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The faculty of knowledge from a priori principles may be called pure reason, and the general investigation into its possibility and bounds the Critique of Pure Reason. This is permissible although “pure reason,” as was the case with the same use of terms in our first work, is only intended to denote reason in its theoretical employment, and although there is no desire to bring under review its faculty as practical reason and its special principles as such. That Critique is, then, an investigation addressed simply to our faculty of knowing things a priori. Hence it makes our cognitive faculties its sole concern, to the exclusion of the feeling of pleasure or displeasure and the faculty of desire; and among the cognitive faculties it confines its attention to understanding and its a priori principles, to the exclusion of judgement and reason, (faculties that also belong to theoretical cognition,) because it turns out in the sequel that there is no cognitive faculty other than understanding capable of affording constitutive a priori principles of knowledge. Accordingly the critique which sifts these faculties one and all, so as to try the possible claims of each of the other faculties to a share in the clear possession of knowledge from roots of its own, retains nothing but what understanding prescribes a priori as a law for nature as the complex of phenomena-the form of these being similarly furnished a priori. All other pure concepts it relegates to the rank of ideas,1 which for our faculty of theoretical cognition are transcendent; though they are not without their use nor redundant, but discharge certain functions as regulative principles.2 For these concepts serve partly to restrain the officious pretentions of understanding, which, presuming on its ability to supply a priori the conditions of the possibility of all things which it is capable of knowing, behaves as if it had thus determined these bounds as those of the possibility of all things generally, and partly also to lead understanding, in its study of nature, according to a principle of completeness, unattainable as this remains for it, and so to promote the ultimate aim of all knowledge.
1[The word is defined in § 17 & § 57 Remark I. See Critique of Pure Reason, “Of the Conceptions of Pure Reason” — Section 1 & 2: “I understand by idea a necessary conception of reason, to which no corresponding object can be discovered in the world of sense.” (Ibid., Section 2.) “They contain a certain perfection, attainable by no possible empirical cognition; and they give to reason a systematic unity, to which the unity of experience attempts to approximate, but can never completely attain.” (Ibid., “Ideal of Pure Reason”).
2*[Cf. Critique of Pure Reason, Appendix.]
Properly, therefore, it was understanding which, so far as it contains constitutive a priori cognitive principles, has its special realm, and one, moreover, in our faculty of knowledge that the Critique, called in a general way that of pure reason was intended to establish in secure but particular possession against all other competitors. In the same way reason, which contains constitutive a priori principles solely in respect of the faculty of desire, gets its holding assigned to it by The Critique of Practical Reason.
But now comes judgement, which in the order of our cognitive faculties forms a middle term between understanding and reason. Has it also got independent a priori principles? If so, are they constitutive, or are they merely regulative, thus indicating no special realm? And do they give a rule a priori to the feeling of pleasure and displeasure, as the middle term between the faculties of cognition and desire, just as understanding prescribes laws a priori for the former and reason for the latter? This is the topic to which the present Critique is devoted.
A critique of pure reason, i.e., of our faculty of judging on a priori principles, would be incomplete if the critical examination of judgement, which is a faculty of knowledge, and as such lays claim to independent principles, were not dealt with separately. Still, however, its principles cannot, in a system of pure philosophy, form a separate constituent part intermediate between the theoretical and practical divisions, but may when needful be annexed to one or other as occasion requires. For if such a system is some day worked out under the general name of metaphysic-and its full and complete execution is both possible and of the utmost importance for the employment of reason in all departments of its activity-the critical examination of the ground for this edifice must have been previously carried down to the very depths of the foundations of the faculty of principles independent of experience, lest in some quarter it might give way, and sinking, inevitably bring with it the ruin of all.
We may readily gather, however, from the nature of the faculty of judgement (whose correct employment is so necessary and universally requisite that it is just this faculty that is intended when we speak of sound understanding) that the discovery of a peculiar principle belonging to it-and some such it must contain in itself a priori, for otherwise it would not be a cognitive faculty the distinctive character of which is obvious to the most commonplace criticism-must be a task involving considerable difficulties. For this principle is one which must not be derived from a priori concepts, seeing that these are the property of understanding, and judgement is only directed to their application. It has, therefore, itself to furnish a concept, and one from which, properly, we get no cognition of a thing, but which it can itself employ as a rule only-but not as an objective rule to which it can adapt its judgement, because, for that, another faculty of judgement would again be required to enable us to decide whether the case was one for the application of the rule or not.
It is chiefly in those estimates that are called aesthetic, and which relate to the beautiful and sublime, whether of nature or of art, that one meets with the above difficulty about a principle (be it subjective or objective). And yet the critical search for a principle of judgement in their case is the most important item in a critique of this faculty. For, although they do not of themselves contribute a whit to the knowledge of things, they still belong wholly to the faculty of knowledge, and evidence an immediate bearing of this faculty upon the feeling of pleasure or displeasure according to some a priori principle, and do so without confusing this principle with what is capable of being a determining ground of the faculty of desire, for the latter has its principles a priori in concepts of reason. Logical estimates of nature, however, stand on a different footing. They deal with cases in which experience presents a conformity to law in things, which the understanding’s general concept of the sensible is no longer adequate to render intelligible or explicable, and in which judgement may have recourse to itself for a principle of the reference of the natural thing to the unknowable supersensible and, indeed, must employ some such principle, though with a regard only to itself and the knowledge of nature. For in these cases the application of such an a priori principle for the cognition of what is in the world is both possible and necessary, and withal opens out prospects which are profitable for practical reason. But here there is no immediate reference to the feeling of pleasure or displeasure. But this is precisely the riddle in the principle of judgement that necessitates a separate division for this faculty in the critique-for there was nothing to prevent the formation of logical estimates according to concepts (from which no immediate conclusion can ever be drawn to the feeling of pleasure or displeasure) having been treated, with a critical statement of its limitations, in an appendage to the theoretical part of philosophy.
The present investigation of taste, as a faculty of aesthetic judgement, not being undertaken with a view to the formation or culture of taste (which will pursue its course in the future, as in the past, independently of such inquiries), but being merely directed to its transcendental aspects, I feel assured of its indulgent criticism in respect of any shortcomings on that score. But in all that is relevant to the transcendental aspect it must be prepared to stand the test of the most rigorous examination. Yet even here I venture to hope that the difficulty of unravelling a problem so involved in its nature may serve as an excuse for a certain amount of hardly avoidable obscurity in its solution, provided that the accuracy of our statement of the principle is proved with all requisite clearness. I admit that the mode of deriving the phenomena of judgement from that principle has not all the lucidity that is rightly demanded elsewhere, where the subject is cognition by concepts, and that I believe I have in fact attained in the second part of this work.
With this, then, I bring my entire critical undertaking to a close. I shall hasten to the doctrinal part, in order, as far as possible, to snatch from my advancing years what time may yet be favourable to the task. It is obvious that no separate division of doctrine is reserved for the faculty of judgement, seeing that, with judgement, critique takes the place of theory; but, following the division of philosophy into theoretical and practical, and of pure philosophy in the same way, the whole ground will be covered by the metaphysics of nature and of morals.
Philosophy may be said to contain the principles of the rational cognition that concepts afford us of things (not merely, as with logic, the principles of the form of thought in general irrespective of the objects), and, thus interpreted, the course, usually adopted, of dividing it into theoretical and practical is perfectly sound. But this makes imperative a specific distinction on the part of the concepts by which the principles of this rational cognition get their object assigned to them, for if the concepts are not distinct they fail to justify a division, which always presupposes that the principles belonging to the rational cognition of the several parts of the science in question are themselves mutually exclusive.
Now there are but two kinds of concepts, and these yield a corresponding number of distinct principles of the possibility of their objects. The concepts referred to are those of nature and that of freedom. By the first of these, a theoretical cognition from a priori principles becomes possible. In respect of such cognition, however, the second, by its very concept, imports no more than a negative principle (that of simple antithesis), while for the determination of the will, on the other hand, it establishes fundamental principles which enlarge the scope of its activity, and which on that account are called practical. Hence the division of philosophy falls properly into two parts, quite distinct in their principles-a theoretical, as philosophy of nature, and a practical, as philosophy of morals (for this is what the practical legislation of reason by the concept of freedom is called). Hitherto, however, in the application of these expressions to the division of the different principles, and with them to the division of philosophy, a gross misuse of the terms has prevailed; for what is practical according to concepts of nature has been taken as identical with what is practical according to the concept of freedom, with the result that a division has been made under these heads of theoretical and practical, by which, in effect, there has been no division at all (seeing that both parts might have similar principles).
The will-for this is what is said-is the faculty of desire and, as such, is just one of the many natural causes in the world, the one, namely, which acts by concepts; and whatever is represented as possible (or necessary) through the efficacy of will is called practically possible (or necessary): the intention being to distinguish its possibility (or necessity) from the physical possibility or necessity of an effect the causality of whose cause is not determined to its production by concepts (but rather, as with lifeless matter, by mechanism, and, as with the lower animals, by instinct). Now, the question in respect of the practical faculty: whether, that is to say, the concept, by which the causality of the will gets its rule, is a concept of nature or of freedom, is here left quite open.
The latter distinction, however, is essential. For, let the concept determining the causality be a concept of nature, and then the principles are technically-practical; but, let it be a concept of freedom, and they are morally-practical. Now, in the division of a rational science the difference between objects that require different principles for their cognition is the difference on which everything turns. Hence technically-practical principles belong to theoretical philosophy (natural science), whereas those morally-practical alone form the second part, that is, practical philosophy (ethical science).
All technically-practical rules (i.e., those of art and skill generally, or even of prudence, as a skill in exercising an influence over men and their wills) must, so far as their principles rest upon concepts, be reckoned only as corollaries to theoretical philosophy. For they only touch the possibility of things according to concepts of nature, and this embraces, not alone the means discoverable in nature for the purpose, but even the will itself (as a faculty of desire, and consequently a natural faculty), so far as it is determinable on these rules by natural motives. Still these practical rules are not called laws (like physical laws), but only precepts. This is due to the fact that the will does not stand simply under the natural concept, but also under the concept of freedom. In the latter connection its principles are called laws, and these principles, with the addition of what follows them, alone constitute the second at practical part of philosophy.
The solution of the problems of pure geometry is not allocated to a special part of that science, nor does the art of land-surveying merit the name of practical, in contradistinction to pure, as a second part of the general science of geometry, and with equally little, or perhaps less, right can the mechanical or chemical art of experiment or of observation be ranked as a practical part of the science of nature, or, in fine, domestic, agricultural, or political economy, the art of social intercourse, the principles of dietetics, or even general instruction as to the attainment of happiness, or as much as the control of the inclinations or the restraining of the affections with a view thereto, be denominated practical philosophy-not to mention forming these latter in a second part of philosophy in general. For, between them all, the above contain nothing more than rules of skill, which are thus only technically practical-the skill being directed to producing an effect which is possible according to natural concepts of causes and effects. As these concepts belong to theoretical philosophy, they are subject to those precepts as mere corollaries of theoretical philosophy (i.e., as corollaries of natural science), and so cannot claim any place in any special philosophy called practical. On the other hand, the morally practical precepts, which are founded entirely on the concept of freedom, to the complete exclusion of grounds taken from nature for the determination of the will, form quite a special kind of precepts. These, too, like the rules obeyed by nature, are, without qualification, called laws-though they do not, like the latter, rest on sensible conditions, but upon a supersensible principle-and they must needs have a separate part of philosophy allotted to them as their own, corresponding to the theoretical part, and termed practical philosophy capable
Hence it is evident that a complex of practical precepts furnished by philosophy does not form a special part of philosophy, co-ordinate with the theoretical, by reason of its precepts being practical-for that they might be, notwithstanding that their principles were derived wholly from the theoretical knowledge of nature (as technically-practical rules). But an adequate reason only exists where their principle, being in no way borrowed from the concept of nature, which is always sensibly conditioned, rests consequently on the supersensible, which the concept of freedom alone makes cognizable by means of its formal laws, and where, therefore, they are morally-practical, i. e., not merely precepts and rules in this or that interest, but laws independent of all antecedent reference to ends or aims.
The employment of our faculty of cognition from principles, and with it philosophy, is coextensive with the applicability of a priori concepts.
Now a division of the complex of all the objects to which those concepts are referred for the purpose, where possible, of compassing their knowledge, may be made according to the varied competence or incompetence of our faculty in that connection.
Concepts, so far as they are referred to objects apart from the question of whether knowledge of them is possible or not, have their field, which is determined simply by the relation in which their object stands to our faculty of cognition in general. The part of this field in which knowledge is possible for us is a territory (territorium) for these concepts and the requisite cognitive faculty. The part of the territory over which they exercise legislative authority is the realm (ditio) of these concepts, and their appropriate cognitive faculty. Empirical concepts have, therefore, their territory, doubtless, in nature as the complex of all sensible objects, but they have no realm (only a dwelling-place, domicilium), for, although they are formed according to law, they are not themselves legislative, but the rules founded on them are empirical and, consequently, contingent.
Our entire faculty of cognition has two realms, that of natural concepts and that of the concept of freedom, for through both it prescribes laws a priori. In accordance with this distinction, then, philosophy is divisible into theoretical and practical. But the territory upon which its realm is established, and over which it exercises its legislative authority, is still always confined to the complex of the objects of all possible experience, taken as no more than mere phenomena, for otherwise legislation by the understanding in respect of them is unthinkable.
The function of prescribing laws by means of concepts of nature is discharged by understanding and is theoretical. That of prescribing laws by means of the concept of freedom is discharged by reason and is merely practical. It is only in the practical sphere that reason can prescribe laws; in respect of theoretical knowledge (of nature) it can only (as by the understanding advised in the law) deduce from given logical consequences, which still always remain restricted to nature. But we cannot reverse this and say that where rules are practical reason is then and there legislative, since the rules might be technically practical.
Understanding and reason, therefore, have two distinct jurisdictions over one and the same territory of experience. But neither can interfere with the other. For the concept of freedom just as little disturbs the legislation of nature, as the concept of nature influences legislation through the concept of freedom. That it is possible for us at least to think without contradiction of both these jurisdictions, and their appropriate faculties, as co-existing in the same subject, was shown by the Critique of Pure Reason, since it disposed of the objections on the other side by detecting their dialectical illusion.
Still, how does it happen that these two different realms do not form one realm, seeing that, while they do not limit each other in their legislation, they continually do so in their effects in the sensible world? The explanation lies in the fact that the concept of nature represents its objects in intuition doubtless, yet not as things in-themselves, but as mere phenomena, whereas the concept of freedom represents in its object what is no doubt a thing-in-itself, but it does not make it intuitable, and further that neither the one nor the other is capable, therefore, of furnishing a theoretical cognition of its object (or even of the thinking subject) as a thing-in-itself, or, as this would be, of the supersensible idea of which has certainly to be introduced as the basis of the possibility of all those objects of experience, although it cannot itself ever be elevated or extended into a cognition.
Our entire cognitive faculty is, therefore, presented with an unbounded, but, also, inaccessible field-the field of the supersensible-in which we seek in vain for a territory, and on which, therefore, we can have no realm for theoretical cognition, be it for concepts of understanding or of reason. This field we must indeed occupy with ideas in the interest as well of the theoretical as the practical employment of reason, but, in connection with the laws arising from the concept of freedom, we cannot procure for these ideas any but practical reality, which, accordingly, fails to advance our theoretical cognition one step towards the supersensible.
Albeit, then, between the realm of the natural concept, as the sensible, and the realm of the concept of freedom, as the supersensible, there is a great gulf fixed, so that it is not possible to pass from the to the latter (by means of the theoretical employment of reason), just as if they were so many separate worlds, the first of which is powerless to exercise influence on the second: still the latter is meant to influence the former-that is to say, the concept of freedom is meant to actualize in the sensible world the end proposed by its laws; and nature must consequently also be capable of being regarded in such a way that in the conformity to law of its form it at least harmonizes with the possibility of the ends to be effectuated in it according to the laws of freedom. There must, therefore, be a ground of the unity of the supersensible that lies at the basis of nature, with what the concept of freedom contains in a practical way, and although the concept of this ground neither theoretically nor practically attains to a knowledge of it, and so has no peculiar realm of its own, still it renders possible the transition from the mode of thought according to the principles of the one to that according to the principles of the other.
The critique which deals with what our cognitive faculties are capable of yielding a priori has properly speaking no realm in respect of objects; for it is not a doctrine, its sole business being to investigate whether, having regard to the general bearings of our faculties, a doctrine is possible by their means, and if so, how. Its field extends to all their pretentions, with a view to confining them within their legitimate bounds. But what is shut out of the division of philosophy may still be admitted as a principal part into the general critique of our faculty of pure cognition, in the event, namely, of its containing principles which are not in themselves available either for theoretical or practical employment.
Concepts of nature contain the ground of all theoretical cognition a priori and rest, as we saw, upon the legislative authority of understanding. The concept of freedom contains the ground of all sensuously unconditioned practical precepts a priori, and rests upon that of reason. Both faculties, therefore, besides their application in point of logical form to principles of whatever origin, have, in addition, their own peculiar jurisdiction in the matter of their content, and so, there being no further (a priori) jurisdiction above them, the division of philosophy into theoretical and practical is justified.
But there is still further in the family of our higher cognitive faculties a middle term between understanding and reason. This is judgement, of which we may reasonably presume by analogy that it may likewise contain, if not a special authority to prescribe laws, still a principle peculiar to itself upon which laws are sought, although one merely subjective a priori. This principle, even if it has no field of objects appropriate to it as its realm, may still have some territory or other with a certain character, for which just this very principle alone may be valid.
But in addition to the above considerations there is yet (to judge by analogy) a further ground, upon which judgement may be brought into line with another arrangement of our powers of representation, and one that appears to be of even greater importance than that of its kinship with the family of cognitive faculties. For all faculties of the soul, or capacities, are reducible to three, which do not admit of any further derivation from a common ground: the faculty of knowledge, the feeling of pleasure or displeasure, and the faculty of desire.3 For the faculty of cognition understanding alone is legislative, if (as must be the case where it is considered on its own account free of confusion with the faculty of desire) this faculty, as that of theoretical cognition, is referred to nature, in respect of which alone (as phenomenon) it is possible for us to prescribe laws by means of a priori concepts of nature, which are properly pure concepts of understanding. For the faculty of desire, as a higher faculty operating under the concept of freedom, only reason (in which alone this concept has a place) prescribes laws a priori. Now between the faculties of knowledge and desire stands the feeling of pleasure, just as judgement is intermediate between understanding and reason. Hence we may, provisionally at least, assume that judgement likewise contains an a priori principle of its own, and that, since pleasure or displeasure is necessarily combined with the faculty of desire (be it antecedent to its principle, as with the lower desires, or, as with the higher, only supervening upon its determination by the moral law), it will effect a transition from the faculty of pure knowledge, i.e., from the realm of concepts of nature, to that of the concept of freedom, just as i its logical employment it makes possible the transition from understanding to reason.
3Where one has reason to suppose that a relation subsists between concepts that are used as empirical principles and the faculty of pure cognition a priori, it is worth while attempting, in consideration of this connection, to give them a transcendental definition-a definition, that is, by pure categories, so far as these by themselves adequately indicate the distinction of the concept in question from others. This course follows that of the mathematician, who leaves the empirical data of his problem indeterminate, and only brings their relation in pure synthesis under the concepts of pure arithmetic, and thus generalizes his solution.-I have been taken to task for adopting a similar procedure and fault had been found with my definition of the faculty of desire as a faculty which by means of its representations is the cause of the cause of the actuality of the objects of those representations: for mere wishes would still be desires, and yet in their case every one is ready to abandon all claim to being able by means of them alone to call their object into existence. — But this proves no more than the presence of desires in man by which he is in contradiction with himself. For in such a case he seeks the production of the object by means of his representation alone, without any hope of its being effectual, since he is conscious that his mechanical powers (if I may so call those which are not psychological), which would have to be determined by that representation, are either unequal to the task of realizing the object (by the intervention of means, therefore) or else are addressed to what is quite impossible, as, for example, to undo the past (O mihi praeteritos, etc.) or, to be able to annihilate the interval that, with intolerable delay, divides us from the wished for moment. — Now, conscious as we are in such fantastic desires of the inefficiency of our representations (or even of their futility), as causes of their objects, there is still involved in every wish a reference of the same as cause, and therefore the representation of its causality, and this is especially discernible where the wish, as longing, is an affection. For such affections, since they dilate the heart and render it inert and thus exhaust its powers, show that a strain is kept on being exerted and re-exerted on these powers by the representations, but that the mind is allowed continually to relapse and get languid upon recognition of the impossibility before it. Even prayers for the aversion of great, and, so far as we can see, inevitable evils, and many superstitious means for attaining ends impossible of attainment by natural means, prove the causal reference of representations to their objects-a causality which not even the consciousness of inefficiency for producing the effect can deter from straining towards it. But why our nature should be furnished with a propensity to consciously vain desires is a teleological problem of anthropology. It would seem that were we not to be determined to the exertion of our power before we had assured ourselves of the efficiency of our faculty for producing an object, our power would remain to a large extent unused. For as a rule we only first learn to know our powers by making trial of them. This deceit of vain desires is therefore only the result of a beneficent disposition in our nature.
Hence, despite the fact of philosophy being only divisible into two principal parts, the theoretical and the practical, and despite the fact of all that we may have to say of the special principles of judgement having to be assigned to its theoretical part, i.e., to rational cognition according to concepts of nature: still the Critique of Pure Reason, which must settle this whole question before the above system is taken in hand, so as to substantiate its possibility, consists of three parts: the Critique of pure understanding, of pure judgement, and of pure reason, which faculties are called pure on the ground of their being legislative a priori.
Judgement in general is the faculty of thinking the particular as contained under the universal. If the universal (the rule, principle, or law) is given, then the judgement which subsumes the particular under it is determinant. This is so even where such a judgement is transcendental and, as such, provides the conditions a priori in conformity with which alone subsumption under that universal can be effected. If, however, only the particular is given and the universal has to be found for it, then the judgement is simply reflective.
The determinant judgement determines under universal transcendental laws furnished by understanding and is subsumptive only; the law is marked out for it a priori, and it has no need to devise a law for its own guidance to enable it to subordinate the particular in nature to the universal. But there are such manifold forms of nature, so many modifications, as it were, of the universal transcendental concepts of nature, left undetermined by the laws furnished by pure understanding a priori as above mentioned, and for the reason that these laws only touch the general possibility of a nature (as an object of sense), that there must needs also be laws in this behalf. These laws, being empirical, may be contingent as far as the light of our understanding goes, but still, if they are to be called laws (as the concept of a nature requires), they must be regarded as necessary on a principle, unknown though it be to us, of the unity of the manifold. The reflective judgement which is compelled to ascend from the particular in nature to the universal stands, therefore, in need of a principle. This principle it cannot borrow from experience, because what it has to do is to establish just the unity of all empirical principles under higher, though likewise empirical, principles, and thence the possibility of the systematic subordination of higher and lower. Such a transcendental principle, therefore, the reflective judgement can only give as a law from and to itself. It cannot derive it from any other quarter (as it would then be a determinant judgement). Nor can it prescribe it to nature, for reflection on the laws of nature adjusts itself to nature, and not nature to the conditions according to which we strive to obtain a concept of it-a concept that is quite contingent in respect of these conditions.
Now the principle sought can only be this: as universal laws of nature have their ground in our understanding, which prescribes them to nature (though only according to the universal concept of it as nature), particular empirical laws must be regarded, in respect of that which is left undetermined in them by these universal laws, according to a unity such as they would have if an understanding (though it be not ours) had supplied them for the benefit of our cognitive faculties, so as to render possible a system of experience according to particular natural laws. This is not to be taken as implying that such an understanding must be actually assumed (for it is only the reflective judgement which avails itself of this idea as a principle for the purpose of reflection and not for determining anything); but this faculty rather gives by this means a law to itself alone and not to nature.
Now the concept of an object, so far as it contains at the same time the ground of the actuality of this object, is called its end, and the agreement of a thing with that constitution of things which is only possible according to ends, is called the finality of its form. Accordingly the principle of judgement, in respect of the form of the things of nature under empirical laws generally, is the finality of nature in its multiplicity. In other words, by this concept nature is represented as if an understanding contained the ground of the unity of the manifold of its empirical laws.
The finality of nature is, therefore, a particular a priori concept, which has its origin solely in the reflective judgement. For we cannot ascribe to the products of nature anything like a reference of nature in them to ends, but we can only make use of this concept to reflect upon them in respect of the nexus of phenomena in nature-a nexus given according to empirical laws. Furthermore, this concept is entirely different from practical finality (in human art or even morals), though it is doubtless thought after this analogy.
A transcendental principle is one through which we represent a priori the universal condition under which alone things can become objects of our cognition generally. A principle, on the other hand, is called metaphysical where it represents a priori the condition under which alone objects whose concept has to be given empirically may become further determined a priori. Thus the principle of the cognition of bodies as substances, and as changeable substances, is transcendental where the statement is that their change must have a cause: but it is metaphysical where it asserts that their change must have an external cause. For, in the first case, bodies need only be thought through ontological predicates (pure concepts of understanding) e.g., as substance, to enable the proposition to be cognized a priori; whereas, in the second case, the empirical concept of a body (as a movable thing in space) must be introduced to support the proposition, although, once this is done, it may be seen quite a priori that the latter predicate (movement only by means of an external cause) applies to body. In this way, as I shall show presently, the principle of the finality of nature (in the multiplicity of its empirical laws) is a transcendental principle. For the concept of objects, regarded as standing under this principle, is only the pure concept of objects of possible empirical cognition generally, and involves nothing empirical. On the other hand, the principle of practical finality, implied in the idea of the determination of a free will, would be a metaphysical principle, because the concept of a faculty of desire, as will, has to be given empirically, i.e., is not included among transcendental predicates. But both these principles are, none the less, not empirical, but a priori principles; because no further experience is required for the synthesis of the predicate with the empirical concept of the subject of their judgements, but it may be apprehended quite a priori.
