of course primarily combines and forms itself in freedom according to a certain original disposition directed towards purposes (which, as will be shown in Part II., must not be judged aesthetically but teleologically according to the principle of realism), but also perhaps in conformity with the universal law of the affinity of materials. Again, the watery fluids dissolved in an atmosphere that is a mixture of different gases, if they separate from the latter on account of cooling, produce snow figures, which in correspondence with the character of the special mixture of gases, often seem very artistic and are extremely beautiful. So, without detracting from the teleological principle by which we judge of organisation, we may well think that the beauty of flowers, of the plumage of birds, or of shell-fish, both in shape and colour, may be ascribed to nature and its faculty of producing forms in an aesthetically purposive way, in its freedom, without particular purposes adapted thereto, according to chemical laws by the arrangement of the material requisite for the organisation in question.

But what shows the principle of the Ideality of the purposiveness in the beauty of nature, as that which we always place at the basis of an aesthetical judgement, and which allows us to employ, as a ground of explanation for our representative faculty, no realism of purpose, is the fact that in judging beauty we invariably seek its gauge in ourselves a priori, and that our aesthetical Judgement is itself legislative in respect of the judgement whether anything is beautiful or not. This could not be, on the assumption of the Realism of the purposiveness of nature; because in that case we must have learned from nature what we ought to find beautiful, and the aesthetical judgement would be subjected to empirical principles. For in such an act of judging the important point is not, what nature is, or even, as a purpose, is in relation to us, but how we take it. There would be an objective purposiveness in nature if it had fashioned its forms for our satisfaction; and not a subjective purposiveness which depended upon the play of the Imagination in its freedom, where it is we who receive nature with favour, not nature which shows us favour. The property of nature that gives us occasion to perceive the inner purposiveness in the relation of our mental faculties in judging certain of its products — a purposiveness which is to be explained on supersensible grounds as necessary and universal — cannot be a natural purpose or be judged by us as such; for otherwise the judgement hereby determined would not be free, and would have at its basis heteronomy, and not, as beseems a judgement of taste, autonomy.

In beautiful Art the principle of the Idealism of purposiveness is still clearer. As in the case of the beautiful in Nature, an aesthetical Realism of this purposiveness cannot be perceived by sensations (for then the art would be only pleasant, not beautiful). But that the satisfaction produced by aesthetical Ideas must not depend on the attainment of definite purposes (as in mechanically designed art), and that consequently, in the very rationalism of the principle, the ideality of the purposes and not their reality must be fundamental, appears from the fact that beautiful Art, as such, must not be considered as a product of Understanding and Science, but of Genius, and therefore must get its rule through aesthetical Ideas, which are essentially different from rational Ideas of definite purposes.

Just as the ideality of the objects of sense as phenomena is the only way of explaining the possibility of their forms being susceptible of a priori determination, so the idealism of purposiveness, in judging the beautiful in nature and art, is the only hypothesis under which Criticism can explain the possibility of a judgement of taste which demands a priori validity for every one (without grounding on concepts the purposiveness that is represented in the Object).

1 [Antiparos is a small island in the Cyclades, remarkable for a splendid stalactite cavern near the southern coast.]

§ 59.

Of Beauty as the symbol of Morality

Intuitions are always required to establish the reality of our concepts. If the concepts are empirical, the intuitions are called examples. If they are pure concepts of Understanding, the intuitions are called schemata. If we desire to establish the objective reality of rational concepts, i.e. of Ideas, on behalf of theoretical cognition, then we are asking for something impossible, because absolutely no intuition can be given which shall be adequate to them.

All hypotyposis (presentation, subjectio sub adspectum), or sensible illustration, is twofold. It is either schematical, when to a concept comprehended by the Understanding the corresponding intuition is given a priori; or it is symbolical. In the latter case to a concept only thinkable by the Reason, to which no sensible intuition can be adequate, an intuition is supplied with which accords a procedure of the Judgement analogous to what it observes in schematism: it accords with it, that is, in respect of the rule of this procedure merely, not of the intuition itself; consequently in respect of the form of reflection merely, and not of its content.