That the concept of a finality of nature belongs to transcendental principles is abundantly evident from the maxims of judgement upon which we rely a priori in the investigation of nature, and which yet have to do with no more than the possibility of experience, and consequently of the knowledge of nature-but of nature not merely in a general way, but as determined by a manifold of particular laws. These maxims crop up frequently enough in the course of this science, though only in a scattered way. They are aphorisms of metaphysical wisdom, making their appearance in a number of rules the necessity of which cannot be demonstrated from concepts. “Nature takes the shortest way (lex parsimoniae); yet it makes no leap, either in the sequence of its changes, or in the juxtaposition of specifically different forms (lex continui in natura); its vast variety in empirical laws is for all that, unity under a few principles (principia praeter necessitatem non sunt multiplicanda)”; and so forth.
If we propose to assign the origin of these elementary rules, and attempt to do so on psychological lines, we go straight in the teeth of their sense. For they tell us, not what happens, i.e., according to what rule our powers of judgement actually discharge their functions, and how we judge, but how we ought to judge; and we cannot get this logical objective necessity where the principles are merely empirical. Hence the finality of nature for our cognitive faculties and their employment, which manifestly radiates from them, is a transcendental principle of judgements, and so needs also a transcendental deduction, by means of which the ground for this mode of judging must be traced to the a priori sources of knowledge.
Now, looking at the grounds of the possibility of an experience, the first thing, of course, that meets us is something necessary-namely, the universal laws apart from which nature in general (as an object of sense) cannot be thought. These rest on the categories, applied to the formal conditions of all intuition possible for us, so far as it is also given a priori. Under these laws, judgement is determinant; for it has nothing else to do than to subsume under given laws. For instance, understanding says: all change has its cause (universal law of nature); transcendental judgement has nothing further to do than to furnish a priori the condition of subsumption under the concept of understanding placed before it: this we get in the succession of the determinations of one and the same thing. Now for nature in general, as an object of possible experience, that law is cognized as absolutely necessary. But besides this formal time-condition, the objects of empirical cognition are determined, or, so far as we can judge a priori, are determinable, in divers ways, so that specifically differentiated natures, over and above what they have in common as things of nature in general, are further capable of being causes in an infinite variety of ways; and each of these modes must, on the concept of a cause in general, have its rule, which is a law, and, consequently, imports necessity: although owing to the constitution and limitations of our faculties of cognition we may entirely fail to see this necessity. Accordingly, in respect of nature’s merely empirical laws, we must think in nature a possibility of an endless multiplicity of empirical laws, which yet are contingent so far as our insight goes, i.e., cannot be cognized a priori. In respect of these we estimate the unity of nature according to empirical laws, and the possibility of the unity of experience, as a system according to empirical laws, to be contingent. But, now, such a unity is one which must be necessarily presupposed and assumed, as otherwise we should not have a thoroughgoing connection of empirical cognition in a whole of experience. For the universal laws of nature, while providing, certainly, for such a connection among things generically, as things of nature in general, do not do so for them specifically as such particular things of nature. Hence judgement is compelled, for its own guidance, to adopt it as an a priori principle, that what is for human insight contingent in the particular (empirical) laws of nature contains nevertheless unity of law in the synthesis of its manifold in an intrinsically possible experience-unfathomable, though still thinkable, as such unity may, no doubt, be for us. Consequently, as the unity of law in a synthesis, which is cognized by us in obedience to a necessary aim (a need of understanding), though recognized at the same time as contingent, is represented as a finality of objects (here of nature), so judgement, which, in respect of things under possible (yet to be discovered) empirical laws, is merely reflective, must regard nature in respect of the latter according to a principle of finality for our cognitive faculty, which then finds expression in the above maxims of judgement. Now this transcendental concept of a finality of nature is neither a concept of nature nor of freedom, since it attributes nothing at all to the object, i.e., to nature, but only represents the unique mode in which we must proceed in our reflection upon the objects of nature with a view to getting a thoroughly interconnected whole of experience, and so is a subjective principle, i.e., maxim, of judgement. For this reason, too, just as if it were a lucky chance that favoured us, we are rejoiced (properly speaking, relieved of a want) where we meet with such systematic unity under merely empirical laws: although we must necessarily assume the presence of such a unity, apart from any ability on our part to apprehend or prove its existence.
In order to convince ourselves of the correctness of this deduction of the concept before us, and the necessity of assuming it as a transcendental principle of cognition, let us just bethink ourselves of the magnitude of the task. We have to form a connected experience from given perceptions of a nature containing a maybe endless multiplicity of empirical laws, and this problem has its seat a priori in our understanding. This understanding is no doubt a priori in possession of universal laws of nature, apart from which nature would be incapable of being an object of experience at all. But over and above this it needs a certain order of nature in its particular rules which are only capable of being brought to its knowledge empirically, and which, so far as it is concerned are contingent. These rules, without which we would have no means of advance from the universal analogy of a possible experience in general to a particular, must be regarded by understanding as laws, i.e., as necessary-for otherwise they would not form an order of nature-though it be unable to cognize or ever get an insight into their necessity. Albeit, then, it can determine nothing a priori in respect of these (objects), it must, in pursuit of such empirical so-called laws, lay at the basis of all reflection upon them an a priori principle, to the effect, namely, that a cognizable order of nature is possible according to them. A principle of this kind is expressed in the following propositions. There is in nature a subordination of genera and species comprehensible by us: Each of these genera again approximates to the others on a common principle, so that a transition may be possible from one to the other, and thereby to a higher genus: While it seems at outset unavoidable for our understanding to assume for the specific variety of natural operations a like number of various kinds of causality, yet these may all be reduced to a small number of principles, the quest for which is our business; and so forth. This adaptation of nature to our cognitive faculties is presupposed a priori by judgement on behalf of its reflection upon it according to empirical laws. But understanding all the while recognizes it objectively as contingent, and it is merely judgement that attributes it to nature as transcendental finality, i.e., a finality in respect of the subject’s faculty of cognition. For, were it not for this presupposition, we should have no order of nature in accordance with empirical laws, and, consequently, no guiding-thread for an experience that has to be brought to bear upon these in all their variety, or for an investigation of them.
For it is quite conceivable that, despite all the uniformity of the things of nature according to universal laws, without which we would not have the form of general empirical knowledge at all, the specific variety of the empirical laws of nature, with their effects, might still be so great as to make it impossible for our understanding to discover in nature an intelligible order, to divide its products into genera and species so as to avail ourselves of the principles of explanation and comprehension of one for explaining and interpreting another, and out of material coming to hand in such confusion (properly speaking only infinitely multiform and ill-adapted to our power-of apprehension) to make a consistent context of experience.
Thus judgement, also, is equipped with an a priori principle for the possibility of nature, but only in a subjective respect. By means of this it prescribes a law, not to nature (as autonomy), but to itself (as heautonomy), to guide its reflection upon nature. This law may be called the law of the specification of nature in respect of its empirical laws. It is not one cognized a priori in nature, but judgement adopts it in the interests of a natural order, cognizable by our understanding, in the division which it makes of nature’s universal laws when it seeks to subordinate to them a variety of particular laws. So when it is said that nature specifies its universal laws on a principle of finality for our cognitive faculties, i.e., of suitability for the human understanding and its necessary function of finding the universal for the particular presented to it by perception, and again for varieties (which are, of course, common for each species) connection in the unity of principle, we do not thereby either prescribe a law to nature, or learn one from it by observation-although the principle in question may be confirmed by this means. For it is not a principle of the determinant but merely of the reflective judgement. All that is intended is that, no matter what is the order and disposition of nature in respect of its universal laws, we must investigate its empirical laws throughout on that principle and the maxims founded thereon, because only so far as that principle applies can we make any headway in the employment of our understanding in experience, or gain knowledge.
The conceived harmony of nature in the manifold of its particular laws with our need of finding universality of principles for it must, so far as our insight goes, be deemed contingent, but withal indispensable for the requirements of our understanding, and, consequently, a finality by which nature is in accord with our aim, but only so far as this is directed to knowledge. The universal laws of understanding, which are equally laws of nature, are, although arising from spontaneity, just as necessary for nature as the laws of motion applicable to matter. Their origin does not presuppose any regard to our cognitive faculties, seeing that it is only by their means that we first come by any conception of the meaning of a knowledge of things (of nature), and they of necessity apply to nature as object of our cognition in general. But it is contingent, so far as we can see, that the order of nature in its particular laws, with their wealth of at least possible variety and heterogeneity transcending all our powers of comprehension, should still in actual fact be commensurate with these powers. To find out this order is an undertaking on the part of our understanding, which pursues it with a regard to a necessary end of its own, that, namely, of introducing into nature unity of principle. This end must, then, be attributed to nature by judgement, since no law can be here prescribed to it by understanding.
The attainment of every aim is coupled with a feeling of pleasure. Now where such attainment has for its condition a representation a priori-as here a principle for the reflective judgement in general-the feeling of pleasure also is determined by a ground which is a priori and valid for all men: and that, too, merely by virtue of the reference of the object to our faculty of cognition. As the concept of finality here takes no cognizance whatever of the faculty of desire, it differs entirely from all practical finality of nature.
As a matter of fact, we do not, and cannot, find in ourselves the slightest effect on the feeling of pleasure from the coincidence of perceptions with the laws in accordance with the universal concepts of nature (the categories), since in their case understanding necessarily follows the bent of its own nature without ulterior aim. But, while this is so, the discovery, on the other hand, that two or more empirical heterogeneous laws of nature are allied under one principle that embraces them both, is the ground of a very appreciable pleasure, often even of admiration, and such, too, as does not wear off even though we are already familiar enough with its object. It is true that we no longer notice any decided pleasure in the comprehensibility of nature, or in the unity of its divisions into genera and species, without which the empirical concepts, that afford us our knowledge of nature in its particular laws, would not be possible. Still it is certain that the pleasure appeared in due course, and only by reason of the most ordinary experience being impossible without it, has it become gradually fused with simple cognition, and no longer arrests particular attention. Something, then, that makes us attentive in our estimate of nature to its finality for our understanding-an endeavour to bring, where possible, its heterogeneous laws under higher, though still always empirical, laws-is required, in order that, on meeting with success, pleasure may be felt in this their accord with our cognitive faculty, which accord is regarded by us as purely contingent. As against this, a representation of nature would be altogether displeasing to us, were we to be forewarned by it that, on the least investigation carried beyond the commonest experience, we should come in contact with such a heterogeneity of its laws as would make the union of its particular laws under universal empirical laws impossible for our understanding. For this would conflict with the principle of the subjectively final specification of nature in its genera, and with our own reflective judgement in respect thereof.
Yet this presupposition of judgement is so indeterminate on the question of the extent of the prevalence of that ideal finality of nature for our cognitive faculties, that if we are told that a more searching or enlarged knowledge of nature, derived from observation, must eventually bring us into contact with a multiplicity of laws that no human understanding could reduce to a principle, we can reconcile ourselves to the thought. But still we listen more gladly to others who hold out to us the hope that the more intimately we come to know the secrets of nature, or the better we are able to compare it with external members as yet unknown to us, the more simple shall we find it in its principles, and the further our experience advances the more harmonious shall we find it in the apparent heterogeneity of its empirical laws. For our judgement makes it imperative upon us to proceed on the principle of the conformity of nature to our faculty of cognition, so far as that principle extends, without deciding-for the rule is not given to us by a determinant judgement-whether bounds are anywhere set to it or not. For, while in respect of the rational employment of our cognitive faculty, bounds may be definitely determined, in the empirical field no such determination of bounds is possible.
That which is purely subjective in the representation of an object, i.e., what constitutes its reference to the subject, not to the object, is its aesthetic quality. On the other hand, that which in such a representation serves, or is available, for the determination of the object (for or purpose of knowledge), is its logical validity. In the cognition of an object of sense, both sides are presented conjointly. In the sense-representation of external things, the quality of space in which we intuite them is the merely subjective side of my representation of them (by which what the things are in themselves as objects is left quite open), and it is on account of that reference that the object in being intuited in space is also thought merely as phenomenon. But despite its purely subjective quality, space is still a constituent of the knowledge of things as phenomena. Sensation (here external) also agrees in expressing a merely subjective side of our representations of external things, but one which is properly their matter (through which we are given something with real existence), just as space is the mere a priori form of the possibility of their intuition; and so sensation is, none the less, also employed in the cognition of external objects.
But that subjective side of a representation which is incapable of becoming an element of cognition, is the pleasure or displeasure connected with it; for through it I cognize nothing in the object of the representation, although it may easily be the result of the operation of some cognition or other. Now the finality of a thing, so far as represented in our perception of it, is in no way a quality of the object itself (for a quality of this kind is not one that can be perceived), although it may be inferred from a cognition of things. In the finality, therefore, which is prior to the cognition of an object, and which, even apart from any desire to make use of the representation of it for the purpose of a cognition, is yet immediately connected with it, we have the subjective quality belonging to it that is incapable of becoming a constituent of knowledge. Hence we only apply the term final to the object on account of its representation being immediately coupled with the feeling of pleasure: and this representation itself is an aesthetic representation of the finality. The only question is whether such a representation of finality exists at all.
If pleasure is connected with the mere apprehension (apprehensio) of the form of an object of intuition, apart from any reference it may have to a concept for the purpose of a definite cognition, this does not make the representation referable to the object, but solely to the subject. In such a case, the pleasure can express nothing but the conformity of the object to the cognitive faculties brought into play in the reflective judgement, and so far as they are in play, and hence merely a subjective formal finality of the object. For that apprehension of forms in the imagination can never take place without the reflective judgement, even when it has no intention of so doing, comparing them at least with its faculty of referring intuitions to concepts. If, now, in this comparison, imagination (as the faculty of intuitions a priori) is undesignedly brought into accord with understanding (as the faculty of concepts), by means of a given representation, and a feeling of pleasure is thereby aroused, then the object must be regarded as final for the reflective judgement. A judgement of this kind is an aesthetic judgement upon the finality of the object, which does not depend upon any present concept of the object, and does not provide one. When the form of an object (as opposed to the matter of its representation, as sensation) is, in the mere act of reflecting upon it, without regard to any concept to be obtained from it, estimated as the ground of a pleasure in the representation of such an object, then this pleasure is also judged to be combined necessarily with the representation of it, and so not merely for the subject apprehending this form, but for all in general who pass judgement. The object is then called beautiful; and the faculty of judging by means of such a pleasure (and so also with universal validity) is called taste. For since the ground of the pleasure is made to reside merely in the form of the object for reflection generally, consequently not in any sensation of the object, and without any reference, either, to any concept that might have something or other in view, it is with the conformity to law in the empirical employment of judgement generally (unity of imagination and understanding) in the subject, and with this alone, that the representation of the object in reflection, the conditions of which are universally valid a priori, accords. And, as this accordance of the object with the faculties of the subject is contingent, it gives rise to a representation of a finality on the part of the object in respect of the cognitive faculties of the subject.
Here, now, is a pleasure which-as is the case with all pleasure or displeasure that is not brought about through the agency of the concept of freedom (i.e., through the antecedent determination of the higher faculty of desire by means of pure reason)-no concepts could ever enable us to regard as necessarily connected with the representation of an object. It must always be only through reflective perception that it is cognized as conjoined with this representation. As with all empirical judgements, it is, consequently, unable to announce objective necessity or lay claim to a priori validity. But, then, the judgement of taste in fact only lays claim, like every other empirical judgement, to be valid for every one, and, despite its inner contingency this is always possible. The only point that is strange or out of the way about it is that it is not an empirical concept, but a feeling of pleasure (and so not a concept at all), that is yet exacted from every one by the judgement of taste, just as if it were a predicate united to the cognition of the object, and that is meant to be conjoined with its representation.
A singular empirical judgement, as for example, the judgement of one who perceives a movable drop of water in a rock-crystal, rightly looks to every one finding the fact as stated, since the judgement has been formed according to the universal conditions of the determinant judgement under the laws of a possible experience generally. In the same way, one who feels pleasure in simple reflection on the form of an object, without having any concept in mind, rightly lays claim to the agreement of every one, although this judgement is empirical and a singular judgement. For the ground of this pleasure is found in the universal, though subjective, condition of reflective judgements, namely the final harmony of an object (be it a product of nature or of art) with the mutual relation of the faculties of cognition (imagination and understanding), which are requisite for every empirical cognition. The pleasure in judgements of taste is, therefore, dependent doubtless on an empirical representation, and cannot be united a priori to any concept (one cannot determine a priori what object will be in accordance with taste or not-one must find out the object that is so); but then it is only made the determining ground of this judgement by virtue of our consciousness of its resting simply upon reflection and the universal, though only subjective, conditions of the harmony of that reflection with the knowledge of objects generally, for which the form of the object is final.
This is why judgements of taste are subjected to a critique in respect of their possibility. For their possibility presupposes an a priori principle, although that principle is neither a cognitive principle for understanding nor a practical principle for the will, and is thus in no way determinant a priori.
Susceptibility to pleasure arising from reflection on the forms of things (whether of nature or of art) betokens, however, not only a finality on the part of objects in their relation to the reflective judgement in the subject, in accordance with the concept of nature, but also, conversely, a finality on the part of the subject, answering to the concept of freedom, in respect of the form, or even formlessness of objects. The result is that the aesthetic judgement refers not merely, as a judgement of taste, to the beautiful, but also, as springing from a higher intellectual feeling, to the sublime. Hence the above-mentioned Critique of Aesthetic judgement must be divided on these lines into two main parts.
There are two ways in which finality may be represented in an object given in experience. It may be made to turn on what is purely subjective. In this case the object is considered in respect of its form as present in apprehension (apprehensio) prior to any concept; and the harmony of this form with the cognitive faculties, promoting the combination of the intuition with concepts for cognition generally, is represented as a finality of the form of the object. Or, on the other hand, the representation of finality may be made to turn on what is objective, in which case it is represented as the harmony of the form of the object with the possibility of the thing itself according to an antecedent concept of it containing the ground of this form. We have seen that the representation of the former kind of finality rests on the pleasure immediately felt in mere reflection on the form of the object. But that of the latter kind of finality, as it refers the form of the object, not to the subject’s cognitive faculties engaged in its apprehension, but to a definite cognition of the object under a given concept, has nothing to do with a feeling of pleasure in things, but only understanding and its estimate of them. Where the concept of an object is given, the function of judgement, in its employment of that concept for cognition, consists in presentation (exhibitio), i. e., in placing beside the concept an intuition corresponding to it. Here it may be that our own imagination is the agent employed, as in the case of art, where we realize a preconceived concept of an object which we set before ourselves as an end. Or the agent may be nature in its technic (as in the case of organic bodies), when we read into it our own concept of an end to assist our estimate of its product. In this case what is represented is not a mere finality of nature in the form of the thing, but this very product as a natural end. Although our concept that nature, in its empirical laws, is subjectively final in its forms is in no way a concept of the object, but only a principle of judgement for providing itself with concepts in the vast multiplicity of nature, so that it may be able to take its bearings, yet, on the analogy of an end, as it were a regard to our cognitive faculties is here attributed to nature. Natural beauty may, therefore, be looked on as the presentation of the concept of formal, i. e., merely subjective, finality and natural ends as the presentation of the concept of a real, i.e., objective, finality. The former of these we estimate by taste (aesthetically by means of the feeling of pleasure), the latter by understanding and reason (logically according to concepts).
On these considerations is based the division of the Critique of judgement into that of the aesthetic and the teleological judgement. By the first is meant the faculty of estimating formal finality (otherwise called subjective) by the feeling of pleasure or displeasure, by the second, the faculty of estimating the real finality (objective) of nature by understanding and, reason.
In a Critique of judgement the part dealing with aesthetic judgement is essentially relevant, as it alone contains a principle introduced by judgement completely a priori as the basis of its reflection upon nature. This is the principle of nature’s formal finality for our cognitive faculties in its particular (empirical) laws-a principle without which understanding could not feel itself at home in nature: whereas no reason is assignable a priori, nor is so much as the possibility of one apparent from the concept of nature as an object of experience, whether in its universal or in its particular aspects, why there should be objective ends of nature, i. e., things only possible as natural ends. But it is only judgement that, without being itself possessed a priori of a principle in that behalf, in actually occurring cases (of certain products) contains the rule for making use of the concept of ends in the interest of reason, after that the above transcendental principle has already prepared understanding to apply to nature the concept of an end (at least in respect of its form).
But the transcendental principle by which a finality of nature in its subjective reference to our cognitive faculties, is represented in the form of a thing as a principle of its estimation, leaves quite undetermined the question of where and in what cases we have to make our estimate of the object as a product according to a principle of finality, instead of simply according to universal laws of nature. It resigns to the aesthetic judgement the task of deciding the conformity of this product (in its form) to our cognitive faculties as a question of taste (a matter which the aesthetic judgement decides, not by any harmony with concepts, but by feeling). On the other hand, judgement as teleologically employed assigns the determinate conditions under which something (e. g., an organized body) is to be estimated after the idea of an end of nature. But it can adduce no principle from the concept of nature, as an object of experience, to give it its authority to ascribe a priori to nature a reference to ends, or even only indeterminately to assume them from actual experience in the case of such products. The reason of this is that, in order to be able merely empirically to cognize objective finality in a certain object, many particular experiences must be collected and reviewed under the unity of their principle. Aesthetic judgement is, therefore, a special faculty of estimating according to a rule, but not according to concepts. The teleological is not a special faculty, but only general reflective judgement proceeding, as it always does in theoretical cognition, according to concepts, but in respect of certain objects of nature, following special principles-those, namely, of a judgement that is merely reflective and does not determine objects. Hence, as regards its application, it belongs to the theoretical part of philosophy, and on account of its special principles, which are not determinant, as principles belonging to doctrine have to be, it must also form a special part of the Critique. On the other hand, the aesthetic judgement contributes nothing to the cognition of its objects. Hence it must only be allocated to the Critique of the judging subject and of its faculties of knowledge so far as these are capable of possessing a priori principles, be their use (theoretical or practical) otherwise what it may-a Critique which is the propaedeutic of all philosophy.
Understanding prescribes laws a priori for nature as an object of sense, so that we may have a theoretical knowledge of it in a possible experience. Reason prescribes laws a priori for freedom and its peculiar causality as the supersensible in the subject, so that we may have a purely practical knowledge. The realm of the concept of nature under the one legislation, and that of the concept of freedom under the other, are completely cut off from all reciprocal influence, that they might severally (each according to its own principles) exert upon the other, by the broad gulf that divides the supersensible from phenomena. The concept of freedom determines nothing in respect of the theoretical cognition of nature; and the concept of nature likewise nothing in respect of the practical laws of freedom. To that extent, then, it is not possible to throw a bridge from the one realm to the other. Yet although the determining grounds of causality according to the concept of freedom (and the practical rule that this contains) have no place in nature, and the sensible cannot determine the supersensible in the subject; still the converse is possible (not, it is true, in respect of the knowledge of nature, but of the consequences arising from the supersensible and bearing on the sensible). So much indeed is implied in the concept of a causality by freedom, the operation of which, in conformity with the formal laws of freedom, is to take effect in the word. The word cause, however, in its application to the supersensible only signifies the ground that determines the causality of things of nature to an effect in conformity with their appropriate natural laws, but at the same time also in unison with the formal principle of the laws of reason-a ground which, while its possibility is impenetrable, may still be completely cleared of the charge of contradiction that it is alleged to involve.4 The effect in accordance with the concept of freedom is the final end which (or the manifestation of which in the sensible world) is to exist, and this presupposes the condition of the possibility of that end in nature (i. e., in the nature of the subject as a being of the sensible world, namely, as man). It is so presupposed a priori, and without regard to the practical, by judgement. This faculty, with its concept of a finality of nature, provides us with the mediating concept between concepts of nature and the concept of freedom-a concept that makes possible the transition from the pure theoretical [legislation of understanding] to the pure practical [legislation of reason] and from conformity to law in accordance with the former to final ends according to the latter. For through that concept we cognize the possibility of the final end that can only be actualized in nature and in harmony with its laws.
4One of the various supposed contradictions in this complete distinction of the causality of nature from that through freedom is expressed in the objection that when I speak of hindrances opposed by nature to causality according to laws of freedom (moral laws) or of assistance lent to it by nature, I am all the time admitting an influence of the former upon the latter. But the misinterpretation is easily avoided, if attention is only paid to the meaning of the statement. The resistance or furtherance is not between nature and freedom, but between the former as phenomenon and the effects of the latter as phenomena in the world of sense. Even the causality of freedom (of pure and practical reason) is the causality of a natural cause subordinated to freedom (a causality of the subject regarded as man, and consequently as a phenomenon), and one, the ground of whose determination is contained in the intelligible, that is thought under freedom, in a manner that is not further or otherwise explicable (just as in the case of that intelligible that forms the supersensible substrate of nature.)
Understanding, by the possibility of its supplying a priori laws for nature, furnishes a proof of the fact that nature is cognized by us only as phenomenon, and in so doing points to its having a supersensible substrate; but this substrate it leaves quite undetermined judgement by the a priori principle of its estimation of nature according to its possible particular laws provides this supersensible substrate (within as well as without us) with determinability through the intellectual faculty. But reason gives determination to the same a priori by its practical law. Thus judgement makes possible the transition from the realm of the concept of nature to that of the concept of freedom.
In respect of the faculties of the soul generally, regarded as higher faculties, i.e., as faculties containing an autonomy, understanding is the one that contains the constitutive a priori principles for the faculty of cognition (the theoretical knowledge of nature). The feeling pleasure and displeasure is provided for by the judgement in its independence from concepts and from sensations that refer to the determination of the faculty of desire and would thus be capable of being immediately practical. For the faculty of desire there is reason, which is practical without mediation of any pleasure of whatsoever origin, and which determines for it, as a higher faculty, the final end that is attended at the same time with pure intellectual delight in the object judgement’s concept of a finality of nature falls, besides, under the head of natural concepts, but only as a regulative principle of the cognitive faculties-although the aesthetic judgement on certain objects (of nature or of art) which occasions that concept, is a constitutive principle in respect of the feeling of pleasure or displeasure. The spontaneity in the play of the cognitive faculties whose harmonious accord contains the ground of this pleasure, makes the concept in question, in its consequences, a suitable mediating link connecting the realm of the concept of nature with that of the concept of freedom, as this accord at the same time promotes the sensibility of the mind for or moral feeling. The following table may facilitate the review of all the above faculties in their systematic unity.5
|List of Mental Faculties||Cognitive Faculties|
|Feeling of pleasure and displeasure||Judgement|
|Faculty of desire||Reason|
|A priori Principles||Application|
|Conformity to law||Nature|
5It has been thought somewhat suspicious that my divisions in pure philosophy should almost always come out threefold. But it is due to the nature of the case. If a division is to be a priori it must be either analytic, according to the law of contradiction-and then it is always twofold (quodlibet ens est aut A aut non A)-Or else it is synthetic. If it is to be derived in the latter case from a priori concepts (not, as in mathematics, from the a priori intuition corresponding to the concept), then, to meet the requirements of synthetic unity in general, namely (1) a condition, (2) a conditioned, (3) the concept arising from the union of the conditioned with its condition, the division must of necessity be trichotomous.
6The definition of taste here relied upon is that it is the faculty of estimating the beautiful. But the discovery of what is required for calling an object beautiful must be reserved for the analysis of judgements of taste. In my search for the moments to which attention is paid by this judgement in its reflection, I have followed the guidance of the logical functions of judging (for a judgement of taste always involves a reference to understanding). I have brought the moment of quality first under review, because this is what the aesthetic judgement on the beautiful looks to in the first instance.
If we wish to discern whether anything is beautiful or not, we do not refer the representation of it to the object by means of understanding with a view to cognition, but by means of the imagination (acting perhaps in conjunction with understanding) we refer the representation to the subject and its feeling of pleasure or displeasure. The judgement of taste, therefore, is not a cognitive judgement, and so not logical, but is aesthetic-which means that it is one whose determining ground cannot be other than subjective. Every reference of representations is capable of being objective, even that of sensations (in which case it signifies the real in an empirical representation). The one exception to this is the feeling of pleasure or displeasure. This denotes nothing in the object, but is a feeling which the subject has of itself and of the manner in which it is affected by the representation.
To apprehend a regular and appropriate building with one’s cognitive faculties, be the mode of representation clear or confused, is quite a different thing from being conscious of this representation with an accompanying sensation of delight. Here the representation is referred wholly to the subject, and what is more to its feeling of life-under the name of the feeling of pleasure or displeasure-and this forms the basis of a quite separate faculty of discriminating and estimating, that contributes nothing to knowledge. All it does is to compare the given representation in the subject with the entire faculty of representations of which the mind is conscious in the feeling of its state. Given representations in a judgement may be empirical, and so aesthetic; but the judgement which is pronounced by their means is logical, provided it refers them to the object. Conversely, be the given representations even rational, but referred in a judgement solely to the subject (to its feeling), they are always to that extent aesthetic.
The delight which we connect with the representation of the real existence of an object is called interest. Such a delight, therefore, always involves a reference to the faculty of desire, either as its determining ground, or else as necessarily implicated with its determining ground. Now, where the question is whether something is beautiful, we do not want to know, whether we, or any one else, are, or even could be, concerned in the real existence of the thing, but rather what estimate we form of it on mere contemplation (intuition or reflection). If any one asks me whether I consider that the palace I see before me is beautiful, I may, perhaps, reply that I do not care for things of that sort that are merely made to be gaped at. Or I may reply in the same strain as that Iroquois sachem who said that nothing in Paris pleased him better than the eating-houses. I may even go a step further and inveigh with the vigour of a Rousseau against the vigour of a great against the vanity of the people on such superfluous things. Or, in fine, I may quite easily persuade myself that if I found myself on an uninhabited island, without hope of ever again coming among men, and could conjure such a palace into existence by a mere wish, I should still not trouble to do so, so long as I had a hut there that was comfortable enough for me. All this may be admitted and approved; only it is not the point now at issue. All one wants to know is whether the mere representation of the object is to my liking, no matter how indifferent I may be to the real existence of the object of this representation. It is quite plain that in order to say that the object is beautiful, and to show that I have taste, everything turns on the meaning which I can give to this representation, and not on any factor which makes me dependent on the real existence of the object. Every one must allow that a judgement on the beautiful which is tinged with the slightest interest, is very partial and not a pure judgement of taste. One must not be in the least prepossessed in favour of the real existence of the thing, but must preserve complete indifference in this respect, in order to play the part of judge in matters of taste.
This proposition, which is of the utmost importance, cannot be better explained than by contrasting the pure disinterested7 delight which appears in the judgement of taste with that allied to an interest-especially if we can also assure ourselves that there are no other kinds of interest beyond those presently to be mentioned.
7A judgement upon an object of our delight may be wholly disinterested but withal very interesting, i.e., it relies on no interest, but it produces one. Of this kind are all pure moral judgements. But, of themselves judgements of taste do not even set up any interest whatsoever. Only in society is it interesting to have taste-a point which will be explained in the sequel.
That is agreeable which the senses find pleasing in sensation. This at once affords a convenient opportunity for condemning and directing particular attention to a prevalent confusion of the double meaning of which the word sensation is capable. All delight (as is said or thought) is itself sensation (of a pleasure). Consequently everything that pleases, and for the very reason that it pleases, is agreeable-and according to its different degrees, or its relations to other agreeable sensations, is attractive, charming, delicious, enjoyable, etc. But if this is conceded, then impressions of sense, which determine inclination, or principles of reason, which determine the will, or mere contemplated forms of intuition, which determine judgement, are all on a par in everything relevant to their effect upon the feeling of pleasure, for this would be agreeableness in the sensation of one’s state; and since, in the last resort, all the elaborate work of our faculties must issue in and unite in the practical as its goal, we could credit our faculties with no other appreciation of things and the worth of things, than that consisting in the gratification which they promise. How this is attained is in the end immaterial; and, as the choice of the means is here the only thing that can make a difference, men might indeed blame one another for folly or imprudence, but never for baseness or wickedness; for they are all, each according to his own way of looking at things, pursuing one goal, which for each is the gratification in question.
When a modification of the feeling of pleasure or displeasure is termed sensation, this expression is given quite a different meaning to that which it bears when I call the representation of a thing (through sense as a receptivity pertaining to the faculty of knowledge) sensation. For in the latter case the representation is referred to the object, but in the former it is referred solely to the subject and is not available for any cognition, not even for that by which the subject cognizes itself.
Now in the above definition the word sensation is used to denote an objective representation of sense; and, to avoid continually running the risk of misinterpretation, we shall call that which must always remain purely subjective, and is absolutely incapable of forming a representation of an object, by the familiar name of feeling. The green colour of the meadows belongs to objective sensation, as the perception of an object of sense; but its agreeableness to subjective sensation, by which no object is represented; i.e., to feeling, through which the object is regarded as an object of delight (which involves no cognition of the object).
Now, that a judgement on an object by which its agreeableness is affirmed, expresses an interest in it, is evident from the fact that through sensation it provokes a desire for similar objects, consequently the delight presupposes, not the simple judgement about it, but the bearing its real existence has upon my state so far as affected by such an object. Hence we do not merely say of the agreeable that it pleases, but that it gratifies. I do not accord it a simple approval, but inclination is aroused by it, and where agreeableness is of the liveliest type a judgement on the character of the object is so entirely out of place that those who are always intent only on enjoyment (for that is the word used to denote intensity of gratification) would fain dispense with all judgement.
That is good which by means of reason commends itself by its mere concept. We call that good for something which only pleases as a means; but that which pleases on its own account we call good in itself. In both cases the concept of an end is implied, and consequently the relation of reason to (at least possible) willing, and thus a delight in the existence of an object or action, i.e., some interest or other.
To deem something good, I must always know what sort of a thing the object is intended to be, i. e., I must have a concept of it. That is not necessary to enable me to see beauty in a thing. Flowers, free patterns, lines aimlessly intertwining-technically termed foliage-have no signification, depend upon no definite concept, and yet please. Delight in the beautiful must depend upon the reflection on an object precursory to some (not definitely determined) concept. It is thus also differentiated from the agreeable, which rests entirely upon sensation.
In many cases, no doubt, the agreeable and the good seem convertible terms. Thus it is commonly said that all (especially lasting) gratification is of itself good; which is almost equivalent to saying that to be permanently agreeable and to be good are identical. But it is readily apparent that this is merely a vicious confusion of words, for the concepts appropriate to these expressions are far from interchangeable. The agreeable, which, as such, represents the object solely in relation to sense, must in the first instance be brought under principles of reason through the concept of an end, to be, as an object of will, called good. But that the reference to delight is wholly different where what gratifies is at the same time called good, is evident from the fact that with the good the question always is whether it is mediately or immediately good, i. e., useful or good in itself; whereas with the agreeable this point can never arise, since the word always means what pleases immediately-and it is just the same with what I call beautiful.
Even in everyday parlance, a distinction is drawn between the agreeable and the good. We do not scruple to say of a dish that stimulates the palate with spices and other condiments that it is agreeable owning all the while that it is not good: because, while it immediately satisfies the senses, it is mediately displeasing, i. e., in the eye of reason that looks ahead to the consequences. Even in our estimate of health, this same distinction may be traced. To all that possess it, it is immediately agreeable-at least negatively, i. e., as remoteness of all bodily pains. But, if we are to say that it is good, we must further apply to reason to direct it to ends, that is, we must regard it as a state that puts us in a congenial mood for all we have to do. Finally, in respect of happiness every one believes that the greatest aggregate of the pleasures of life, taking duration as well as number into account, merits the name of a true, nay even of the highest, good. But reason sets its face against this too. Agreeableness is enjoyment. But if this is all that we are bent on, it would be foolish to be scrupulous about the means that procure it for us-whether it be obtained passively by the bounty of nature or actively and by the work of our own hands. But that there is any intrinsic worth in the real existence of a man who merely lives for enjoyment, however busy he may be in this respect, even when in so doing he serves others-all equally with himself intent only on enjoyment-as an excellent means to that one end, and does so, moreover, because through sympathy he shares all their gratifications-this is a view to which reason will never let itself be brought round. Only by what a man does heedless of enjoyment, in complete freedom, and independently of what he can procure passively from the hand of nature, does he give to his existence, as the real existence of a person, an absolute worth. Happiness, with all its plethora of pleasures, is far from being an unconditioned good.8
8An obligation to enjoyment is a patent absurdity. And the same, then, must also be said of a supposed obligation to actions that have merely enjoyment for their aim, no matter how spiritually this enjoyment may be refined in thought (or embellished), and even if it be a mystical, so-called heavenly, enjoyment.
But, despite all this difference between the agreeable and the good, they both agree in being invariably coupled with an interest in their object. This is true, not alone of the agreeable, § 3, and of the mediately good, i, e., the useful, which pleases as a means to some pleasure, but also of that which is good absolutely and from every point of view, namely the moral good which carries with it the highest interest. For the good is the object of will, i. e., of a rationally determined faculty of desire). But to will something, and to take a delight in its existence, i.e., to take an interest in it, are identical.
Both the agreeable and the good involve a reference to the faculty of desire, and are thus attended, the former with a delight pathologically conditioned (by stimuli), the latter with a pure practical delight. Such delight is determined not merely by the representation of the object, but also by the represented bond of connection between the subject and the real existence of the object. It is not merely the object, but also its real existence, that pleases. On the other hand, the judgement of taste is simply contemplative, i. e., it is a judgement which is indifferent as to the existence of an object, and only decides how its character stands with the feeling of pleasure and displeasure. But not even is this contemplation itself directed to concepts; for the judgement of taste is not a cognitive judgement (neither a theoretical one nor a practical), and hence, also, is not grounded on concepts, nor yet intentionally directed to them.
The agreeable, the beautiful, and the good thus denote three different relations of representations to the feeling of pleasure and displeasure, as a feeling in respect of which we distinguish different objects or modes of representation. Also, the corresponding expressions which indicate our satisfaction in them are different. The agreeable is what GRATIFIES a man; the beautiful what simply PLEASES him; the good what is ESTEEMED (approved), i.e., that on which he sets an objective worth. Agreeableness is a significant factor even with irrational animals; beauty has purport and significance only for human beings, i.e., for beings at once animal and rational (but not merely for them as rational-intelligent beings-but only for them as at once animal and rational); whereas the good is good for every rational being in general-a proposition which can only receive its complete justification and explanation in the sequel. Of all these three kinds of delight, that of taste in the beautiful may be said to be the one and only disinterested and free delight; for, with it, no interest, whether of sense or reason, extorts approval. And so we may say that delight, in the three cases mentioned, is related to inclination, to favour, or to respect. For FAVOUR is the only free liking. An object of inclination, and one which a law of reason imposes upon our desire, leaves us no freedom to turn anything into an object of pleasure. All interest presupposes a want, or calls one forth; and, being a ground determining approval, deprives the judgement on the object of its freedom.
So far as the interest of inclination in the case of the agreeable goes, every one says “Hunger is the best sauce; and people with a healthy appetite relish everything, so long as it is something they can eat.” Such delight, consequently, gives no indication of taste having anything to say to the choice. Only when men have got all they want can we tell who among the crowd has taste or not. Similarly there may be correct habits (conduct) without virtue, politeness without good-will, propriety without honour, etc. For where the moral law dictates, there is, objectively, no room left for free choice as to what one has to do; and to show taste in the way one carries out these dictates, or in estimating the way others do so, is a totally different matter from displaying the moral frame of one’s mind. For the latter involves a command and produces a need of something, whereas moral taste only plays with the objects of delight without devoting itself sincerely to any.
Taste is the faculty of estimating an object or a mode of representation by means of a delight or aversion apart from any interest. The object of such a delight is called beautiful.
This definition of the beautiful is deducible from the foregoing definition of it as an object of delight apart from any interest. For where any one is conscious that his delight in an object is with him independent of interest, it is inevitable that he should look on the object as one containing a ground of delight for all men. For, since the delight is not based on any inclination of the subject (or on any other deliberate interest), but the subject feels himself completely free in respect of the liking which he accords to the object, he can find as reason for his delight no personal conditions to which his own subjective self might alone be party. Hence he must regard it as resting on what he may also presuppose in every other person; and therefore he must believe that he has reason for demanding a similar delight from every one. Accordingly he will speak of the beautiful as if beauty were a quality of the object and the judgement logical (forming a cognition of the object by concepts of it); although it is only aesthetic, and contains merely a reference of the representation of the object to the subject; because it still bears this resemblance to the logical judgement, that it may be presupposed to be valid for all men. But this universality cannot spring from concepts. For from concepts there is no transition to the feeling of pleasure or displeasure (save in the case of pure practical laws, which, however, carry an interest with them; and such an interest does not attach to the pure judgement of taste). The result is that the judgement of taste, with its attendant consciousness of detachment from all interest, must involve a claim to validity for all men, and must do so apart from universality attached to objects, i.e., there must be coupled with it a claim to subjective universality.
As regards the agreeable, every one concedes that his judgement, which he bases on a private feeling, and in which he declares that an object pleases him, is restricted merely to himself personally. Thus he does not take it amiss if, when he says that Canary-wine is agreeable, another corrects the expression and reminds him that he ought to say: “It is agreeable to me.” This applies not only to the taste of the tongue, the palate, and the throat, but to what may with any one be agreeable to eye or ear. A violet colour is to one soft and lovely: to another dull and faded. One man likes the tone of wind instruments, another prefers that of string instruments. To quarrel over such points with the idea of condemning another’s judgement as incorrect when it differs from our own, as if the opposition between the two judgements were logical, would be folly. With the agreeable, therefore, the axiom holds good: Every one has his own taste (that of sense).
The beautiful stands on quite a different footing. It would, on the contrary, be ridiculous if any one who plumed himself on his taste were to think of justifying himself by saying: “This object (the building we see, the dress that person has on, the concert we hear, the poem submitted to our criticism) is beautiful for me.” For if it merely pleases him, he must not call it beautiful. Many things may for him possess charm and agreeableness-no one cares about that; but when he puts a thing on a pedestal and calls it beautiful, he demands the same delight from others. He judges not merely for himself, but for all men, and then speaks of beauty as if it were a property of things. Thus he says the thing is beautiful; and it is not as if he counted on others agreeing in his judgement of liking owing to his having found them in such agreement on a number of occasions, but he demands this agreement of them. He blames them if they judge differently, and denies them taste, which he still requires of them as something they ought to have; and to this extent it is not open to men to say: “Every one has his own taste.” This would be equivalent to saying that there is no such thing at all as taste, i. e., no aesthetic judgement capable of making a rightful claim upon the assent of all men.
Yet even in the case of the agreeable, we find that the estimates men form do betray a prevalent agreement among them, which leads to our crediting some with taste and denying it to others, and that, too, not as an organic sense but as a critical faculty in respect of the agreeable generally. So of one who knows how to entertain his guests with pleasures (of enjoyment through all the senses) in such a way that one and all are pleased, we say that he has taste. But the universality here is only understood in a comparative sense; and the rules that apply are, like all empirical rules, general only, not universal, the latter being what the judgement of taste upon the beautiful deals or claims to deal in. It is a judgement in respect of sociability so far as resting on empirical rules. In respect of the good, it is true that judgements also rightly assert a claim to validity for every one; but the good is only represented as an object of universal delight by means of a concept, which is the case neither with the agreeable nor the beautiful.
This particular form of the universality of an aesthetic judgement, which is to be met in a judgement of taste, is a significant feature, not for the logician certainly, but for the transcendental philosopher. It calls for no small effort on his part to discover its origin, but in return it brings to light a property of our cognitive faculty which, without this analysis, would have remained unknown.
First, one must get firmly into one’s mind that by the judgement of taste (upon the beautiful) the delight in an object is imputed to every one, yet without being founded on a concept (for then it would be the good), and that this claim to universality is such an essential factor of a judgement by which we describe anything as beautiful, that were it not for its being present to the mind it would never enter into any one’s head to use this expression, but everything that pleased without a concept would be ranked as agreeable. For in respect of the agreeable, every one is allowed to have his own opinion, and no one insists upon others agreeing with his judgement of taste, which is what is invariably done in the judgement of taste about beauty. The first of these I may call the taste of sense, the second, the taste of reflection: the first laying down judgements merely private, the second, on the other hand, judgements ostensibly of general validity (public), but both alike being aesthetic (not practical) judgements about an object merely in respect of the bearings of its representation on the feeling of pleasure or displeasure. Now it does seem strange that while with the taste of sense it is not alone experience that shows that its judgement (of pleasure or displeasure in something) is not universally valid, but every one willingly refrains from imputing this agreement to others (despite the frequent actual prevalence of a considerable consensus of general opinion even in these judgements), the taste of reflection, which, as experience teaches, has often enough to put up with a rude dismissal of its claims to universal validity of its judgement (upon the beautiful), can (as it actually does) find it possible for all that to formulate judgements capable of demanding this agreement in its universality. Such agreement it does in fact require from every one for each of its judgements of taste the persons who pass these judgements not quarreling over the possibility of such a claim, but only failing in particular cases to come to terms as to the correct application of this faculty.
First of all we have here to note that a universality which does not rest upon concepts of the object (even though these are only empirical) is in no way logical, but aesthetic, i. e., does not involve any objective quantity of the judgement, but only one that is subjective. For this universality I use the expression general validity, which denotes the validity of the reference of a representation, not to the cognitive faculties, but to the feeling of pleasure or displeasure for every subject. (The same expression, however, may also be employed for the logical quantity of the judgement, provided we add objective universal validity, to distinguish it from the merely subjective validity which is always aesthetic.)
Now a judgement that has objective universal validity has always got the subjective also, i.e., if the judgement is valid for everything which is contained under a given concept, it is valid also for all who represent an object by means of this concept. But from a subjective universal validity, i. e., the aesthetic, that does not rest on any concept, no conclusion can be drawn to the logical; because judgements of that kind have no bearing upon the object. But for this very reason the aesthetic universality attributed to a judgement must also be of a special kind, seeing that it does not join the predicate of beauty to the concept of the object taken in its entire logical sphere, and yet does extend this predicate over the whole sphere of judging subjects.
In their logical quantity, all judgements of taste are singular judgements. For, since I must present the object immediately to my feeling of pleasure or displeasure, and that, too, without the aid of concepts, such judgements cannot have the quantity of judgements with objective general validity. Yet by taking the singular representation of the object of the judgement of taste, and by comparison converting it into a concept according to the conditions determining that judgement, we can arrive at a logically universal judgement. For instance, by a judgement of the taste I describe the rose at which I am looking as beautiful. The judgement, on the other hand, resulting from the comparison of a number of singular representations: “Roses in general are beautiful,” is no longer pronounced as a purely aesthetic judgement, but as a logical judgement founded on one that is aesthetic. Now the judgement, “The rose is agreeable” (to smell) is also, no doubt, an aesthetic and singular judgement, but then it is not one of taste but of sense. For it has this point of difference from a judgement of taste, that the latter imports an aesthetic quantity of universality, i.e., of validity for everyone which is not to be met with in a judgement upon the agreeable. It is only judgements upon the good which, while also determining the delight in an object, possess logical and not mere aesthetic universality; for it is as involving a cognition of the object that “they are valid of it, and on that account valid for everyone.
In forming an estimate of objects merely from concepts, all representation of beauty goes by the board. There can, therefore, be no rule according to which any one is to be compelled to recognize anything as beautiful. Whether a dress, a house, or a flower is beautiful is a matter upon which one declines to allow one’s judgement to be swayed by any reasons or principles. We want to get a look at the object with our own eyes, just as if our delight depended on sensation. And yet, if upon so doing, we call the object beautiful, we believe ourselves to be speaking with a universal voice, and lay claim to the concurrence of everyone, whereas no private sensation would be decisive except for the observer alone and his liking.
Here, now, we may perceive that nothing is postulated in the judgement of taste but such a universal voice in respect of delight that it is not mediated by concepts; consequently, only the possibility of an aesthetic judgement capable of being at the same time deemed valid for everyone. The judgement of taste itself does not postulate the agreement of everyone (for it is only competent for a logically universal judgement to do this, in that it is able to bring forward reasons); it only imputes this agreement to everyone, as an instance of the rule in respect of which it looks for confirmation, not from concepts, but from the concurrence of others. The universal voice is, therefore, only an idea — resting upon grounds the investigation of which is here postponed. It may be a matter of uncertainty whether a person who thinks he is laying down a judgement of taste is, in fact, judging in conformity with that idea; but that this idea is what is contemplated in his judgement, and that, consequently, it is meant to be a judgement of taste, is proclaimed by his use of the expression “beauty.” For himself he can be certain on the point from his mere consciousness of the separation of everything belonging to the agreeable and the good from the delight remaining to him; and this is all for which he promises himself the agreement of everyone-a claim which, under these conditions, he would also be warranted in making, were it not that he frequently sinned against them, and thus passed an erroneous judgement of taste.
The solution of this problem is the key to the Critique of taste, and so is worthy of all attention.
Were the pleasure in a given object to be the antecedent, and were the universal communicability of this pleasure to be all that the judgement of taste is meant to allow to the representation of the object, such a sequence would be self-contradictory. For a pleasure of that kind would be nothing but the feeling of mere agreeableness to the senses, and so, from its very nature, would possess no more than private validity, seeing that it would be immediately dependent on the representation through which the object is given.
Hence it is the universal capacity for being communicated incident to the mental state in the given representation which, as the subjective condition of the judgement of taste, must be, fundamental, with the pleasure in the object as its consequent. Nothing, however, is capable of being universally communicated but cognition and representation so far as appurtenant to cognition. For it is only as thus appurtenant that the representation is objective, and it is this alone that gives it a universal point of reference with which the power of representation of every one is obliged to harmonize. If, then, the determining ground of the judgement as to this universal communicability of the representation is to be merely subjective, that is to say, to be conceived independently of any concept of the object, it can be nothing else than the mental state that presents itself in the mutual relation of the powers of representation so far as they refer a given representation to cognition in general.
The cognitive powers brought into play by this representation are here engaged in a free play, since no definite concept restricts them to a particular rule of cognition. Hence the mental state in this representation must be one of a feeling of the free play of the powers of representation in a given representation for a cognition in general. Now a representation, whereby an object is given, involves, in order that it may become a source of cognition at all, imagination for bringing together the manifold of intuition, and understanding for the unity of the concept uniting the representations. This state of free play of the cognitive faculties attending a representation by which an object is given must admit of universal communication: because cognition, as a definition of the object with which given representations (in any subject whatever) are to accord, is the one and only representation which is valid for everyone.
As the subjective universal communicability of the mode of representation in a judgement of taste is to subsist apart from the presupposition of any definite concept, it can be nothing else than the mental state present in the free play of imagination and understanding (so far as these are in mutual accord, as is requisite for cognition in general); for we are conscious that this subjective relation suitable for a cognition in general must be just as valid for every one, and consequently as universally communicable, as is any indeterminate cognition, which always rests upon that relation as its subjective condition.