There is a use of the word symbolical that has been adopted by modern logicians, which is misleading and incorrect, i.e. to speak of the symbolical mode of representation as if it were opposed to the intuitive; for the symbolical is only a mode of the intuitive. The latter (the intuitive), that is, may be divided into the schematical and the symbolical modes of representation. Both are hypotyposes, i.e. presentations (exhibitiones); not mere characterisations, or designations of concepts by accompanying sensible signs which contain nothing belonging to the intuition of the Object, and only serve as a means for reproducing the concepts, according to the law of association of the Imagination, and consequently in a subjective point of view. These are either words, or visible (algebraical, even mimetical) signs, as mere expressions for concepts.1

All intuitions, which we supply to concepts a priori, are therefore either schemata or symbols, of which the former contain direct, the latter indirect, presentations of the concept. The former do this demonstratively; the latter by means of an analogy (for which we avail ourselves even of empirical intuitions) in which the Judgement exercises a double function; first applying the concept to the object of a sensible intuition, and then applying the mere rule of the reflection made upon that intuition to a quite different object of which the first is only the symbol. Thus a monarchical state is represented by a living body, if it is governed by national laws, and by a mere machine (like a hand-mill) if governed by an individual absolute will; but in both cases only symbolically. For between a despotic state and a hand-mill there is, to be sure, no similarity; but there is a similarity in the rules according to which we reflect upon these two things and their causality. This matter has not been sufficiently analysed hitherto, for it deserves a deeper investigation; but this is not the place to linger over it. Our language [i.e. German] is full of indirect presentations of this sort, in which the expression does not contain the proper schema for the concept, but merely a symbol for reflection. Thus the words ground (support, basis), to depend (to be held up from above), to flow from something (instead of, to follow), substance (as Locke expresses it, the support of accidents), and countless others, are not schematical but symbolical hypotyposes and expressions for concepts, not by means of a direct intuition, but only by analogy with it, i.e. by the transference of reflection upon an object of intuition to a quite different concept to which perhaps an intuition can never directly correspond. If we are to give the name of cognition to a mere mode of representation (which is quite permissible if the latter is not a principle of the theoretical determination of what an object is in itself, but of the practical determination of what the Idea of it should be for us and for its purposive use), then all our knowledge of God is merely symbolical; and he who regards it as schematical, along with the properties of Understanding, Will, etc., which only establish their objective reality in beings of this world, falls into Anthropomorphism, just as he who gives up every intuitive element falls into Deism, by which nothing at all is cognised, not even in a practical point of view.

Now I say the Beautiful is the symbol of the morally Good, and that it is only in this respect (a reference which is natural to every man and which every man postulates in others as a duty) that it gives pleasure with a claim for the agreement of every one else. By this the mind is made conscious of a certain ennoblement and elevation above the mere sensibility to pleasure received through sense, and the worth of others is estimated in accordance with a like maxim of their Judgement. That is the intelligible, to which, as pointed out in the preceding paragraph, Taste looks; with which our higher cognitive faculties are in accord; and without which a downright contradiction would arise between their nature and the claims made by taste. In this faculty the Judgement does not see itself, as in empirical judging, subjected to a heteronomy of empirical laws; it gives the law to itself in respect of the objects of so pure a satisfaction, just as the Reason does in respect of the faculty of desire. Hence, both on account of this inner possibility in the subject and of the external possibility of a nature that agrees with it, it finds itself to be referred to something within the subject as well as without him, something which is neither nature nor freedom, but which yet is connected with the supersensible ground of the latter. In this supersensible ground, therefore, the theoretical faculty is bound together in unity with the practical, in a way which though common is yet unknown. We shall indicate some points of this analogy, while at the same time we shall note the differences.

(1) The beautiful pleases immediately (but only in reflective intuition, not, like morality, in its concept). (2) It pleases apart from any interest (the morally good is indeed necessarily bound up with an interest, though not with one which precedes the judgement upon the satisfaction, but with one which is first of all produced by it). (3) The freedom of the Imagination (and therefore of the sensibility of our faculty) is represented in judging the beautiful as harmonious with the conformity to law of the Understanding (in the moral judgement the freedom of the will is thought as the harmony of the latter with itself according to universal laws of Reason). (4) The subjective principle in judging the beautiful is represented as universal, i.e. as valid for every man, though not cognisable through any universal concept. (The objective principle of morality is also expounded as universal, i.e. for every subject and for every action of the same subject, and thus as cognisable by means of a universal concept). Hence the moral judgement is not only susceptible of definite constitutive principles, but is possible only by grounding its maxims on these in their universality.

A reference to this analogy is usual even with the common Understanding [of men], and we often describe beautiful objects of nature or art by names that seem to put a moral appreciation at their basis. We call buildings or trees majestic and magnificent, landscapes laughing and gay; even colours are called innocent, modest, tender, because they excite sensations which have something analogous to the consciousness of the state of mind brought about by moral judgements. Taste makes possible the transition, without any violent leap, from the charm of Sense to habitual moral interest; for it represents the Imagination in its freedom as capable of purposive determination for the Understanding, and so teaches us to find even in objects of sense a free satisfaction apart from any charm of sense.

1 The intuitive in cognition must be opposed to the discursive (not to the symbolical). The former is either schematical, by demonstration; or symbolical as a representation in accordance with a mere analogy.

Last updated Monday, March 17, 2014 at 16:48