Now this purely subjective (aesthetic) estimating of the object, or of the representation through which it is given, is antecedent to the pleasure in it, and is the basis of this pleasure in the harmony of the cognitive faculties. Again, the above-described universality of the subjective conditions of estimating objects forms the sole foundation of this universal subjective validity of the delight which we connect with the representation of the object that we call beautiful.
That an ability to communicate one’s mental state, even though it be only in respect of our cognitive faculties, is attended with a pleasure, is a fact which might easily be demonstrated from the natural propensity of mankind to social life, i.e., empirically and psychologically. But what we have here in view calls for something more than this. In a judgement of taste, the pleasure felt by us is exacted from every one else as necessary, just as if, when we call something beautiful, beauty was to be regarded as a quality of the object forming part of its inherent determination according to concepts; although beauty is for itself, apart from any reference to the feeling of the subject, nothing. But the discussion of this question must be reserved until we have answered the further one of whether, and how, aesthetic judgements are possible a priori.
At present we are exercised with the lesser question of the way in which we become conscious, in a judgement of taste, of a reciprocal subjective common accord of the powers of cognition. Is it aesthetically by sensation and our mere internal sense? Or is it intellectually by consciousness of our intentional activity in bringing these powers into play?
Now if the given representation occasioning the judgement of taste were a concept which united understanding and imagination in the estimate of the object so as to give a cognition of the object, the consciousness of this relation would be intellectual (as in the objective schematism of judgement dealt with in the Critique). But, then, in that case the judgement would not be laid down with respect to pleasure and displeasure, and so would not be a judgement of taste. But, now, the judgement of taste determines the object, independently of concepts, in respect of delight and of the predicate of beauty. There is, therefore, no other way for the subjective unity of the relation in question to make itself known than by sensation. The quickening of both faculties (imagination and understanding) to an indefinite, but yet, thanks to the given representation, harmonious activity, such as belongs to cognition generally, is the sensation whose universal communicability is postulated by the judgement of taste. An objective relation can, of course, only be thought, yet in so far as, in respect of its conditions, it is subjective, it may be felt in its effect upon the mind, and, in the case of a relation (like that of the powers of representation to a faculty of cognition generally) which does not rest on any concept, no other consciousness of it is possible beyond that through sensation of its effect upon the mind — an effect consisting in the more facile play of both mental powers (imagination and understanding) as quickened by their mutual accord. A representation which is singular and independent of comparison with other representations, and, being such, yet accords with the conditions of the universality that is the general concern of understanding, is one that brings the cognitive faculties into that proportionate accord which we require for all cognition and which we therefore deem valid for every one who is so constituted as to judge by means of understanding and sense conjointly (i.e., for every man).
The beautiful is that which, apart from a concept, pleases universally.
Let us define the meaning of “an end” in transcendental terms (i.e., without presupposing anything empirical, such as the feeling of pleasure). An end is the object of a concept so far as this concept is regarded as the cause of the object (the real ground of its possibility); and the causality of a concept in respect of its object is finality (forma finalis). Where, then, not the cognition of an object merely, but the object itself (its form or real existence) as an effect, is thought to be possible only through a concept of it, there we imagine an end. The representation of the effect is here the determining ground of its cause and takes the lead of it. The consciousness of the causality of a representation in respect of the state of the subject as one tending to preserve a continuance of that state, may here be said to denote in a general way what is called pleasure; whereas displeasure is that representation which contains the ground for converting the state of the representations into their opposite (for hindering or removing them).
The faculty of desire, so far as determinable only through concepts, i.e., so as to act in conformity with the representation of an end, would be the Will. But an object, or state of mind, or even an action may, although its possibility does not necessarily presuppose the representation of an end, be called final simply on account of its possibility being only explicable and intelligible for us by virtue of an assumption on our part of fundamental causality according to ends, i.e., a will that would have so ordained it according to a certain represented rule. Finality, therefore, may exist apart from an end, in so far as we do not locate the causes of this form in a will, but yet are able to render the explanation of its possibility intelligible to ourselves only by deriving it from a will. Now we are not always obliged to look with the eye of reason into what we observe (i.e., to consider it in its possibility). So we may at least observe a finality of form, and trace it in objects-though by reflection only-without resting it on an end (as the material of the nexus finalis).
Whenever an end is regarded as a source of delight, it always imports an interest as determining ground of the judgement on the object of pleasure. Hence the judgement of taste cannot rest on any subjective end as its ground. But neither can any representation of an objective end, i.e., of the possibility of the object itself on principles of final connection, determine the judgement of taste, and, consequently, neither can any concept of the good. For the judgement of taste is an aesthetic and not a cognitive judgement, and so does not deal with any concept of the nature or of the internal or external possibility, by this or that cause, of the object, but simply with the relative bearing of the representative powers so far as determined by a representation.
Now this relation, present when an object is characterized as beautiful, is coupled with the feeling of pleasure. This pleasure is by the judgement of taste pronounced valid for every one; hence an agreeableness attending the representation is just as incapable of containing the determining ground of the judgement as the representation of the perfection of the object or the concept of the good. We are thus left with the subjective finality in the representation of an object, exclusive of any end (objective or subjective)-consequently the bare form of finality in the representation whereby an object is given to us, so far as we are conscious of it as that which is alone capable of constituting the delight which, apart from any concept, we estimate as universally communicable, and so of forming the determining ground of the judgement of taste.
To determine a priori the connection of the feeling of pleasure or displeasure as an effect, with some representation or other (sensation or concept) as its cause, is utterly impossible; for that would be a causal relation which (with objects of experience) is always one that can only be cognized a posteriori and with the help of experience. True, in the Critique of Practical Reason we did actually derive a priori from universal moral concepts the feeling of respect (as a particular and peculiar modification of this feeling which does not strictly answer either to the pleasure or displeasure which we receive from empirical objects). But there we were further able to cross the border of experience and call in aid a causality resting on a supersensible attribute of the subject, namely that of freedom. But even there it was not this feeling exactly that we deduced from the idea of the moral as cause, but from this was derived simply the determination of the will. But the mental state present in the determination of the will by any means is at once in itself a feeling of pleasure and identical with it, and so does not issue from it as an effect. Such an effect must only be assumed where the concept of the moral as a good precedes the determination of the will by the law; for in that case it would be futile to derive the pleasure combined with the concept from this concept as a mere cognition.
Now the pleasure in aesthetic judgements stands on a similar footing: only that here it is merely contemplative and does not bring about an interest in the object; whereas in the moral judgement it is practical. The consciousness of mere formal finality in the play of the cognitive faculties of the subject attending a representation whereby an object is given, is the pleasure itself, because it involves a determining ground of the subject’s activity in respect of the quickening of its cognitive powers, and thus an internal causality (which is final) in respect of cognition generally, but without being limited to a definite cognition, and consequently a mere form of the subjective finality of a representation in an aesthetic judgement. This pleasure is also in no way practical, neither resembling that from the pathological ground of agreeableness nor that from the intellectual ground of the represented good. But still it involves an inherent causality, that, namely, of preserving a continuance of the state of the representation itself and the active engagement of the cognitive powers without ulterior aim. We dwell on the contemplation of the beautiful because this contemplation strengthens and reproduces itself. The case is analogous (but analogous only) to the way we linger on a charm in the representation of an object which keeps arresting the attention, the mind all the while remaining passive.
Every interest vitiates the judgement of taste and robs it of its impartiality. This is especially so where, instead of, like the interest of reason, making finality take the lead of the feeling of pleasure, it grounds it upon this feeling-which is what always happens in aesthetic judgements upon anything so far as it gratifies or pains. Hence judgements so influenced can either lay no claim at all to a universally valid delight, or else must abate their claim in proportion as sensations of the kind in question enter into the determining grounds of taste. Taste that requires an added element of charm and emotion for its delight, not to speak of adopting this as the measure of its approval, has not yet emerged from barbarism.
And yet charms are frequently not alone ranked with beauty (which ought properly to be a question merely of the form) as supplementary to the aesthetic universal delight, but they have been accredited as intrinsic beauties, and consequently the matter of delight passed off for the form. This is a misconception which, like many others that have still an underlying element of truth, may be removed by a careful definition of these concepts.
A judgement of taste which is uninfluenced by charm or emotion (though these may be associated with the delight in the beautiful), and whose determining ground, therefore, is simply finality of form, is a pure judgement of taste.
Aesthetic, just like theoretical (logical) judgements, are divisible into empirical and pure. The first are those by which agreeableness or disagreeableness, the second those by which beauty is predicated of an object or its mode of representation. The former are judgements of sense (material aesthetic judgements), the latter (as formal) alone judgements of taste proper.
A judgement of taste, therefore, is only pure so far as its determining ground is tainted with no merely empirical delight. But such a taint is always present where charm or emotion have a share in the judgement by which something is to be described as beautiful.
Here now there is a recrudescence of a number of specious pleas that go the length of putting forward the case that charm is not merely a necessary ingredient of beauty, but is even of itself sufficient to merit the name of beautiful. A mere colour, such as the green of a plot of grass, or a mere tone (as distinguished from sound or noise), like that of a violin, is described by most people as in itself beautiful, notwithstanding the fact that both seem to depend merely on the matter of the representations in other words, simply on sensation-which only entitles them to be called agreeable. But it will at the same time be observed that sensations of colour as well as of tone are only entitled to be immediately regarded as beautiful where, in either case, they are pure. This is a determination which at once goes to their form, and it is the only one which these representations possess that admits with certainty of being universally communicated. For it is not to be assumed that even the quality of the sensations agrees in all subjects, and we can hardly take it for granted that the agreeableness of a colour, or of the tone of a musical instrument, which we judge to be preferable to that of another, is given a like preference in the estimate of every one.
Assuming vibrations vibration sound, and, what is most important, that the mind not alone perceives by sense their effect in stimulating the organs, but also, by reflection, the regular play of the impressions (and consequently the form in which different representations are united)-which I, still, in no way doubt-then colour and tone would not be mere sensations. They would be nothing short of formal determinations of the unity of a manifold of sensations, and in that case could even be ranked as intrinsic beauties.
But the purity of a simple mode of sensation means that its uniformity is not disturbed or broken by any foreign sensation. It belongs merely to the form; for abstraction may there be made from the quality of the mode of such sensation (what colour or tone, if any, it represents). For this reason, all simple colours are regarded as beautiful so far as pure. Composite colours have not this advantage, because, not being simple, there is no standard for estimating whether they should be called pure or impure.
But as for the beauty ascribed to the object on account of its form, and the supposition that it is capable of being enhanced by charm, this is a common error and one very prejudicial to genuine, uncorrupted, sincere taste. Nevertheless charms may be added to beauty to lend to the mind, beyond a bare delight, an adventitious interest in the representation of the object, and thus to advocate taste and its cultivation. This applies especially where taste is as yet crude and untrained. But they are positively subversive of the judgement of taste, if allowed to obtrude themselves as grounds of estimating beauty. For so far are they from contributing to beauty that it is only where taste is still weak and untrained that, like aliens, they are admitted as a favour, and only on terms that they do not violate that beautiful form.
In painting, sculpture, and in fact in all the formative arts, in architecture and horticulture, so far as fine arts, the design is what is essential. Here it is not what gratifies in sensation but merely what pleases by its form, that is the fundamental prerequisite for taste. The colours which give brilliancy to the sketch are part of the charm. They may no doubt, in their own way, enliven the object for sensation, but make it really worth looking at and beautiful they cannot. Indeed, more often than not the requirements of the beautiful form restrict them to a very narrow compass, and, even where charm is admitted, it is only this form that gives them a place of honour.
All form of objects of sense (both of external and also, mediately, of internal sense) is either figure or play. In the latter case it is either play of figures (in space: mimic and dance), or mere play of sensations (in time). The charm of colours, or of the agreeable tones of instruments, may be added: but the design in the former and the composition in the latter constitute the proper object of the pure judgement of taste. To say that the purity alike of colours and of tones, or their variety and contrast, seem to contribute to beauty, is by no means to imply that, because in themselves agreeable, they therefore yield an addition to the delight in the form and one on a par with it. The real meaning rather is that they make this form more clearly, definitely, and completely intuitable, and besides stimulate the representation by their charm, as they excite and sustain the attention directed to the object itself.
Even what is called ornamentation (parerga), i.e., what is only an adjunct and not an intrinsic constituent in the complete representation of the object, in augmenting the delight of taste does so only by means of its form. Thus it is with the frames of pictures or the drapery on statues, or the colonnades of palaces. But if the ornamentation does not itself enter into the composition of the beautiful form-if it is introduced like a gold frame merely to win approval for the picture by means of its charm-it is then called finery and takes away from the genuine beauty.
Emotion-a sensation where an agreeable feeling is produced merely by means of a momentary check followed by a more powerful outpouring of the vital force-is quite foreign to beauty. Sublimity (with which the feeling of emotion is connected) requires, however, a different standard of estimation from that relied upon by taste. A pure judgement of taste has, then, for its determining ground neither charm nor emotion, in a word, no sensation as matter of the aesthetic judgement.
Objective finality can only be cognized by means of a reference of the manifold to a definite end, and hence only through a concept. This alone makes it clear that the beautiful, which is estimated on the ground of a mere formal finality, i.e., a finality apart from an end, is wholly independent of the representation of the good. For the latter presupposes an objective finality, i.e., the reference of the object to a definite end.
Objective finality is either external, i.e., the utility, or internal, i. e., the perfection, of the object. That the delight in an object on account of which we call it beautiful is incapable of resting on the representation of its utility, is abundantly evident from the two preceding articles; for in that case, it would not be an immediate delight in the object, which latter is the essential condition of the judgement upon beauty. But in an objective, internal finality, i.e., perfection, we have what is more akin to the predicate of beauty, and so this has been held even by philosophers of reputation to be convertible with beauty, though subject to the qualification: where it is thought in a confused way. In a critique of taste it is of the utmost importance to decide whether beauty is really reducible to the concept of perfection.
For estimating objective finality we always require the concept of an end, and, where such finality has to be, not an external one (utility), but an internal one, the concept of an internal end containing the ground of the internal possibility of the object. Now an end is in general that, the concept of which may be regarded as the ground of the possibility of the object itself. So in order to represent an objective finality in a thing we must first have a concept of what sort of a thing it is to be. The agreement of the manifold in a thing with this concept (which supplies the rule of its synthesis) is the qualitative perfection of the thing. Quantitative perfection is entirely distinct from this. It consists in the completeness of anything after its kind, and is a mere concept of quantity (of totality). In its case the question of what the thing is to be is regarded as definitely disposed of, and we only ask whether it is possessed of all the requisites that go to make it such. What is formal in the representation of a thing, i.e., the agreement of its manifold with a unity (i.e., irrespective of what it is to be), does not, of itself, afford us any cognition whatsoever of objective finality. For since abstraction is made from this unity as end (what the thing is to be), nothing is left but the subjective finality of the representations in the mind of the subject intuiting. This gives a certain finality of the representative state of the subject, in which the subject feels itself quite at home in its effort to grasp a given form in the imagination, but no perfection of any object, the latter not being here thought through any concept. For instance, if in a forest I light upon a plot of grass, round which trees stand in a circle, and if I do not then form any representation of an end, as that it is meant to be used, say, for country dances, then not the least hint of a concept of perfection is given by the mere form. To suppose a formal objective finality that is yet devoid of an end, i.e., the mere form of a perfection (apart from any matter or concept of that to which the agreement relates, even though there was the mere general idea of a conformity to law) is a veritable contradiction.
Now the judgement of taste is an aesthetic judgement, one resting on subjective grounds. No concept can be its determining ground, and hence not one of a definite end. Beauty, therefore, as a formal subjective finality, involves no thought whatsoever of a perfection of the object, as a would-be formal finality which yet, for all that, is objective: and the distinction between the concepts of the beautiful and the good, which represents both as differing only in their logical form, the first being merely a confused, the second a clearly defined, concept of perfection, while otherwise alike in content and origin, all goes for nothing: for then there would be no specific difference between them, but the judgement of taste would be just as much a cognitive judgement as one by which something is described as good-just as the man in the street, when he says that deceit is wrong, bases his judgement on confused, but the philosopher on clear grounds, while both appeal in reality to identical principles of reason. But I have already stated that an aesthetic judgement is quite unique, and affords absolutely no (not even a confused) knowledge of the object. It is only through a logical judgement that we get knowledge. The aesthetic judgement, on the other hand, refers the representation, by which an object is given, solely to the subject, and brings to our notice no quality of the object, but only the final form in the determination of the powers of representation engaged upon it. The judgement is called aesthetic for the very reason that its determining ground cannot be a concept, but is rather the feeling (of the internal sense) of the concert in the play of the mental powers as a thing only capable of being felt. If, on the other hand, confused concepts, and the objective judgement based on them, are going to be called aesthetic, we shall find ourselves with an understanding judging by sense, or a sense representing its objects by concepts-a mere choice of contradictions. The faculty of concepts, be they confused or be they clear, is understanding; and although understanding has (as in all judgements) its role in the judgement of taste, as an aesthetic judgement, its role there is not that of a faculty for cognizing an object, but of a faculty for determining that judgement and its representation (without a concept) according to its relation to the subject and its internal feeling, and for doing so in so far as that judgement is possible according to a universal rule.
There are two kinds of beauty: free beauty (pulchritudo vaga), or beauty which is merely dependent (pulchritudo adhaerens). The first presupposes no concept of what the object should be; the second does presuppose such a concept and, with it, an answering perfection of the object. Those of the first kind are said to be (self-subsisting) beauties of this thing or that thing; the other kind of beauty, being attached to a concept (conditioned beauty), is ascribed to objects which come under the concept of a particular end.
Flowers are free beauties of nature. Hardly anyone but a botanist knows the true nature of a flower, and even he, while recognizing in the flower the reproductive organ of the plant, pays no attention to this natural end when using his taste to judge of its beauty. Hence no perfection of any kind-no internal finality, as something to which the arrangement of the manifold is related-underlies this judgement. Many birds (the parrot, the humming-bird, the bird of paradise), and a number of crustacea, are self-subsisting beauties which are not appurtenant to any object defined with respect to its end, but please freely and on their own account. So designs a la grecque, foliage for framework or on wall-papers, etc., have no intrinsic meaning; they represent nothing-no object under a definite concept-and are free beauties. We may also rank in the same class what in music are called fantasias (without a theme), and, indeed, all music that is not set to words.
In the estimate of a free beauty (according to mere form) we have the pure judgement of taste. No concept is here presupposed of any end for which the manifold should serve the given object, and which the latter, therefore, should represent-an incumbrance which would only restrict the freedom of the imagination that, as it were, is at play in the contemplation of the outward form.
But the beauty of man (including under this head that of a man, woman, or child), the beauty of a horse, or of a building (such as a church, palace, arsenal, or summer-house), presupposes a concept of the end that defines what the thing has to be, and consequently a concept of its perfection; and is therefore merely appendant beauty. Now, just as it is a clog on the purity of the judgement of taste to have the agreeable (of sensation) joined with beauty to which properly only the form is relevant, so to combine the good with beauty (the good, namely, of the manifold to the thing itself according to its end) mars its purity.
Much might be added to a building that would immediately please the eye, were it not intended for a church. A figure might be beautified with all manner of flourishes and light but regular lines, as is done by the New Zealanders with their tattooing, were we dealing with anything but the figure of a human being. And here is one whose rugged features might be softened and given a more pleasing aspect, only he has got to be a man, or is, perhaps, a warrior that has to have a warlike appearance.
Now the delight in the manifold of a thing, in reference to the internal end that determines its possibility, is a delight based on a concept, whereas delight in the beautiful is such as does not presuppose any concept, but is immediately coupled with the representation through which the object is given (not through which it is thought). If, now, the judgement of taste in respect of the latter delight is made dependent upon the end involved in the former delight as a judgement of reason, and is thus placed under a restriction, then it is no longer a free and pure judgement of taste.
Taste, it is true, stands to gain by this combination of intellectual delight with the aesthetic. For it becomes fixed, and, while not universal, it enables rules to be prescribed for it in respect of certain definite final objects. But these rules are then not rules of taste, but merely rules for establishing a union of taste with reason, i.e., of the beautiful with the good-rules by which the former becomes available as an intentional instrument in respect of the latter, for the purpose of bringing that temper of the mind which is self-sustaining and of subjective universal validity to the support and maintenance of that mode of thought which, while possessing objective universal validity, can only be preserved by a resolute effort. But, strictly speaking, perfection neither gains by beauty, nor beauty by perfection. The truth is rather this, when we compare the representation through which an object is given to us with the object (in respect of what it is meant to be) by means of a concept, we cannot help reviewing it also in respect of the sensation in the subject. Hence there results a gain to the entire faculty of our representative power when harmony prevails between both states of mind.
In respect of an object with a definite internal end, a judgement of taste would only be pure where the person judging either has no concept of this end, or else makes abstraction from it in his judgement. But in cases like this, although such a person should lay down a correct judgement of taste, since he would be estimating the object as a free beauty, he would still be found fault with by another who saw nothing in its beauty but a dependent quality (i.e., who looked to the end of the object) and would be accused by him of false taste, though both would, in their own way, be judging correctly: the one according to what he had present to his senses, the other according to what was present in his thoughts. This distinction enables us to settle many disputes about beauty on the part of critics; for we may show them how one side is dealing with free beauty, and the other with that which is dependent: the former passing a pure judgement of taste, the latter one that is applied intentionally.
There can be no objective rule of taste by which what is beautiful may be defined by means of concepts. For every judgement from that source is aesthetic, i.e., its determining ground is the feeling of the subject, and not any concept of an object. It is only throwing away labour to look for a principle of taste that affords a universal criterion of the beautiful by definite concepts; because what is sought is a thing impossible and inherently contradictory. But in the universal communicability of the sensation (of delight or aversion)-a communicability, too, that exists apart from any concept-in the accord, so far as possible, of all ages and nations as to this feeling in the representation of certain objects, we have the empirical criterion, weak indeed and scarce sufficient to raise a presumption, of the derivation of a taste, thus confirmed by examples, from grounds deep seated and shared alike by all men, underlying their agreement in estimating the forms under which objects are given to them.
For this reason some products of taste are looked on as exemplary-not meaning thereby that by imitating others taste may be acquired. For taste must be an original faculty; whereas one who imitates a model, while showing skill commensurate with his success, only displays taste as himself a critic of this model.9 Hence it follows that the highest model, the archetype of taste, is a mere idea, which each person must beget in his own consciousness, and according to which he must form his estimate of everything that is an object of taste, or that is an example of critical taste, and even of universal taste itself. Properly speaking, an idea signifies a concept of reason, and an ideal the representation of an individual existence as adequate to an idea. Hence this archetype of taste-which rests, indeed, upon reason’s indeterminate idea of a maximum, but is not, however, capable of being represented by means of concepts, but only in an individual presentation-may more appropriately be called the ideal of the beautiful. While not having this ideal in our possession, we still strive to beget it within us. But it is bound to be merely an ideal of the imagination, seeing that it rests, not upon concepts, but upon the presentation-the faculty of presentation being the imagination. Now, how do we arrive at such an ideal of beauty? Is it a priori or empirically? Further, what species of the beautiful admits of an ideal?
9Models of taste with respect to the arts of speech must be composed in a dead and learned language; the first, to prevent their having to suffer the changes that inevitably overtake living ones, making dignified expressions become degraded, common ones antiquated, and ones newly coined after a short currency obsolete: the second to ensure its having a grammar that is not subject to the caprices of fashion, but has fixed rules of its own.
First of all, we do well to observe that the beauty for which an ideal has to be sought cannot be a beauty that is free and at large, but must be one fixed by a concept of objective finality. Hence it cannot belong to the object of an altogether pure judgement of taste, but must attach to one that is partly intellectual. In other words, where an ideal is to have place among the grounds upon which any estimate is formed, then beneath grounds of that kind there must lie some idea of reason according to determinate concepts, by which the end underlying the internal possibility of the object is determined a priori. An ideal of beautiful flowers, of a beautiful suite of furniture, or of a beautiful view, is unthinkable. But, it may also be impossible to represent an ideal of a beauty dependent on definite ends, e.g., a beautiful residence, a beautiful tree, a beautiful garden, etc., presumably because their ends are not sufficiently defined and fixed by their concept, with the result that their finality is nearly as free as with beauty that is quite at large. Only what has in itself the end of its real existence-only man that is able himself to determine his ends by reason, or, where he has to derive them from external perception, can still compare them with essential and universal ends, and then further pronounce aesthetically upon their accord with such ends, only he, among all objects in the world, admits, therefore, of an ideal of beauty, just as humanity in his person, as intelligence, alone admits of the ideal of perfection.
Two factors are here involved. First, there is the aesthetic normal idea, which is an individual intuition (of the imagination). This represents the norm by which we judge of a man as a member of a particular animal species. Secondly, there is the rational idea. This deals with the ends of humanity so far as capable of sensuous representation, and converts them into a principle for estimating his outward form, through which these ends are revealed in their phenomenal effect. The normal idea must draw from experience the constituents which it requires for the form of an animal of a particular kind. But the greatest finality in the construction of this form-that which would serve as a universal norm for forming an estimate of each individual of the species in question-the image that, as it were, forms an intentional basis underlying the technic of nature, to which no separate individual, but only the race as a whole, is adequate, has its seat merely in the idea of the judging subject. Yet it is, with all its proportions, an aesthetic idea, and, as such, capable of being fully presented in concreto in a model image. Now, how is this effected? In order to render the process to some extent intelligible (for who can wrest nature’s whole secret from her?), let us attempt a psychological explanation.
It is of note that the imagination, in a manner quite incomprehensible to us, is able on occasion, even after a long lapse of time, not alone to recall the signs for concepts, but also to reproduce the image and shape of an object out of a countless number of others of a different, or even of the very same, kind. And, further, if the mind is engaged upon comparisons, we may well suppose that it can in actual fact, though the process is unconscious, superimpose as it were one image upon another, and from the coincidence of a number of the same kind arrive at a mean contour which serves as a common standard for all. Say, for instance, a person has seen a thousand full-grown men. Now if he wishes to judge normal size determined upon a comparative estimate, then imagination (to my mind) allows a great number of these images (perhaps the whole thousand) to fall one upon the other, and, if I may be allowed to extend to the case the analogy of optical presentation, in the space where they come most together, and within the contour where the place is illuminated by the greatest concentration of colour, one gets a perception of the average size, which alike in height and breadth is equally removed from the extreme limits of the greatest and smallest statures; and this is the stature of a beautiful man. (The same result could be obtained in a mechanical way, by taking the measures of all the thousand, and adding together their heights, and their breadths [and thicknesses], and dividing the sum in each case by a thousand.) But the power of imagination does all this by means of a dynamical effect upon the organ of internal sense, arising from the frequent apprehension of such forms. If, again, for our average man we seek on similar lines for the average head, and for this the average nose, and so on, then we get the figure that underlies the normal idea of a beautiful man in the country where the comparison is instituted. For this reason a Negro must necessarily (under these empirical conditions) have a different normal idea of the beauty of forms from what a white man has, and the Chinaman one different from the European. And the process would be just the same with the model of a beautiful horse or dog (of a particular breed). This normal idea is not derived from proportions taken from experience as definite rules: rather is it according to this idea that rules forming estimates first become possible. It is an intermediate between all singular intuitions of individuals, with their manifold variations-a floating image for the whole genus, which nature has set as an archetype underlying those of her products that belong to the same species, but which in no single case she seems to have completely attained. But the normal idea is far from giving the complete archetype of beauty in the genus. It only gives the form that constitutes the indispensable condition of all beauty, and, consequently, only correctness in the presentation of the genus. It is, as the famous “Doryphorus” of Polycletus was called, the rule (and Myron’s “Cow” might be similarly employed for its kind). It cannot, for that very reason, contain anything specifically characteristic; for otherwise it would not be the normal idea for the genus. Further, it is not by beauty that its presentation pleases, but merely because it does not contradict any of the conditions under which alone a thing belonging to this genus can be beautiful. The presentation is merely academically correct.10
10It will be found that a perfectly regular face one that a painter might fix his eye on for a model-ordinarily conveys nothing. This is because it is devoid of anything characteristic, and so the idea of the race is expressed in it rather than the specific qualities of a person. The exaggeration of what is characteristic in this way, i.e., exaggeration violating the normal idea (the finality of the race), is called caricature. Also experience shows that these quite regular faces indicate as a rule internally only a mediocre type of man; presumably-if one may assume that nature in its external form expresses the proportions of the internal — because, where none of the mental qualities exceed the proportion requisite to constitute a man free from faults, nothing can be expected in the way of what is called genius, in which nature seems to make a departure from its wonted relations of the mental powers in favour of some special one.
But the ideal of the beautiful is still something different from its normal idea. For reasons already stated it is only to be sought in the human figure. Here the ideal consists in the expression of the moral, apart from which the object would not please at once universally and positively (not merely negatively in a presentation academically correct). The visible expression of moral ideas that govern men inwardly can, of course, only be drawn from experience; but their combination with all that our reason connects with the morally good in the idea of the highest finality-benevolence, purity, strength, or equanimity, etc.-may be made, as it were, visible in bodily manifestation (as effect of what is internal), and this embodiment involves a union of pure ideas of reason and great imaginative power, in one who would even form an estimate of it, not to speak of being the author of its presentation. The correctness of such an ideal of beauty is evidenced by its not permitting any sensuous charm to mingle with the delight in its object, in which it still allows us to take a great interest. This fact in turn shows that an estimate formed according to such a standard can never be purely aesthetic, and that one formed according to an ideal of beauty cannot be a simple judgement of taste.
Beauty is the form of finality in an object, so far as perceived in it apart from the representation of an end.11
11As telling against this explanation, the instance may be adduced that there are things in which we see a form suggesting adaptation to an end, without any end being cognized in them-as, for example, the stone implements frequently obtained from sepulchral tumuli and supplied with a hole, as if for [inserting] a handle; and although these by their shape manifestly indicate a finality, the end of which is unknown, they are not on that account described as beautiful. But the very fact of their being regarded as art-products involves an immediate recognition that their shape is attributed to some purpose or other and to a definite end. For this reason there is no immediate delight whatever in their contemplation. A flower, on the other hand, such as a tulip, is regarded as beautiful, because we meet with a certain finality in its perception, which, in our estimate of it, is not referred to any end whatever.
I may assert in the case of every representation that the synthesis of a pleasure with the representation (as a cognition) is at least possible. Of what I call agreeable I assert that it actually causes pleasure in me. But what we have in mind in the case of the beautiful is a necessary reference on its part to delight. However, this necessity is of a special kind. It is not a theoretical objective necessity-such as would let us cognize a priori that every one will feel this delight in the object that is called beautiful by me. Nor yet is it a practical necessity, in which case, thanks to concepts of a pure rational will in which free agents are supplied with a rule, this delight is the necessary consequence of an objective law, and simply means that one ought absolutely (without ulterior object) to act in a certain way. Rather, being such a necessity as is thought in an aesthetic judgement, it can only be termed exemplary. In other words it is a necessity of the assent of all to a judgement regarded as exemplifying a universal rule incapable of formulation. Since an aesthetic judgement is not an objective or cognitive judgement, this necessity is not derivable from definite concepts, and so is not apodeictic. Much less is it inferable from universality of experience (of a thoroughgoing agreement of judgements about the beauty of a certain object). For, apart from the fact that experience would hardly furnish evidences sufficiently numerous for this purpose, empirical judgements do not afford any foundation for a concept of the necessity of these judgements.
The judgement of taste exacts agreement from every one; and a person who describes something as beautiful insists that every one ought to give the object in question his approval and follow suit in describing it as beautiful. The ought in aesthetic judgements, therefore, despite an accordance with all the requisite data for passing judgement, is still only pronounced conditionally. We are suitors for agreement from every one else, because we are fortified with a ground common to all. Further, we would be able to count on this agreement, provided we were always assured of the correct subsumption of the case under that ground as the rule of approval.
Were judgements of taste (like cognitive judgements) in possession of a definite objective principle, then one who in his judgement followed such a principle would claim unconditioned necessity for it. Again, were they devoid of any principle, as are those of the mere taste of sense, then no thought of any necessity on their part would enter one’s head. Therefore they must have a subjective principle, and one which determines what pleases or displeases, by means of feeling only and not through concepts, but yet with universal validity. Such a principle, however, could only be regarded as a common sense. This differs essentially from common understanding, which is also sometimes called common sense (sensus communis): for the judgement of the latter is not one by feeling, but always one by concepts, though usually only in the shape of obscurely represented principles.
The judgement of taste, therefore, depends on our presupposing the existence of a common sense. (But this is not to be taken to mean some external sense, but the effect arising from the free play of our powers of cognition.) Only under the presupposition, I repeat, of such a common sense, are we able to lay down a judgement of taste.
Cognitions and judgements must, together with their attendant conviction, admit of being universally communicated; for otherwise a correspondence with the object would not be due to them. They would be a conglomerate constituting a mere subjective play of the powers of representation, just as scepticism would have it. But if cognitions are to admit of communication, then our mental state, i.e., the way the cognitive powers are attuned for cognition generally, and, in fact, the relative proportion suitable for a representation (by which an object is given to us) from which cognition is to result, must also admit of being universally communicated, as, without this, which is the subjective condition of the act of knowing, knowledge, as an effect, would not arise. And this is always what actually happens where a given object, through the intervention of sense, sets the imagination at work in arranging the manifold, and the imagination, in turn, the understanding in giving to this arrangement the unity of concepts. But this disposition of the cognitive powers has a relative proportion differing with the diversity of the objects that are given. However, there must be one in which this internal ratio suitable for quickening (one faculty by the other) is best adapted for both mental powers in respect of cognition (of given objects) generally; and this disposition can only be determined through feeling (and not by concepts). Since, now this disposition itself must admit of being universally communicated, and hence also the feeling of it (in the case of a given representation), while again, the universal communicability of a feeling presupposes a common sense: it follows that our assumption of it is well founded. And here, too, we do not have to take our stand on psychological observations, but we assume a common sense as the necessary condition of the universal communicability of our knowledge, which is presupposed in every logic and every principle of knowledge that is not one of scepticism.
In all judgements by which we describe anything as beautiful, we tolerate no one else being of a different opinion, and in taking up this position we do not rest our judgement upon concepts, but only on our feeling. Accordingly we introduce this fundamental feeling not as a private feeling, but as a public sense. Now, for this purpose, experience cannot be made the ground of this common sense, for the latter is invoked to justify judgements containing an “ought.” The assertion is not that every one will fall in with our judgement, but rather that every one ought to agree with it. Here I put forward my judgement of taste as an example of the judgement of common sense, and attribute to it on that account exemplary validity. Hence common sense is a mere ideal norm. With this as presupposition, a judgement that accords with it, as well as the delight in an object expressed in that judgement, is rightly converted into a rule for everyone. For the principle, while it is only subjective, being yet assumed as subjectively universal (a necessary idea for everyone), could, in what concerns the consensus of different judging subjects, demand universal assent like an objective principle, provided we were assured of our subsumption under it being correct.
This indeterminate norm of a common sense is, as a matter of fact, presupposed by us; as is shown by our presuming to lay down judgements of taste. But does such a common sense in fact exist as a constitutive principle of the possibility of experience, or is it formed for us as a regulative principle by a still higher principle of reason, that for higher ends first seeks to beget in us a common sense? Is taste, in other words, a natural and original faculty, or is it only the idea of one that is artificial and to be acquired by us, so that a judgement of taste, with its demand for universal assent, is but a requirement of reason for generating such a consensus, and does the “ought,” i. e., the objective necessity of the coincidence of the feeling of all with the particular feeling of each, only betoken the possibility of arriving at some sort of unanimity in these matters, and the judgement of taste only adduce an example of the application of this principle? These are questions which as yet we are neither willing nor in a position to investigate. For the present we have only to resolve the faculty of taste into its elements, and to unite these ultimately in the idea of a common sense.
The beautiful is that which, apart from a concept, is cognized as object of a necessary delight.
The result to be extracted from the foregoing analysis is in effect this: That everything runs up into the concept of taste as a critical faculty by which an object is estimated in reference to the free conformity to law of the imagination. If, now, imagination must in the judgement of taste be regarded in its freedom, then, to begin with, it is not taken as reproductive, as in its subjection to the laws of association, but as productive and exerting an activity of its own (as originator of arbitrary forms of possible intuitions). And although in the apprehension of a given object of sense it is tied down to a definite form of this object and, to that extent, does not enjoy free play (as it does in poetry), still it is easy to conceive that the object may supply ready-made to the imagination just such a form of the arrangement of the manifold as the imagination, if it were left to itself, would freely protect in harmony with the general conformity to law of the understanding. But that the imagination should be both free and of itself conformable to law, i. e., carry autonomy with it, is a contradiction. The understanding alone gives the law. Where, however, the imagination is compelled to follow a course laid down by a definite law, then what the form of the product is to be is determined by concepts; but, in that case, as already shown, the delight is not delight in the beautiful, but in the good (in perfection, though it be no more than formal perfection), and the judgement is not one due to taste. Hence it is only a conformity to law without a law, and a subjective harmonizing of the imagination and the understanding without an objective one-which latter would mean that the representation was referred to a definite concept of the object-that can consist with the free conformity to law of the understanding (which has also been called finality apart from an end) and with the specific character of a judgement of taste.
Now geometrically regular figures, a circle, a square, a cube, and the like, are commonly brought forward by critics of taste as the most simple and unquestionable examples of beauty. And yet the very reason why they are called regular, is because the only way of representing them is by looking on them as mere presentations of a determinate concept by which the figure has its rule (according to which alone it is possible) prescribed for it. One or other of these two views must, therefore, be wrong: either the verdict of the critics that attributes beauty to such figures, or else our own, which makes finality apart from any concept necessary for beauty.
One would scarce think it necessary for a man to have taste to take more delight in a circle than in a scrawled outline, in an equilateral and equiangular quadrilateral than in one that is all lop-sided, and, as it were, deformed. The requirements of common understanding ensure such a preference without the least demand upon taste. Where some purpose is perceived, as, for instance, that of forming an estimate of the area of a plot of land, or rendering intelligible the relation of divided parts to one another and to the whole, then regular figures, and those of the simplest kind, are needed; and the delight does not rest immediately upon the way the figure strikes the eye, but upon its serviceability for all manner of possible purposes. A room with the walls making oblique angles, a plot laid out in a garden in a similar way, even any violation of symmetry, as well in the figure of animals (e.g., being one-eyed) as in that of buildings, or of flower-beds, is displeasing because of its perversity of form, not alone in a practical way in respect of some definite use to which the thing may be put, but for an estimate that looks to all manner of possible purposes. With the judgement of taste the case is different. For, when it is pure, it combines delight or aversion immediately with the bare contemplation of the object irrespective of its use or of any end.
The regularity that conduces to the concept of an object is, in fact, the indispensable condition (conditio sine qua non) of grasping the object as a single representation and giving to the manifold its determinate form. This determination is an end in respect of knowledge; and in this connection it is invariably coupled with delight (such as attends the accomplishment of any, even problematical, purpose). Here, however, we have merely the value set upon the solution that satisfies the problem, and not a free and indeterminately final entertainment of the mental powers with what is called beautiful. In the latter case, understanding is at the service of imagination, in the former, this relation is reversed.
With a thing that owes its possibility to a purpose, a building, or even an animal, its regularity, which consists in symmetry, must express the unity of the intuition accompanying the concept of its end, and belongs with it to cognition. But where all that is intended is the maintenance of a free play of the powers of representation (subject, however, to the condition that there is to be nothing for understanding to take exception to), in ornamental gardens, in the decoration of rooms, in all kinds of furniture that shows good taste, etc., regularity in the shape of constraint is to be avoided as far as possible. Thus English taste in gardens, and fantastic taste in furniture, push the freedom of imagination to the verge of what is grotesque the idea being that in this divorce from all constraint of rules the precise instance is being afforded where taste can exhibit its perfection in projects of the imagination to the fullest extent.
All stiff regularity (such as borders on mathematical regularity) is inherently repugnant to taste, in that the contemplation of it affords us no lasting entertainment. Indeed, where it has neither cognition nor some definite practical end expressly in view, we get heartily tired of it. On the other hand, anything that gives the imagination scope for unstudied and final play is always fresh to us. We do not grow to hate the very sight of it. Marsden, in his description of Sumatra, observes that the free beauties of nature so surround the beholder on all sides that they cease to have much attraction for him. On the other hand he found a pepper garden full of charm, on coming across it in mid-forest with its rows of parallel stakes on which the plant twines itself. From all this he infers that wild, and in its appearance quite irregular beauty, is only pleasing as a change to one whose eyes have become surfeited with regular beauty. But he need only have made the experiment of passing one day in his pepper garden to realize that once the regularity has enabled the understanding to put itself in accord with the order that is the constant requirement, instead of the object diverting him any longer, it imposes an irksome constraint upon the imagination: whereas nature subject to no constraint of artificial rules, and lavish, as it there is, in its luxuriant variety can supply constant food for his taste. Even a bird’s song, which we can reduce to no musical rule, seems to have more freedom in it, and thus to be richer for taste, than the human voice singing in accordance with all the rules that the art of music prescribes; for we grow tired much sooner of frequent and lengthy repetitions of the latter. Yet here most likely our sympathy with the mirth of a dear little creature is confused with the beauty of its song, for if exactly imitated by man (as has been sometimes done with the notes of the nightingale) it would strike our ear as wholly destitute of taste.
Further, beautiful objects have to be distinguished from beautiful views of objects (where the distance often prevents a clear perception). In the latter case, taste appears to fasten, not so much on what the imagination grasps in this field, as on the incentive it receives to indulge in poetic fiction, i. e., in the peculiar fancies with which the mind entertains itself as it is being continually stirred by the variety that strikes the eye. It is just as when we watch the changing shapes of the fire or of a rippling brook: neither of which are things of beauty, but they convey a charm to the imagination, because they sustain its free play.
The beautiful and the sublime agree on the point of pleasing on their own account. Further they agree in not presupposing either a judgement of sense or one logically determinant, but one of reflection. Hence it follows that the delight does not depend upon a sensation, as with the agreeable, nor upon a definite concept, as does the delight in the good, although it has, for all that, an indeterminate reference to concepts. Consequently the delight is connected with the mere presentation or faculty of presentation, and is thus taken to express the accord, in a given intuition, of the faculty of presentation, or the imagination, with the faculty of concepts that belongs to understanding or reason, in the sense of the former assisting the latter. Hence both kinds of judgements are singular, and yet such as profess to be universally valid in respect of every subject, despite the fact that their claims are directed merely to the feeling of pleasure and not to any knowledge of the object.
There are, however, also important and striking differences between the two. The beautiful in nature is a question of the form of object, and this consists in limitation, whereas the sublime is to be found in an object even devoid of form, so far as it immediately involves, or else by its presence provokes a representation of limitlessness, yet with a superadded thought of its totality. Accordingly, the beautiful seems to be regarded as a presentation of an indeterminate concept of understanding, the sublime as a presentation of an indeterminate concept of reason. Hence the delight is in the former case coupled with the representation of quality, but in this case with that of quantity. Moreover, the former delight is very different from the latter in kind. For the beautiful is directly attended with a feeling of the furtherance of life, and is thus compatible with charms and a playful imagination. On the other hand, the feeling of the sublime is a pleasure that only arises indirectly, being brought about by the feeling of a momentary check to the vital forces followed at once by a discharge all the more powerful, and so it is an emotion that seems to be no sport, but dead earnest in the affairs of the imagination. Hence charms are repugnant to it; and, since the mind is not simply attracted by the object, but is also alternately repelled thereby, the delight in the sublime does not so much involve positive pleasure as admiration or respect, i. e., merits the name of a negative pleasure.
But the most important and vital distinction between the sublime and the beautiful is certainly this: that if, as is allowable, we here confine our attention in the first instance to the sublime in objects of nature (that of art being always restricted by the conditions of an agreement with nature), we observe that whereas natural beauty (such as is self-subsisting) conveys a finality in its form making the object appear, as it were, preadapted to our power of judgement, so that it thus forms of itself an object of our delight, that which, without our indulging in any refinements of thought, but, simply in our apprehension of it, excites the feeling of the sublime, may appear, indeed, in point of form to contravene the ends of our power of judgement, to be ill-adapted to our faculty of presentation, and to be, as it were, an outrage on the imagination, and yet it is judged all the more sublime on that account.
From this it may be seen at once that we express ourselves on the whole inaccurately if we term any object of nature sublime, although we may with perfect propriety call many such objects beautiful. For how can that which is apprehended as inherently contra-final be noted with an expression of approval? All that we can say is that the object lends itself to the presentation of a sublimity discoverable in the mind.
For the sublime, in the strict sense of the word, cannot be contained in any sensuous form, but rather concerns ideas of reason, which, although no adequate presentation of them is possible, may be excited and called into the mind by that very inadequacy itself which does admit of sensuous presentation. Thus the broad ocean agitated by storms cannot be called sublime. Its aspect is horrible, and one must have stored one’s mind in advance with a rich stock of ideas, if such an intuition is to raise it to the pitch of a feeling which is itself sublime-sublime because the mind has been incited to abandon sensibility and employ itself upon ideas involving higher finality.
Self-subsisting natural beauty reveals to us a technic of nature which shows it in the light of a system ordered in accordance with laws the principle of which is not to be found within the range of our entire faculty of understanding. This principle is that of a finality relative to the employment of judgement in respect of phenomena which have thus to be assigned, not merely to nature regarded as aimless mechanism, but also to nature regarded after the analogy of art. Hence it gives a veritable extension, not, of course, to our knowledge of objects of nature, but to our conception of nature itself-nature as mere mechanism being enlarged to the conception of nature as art-an extension inviting profound inquiries as to the possibility of such a form. But in what we are wont to call sublime in nature there is such an absence of anything leading to particular objective principles and corresponding forms of nature that it is rather in its chaos, or in its wildest and most irregular disorder and desolation, provided it gives signs of magnitude and power, that nature chiefly excites the ideas of the sublime. Hence we see that the concept of the sublime in nature is far less important and rich in consequences than that of its beauty. It gives on the whole no indication of anything final in nature itself, but only in the possible employment of our intuitions of it in inducing a feeling in our own selves of a finality quite independent of nature. For the beautiful in nature we must seek a ground external to ourselves, but for the sublime one merely in ourselves and the attitude of mind that introduces sublimity into the representation of nature. This is a very needful preliminary remark. It entirely separates the ideas of the sublime from that of a finality of nature, and makes the theory of the sublime a mere appendage to the aesthetic estimate of the finality of nature, because it does not give a representation of any particular form in nature, but involves no more than the development of a final employment by the imagination of its own representation.
In the division of the moments of an aesthetic estimate of objects in respect of the feeling of the sublime, the course of the Analytic will be able to follow the same principle as in the analysis of judgements of taste. For, the judgement being one of the aesthetic reflective judgement, the delight in the sublime, just like that in the beautiful, must in its quantity be shown to be universally valid, in its quality independent of interest, in its relation subjective finality, and the latter, in its modality, necessary. Hence the method here will not depart from the lines followed in the preceding section: unless something is made of the point that there, where the aesthetic judgement bore on the form of the object, we began with the investigation of its quality, whereas here, considering the formlessness that may belong to what we call sublime, we begin with that of its quantity, as first moment of the aesthetic judgement on the sublime-a divergence of method the reason for which is evident from SS 23.
But the analysis of the sublime obliges a division not required by that of the beautiful, namely one into the mathematically and the dynamically sublime.
For the feeling of sublime involves as its characteristic feature a mental movement combined with the estimate of the object, whereas taste in respect of the beautiful presupposes that the mind is in restful contemplation, and preserves it in this state. But this movement has to be estimated as subjectively final (since the sublime pleases). Hence it is referred through the imagination either to the faculty of cognition or to that of desire; but to whichever faculty the reference is made, the finality of the given representation is estimated only in respect of these faculties (apart from end or interest). Accordingly the first is attributed to the object as a mathematical, the second as a dynamical, affection of the imagination. Hence we get the above double mode of representing an object as sublime.
Sublime is the name given to what is absolutely great. But to be great and to be a magnitude are entirely different concepts (magnitudo and quantitas). In the same way, to assert without qualification (simpliciter) that something is great is quite a different thing from saying that it is absolutely great (absolute, non comparative magnum). The latter is what is beyond all comparison great. What, then, is the meaning of the assertion that anything is great, or small, or of medium size? What is indicated is not a pure concept of understanding, still less an intuition of sense; and just as little is it a concept of reason, for it does not import any principle of cognition. It must, therefore, be a concept of judgement, or have its source in one, and must introduce as basis of the judgement a subjective finality of the representation with reference to the power of judgement. Given a multiplicity of the homogeneous together constituting one thing, and we may at once cognize from the thing itself that it is a magnitude (quantum). No comparison with other things is required. But to determine how great it is always requires something else, which itself has magnitude, for its measure. Now, since in the estimate of magnitude we have to take into account not merely the multiplicity (number of units) but also the magnitude of the unit (the measure), and since the magnitude of this unit in turn always requires something else as its measure and as the standard of its comparison, and so on, we see that the computation of the magnitude of phenomena is, in all cases, utterly incapable of affording us any absolute concept of a magnitude, and can, instead, only afford one that is always based on comparison.
If, now, I assert without qualification that anything is great, it would seem that I have nothing in the way of a comparison present to my mind, or at least nothing involving an objective measure, for no attempt is thus made to determine how great the object is. But, despite the standard of comparison being merely subjective, the claim of the judgement is none the less one to universal agreement; the judgements: “that man is beautiful” and “He is tall”, do not purport to speak only for the judging subject, but, like theoretical judgements, they demand the assent of everyone.
Now in a judgement that without qualification describes anything as great, it is not merely meant that the object has a magnitude, but greatness is ascribed to it pre-eminently among many other objects of a like kind, yet without the extent of this pre-eminence being determined. Hence a standard is certainly laid at the basis of the judgement, which standard is presupposed to be one that can be taken as the same for every one, but which is available only for an aesthetic estimate of the greatness, and not for one that is logical (mathematically determined), for the standard is a merely subjective one underlying the reflective judgement upon the greatness. Furthermore, this standard may be empirical, as, let us say, the average size of the men known to us, of animals of a certain kind, of trees, of houses, of mountains, and so forth. Or it may be a standard given a priori, which by reason of the imperfections of the judging subject is restricted to subjective conditions of presentation in concreto; as, in the practical sphere, the greatness of a particular virtue, or of public liberty and justice in a country; or, in the theoretical sphere, the greatness of the accuracy or inaccuracy of an experiment or measurement, etc.
Here, now, it is of note that, although we have no interest whatever in the object, i.e., its real existence may be a matter of no concern to us, still its mere greatness, regarded even as devoid of form, is able to convey a universally communicable delight and so involve the consciousness of a subjective finality in the employment of our cognitive faculties, but not, be it remembered, a delight in the object, for the latter may be formless, but, in contradistinction to what is the case with the beautiful, where the reflective judgement finds itself set to a key that is final in respect of cognition generally, a delight in an extension affecting the imagination itself.
If (subject as above) we say of an object, without qualification, that it is great, this is not a mathematically determinant, but a mere reflective judgement upon its representation, which is subjectively final for a particular employment of our cognitive faculties in the estimation of magnitude, and we then always couple with the representation a kind of respect, just as we do a kind of contempt with what we call absolutely small. Moreover, the estimate of things as great or small extends to everything, even to all their qualities. Thus we call even their beauty great or small. The reason of this is to be found in the fact that we have only got to present a thing in intuition, as the precept of judgement directs (consequently to represent it aesthetically), for it to be in its entirety a phenomenon, and hence a quantum.
If, however, we call anything not alone great, but, without qualification, absolutely, and in every respect (beyond all comparison) great, that is to say, sublime, we soon perceive that for this it is not permissible to seek an appropriate standard outside itself, but merely in itself. It is a greatness comparable to itself alone. Hence it comes that the sublime is not to be looked for in the things of nature, but only in our own ideas. But it must be left to the deduction to show in which of them it resides.
The above definition may also be expressed in this way: that is sublime in comparison with which all else is small. Here we readily see that nothing can be given in nature, no matter how great we may judge it to be, which, regarded in some other relation, may not be degraded to the level of the infinitely little, and nothing so small which in comparison with some still smaller standard may not for our imagination be enlarged to the greatness of a world. Telescopes have put within our reach an abundance of material to go upon in making the first observation, and microscopes the same in making the second. Nothing, therefore, which can be an object of the senses is to be termed sublime when treated on this footing. But precisely because there is a striving in our imagination towards progress ad infinitum, while reason demands absolute totality, as a real idea, that same inability on the part of our faculty for the estimation of the magnitude of things of the world of sense to attain to this idea, is the awakening of a feeling of a supersensible faculty within us; and it is the use to which judgement naturally puts particular objects on behalf of this latter feeling, and not the object of sense, that is absolutely great, and every other contrasted employment small. Consequently it is the disposition of soul evoked by a particular representation engaging the attention of the reflective judgement, and not the object, that is to be called sublime.
The foregoing formulae defining the sublime may, therefore, be supplemented by yet another: The sublime is that, the mere capacity of thinking which evidences a faculty of mind transcending every standard of sense.
The estimation of magnitude by means of concepts of number (or their signs in algebra) is mathematical, but that in mere intuition (by the eye) is aesthetic. Now we can only get definite concepts of how great anything is by having recourse to numbers (or, at any rate, by getting approximate measurements by means of numerical series progressing ad infinitum), the unit being the measure; and to this extent all logical estimation of magnitude is mathematical. But, as the magnitude of the measure has to be assumed as a known quantity, if, to form an estimate of this, we must again have recourse to numbers involving another standard for their unit, and consequently must again proceed mathematically, we can never arrive at a first or fundamental measure, and so cannot get any definite concept of a given magnitude. The estimation of the magnitude of the fundamental measure must, therefore, consist merely in the immediate grasp which we can get of it in intuition, and the use to which our imagination can put this in presenting the numerical concepts: i.e., all estimation of the magnitude of objects of nature is in the last resort aesthetic (i.e., subjectively and not objectively determined).
Now for the mathematical estimation of magnitude there is, of course, no greatest possible (for the power of numbers extends to infinity), but for the aesthetic estimation there certainly is and of it I say that where it is considered an absolute measure beyond which no greater is possible subjectively (i.e., for the judging subject), it then conveys the idea of the sublime and calls forth that emotion which no mathematical estimation of magnitudes by numbers can evoke (unless in so far as the fundamental aesthetic measure is kept vividly present to the imagination): because the latter presents only the relative magnitude due to comparison with others of a like kind, whereas the former presents magnitude absolutely, so far as the mind can grasp it in an intuition.
To take in a quantum intuitively in the imagination so as to be able to use it as a measure, or unit for estimating magnitude by numbers, involves two operations of this faculty: apprehension (apprehensio) and comprehension (comprehension aesthetica). Apprehension presents no difficulty: for this process can be carried on ad infinitum; but with the advance of apprehension comprehension becomes more difficult at every step and soon attains its maximum, and this is the aesthetically greatest fundamental measure for the estimation of magnitude. For if the apprehension has reached a point beyond which the representations of sensuous intuition in the case of the parts first apprehended begin to disappear from the imagination as this advances to the apprehension of yet others, as much, then, is lost at one end as is gained at the other, and for comprehension we get a maximum which the imagination cannot exceed.
This explains Savary’s observations in his account of Egypt, that in order to get the full emotional effect of the size of the Pyramids we must avoid coming too near just as much as remaining too far away. For in the latter case the representation of the apprehended parts (the tiers of stones) is but obscure, and produces no effect upon the aesthetic judgement of the Subject. In the former, however, it takes the eye some time to complete the apprehension from the base to the summit; but in this interval the first tiers always in part disappear before the imagination has taken in the last, and so the comprehension is never complete. The same explanation may also sufficiently account for the bewilderment, or sort of perplexity, which, as is said, seizes the visitor on first entering St. Peter’s in Rome. For here a feeling comes home to him of the inadequacy of his imagination for presenting the idea of a whole within which that imagination attains its maximum, and, in its fruitless efforts to extend this limit, recoils upon itself, but in so doing succumbs to an emotional delight.
At present I am not disposed to deal with the ground of this delight, connected, as it is, with a representation in which we would least of all look for it-a representation, namely, that lets us see its own inadequacy, and consequently its subjective want of finality for our judgement in the estimation of magnitude-but confine myself to the remark that if the aesthetic judgement is to be pure (unmixed with any teleological judgement which, as such, belongs to reason), and if we are to give a suitable example of it for the Critique of aesthetic judgement, we must not point to the sublime in works of art, e.g., buildings, statues and the like, where a human end determines the form as well as the magnitude, nor yet in things of nature, that in their very concept import a definite end, e.g., animals of a recognized natural order, but in rude nature merely as involving magnitude (and only in this so far as it does not convey any charm or any emotion arising from actual danger). For, in a representation of this kind, nature contains nothing monstrous (nor what is either magnificent or horrible)-the magnitude apprehended may be increased to any extent provided imagination is able to grasp it all in one whole. An object is monstrous where by its size it defeats the end that forms its concept. The colossal is the mere presentation of a concept which is almost too great for presentation, i.e., borders on the relatively monstrous; for the end to be attained by the presentation of a concept is made harder to realize by the intuition of the object being almost too great for our faculty of apprehension. A pure judgement upon the sublime must, however, have no end belonging to the object as its determining ground, if it is to be aesthetic and not to be tainted with any judgement of understanding or reason.
Since whatever is to be a source of pleasure, apart from interest, to the merely reflective judgement must involve in its representation subjective, and, as such, universally valid finality-though here, however, no finality of the form of the object underlies our estimate of it (as it does in the case of the beautiful)-the question arises: What is the subjective finality, and what enables it to be prescribed as a norm so as to yield a ground for universally valid delight in the mere estimation of magnitude, and that, too, in a case where it is pushed to the point at which faculty of imagination breaks down in presenting the concept of a magnitude, and proves unequal to its task?
In the successive aggregation of units requisite for the representation of magnitudes, the imagination of itself advances ad infinitum without let or hindrance-understanding, however, conducting it by means of concepts of number for which the former must supply the schema. This procedure belongs to the logical estimation of magnitude, and, as such, is doubtless something objectively final according to the concept of an end (as all measurement is), but it is not anything which for the aesthetic judgement is final or pleasing. Further, in this intentional finality there is nothing compelling us to tax the utmost powers of the imagination, and drive it as far as ever it can reach in its presentations, so as to enlarge the size of the measure, and thus make the single intuition holding the many in one (the comprehension) as great as possible. For, in the estimation of magnitude by the understanding (arithmetic), we get just as far, whether the comprehension of the units is pushed to the number 10 (as in the decimal scale) or only to 4 (as in the quaternary); the further production of magnitude being carried out by the successive aggregation of units, or, if the quantum is given in intuition, by apprehension, merely progressively (not comprehensively), according to an adopted principle of progression. In this mathematical estimation of magnitude, understanding is as well served and as satisfied whether imagination selects for the unit a magnitude which one can take in at a glance, e.g., a foot, or a perch, or else a German mile, or even the earth’s diameter, the apprehension of which is indeed possible, but not its comprehension in, sit intuition of the imagination (i.e., it is not possible by means of a comprehension aesthetica, thought quite so by means of a comprehension logica in a numerical concept). In each case the logical estimation of magnitude advances ad infinitum with nothing to stop it.
The mind, however, hearkens now to the voice of reason, which for all given magnitudes-even for those which can never be completely apprehended, though (in sensuous representation) estimated as completely given-requires totality, and consequently comprehension in one intuition, and which calls for a presentation answering to all the above members of a progressively increasing numerical series, and does not exempt even the infinite (space and time past) from this requirement, but rather renders it inevitable for us to regard this infinite (in the judgement of common reason) as completely given (i.e., given in its totality).
But the infinite is absolutely (not merely comparatively) great. In comparison with this all else (in the way of magnitudes of the same order) is small. But the point of capital importance is that the mere ability even to think it as a whole indicates a faculty of mind transcending every standard of sense. For the latter would entail a comprehension yielding as unit a standard bearing to the infinite ratio expressible in numbers, which is impossible. Still the mere ability even to think the given infinite without contradiction, is something that requires the presence in the human mind of a faculty that is itself supersensible. For it is only through this faculty and its idea of a noumenon, which latter, while not itself admitting of any intuition, is yet introduced as substrate underlying the intuition of the world as mere phenomenon, that the infinite of the world of sense, in the pure intellectual estimation of magnitude, is completely comprehended under a concept, although in the mathematical estimation by means of numerical concepts it can never be completely thought. Even a faculty enabling the infinite of supersensible intuition to be regarded as given (in its intelligible substrate), transcends every standard of sensibility and is great beyond all comparison even with the faculty of mathematical estimation: not, of course, from a theoretical point of view that looks to the interests of our faculty of knowledge, but as a broadening of the mind that from another (the practical) point of view feels itself empowered to pass beyond the narrow confines of sensibility.
Nature, therefore, is sublime in such of its phenomena as in their intuition convey the idea of their infinity. But this can only occur through the inadequacy of even the greatest effort of our imagination in the estimation of the magnitude of an object. But, now, in the case of the mathematical estimation of magnitude, imagination is quite competent to supply a measure equal to the requirements of any object. For the numerical concepts of the understanding can by progressive synthesis make any measure adequate to any given magnitude. Hence it must be the aesthetic estimation of magnitude in which we get at once a feeling of the effort towards a comprehension that exceeds the faculty of imagination for mentally grasping the progressive apprehension in a whole of intuition, and, with it, a perception of the inadequacy of this faculty, which has no bounds to its progress, for taking in and using for the estimation of magnitude a fundamental measure that understanding could turn to account without the least trouble. Now the proper unchangeable fundamental measure of nature is its absolute whole, which, with it, regarded as a phenomenon, means infinity comprehended. But, since this fundamental measure is a self-contradictory concept (owing to the impossibility of the absolute totality of an endless progression), it follows that where the size of a natural object is such that the imagination spends its whole faculty of comprehension upon it in vain, it must carry our concept of nature, to a supersensible substrate (underlying both nature and our faculty of thought), which is, great beyond every standard of sense. Thus, instead of the object, it is rather the cast of the mind in appreciating it that we have to estimate as sublime.
Therefore, just as the aesthetic judgement in its estimate of the beautiful refers the imagination in its free play to the understanding, to bring out its agreement with the concepts of the latter in general (apart from their determination): so in its estimate of a thing as sublime it refers that faculty to reason to bring out its subjective accord with ideas of reason (indeterminately indicated), i.e., to induce a temper of mind conformable-to that which the influence of definite (practical) ideas would produce upon feeling, and in common accord with it.
This makes it evident that true sublimity must be sought only in the mind of the judging subject, and not in the object of nature that occasions this attitude by the estimate formed of it. Who would apply the term “sublime” even to shapeless mountain masses towering one above the other in wild disorder, with their pyramids of ice, or to the dark tempestuous ocean, or such like things? But in the contemplation of them, without any regard to their form, the mind abandons itself to the imagination and to a reason placed, though quite apart from any definite end, in conjunction therewith, and merely broadening its view, and it feels itself elevated in its own estimate of itself on finding all the might of imagination still unequal to its ideas.
We get examples of the mathematically sublime of nature in mere intuition in all those instances where our imagination is afforded, not so much a greater numerical concept as a large unit as measure (for shortening the numerical series). A tree judged by the height of man gives, at all events, a standard for a mountain; and, supposing this is, say, a mile high, it can serve as unit for the number expressing the earth’s diameter, so as to make it intuitable; similarly the earth’s diameter for the known planetary system; this again for the system of the Milky Way; and the immeasurable host of such systems, which go by the name of nebulae, and most likely in turn themselves form such a system, holds out no prospect of a limit. Now in the aesthetic estimate of such an immeasurable whole, the sublime does not lie so much in the greatness of the number, as in the fact that in our onward advance we always arrive at proportionately greater units. The systematic division of the cosmos conduces to this result. For it represents all that is great in nature as in turn becoming little; or, to be more exact, it represents our imagination in all its boundlessness, and with it nature, as sinking into insignificance before the ideas of reason, once their adequate presentation is attempted.
The feeling of our incapacity to attain to an idea that is a law for us, is respect. Now the idea of the comprehension of any phenomenon whatever, that may be given us, in a whole of intuition, is an idea imposed upon us by a law of reason, which recognizes no definite, universally valid and unchangeable measure except the absolute whole. But our imagination, even when taxing itself to the uttermost on the score of this required comprehension of a given object in a whole of intuition (and so with a view to the presentation of the idea of reason), betrays its limits and its inadequacy, but still, at the same time, its proper vocation of making itself adequate to the same as law. Therefore the feeling of the sublime in nature is respect for our own vocation, which we attribute to an object of nature by a certain subreption (substitution of a respect for the object in place of one for the idea of humanity in our own self-the subject); and this feeling renders, as it were, intuitable the supremacy of our cognitive faculties on the rational side over the greatest faculty of sensibility.
The feeling of the sublime is, therefore, at once a feeling of displeasure, arising from the inadequacy of imagination in the aesthetic estimation of magnitude to attain to its estimation by reason, and a simultaneously awakened pleasure, arising from this very judgement of the inadequacy of the greatest faculty of sense being in accord with ideas of reason, so far as the effort to attain to these is for us a law. It is, in other words, for us a law (of reason), which goes to make us what we are, that we should esteem as small in comparison with ideas of reason everything which for us is great in nature as an object of sense; and that which makes us alive to the feeling of this supersensible side of our being harmonizes with that law. Now the greatest effort of the imagination in the presentation of the unit for the estimation of magnitude involves in itself a reference to something absolutely great, consequently a reference also to the law of reason that this alone is to be adopted as the supreme measure of what is great. Therefore the inner perception of the inadequacy of every standard of sense to serve for the rational estimation of magnitude is a coming into accord with reason’s laws, and a displeasure that makes us alive to the feeling of the supersensible side of our being, according to which it is final, and consequently a pleasure, to find every standard of sensibility falling short of the ideas of reason.
The mind feels itself set in motion in the representation of the sublime in nature; whereas in the aesthetic judgement upon what is beautiful therein it is in restful contemplation. This movement, especially in its inception, may be compared with vibration, i.e., with a rapidly alternating repulsion and attraction produced by one and the same object. The point of excess for the imagination (towards which it is driven in the apprehension of the intuition) is like an abyss in which it fears to lose itself, yet again for the rational idea of the supersensible it is not excessive, but conformable to law, and directed to drawing out such an effort on the part of the imagination: and so in turn as much a source of attraction as it was repellent to mere sensibility. But the judgement itself all the while steadfastly preserves its aesthetic character, because it represents, without being grounded on any definite concept of the object, merely the subjective play of the mental powers (imagination and reason) as harmonious by virtue of their very contrast. For just as in the estimate of the beautiful imagination and understanding by their concert generate subjective finality of the mental faculties, so imagination and reason do so here by their conflict-that is to say they induce a feeling of our possessing a pure and self-sufficient reason, or a faculty for the estimation of magnitude, whose preeminence can only be made intuitively evident by the inadequacy of that faculty which in the presentation of magnitudes (of objects of sense) is itself unbounded.
Measurement of a space (as apprehension) is at the same time a description of it, and so an objective movement in the imagination and a progression. On the other hand, the comprehension of the manifold in the unity, not of thought, but of intuition, and consequently the comprehension of the successively apprehended parts at one glance, is a retrogression that removes the time-condition in the progression of the imagination, and renders coexistence intuitable. Therefore, since the time-series is a condition of the internal sense and of an intuition, it is a subjective movement of the imagination by which it does violence to the internal sense-a violence which must be proportionately more striking the greater the quantum which the imagination comprehends in one intuition. The effort, therefore, to receive in a single intuition a measure for magnitudes which it takes an appreciable time to apprehend, is a mode of representation which, subjectively considered, is contra-final, but objectively, is requisite for the estimation of magnitude, and is consequently final. Here the very same violence that is wrought on the subject through the imagination is estimated as final for the whole province of the mind.
The quality of the feeling of the sublime consists in being, in respect of the faculty of forming aesthetic estimates, a feeling of displeasure at an object, which yet, at the same time, is represented as being final-a representation which derives its possibility from the fact that the subject’s very incapacity betrays the consciousness of an unlimited faculty of the same subject, and that the mind can only form an aesthetic estimate of the latter faculty by means of that incapacity.
In the case of the logical estimation of magnitude, the impossibility of ever arriving at absolute totality by the progressive measurement of things of the sensible world in time and space was cognized as an objective impossibility, i.e., one of thinking the infinite as given, and not as simply subjective, i.e., an incapacity for grasping it; for nothing turns there on the amount of the comprehension in one intuition, as measure, but everything depends on a numerical concept. But in an aesthetic estimation of magnitude the numerical concept must drop out of count or undergo a change. The only thing that is final for such estimation is the comprehension on the part of imagination in respect of the unit of measure (the concept of a law of the successive production of the concept of magnitude being consequently avoided). If, now, a magnitude begins to tax the utmost stretch of our faculty of comprehension in an intuition, and still numerical magnitudes-in respect of which we are conscious of the boundlessness of our faculty-call upon the imagination for aesthetic comprehension in a greater unit, the mind then gets a feeling of being aesthetically confined within bounds. Nevertheless, with a view to the extension of imagination necessary for adequacy with what is unbounded in our faculty of reason, namely the idea of the absolute whole, the attendant displeasure, and, consequently, the want of finality in our faculty of imagination, is still represented as final for ideas of reason and their animation. But in this very way the aesthetic judgement itself is subjectively final for reason as source of ideas, i.e., of such an intellectual comprehension as makes all aesthetic comprehension small, and the object is received as sublime with a pleasure that is only possible through the mediation of a displeasure.
Might is a power which is superior to great hindrances. It is termed dominion if it is also superior to the resistance of that which itself possesses might. Nature, considered in an aesthetic judgement as might that has no dominion over us, is dynamically sublime.
If we are to estimate nature as dynamically sublime, it must be represented as a source of fear (though the converse, that every object that is a source of fear, in our aesthetic judgement, sublime, does not hold). For in forming an aesthetic estimate (no concept being present) the superiority to hindrances can only be estimated according to the greatness of the resistance. Now that which we strive to resist is an evil, and, if we do not find our powers commensurate to the task, an object of fear. Hence the aesthetic judgement can only deem nature a might, and so dynamically sublime, in so far as it is looked upon as an object of fear.
But we may look upon an object as fearful, and yet not be afraid of it, if, that is, our estimate takes the form of our simply picturing to ourselves the case of our wishing to offer some resistance to it and recognizing that all such resistance would be quite futile. So the righteous man fears God without being afraid of Him, because he regards the case of his wishing to resist God and His commandments as one which need cause him no anxiety. But in every such case, regarded by him as not intrinsically impossible, he cognizes Him as One to be feared.
One who is in a state of fear can no more play the part of a judge of the sublime of nature than one captivated by inclination and appetite can of the beautiful. He flees from the sight of an object filling him with dread; and it is impossible to take delight in terror that is seriously entertained. Hence the agreeableness arising from the cessation of an uneasiness is a state of joy. But this, depending upon deliverance from a danger, is a rejoicing accompanied with a resolve never again to put oneself in the way of the danger: in fact we do not like bringing back to mind how we felt on that occasion not to speak of going in search of an opportunity for experiencing it again.
Bold, overhanging, and, as it were, threatening rocks, thunderclouds piled up the vault of heaven, borne along with flashes and peals, volcanos in all their violence of destruction, hurricanes leaving desolation in their track, the boundless ocean rising with rebellious force, the high waterfall of some mighty river, and the like, make our power of resistance of trifling moment in comparison with their might. But, provided our own position is secure, their aspect is all the more attractive for its fearfulness; and we readily call these objects sublime, because they raise the forces of the soul above the height of vulgar commonplace, and discover within us a power of resistance of quite another kind, which gives us courage to be able to measure ourselves against the seeming omnipotence of nature.
In the immeasurableness of nature and the incompetence of our faculty for adopting a standard proportionate to the aesthetic estimation of the magnitude of its realm, we found our own limitation. But with this we also found in our rational faculty another non-sensuous standard, one which has that infinity itself under it as a unit, and in comparison with which everything in nature is small, and so found in our minds a pre-eminence over nature even in it immeasurability. Now in just the same way the irresistibility of the might of nature forces upon us the recognition of our physical helplessness as beings of nature, but at the same time reveals a faculty of estimating ourselves as independent of nature, and discovers a pre-eminence above nature that is the foundation of a self-preservation of quite another kind from that which may be assailed and brought into danger by external nature. This saves humanity in our own person from humiliation, even though as mortal men we have to submit to external violence. In this way, external nature is not estimated in our aesthetic judgement as sublime so far as exciting fear, but rather because it challenges our power (one not of nature) to regard as small those things of which we are wont to be solicitous (worldly goods, health, and life), and hence to regard its might (to which in these matters we are no doubt subject) as exercising over us and our personality no such rude dominion that we should bow down before it, once the question becomes one of our highest principles and of our asserting or forsaking them. Therefore nature is here called sublime merely because it raises the imagination to a presentation of those cases in which the mind can make itself sensible of the appropriate sublimity of the sphere of its own being, even above nature.
This estimation of ourselves loses nothing by the fact that we must see ourselves safe in order to feel this soul-stirring delight-a fact from which it might be plausibly argued that, as there is no seriousness in the danger, so there is just as little seriousness in the sublimity of our faculty of soul. For here the delight only concerns the province of our faculty disclosed in such a case, so far as this faculty has its root in our nature; notwithstanding that its development and exercise is left to ourselves and remains an obligation. Here indeed there is truth-no matter how conscious a man, when he stretches his reflection so far abroad, may be of his actual present helplessness.
This principle has, doubtless, the appearance of being too far-fetched and subtle, and so of lying beyond the reach of an aesthetic judgement. But observation of men proves the reverse, and that it may be the foundation of the commonest judgements, although one is not always conscious of its presence. For what is it that, even to the savage, is the object of the greatest admiration? It is a man who is undaunted, who knows no fear, and who, therefore, does not give way to danger, but sets manfully to work with full deliberation. Even where civilization has reached a high pitch, there remains this special reverence for the soldier; only that there is then further required of him that he should also exhibit all the virtues of peace-gentleness, sympathy, and even becoming thought for his own person; and for the reason that in this we recognize that his mind is above the threats of danger. And so, comparing the statesman and the general, men may argue as they please as to the pre-eminent respect which is due to either above the other; but the verdict of the aesthetic judgement is for the latter. War itself, provided it is conducted with order and a sacred respect for the rights of civilians, has something sublime about it, and gives nations that carry it on in such a manner a stamp of mind only the more sublime the more numerous the dangers to which they are exposed, and which they are able to meet with fortitude. On the other hand, a prolonged peace favours the predominance of a mere commercial spirit, and with it a debasing self-interest, cowardice, and effeminacy, and tends to degrade the character of the nation.
So far as sublimity is predicated of might, this solution of the concept of it appears at variance with the fact that we are wont to represent God in the tempest, the storm, the earthquake, and the like, as presenting Himself in His wrath, but at the same time also in His sublimity, and yet here it would be alike folly and presumption to imagine a pre-eminence of our minds over the operations and, as it appears, even over the direction of such might. Here, instead of a feeling of the sublimity of our own nature, submission, prostration, Aristotle’s remarks on Courage, in the utter helplessness seem more to constitute the attitude of mind befitting the manifestation of such an object, and to be that also more customarily associated with the idea of it on the occasion of a natural phenomenon of this kind. In religion, as a rule, prostration, adoration with bowed head, coupled with contrite, timorous posture and voice, seems to be the only becoming demeanour in presence of the Godhead, and accordingly most nations have assumed and still observe it. Yet this cast of mind is far from being intrinsically and necessarily involved in the idea of the sublimily of a religion and of its object. The man that is actually in a state of fear, finding in himself good reason to be so, because he is conscious of offending with his evil disposition against a might directed by a will at once irresistible and just, is far from being in the frame of mind for admiring divine greatness, for which a temper of calm reflection and a quite free judgement are required. Only when he becomes conscious of having a disposition that is upright and acceptable to God, do those operations of might serve, to stir within him the idea of the sublimity of this Being, so far as he recognizes the existence in himself of a sublimity of disposition consonant with His will, and is thus raised above the dread of such operations of nature, in which he no longer sees God pouring forth the vials of the wrath. Even humility, taking the form of an uncompromising judgement upon his shortcomings, which, with consciousness of good intentions, might readily be glossed over on the ground of the frailty of human nature, is a sublime temper of the mind voluntarily to undergo the pain of remorse as a means of more and more effectually eradicating its cause. In this way religion is intrinsically distinguished from superstition, which latter rears in the mind, not reverence for the sublime, but dread and apprehension of the all-powerful Being to whose will terror-stricken man sees himself subjected, yet without according Him due honour. From this nothing can arise but grace-begging and vain adulation, instead of a religion consisting in a good life.
Sublimity, therefore, does not reside in any of the things of nature, but only in our own mind, in so far as we may become conscious of our superiority over nature within, and thus also over nature without us (as exerting influence upon us). Everything that provokes this feeling in us, including the might of nature which challenges our strength, is then, though improperly, called sublime, and it is only under presupposition of this idea within us, and in relation to it, that we are capable of attaining to the idea of the sublimity of that Being Which inspires deep respect in us, not by the mere display of its might in nature, but more by the faculty which is planted in us of estimating that might without fear, and of regarding our estate as exalted above it.
Beautiful nature contains countless things as to which we at once take every one as in their judgement concurring with our own, and as to which we may further expect this concurrence without facts finding us far astray. But in respect of our judgement upon the sublime in nature, we cannot so easily vouch for ready acceptance by others. For a far higher degree of culture, not merely of the aesthetic judgement, but also of the faculties of cognition which lie at its basis, seems to be requisite to enable us to lay down a judgement upon this high distinction of natural objects.
The proper mental mood for a feeling of the sublime postulates the mind’s susceptibility for ideas, since it is precisely in the failure of nature to attain to these — and consequently only under presupposition of this susceptibility and of the straining of the imagination to use nature as a schema for ideas — that there is something forbidding to sensibility, but which, for all that, has an attraction for us, arising from the fact of its being a dominion which reason exercises over sensibility with a view to extending it to the requirements of its own realm (the practical) and letting it look out beyond itself into the infinite, which for it is an abyss. In fact, without the development of moral ideas, that which, thanks to preparatory culture, we call sublime, merely strikes the untutored man as terrifying. He will see in the evidences which the ravages of nature give of her dominion, and in the vast scale of her might, compared with which his own is diminished to insignificance, only the misery, peril, and distress that would compass the man who was thrown to its mercy. So the simpleminded, and, for the most part, intelligent, Savoyard peasant, (as Herr von Sassure relates), unhesitatingly called all lovers of snow mountains fools. And who can tell whether he would have been so wide of the mark, if that student of nature had taken the risk of the dangers to which he exposed himself merely, as most travellers do, for a fad, or so as some day to be able to give a thrilling account of his adventures? But the mind of Sassure was bent on the instruction of mankind, and soul-stirring sensations that excellent man indeed had, and the reader of his travels got them thrown into the bargain.
But the fact that culture is requisite for the judgement upon the sublime in nature (more than for that upon the beautiful) does not involve its being an original product of culture and something introduced in a more or less conventional way into society. Rather is it in human nature that its foundations are laid, and, in fact, in that which, at once with common understanding, we may expect every one to possess and may require of him, namely, a native capacity for the feeling for (practical) ideas, i.e., for moral feeling.
This, now, is the foundation of the necessity of that agreement between other men’s judgements upon the sublime and our own, which we make our own imply. For just as we taunt a man who is quite inappreciative when forming an estimate of an object of nature in which we see beauty, with want of taste, so we say of a man who remains unaffected in the presence of what we consider sublime, that he has no feeling. But we demand both taste and feeling of every man, and, granted some degree of culture, we give him credit for both. Still, we do so with this difference: that, in the, case of the former, since judgement there refers the imagination merely to the understanding, as a the faculty of concepts, we make the requirement as a matter of course, whereas in the case of the latter, since here the judgement refers the imagination to reason, as a faculty of ideas, we do so only under a subjective presupposition (which, however, we believe we are warranted in making), namely, that of the moral feeling in man. And, on this assumption, we attribute necessity to the latter aesthetic judgement also.
In this modality of aesthetic judgements, namely, their assumed necessity, lies what is for the Critique of judgement a moment of capital importance. For this is exactly what makes an a priori principle apparent in their case, and lifts them out of the sphere of empirical psychology, in which otherwise they would remain buried amid the feelings of gratification and pain (only with the senseless epithet of finer feeling), so as to place them, and, thanks to them, to place the faculty of judgement itself, in the class of judgements of which the basis of an a priori principle is the distinguishing feature, and, thus distinguished, to introduce them into transcendental philosophy.
In relation to the feeling of pleasure an object is to be counted either as agreeable, or beautiful, or sublime, or good (absolutely), (incundum, pulchrum, sublime, honestum).
As the motive of desires the agreeable is invariably of one and the same kind, no matter what its source or how specifically different the representation (of sense and sensation objectively considered). Hence in estimating its influence upon the mind, the multitude of its charms (simultaneous or successive) is alone revelant, and so only, as it were, the mass of the agreeable sensation, and it is only by the quantity, therefore, that this can be made intelligible. Further it in no way conduces to our culture, but belongs only to mere enjoyment. The beautiful, on the other hand, requires the representation of a certain quality of the object, that pern-fits also of being understood and reduced to concepts (although in the aesthetic judgement it is not reduced), and it cultivates, as it instructs us to attend to, finality in the feeling of pleasure. The sublime consists merely in the relation exhibited by the estimate of the serviceability of the sensible in the representation of nature for a possible supersensible employment. The absolutely good, estimated subjectively according to the feeling it inspires (the object of the moral feeling), as the determinability of the powers of the subject by means of the representation of an absolutely necessitating law, is principally distinguished, by the modality of a necessity resting upon concepts a priori, and involving not a mere claim, but a command upon every one to assent, and belongs intrinsically not to the aesthetic, but to the pure intellectual judgement. Further, it is not ascribed to nature but to freedom, and that in a determinant and not a merely reflective judgement. But the determinability of the subject by means of this idea, and, what is more, that of a subject which can be sensible, in the way of a modification of its state, to hindrances on the part of sensibility, while, at the same time, it can by surmounting them feel superiority over them-a determinability, in other words, as moral feeling-is still so allied to aesthetic judgement and its formal conditions as to be capable of being pressed into the service of the aesthetic representation of the conformity to law of action from duty, i.e., of the representation of this as sublime, or even as beautiful, without forfeiting its purity-an impossible result were one to make it naturally bound up with the feeling of the agreeable.
The net result to be extracted from the exposition so far given of both kinds of aesthetic judgements may be summed up in the following brief definitions:
The beautiful is what pleases in the mere estimate formed of it (consequently not by intervention of any feeling of sense in accordance with a concept of the understanding). From this it follows at once that it must please apart from all interest.
The sublime is what pleases immediately by reason of its opposition to the interest of sense.
Both, as definitions of aesthetic universally valid estimates, have reference to subjective grounds. In the one case the reference is to grounds of sensibility, in so far as these are final on behalf of the contemplative understanding, in the other case in so far as, in their opposition to sensibility, they are, on the contrary, final in reference to the ends of practical reason. Both, however, as united in the same subject, are final in reference to the moral feeling. The beautiful prepares us to love something, even nature, apart from any interest: the sublime to esteem something highly even in opposition to our (sensible) interest object.
The sublime may be described in this way: It is an object (of nature) the representation of which determines the mind to regard the elevation of nature beyond our reach as equivalent to a presentation of ideas.
In a literal sense and according to their logical import, ideas cannot be presented. But if we enlarge our empirical faculty of representation (mathematical or dynamical) with a view to the intuition of nature, reason inevitably steps forward, as the faculty concerned with the independence of the absolute totality, and calls forth the effort of the mind, unavailing though it be, to make representation of sense adequate to this totality. This effort, and the feeling of the unattainability of the idea by means of imagination, is itself a presentation of the subjective finality of our mind in the employment of the imagination in the interests of the mind’s supersensible province, and compels us subjectively to think nature itself in its totality as a presentation of something supersensible, without our being able to effectuate this presentation objectively.
For we readily see that nature in space and time falls entirely short of the unconditioned, consequently also of the absolutely great, which still the commonest reason demands. And by this we are also reminded that we have only to do with nature as phenomenon, and that this itself must be regarded as the mere presentation of a nature-in-itself (which exists in the idea of reason). But this idea of the supersensible, which no doubt we cannot further determine so that we cannot cognize nature as its presentation, but only think it as such-is awakened in us by an object the aesthetic estimating of which strains the imagination to its utmost, whether in respect of its extension (mathematical), or of its might over the mind (dynamical). For it is founded upon the feeling of a sphere of the mind which altogether exceeds the realm of nature (i.e., upon the moral feeling), with regard to which the representation of the object is estimated as subjectively final.
As a matter of fact, a feeling for the sublime in nature is hardly thinkable unless in association with an attitude of mind resembling the moral. And though, like that feeling, the immediate pleasure in the beautiful in nature presupposes and cultivates a certain liberality of thought, i.e., makes our delight independent of any mere enjoyment of sense, still it represents freedom rather as in play than as exercising a law-ordained function, which is the genuine characteristic of human morality, where reason has to impose its dominion upon sensibility. There is, however, this qualification, that in the aesthetic judgement upon the sublime this dominion is represented as exercised through the imagination itself as an instrument of reason.
Thus, too, delight in the sublime in nature is only negative (whereas that in the beautiful is positive): that is to say, it is a feeling of imagination by its own act depriving itself of its freedom by receiving a final determination in accordance with a law other than that of its empirical employment. In this way it gains an extension and a might greater than that which it sacrifices. But the ground of this is concealed from it, and in its place it feels the sacrifice or deprivation, as well as its cause, to which it is subjected. The astonishment amounting almost to terror, the awe and thrill of devout feeling, that takes hold of one when gazing upon the prospect of mountains ascending to heaven, deep ravines and torrents raging there, deep shadowed solitudes that invite to brooding melancholy, and the like-all this, when we are assured of our own safety, is not actual fear. Rather is it an attempt to gain access to it through imagination, for the purpose of feeling the might of this faculty in combining the movement of the mind thereby aroused with its serenity, and of thus being superior to internal and, therefore, to external, nature, so far as the latter can have any bearing upon our feeling of well-being. For the imagination, in accordance with laws of association, makes our state of contentment dependent upon physical conditions. But acting in accordance with principles of the schematism of judgement (consequently so far as it is subordinated to freedom), it is at the same time an instrument of reason and its ideas. But in this capacity it is a might enabling us to assert our independence as against the influences of nature, to degrade what is great in respect of the latter to the level of what is little, and thus to locate the absolutely great only in the proper estate of the subject. This reflection of aesthetic judgement by which it raises itself to the point of adequacy with reason, though without any determinate concept of reason, is still a representation of the object as subjectively final, by virtue even of the objective inadequacy of the imagination in its greatest extension for meeting the demands of reason (as the faculty of ideas).
Here we have to attend generally to what has been already adverted to, that in the transcendental aesthetic of judgement there must be no question of anything but pure aesthetic judgements. Consequently examples are not to be selected from such beautiful, or sublime objects as presuppose the concept of an end. For then the finality would be either teleological, or based upon mere sensations of an object: (gratification or pain) and so, in the first case, not aesthetic, and, in the second, not merely formal. So, if we call the sight of the starry heaven sublime, we must not found our estimate of it upon any concepts of worlds inhabited by rational beings, with the bright spots, which we see filling the space above us, as their suns moving in orbits prescribed for them with the wisest regard to ends. But we must take it, just as it strikes the eye, as a broad and all-embracing canopy: and it is merely under such a representation that we may posit the sublimity which the pure aesthetic judgement attributes to this object. Similarly, as to the prospect of the ocean, we are not to regard it as we, with our minds stored with knowledge on a variety of matters (which, however, is not contained in the immediate intuition), are wont to represent it in thought, as, let us say, a spacious realm of aquatic creatures, or as the mighty reservoirs from which are drawn the vapours that fill the air with clouds of moisture for the good of the land, or yet as an element which no doubt divides continent from continent, but at the same time affords the means of the greatest commercial intercourse between them-for in this way we get nothing beyond teleological judgements. Instead of this we must be able to see sublimity in the ocean, regarding it, as the poets do, according to what the impression upon the eye reveals, as, let us say, in its calm a clear mirror of water bounded only by the heavens, or, be it disturbed, as threatening to overwhelm and engulf everything. The same is to be said of the sublime and beautiful in the human form. Here, for determining grounds of the judgement, we must not have recourse to concepts of ends subserved by all: all its and members, or allow their accordance with these ends to influence our aesthetic judgement (in such case no longer pure), although it is certainly also a necessary condition of aesthetic delight that they should not conflict with these ends. Aesthetic finality is the conformity to law of judgement in its freedom. The delight in the object depends on the reference which we seek to give to the imagination, subject to the proviso that it is to entertain the mind in a free activity. If, on the other hand, something else-be it sensation or concept of the understanding-determines the judgement, it is then conformable to law, no doubt, but not an act of free judgement.
Hence to speak of intellectual beauty or sublimity is to use expressions which, in the first place, are not quite correct. For these are aesthetic modes of representation which would be entirely foreign to us were we merely pure intelligences (or if we even put ourselves in thought in the position of such). Secondly, although both, as objects of an intellectual (moral) delight, are compatible with aesthetic delight to the extent of not resting upon any interest, still, on the other hand, there is a difficulty in the way of their alliance with such delight, since their function is to produce an interest, and, on the assumption that the presentation has to accord with delight in the aesthetic estimate, this interest could only be effected by means of an interest of sense combined with it in the presentation. But in this way the intellectual finality would be violated and rendered impure.
The object of a pure and unconditioned intellectual delight is the moral law in the might which it exerts in us over all antecedent motives of the mind. Now, since it is only through sacrifices that this might makes itself known to us aesthetically (and this involves a deprivation of something — though in the interest of inner freedom-whilst in turn it reveals in us an unfathomable depth of this supersensible faculty, the consequences of which extend beyond reach of the eye of sense), it follows that the delight, looked at from the aesthetic side (in reference to sensibility) is negative, i.e., opposed to this interest, but from the intellectual side, positive and bound up with an interest. Hence it follows that the intellectual and intrinsically final (moral) good, estimated aesthetically, instead of being represented as beautiful, must rather be represented as sublime, with the result that it arouses more a feeling of respect (which disdains charm) than of love or of the heart being drawn towards it-for human nature does not of its own proper motion accord with the good, but only by virtue of the dominion which reason exercises over sensibility. Conversely, that, too, which we call sublime in external nature, or even internal nature (e.g., certain affections) is only represented as a might of the mind enabling it to overcome this or that hindrance of sensibility by means of moral principles, and it is from this that it derives its interest.
I must dwell while on the latter point. The idea of the good to which affection is superadded is enthusiasm. This state of mind appears to be sublime: so much so that there is a common saying that nothing great can be achieved without it. But now every affection12 is blind either as to the choice of its end, or, supposing this has been furnished by reason, in the way it is effected for it is that mental movement whereby the exercise of free deliberation upon fundamental principles, with a view to determining oneself accordingly, is rendered impossible. On this account it cannot merit any delight on the part of reason. Yet, from an aesthetic point of view, enthusiasm is sublime, because it is an effort of one’s powers called forth by ideas which give to the mind an impetus of far stronger and more enduring efficacy than the stimulus afforded by sensible representations. But (as seems strange) even freedom from affection (apatheia, phlegma in significatu bono) in a mind that strenuously follows its unswerving principles is sublime, and that, too, in a manner vastly superior, because it has at the same time the delight of pure reason on its side. Such a stamp of mind is alone called noble. This expression, however, comes in time to be applied to things-such as buildings, a garment, literary style, the carriage of one’s person, and the like-provided they do not so much excite astonishment (the affection attending the representation of novelty exceeding expectation) as admiration (an astonishment which does not cease when the novelty wears off)-and this obtains where ideas undesignedly and artlessly accord in their presentation with aesthetic delight.
12There is a specific distinction between affections and passions. Affections are related merely to feeling; passions belong to the faculty of desire, and are inclinations that hinder or render impossible all determinability of the elective will by principles. Affections are impetuous and irresponsible; passions are abiding and deliberate. Thus resentment, in the form of anger, is an affection: but in the form of hatred (vindictiveness) it is a passion. Under no circumstances can the latter be called sublime; for, while the freedom of the mind is, no doubt, impeded in the case of affection, in passion it is abrogated.
Every affection of the STRENUOUS TYPE (such, that is, as excites the consciousness of our power of overcoming every resistance [animus strenuus]) is aesthetically sublime, e.g., anger, even desperation (the rage of forlorn hope but not faint-hearted despair). On the other hand, affection of the LANGUID TYPE (which converts the very effort of resistance into an object of displeasure [animus languidus] has nothing noble about it, though it may take its rank as possessing beauty of the sensuous order. Hence the emotions capable of attaining the strength of an affection are very diverse. We have spirited, and we have tender emotions. When the strength of the latter reaches that of an affection they can be turned to no account. The propensity to indulge in them is sentimentality. A sympathetic grief that refuses to be consoled, or one that has to do with imaginary misfortune to which we deliberately give way so far as to allow our fancy to delude us into thinking it actual fact, indicates and goes to make a tender, but at the same time weak, soul, which shows a beautiful side, and may no doubt be called fanciful, but never enthusiastic. Romances, maudlin dramas, shallow homilies, which trifle with so-called (though falsely so) noble sentiments, but in fact make the heart enervated, insensitive to the stem precepts of duty, and incapable of respect for the worth of humanity in our own person and the rights of men (which is something quite other than their happiness), and in general incapable of all firm principles; even a religious discourse which recommends a cringing and abject grace-begging and favour-seeking, abandoning all reliance on our own ability to resist the evil within us, in place of the vigorous resolution to try to get the better of our inclinations by means of those powers which, miserable sinners though we be, are still left to us; that false humility by which self-abasement, whining hypocritical repentance and a merely passive frame of mind are set down as the method by which alone we can become acceptable to the Supreme Being-these have neither lot nor fellowship with what may be reckoned to belong to beauty, not to speak of sublimity, of mental temperament.
But even impetuous movements of the mind be they allied under the name of edification with ideas of religion, or, as pertaining merely to culture, with ideas involving a social interest no matter what tension of the imagination they may produce, can in no way lay claim to the honour of a sublime presentation, if they do not leave behind them a temper of mind which, though it be only indirectly, has an influence upon the consciousness of the mind’s strength and resoluteness in respect of that which carries with it pure intellectual finality (the supersensible). For, in the absence of this, all these emotions belong only to motion, which we welcome in the interests of good health. The agreeable lassitude that follows upon being stirred up in that way by the play of the affections, is a fruition of the state of well-being arising from the restoration of the equilibrium of the various vital forces within us. This, in the last resort, comes to no more than what the Eastern voluptuaries find so soothing when they get their bodies massaged, and all their muscles and joints softly pressed and bent; only that in the first case the principle that occasions the movement is chiefly internal, whereas here it is entirely external. Thus, many a man believes himself edified by a sermon in which there is no establishment of anything (no system of good maxims); or thinks himself improved by a tragedy, when he is merely glad at having got well rid of the feeling of being bored. Thus the sublime must in every case have reference to our way of thinking, i.e., to maxims directed to giving the intellectual side of our nature and the ideas of reason supremacy over sensibility.
We have no reason to fear that the feeling of the sublime will suffer from an abstract mode of presentation like this, which is altogether negative as to what is sensuous. For though the imagination, no doubt, finds nothing beyond the sensible world to which it can lay hold, still this thrusting aside of the sensible barriers gives it a feeling of being unbounded; and that removal is thus a presentation of the infinite. As such it can never be anything more than a negative presentation-but still it expands the soul. Perhaps there is no more sublime passage in the Jewish Law than the commandment: “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven or on earth, or under the earth, etc.” This commandment can alone explain the enthusiasm which the Jewish people, in their moral period, felt for their religion when comparing themselves with others, or the pride inspired by Mohammedanism. The very same holds good of our representation of the moral law and of our native capacity for morality. The fear that, if we divest this representation of everything that can commend it to the senses, it will thereupon be attended only with a cold and lifeless approbation and not with any moving force or emotion, is wholly unwarranted. The very reverse is the truth. For when nothing any longer meets the eye of sense, and the unmistakable and ineffaceable idea of morality is left in possession of the field, there would be need rather of tempering the ardour of an unbounded imagination to prevent it rising to enthusiasm, than of seeking to lend these ideas the aid of images and childish devices for fear of their being wanting in potency. For this reason, governments have gladly let religion be fully equipped with these accessories, seeking in this way to relieve their subjects of the exertion, but to deprive them, at the same time, of the ability, required for expanding their spiritual powers beyond the limits arbitrarily laid down for them, and which facilitate their being treated as though they were merely passive.
This pure, elevating, merely negative presentation of morality involves, on the other hand, no fear of fanaticism, which is a delusion that would will some VISION beyond all the bounds of sensibility; i.e., would dream according to principles (rational raving). The safeguard is the purely negative character of the presentation. For the inscrutability of the idea of freedom precludes all positive presentation. The moral law, however, is a sufficient and original source of determination within us: so it does not for a moment permit us to cast about for a ground of determination external to itself. If enthusiasm is comparable to delirium, fanaticism may be compared to mania. Of these, the latter is least of all compatible with the sublime, for it is profoundly ridiculous. In enthusiasm, as an affection, the imagination is unbridled; in fanaticism, as a deep-seated, brooding passion, it is anomalous. The first is a transitory accident to which the healthiest understanding is liable to become at times the victim; the second is an undermining disease.
Simplicity (artless finality) is, as it were, the style adopted by nature in the sublime. It is also that of morality. The latter is a second (supersensible) nature, whose laws alone we know, without being able to attain to an intuition of the supersensible faculty within us-that which contains the ground of this legislation.
One further remark. The delight in the sublime, no less than in the beautiful, by reason of its universal communicability not alone is plainly distinguished from other aesthetic judgements, but also from this same property acquires an interest in society (in which it admits of such communication). Yet, despite this, we have to note the fact that isolation from all society is looked upon as something sublime, provided it rests upon ideas which disregard all sensible interest. To be self-sufficing, and so not to stand in need of society, yet without being unsociable, i.e., without shunning it, is something approaching the sublime-a remark applicable to all superiority to wants. On the other hand, to shun our fellow men from misanthropy, because of enmity towards them, or from anthropophobia, because we imagine the hand of every man is against us, is partly odious, partly contemptible. There is, however, a misanthropy (most improperly so called), the tendency towards which is to be found with advancing years in many right minded men, that, as far as good will goes, is no doubt, philanthropic enough, but as the result of long and sad experience, is widely removed from delight in mankind. We see evidences of this in the propensity to recluseness, in the fanciful desire for a retired country seat, or else (with the young) in the dream of the happiness of being able to spend one’s life with a little family on an island unknown to the rest of the world-material of which novelists or writers of Robinsonades know how to make such good use. Falsehood, ingratitude, injustice, the puerility of the ends which we ourselves look upon as great and momentous, and to compass which man inflicts upon his brother man all imaginable evils-these all so contradict the idea of what men might be if they only would, and are so at variance with our active wish to see them better, that, to avoid hating where we cannot love, it seems but a slight sacrifice to forego all the joys of fellowship with our kind. This sadness, which is not directed to the evils which fate brings down upon others (a sadness which springs from sympathy), but to those which they inflict upon themselves (one which is based on antipathy in questions of principle), is sublime because it is founded on ideas, whereas that springing from sympathy can only be accounted beautiful. Sassure, who was no less ingenious than profound, in the description of his Alpine travels remarks of Bonhomme, one of the Savoy mountains: “There reigns there a certain insipid sadness.” He recognized, therefore, that, besides this, there is an interesting sadness, such as is inspired by the sight of some desolate place into which men might fain withdraw themselves so as to hear no more of the world without, and be no longer versed in its affairs, a place, however, which must yet not be so altogether inhospitable as only to afford a most miserable retreat for a human being. I only make this observation as a reminder that even melancholy, (but not dispirited sadness), may take its place among the vigorous affections, provided it has its root in moral ideas. If, however, it is grounded upon sympathy, and, as such, is lovable, it belongs only to the languid affections. And this serves to call attention to the mental temperament which in the first case alone is sublime.
The transcendental exposition of aesthetic judgements now brought to a close may be compared with the physiological, as worked out by Burke and many acute men among us, so that we may see where a merely empirical exposition of the sublime and beautiful would bring us. Burke, who deserves to be called the foremost author in this method of treatment, deduces, on these lines, “that the feeling of the sublime is grounded on the impulse towards self-preservation and on fear, i.e., on a pain, which, since it does not go the length of disordering the bodily parts, calls forth movements which, as they clear the vessels, whether fine or gross, of a dangerous and troublesome encumbrance, are capable of producing delight; not pleasure but a sort of delightful horror, a sort of tranquility tinged with terror.” The beautiful, which he grounds on love (from which, still, he would have desire kept separate), he reduces to “the relaxing, slackening, and enervating of the fibres of the body, and consequently a softening, a dissolving, a languor, and a fainting, dying, and melting away for pleasure.” And this explanation he supports, not alone by instances in which the feeling of the beautiful as well as of the sublime is capable of being excited in us by the imagination in conjunction with the understanding, but even by instances when it is in conjunction with sensations. As psychological observations, these analyses of our mental phenomena are extremely fine, and supply a wealth of material for the favourite investigations of empirical anthropology. But, besides that, there is no denying the fact that all representations within us, no matter whether they are objectively merely sensible or wholly intellectual, are still subjectively associable with gratification or pain, however imperceptible either of these may be. (For these representations one and all have an influence on the feeling of life, and none of them, so far as it is a modification of the subject, can be indifferent.) We must even admit that, as Epicurus maintained, gratification and pain though proceeding from the imagination or even from representations of the understanding, are always in the last resort corporeal, since apart from any feeling of the bodily organ life would be merely a consciousness of one’s existence, and could not include any feeling of well-being or the reverse, i.e., of the furtherance or hindrance of the vital forces. For, of itself alone, the mind is all life (the life-principle itself), and hindrance or furtherance has to be sought outside it, and yet in the man himself consequently in the connection with his body and melting
But if we attribute the delight in the object wholly and entirely to the gratification which it affords through charm or emotion, then we must not exact from any one else agreement with the aesthetic judgement passed by us. For, in such matters each person rightly consults his own personal feeling alone. But in that case there is an end of all censorship of taste-unless the afforded by others as the result of a contingent coincidence of their judgements is to be held over us as commanding our assent. But this principle we would presumably resent, and appeal to our natural right of submitting a judgement to our own sense, where it rests upon the immediate feeling of personal well-being, instead of submitting it to that of others.
Hence if the import of the judgement of taste, where we appraise it as a judgement entitled to require the concurrence of every one, cannot be egoistic, but must necessarily, from its inner nature, be allowed a pluralistic validity, i.e., on account of what taste itself is, and not on account of the examples which others give of their taste, then it must found upon some a priori principle (be it subjective or objective), and no amount of prying into the empirical laws of the changes that go on within the mind can succeed in establishing such a principle. For these laws only yield a knowledge of how we do judge, but they do not give us a command as to how we ought to judge, and, what is more, such a command as is unconditioned-and commands of this kind are presupposed by judgements of taste, inasmuch as they require delight to be taken as immediately connected with a representation. Accordingly, though the empirical exposition of aesthetic judgements may be a first step towards accumulating the material for a higher investigation, yet a transcendental examination of this faculty is possible, and forms an essential part of the Critique of Taste. For, were not taste in possession of a priori principles, it could not possibly sit in judgement upon the judgements of others and pass sentence of commendation or condemnation upon them, with even the least semblance of authority.
NOTE: §§ 30-54, Deduction of Pure Aesthetic Judgements, is omitted.
For a power of judgement to be dialectical it must first of all be rationalizing; that is to say, its judgements must lay claim to universality,24 and do so a priori, for it is in the antithesis of such judgements that dialectic consists. Hence there is nothing dialectical in the irreconcilability of aesthetic judgements of sense (upon the agreeable and disagreeable). And in so far as each person appeals merely to his own private taste, even the conflict of judgements of taste does not form a dialectic of taste-for no one is proposing to make his own judgement into a universal rule. Hence the only concept left to us of a dialectic affecting taste is one of a dialectic of the critique of taste (not of taste itself) in respect of its principles: for, on the question of the ground of the possibility of judgements of taste in general, mutually conflicting concepts naturally and unavoidably make their appearance. The transcendental critique of taste will, therefore, only include a part capable of bearing the name of a dialectic of the aesthetic judgement if we find an antinomy of the principles of this faculty which throws doubt upon its conformity to law, and hence also upon its inner possibility.
24Any judgement which sets up to be universal may be termed a rationalizing judgement (indicium ratiocinans); for so far as universal it may serve as the major premiss of a syllogism. On the other hand, only a judgement which is thought as the conclusion of a syllogism, and, therefore, as having an a priori foundation, can be called rational (indicium ratiocinatum).
The first commonplace of taste is contained in the proposition under cover of which every one devoid of taste thinks to shelter himself from reproach: every one has his own taste. This is only another way of saying that the determining ground of this judgement is merely subjective (gratification or pain), and that the judgement has no right to the necessary agreement of others.
Its second commonplace, to which even those resort who concede the right of the judgement of taste to pronounce with validity for every one, is: there is no disputing about taste. This amounts to saying that, even though the determining ground of a judgement of taste be objective, it is not reducible to definite concepts, so that in respect of the judgement itself no decision can be reached by proofs, although it is quite open to us to contend upon the matter, and to contend with right. For though contention and dispute have this point in common, that they aim at bringing judgements into accordance out of and by means of their mutual opposition; yet they differ in the latter hoping to effect this from definite concepts, as grounds of proof, and, consequently, adopting objective concepts as grounds of the judgement. But where this is considered impracticable, dispute is regarded as alike out of the question.
Between these two commonplaces an intermediate proposition is readily seen to be missing. It is one which has certainly not become proverbial, but yet it is at the back of every one’s mind. It is that there may be contention about taste (although not a dispute). This proposition, however, involves the contrary of the first one. For in a manner in which contention is to be allowed, there must be a hope of coming to terms. Hence one must be able to reckon on grounds of judgement that possess more than private validity and are thus not merely subjective. And yet the above principle (every one has his own taste) is directly opposed to this.
The principle of taste, therefore, exhibits the following antinomy:
1. Thesis. The judgement of taste is not based upon concepts; for, if it were, it would be open to dispute (decision by means of proofs).
2. Antithesis. The judgement of taste is based on concepts; for otherwise, despite diversity of judgement, there could be no room even for contention in the matter (a claim to the necessary agreement of others with this judgement).
There is no possibility of removing the conflict of the above principles, which underlie every judgement of taste (and which are only the two peculiarities of the judgement of taste previously set out in the Analytic) except by showing that the concept to which the object is to refer in a judgement of this kind is not taken in the same sense in both maxims of the aesthetic judgement; that this double sense, or point of view, in our estimate, is necessary for our power of transcendental judgement; and that nevertheless the false appearance arising from the confusion of one with the other is a natural illusion, and so unavoidable.
The judgement of taste must have reference to some concept or other, as otherwise it would be absolutely impossible for it to lay claim to necessary validity for every one. Yet it need not on that account be provable from a concept. For a concept may be either determinable, or else at once intrinsically undetermined and indeterminable. A concept of the understanding, which is determinable by means of predicates borrowed from sensible intuition and capable of corresponding to it, is of the first kind. But of the second kind is the transcendental rational concept of the supersensible, which lies at the basis of all that sensible intuition and is, therefore, incapable of being further determined theoretically.
Now the judgement of taste applies to objects of sense, but not so as to determine a concept of them for the understanding; for it is not a cognitive judgement. Hence it is a singular representation of intuition referable to the feeling of pleasure, and, as such, only a private judgement. And to that extent it would be limited in its validity to the individual judging: the object is for me an object of delight, for others it may be otherwise; every one to his taste.
For all that, the judgement of taste contains beyond doubt an enlarged reference on the part of the representation of the object (and at the same time on the part of the subject also), which lays the foundation of an extension of judgements of this kind to necessity for every one. This must of necessity be founded upon some concept or other, but such a concept as does not admit of being determined by intuition, and affords no knowledge of anything. Hence, too, it is a concept which does not afford proof of the judgement of taste. But the mere pure rational concept of the supersensible lying at the basis of the object (and of the judging subject for that matter) as object of sense, and thus as phenomenon, is just such a concept. For unless such a point of view were adopted there would be no means of saving the claim of the judgement of taste to universal validity. And if the concept forming the required basis were a concept of understanding, though a mere confused one, as, let us say, of perfection, answering to which the sensible intuition of the beautiful might be adduced, then it would be at least intrinsically possible to found the judgement of taste upon proofs, which contradicts the thesis.
All contradiction disappears, however, if I say: The judgement of taste does depend upon a concept (of a general ground of the subjective finality of nature for the power of judgement), but one from which nothing can be cognized in respect of the object, and nothing proved, because it is in itself indeterminable and useless for knowledge. Yet, by means of this very concept, it acquires at the same time validity for every one (but with each individual, no doubt, as a singular judgement immediately accompanying his intuition): because its determining ground lies, perhaps, in the concept of what may be regarded as the supersensible substrate of humanity.
The solution of an antinomy turns solely on the possibility of two apparently conflicting propositions not being in fact contradictory, but rather being capable of consisting together, although the explanation of the possibility of their concept transcends our faculties of cognition. That this illusion is also natural and for human reason unavoidable, as well as why it is so, and remains so, although upon the solution of the apparent contradiction it no longer misleads us, may be made intelligible from the above considerations.
For the concept, which the universal validity of a judgement must have for its basis, is taken in the same sense in both the conflicting judgements, yet two opposite predicates are asserted of it. The thesis should therefore read: The judgement of taste is not based on determinate concepts; but the antithesis: The judgement of taste does rest upon a concept, although an indeterminate one (that, namely, of the supersensible substrate of phenomena); and then there would be no conflict between them.
Beyond removing this conflict between the claims and counter-claims of taste we can do nothing. To supply a determinate objective principle of taste in accordance with which its judgements might be derived, tested, and proved, is an absolute impossibility, for then it would not be a judgement of taste. The subjective principle-that is to say, the indeterminate idea of the supersensible within us — can only be indicated as the unique key to the riddle of this faculty, itself concealed from us in its sources; and there is no means of making it any more intelligible.
The antinomy here exhibited and resolved rests upon the proper concept of taste as a merely reflective aesthetic judgement, and the two seemingly conflicting principles are reconciled on the ground that they may both be true, and this is sufficient. If, on the other hand, owing to the fact that the representation lying at the basis of the judgement of taste is singular, the determining ground of taste is taken, as by some it is, to be agreeableness, or, as others, looking to its universal validity, would have it, the principle of perfection, and if the definition of taste is framed accordingly, the result is an antinomy which is absolutely irresolvable unless we show the falsity of both propositions as contraries (not as simple contradictories). This would force the conclusion that the concept upon which each is founded is self-contradictory. Thus it is evident that the removal of the antinomy of the aesthetic judgement pursues a course similar to that followed by the Critique in the solution of the antinomies of pure theoretical reason; and that the antinomies, both here and in the Critique of Practical Reason, compel us, whether we like it or not, to look beyond the horizon of the sensible, and to seek in the supersensible the point of union of all our faculties a priori: for we are left with no other expedient to bring reason into harmony with itself.
We find such frequent occasion in transcendental philosophy for distinguishing ideas from concepts of the understanding that it may be of use to introduce technical terms answering to the distinction between them. I think that no objection will be raised to my proposing some. Ideas, in the most comprehensive sense of the word, are representations referred to an object according to a certain principle (subjective or objective), in so far as they can still never become a cognition of it. They are either referred to an intuition, in accordance with a merely subjective principle of the harmony of the cognitive faculties (imagination and understanding), and are then called aesthetic; or else they are referred to a concept according to an objective principle and yet are incapable of ever furnishing a cognition of the object, and are called rational ideas. In the latter case, the concept is a transcendent concept, and, as such, differs from a concept of understanding, for which an adequately answering experience may always be supplied, and which, on that account, is called immanent.
An aesthetic 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), for which a commensurate intuition can never be given.
Now the aesthetic idea might, I think, be called an inexponible representation of the imagination, the rational idea, on the other hand, an indemonstrable concept of reason. The production of both is presupposed to be not altogether groundless, but rather (following the above explanation of an idea in general) to take place in obedience to certain principles of the cognitive faculties to which they belong (subjective principles in the case of the former and objective in that of the latter).
Concepts of the understanding must, as such, always be demonstrable (if, as in anatomy, demonstration is understood in the sense merely of presentation). In other words, the object answering to such concepts must always be capable of being given an intuition (pure or empirical); for only in this way can they become cognitions. The concept of magnitude may be given a priori in the intuition of space, e.g., of the right line, etc.; the concept of cause in impenetrability, in the impact of bodies, etc. Consequently both may be verified by means of an empirical intuition, i.e., the thought of them may be indicated (demonstrated, exhibited) in an example; and this it must be possible to do: for otherwise there would be no certainty of the thought not being empty, i.e., having no object.
In logic the expressions demonstrable or indemonstrable are ordinarily employed only in respect of propositions. A better designation would be to call the former propositions only mediately, and the latter, propositions immediately, certain. For pure philosophy, too, has propositions of both these kinds-meaning thereby true propositions which are in the one case capable, and in the other incapable, of proof. But, in its character of philosophy, while it can, no doubt, prove on a priori grounds, it cannot demonstrate-unless we wish to give the complete go-by to the meaning of the word which makes demonstrate (ostendere, exhibere) equivalent to giving an accompanying presentation of the concept in intuition (be it in a proof or in a definition). Where the intuition is a priori this is called its construction, but when even the intuition is empirical, we have still got the illustration of the object, by which means objective reality is assured to the concept. Thus an anatomist is said to demonstrate the human eye when he renders the concept, of which he has previously given a discursive exposition, intuitable by means of the dissection of that organ.
It follows from the above that the rational concept of the supersensible substrate of all phenomena generally, or even of that which must be laid at the basis of our elective will in respect of moral laws, i.e., the rational concept of transcendental freedom, is at once specifically an indemonstrable-concept, and a rational idea, whereas virtue is so in a measure. For nothing can be given which in itself qualitatively answers in experience to the rational concept of the former, while in the case of virtue no empirical product of the above causality attains the degree that the rational idea prescribes as the rule.
Just as the imagination, in the case of a rational idea, fails with its intuitions to attain to the given concept, so understanding, in the case of an aesthetic idea, fails with its concepts ever to attain to the completeness of the internal intuition which imagination conjoins with a given representation. Now since the reduction of a representation of the imagination to concepts is equivalent to giving its exponents, the aesthetic idea may be called on inexponible representation of the imagination (in its free play). I shall have an opportunity hereafter of dealing more fully with ideas of this kind. At present I confine myself to the remark, that both kinds of ideas, aesthetic ideas as well as rational, are bound to have their principles, and that the seat of these principles must in both cases be reason-the latter depending upon the objective, the former upon the subjective, principles of its employment.
Consonantly with this, GENIUS may also be defined as the faculty of aesthetic ideas. This serves at the same time to point out the reason why it is nature (the nature of the individual) and not a set purpose, that in products of genius gives the rule to art (as the production of the beautiful). For the beautiful must not be estimated according to concepts, but by the final mode in which the imagination is attuned so as to accord with the faculty of concepts generally; and so rule and precept are incapable of serving as the requisite subjective standard for that aesthetic and unconditioned finality in fine art which has to make a warranted claim to being bound to please every one. Rather must such a standard be sought in the element of mere nature in the subject, which cannot be comprehended under rules or concepts, that is to say, the supersensible substrate of all the subject’s faculties (unattainable by any concept of understanding), and consequently in that which forms the point of reference for the harmonious accord of all our faculties of cognition-the production of which accord is the ultimate end set by the intelligible basis of our nature. Thus alone is it possible for a subjective and yet universally valid principle a priori to lie at the basis of that finality for which no objective principle can be prescribed.
The following important observation here naturally presents itself: There are three kinds of antinomies of pure reason, which, however, all agree in forcing reason to abandon the otherwise very natural assumption which takes the objects of sense for things-in-themselves, and to regard them, instead, merely as phenomena, and to lay at their basis an intelligible substrate (something supersensible, the concept of which is only an idea and affords no proper knowledge). Apart from some such antinomy, reason could never bring itself to take such a step as-to adopt a principle so severely restricting the field of its speculation, and to submit to sacrifices involving the complete dissipation of so many otherwise brilliant hopes. For even now that it is recompensed for this loss by the prospect of a proportionately wider scope of action from a practical point of view, it is not without a pang of regret that it appears to part company with those hopes, and to break away from the old ties.
The reason for there being three kinds of antinomies is to be found in the fact that there are three faculties of cognition, understanding, judgement, and reason, each of which, being a higher faculty of cognition, must have its a priori principles. For, so far as reason passes judgement upon these principles themselves and their employment, it inexorably requires the unconditioned for the given conditioned in respect of them all. This can never be found unless the sensible, instead of being regarded as inherently appurtenant to things-in-themselves, is treated as a mere phenomenon, and, as such, being made to rest upon something supersensible (the intelligible substrate of external and internal nature) as the thing-in-itself. There is then (1) for the cognitive faculty an antinomy of reason in respect of the theoretical employment of understanding carried to the point of the unconditioned; (2) for the feeling of pleasure and displeasure an antinomy of reason in respect of the aesthetic employment of judgement; (3) for the faculty of desire an antinomy in respect of the practical employment of self-legislative reason. For all these faculties have their fundamental a priori principles, and, following an imperative demand of reason, must be able to judge and to determine their object unconditionally in accordance with these principles.
As to two of the antinomies of these higher cognitive faculties, those, namely, of their theoretical and of their practical employment, we have already shown elsewhere both that they are inevitable, if no cognisance is taken in such judgements of a supersensible substrate of the given objects as phenomena, and, on the other hand, that they can be solved the moment this is done. Now, as to the antinomy incident to the employment of judgement in conformity with the demand of reason, and the solution of it here given, we may say that to avoid facing it there are but the following alternatives. It is open to us to deny that any a priori principle lies at the basis of the aesthetic judgement of taste, with the result that all claim to the necessity of a universal consensus of opinion is an idle and empty delusion, and that a judgement of taste only deserves to be considered to this extent correct, that it so happens that a number share the same opinion, and even this, not, in truth, because an a priori principle is presumed to lie at the back of this agreement, but rather (as with the taste of the palate) because of the contingently resembling organization of the individuals. Or else, in the alternative, we should have to suppose that the judgement of taste is in fact a disguised judgement of reason on the perfection discovered in a thing and the reference of the manifold in it to an end, and that it is consequently only called aesthetic on account of the confusion that here besets our reflection, although fundamentally it is teleological. In this latter case the solution of the antinomy with the assistance of transcendental ideas might be declared otiose and nugatory, and the above laws of taste thus reconciled with the objects of sense, not as mere phenomena, but even as things-in-themselves. How unsatisfactory both of those alternatives alike are as a means of escape has been shown in several places in our exposition of judgements of taste.
If, however, our deduction is at least credited with having been worked out on correct lines, even though it may not have been sufficiently clear in all its details, three ideas then stand out in evidence. Firstly, there is the supersensible in general, without further determination, as substrate of nature; secondly, this same supersensible as principle of the subjective finality of nature for our cognitive faculties; thirdly, the same supersensible again, as principle of the ends of freedom, and principle of the common accord of these ends with freedom in the moral sphere.
The principle of taste may, to begin with, be placed on either of two footings. For taste may be said invariably to judge on empirical grounds of determination and such, therefore, as are only given a posteriori through sense, or else it may be allowed to judge on an a priori ground. The former would be the empiricism of the critique of taste, the latter its rationalism. The first would obliterate the distinction that marks off the object of our delight from the agreeable; the second, supposing the judgement rested upon determinate concepts, would obliterate its distinction from the good. In this way beauty would have its locus standi in the world completely denied, and nothing but the dignity of a separate name, betokening, maybe, a certain blend of both the above-named kinds of delight, would be left in its stead. But we have shown the existence of grounds of delight which are a priori, and which therefore, can consist with the principle of rationalism, and which are yet incapable of being grasped by definite concepts.
As against the above, we may say that the rationalism of the principle of taste may take the form either of the realism of finality or of its idealism. Now, as a judgement of taste is not a cognitive judgement, and as beauty is not a property of the object considered in its own account, the rationalism of the principle of taste can never be placed in the fact that the finality in this judgement is regarded in thought as objective. In other words, the judgement is not directed theoretically, nor, therefore, logically, either (no matter if only in a confused estimate), to the perfection of the object, but only aesthetically to the harmonizing of its representation in the imagination with the essential principles of judgement generally in the subject. For this reason the judgement of taste, and the distinction between its realism and its idealism, can only, even on the principle of rationalism, depend upon its subjective finality interpreted in one or other of two ways. Either such subjective finality is, in the first case, a harmony with our judgement pursued as an actual (intentional) end of nature (or of art), or else, in the second case, it is only a supervening final harmony with the needs of our faculty of judgement in its relation to nature and the forms which nature produces in accordance with particular laws, and one that is independent of an end, spontaneous and contingent.
The beautiful forms displayed in the organic world all plead eloquently on the side of the realism of the aesthetic finality of nature in support of the plausible assumption that beneath the production of the beautiful there must lie a preconceived idea in the producing cause-that is to say an end acting in the interest of our imagination. Flowers, blossoms, even the shapes of plants as a whole, the elegance of animal formations of all kinds, unnecessary for the discharge of any function on their part, but chosen as it were with an eye to our taste; and, beyond all else, the variety and harmony in the array of colours (in the pheasant, in crustacea, in insects, down even to the meanest flowers), so pleasing and charming to the eyes, but which, inasmuch as they touch the bare surface, and do not even here in any way all act the structure, of these creatures-a matter which might have a necessary bearing on their internal ends-seem to be planned entirely with a view to outward appearance: all these lend great weight to the mode of explanation which assumes actual ends of nature in favour of our aesthetic judgement.
On the other hand, not alone does reason, with its maxims enjoining upon us in all cases to avoid, as far as possible, any unnecessary multiplication of principles, set itself against this assumption, but we have nature in its free formations displaying on all sides extensive mechanical proclivity to producing forms seemingly made, as it were, for the aesthetic employment of our judgement, without affording the least support to the supposition of a need for anything over and above its mechanism, as mere nature, to enable them to be final for our judgement apart from their being grounded upon any idea. The above expression, “free formations” of nature, is, however, here used to denote such as are originally set up in a fluid at rest where the volatilization or separation of some constituent (sometimes merely of caloric) leaves the residue on solidification to assume a definite shape or structure (figure or texture) which differs with specific differences of the matter, but for the same matter is invariable. Here, however, it is taken for granted that, as the true meaning of a fluid requires, the matter in the fluid is completely dissolved and not a mere admixture of solid particles simply held there in suspension.
The formation, then, takes place by a concursion, i.e., by a sudden solidification — not by a gradual transition from the fluid to the solid state, but, as it were, by a leap. This transition is termed crystallization. Freezing water offers the most familiar instance of a formation of this kind. There the process begins by straight threads of ice forming. These unite at angles of 60”, whilst others similarly attach themselves to them at every point until the whole has turned into ice. But while this is going on, the water between the threads of ice does not keep getting gradually more viscous, but remains as thoroughly fluid as it would be at a much higher temperature, although it is perfectly ice-cold. The matter that frees itself that makes its sudden escape at the moment of solidification-is a considerable quantum of caloric. As this was merely required to preserve fluidity, its disappearance leaves the existing ice not a whit colder than the water which but a moment before was there as fluid.
There are many salts and also stones of a crystalline figure which owe their origin in like manner to some earthly substance being dissolved in water under the influence of agencies little understood. The drusy configurations of many minerals, of the cubical sulphide of lead, of the red silver ore, etc., are presumably also similarly formed in water, and by the concursion of their particles, on their being forced by some cause or other to relinquish this vehicle and to unite among themselves in definite external shapes.
But, further, all substances rendered fluid by heat, which have become solid as the result of cooling, give, when broken, internal evidences of a definite texture, thus suggesting the inference that only for the interference of their own weight or the disturbance of the air, the exterior would also have exhibited their proper specific shape. This has been observed in the case of some metals where the exterior of a molten mass has hardened, but the interior remained fluid, and then, owing to the withdrawal of the still fluid portion in the interior, there has been an undisturbed concursion of the remaining parts on the inside. A number of such mineral crystallizations, such as spars, hematite, aragonite, frequently present extremely beautiful shapes such as it might take art all its time to devise; and the halo in the grotto of Antiparos is merely the work of water percolating through strata of gypsum.
The fluid state is, to all appearance, on the whole older than the solid, and plants as well as animal bodies are built up out of fluid nutritive substance, so far as this takes form undisturbed-in the case of the latter, admittedly, in obedience, primarily, to a certain original bent of nature directed to ends (which, as will be shown in Part II, must not be judged aesthetically, but teleologically by the principle of realism); but still all the while, perhaps, also following the universal law of the affinity of substances in the way they shoot together and form in freedom. In the same way, again, where an atmosphere, which is a composite of different kinds of gas, is charged with watery fluids, and these separate from it owing to a reduction of the temperature, they produce snow-figures of shapes differing with the actual composition of the atmosphere. These are frequently of very artistic appearance and of extreme beauty. So without at all derogating from the teleological principle by which an organization is judged, it is readily conceivable how with beauty of flowers, of the plumage of birds, of crustacea, both as to their shape and their colour, we have only what may be ascribed to nature and its capacity for originating in free activity aesthetically final forms, independently of any particular guiding ends, according to chemical laws, by means of the chemical integration of the substance requisite for the organization.
But what shows plainly that the principle of the ideality of the finality in the beauty of nature is the one upon which we ourselves invariably take our stand in our aesthetic judgements, forbidding us to have recourse to any realism of a natural end in favour of our faculty of representation as a principle of explanation, is that in our general estimate of beauty we seek its standard a priori in ourselves, and, that the aesthetic faculty is itself legislative in respect of the judgement whether anything is beautiful or not. This could not be so on the assumption of a realism of the finality of nature; because in that case we should have to go to nature for instruction as to what we should deem beautiful, and the judgement of taste would be subject to empirical principles. For in such an estimate the question does not turn on what nature is, or even on what it is for us in the way of an end, but on how we receive it. For nature to have fashioned its forms for our delight would inevitably imply an objective finality on the part of nature, instead of a subjective finality resting on the play of imagination in its freedom, where it is we who receive nature with favour, and not nature that does us a favour. That nature affords us an opportunity for perceiving the inner finality in the relation of our mental powers engaged in the estimate of certain of its products, and, indeed, such a finality as arising from a supersensible basis is to be pronounced necessary and of universal validity, is a property of nature which cannot belong to it as its end, or rather, cannot be estimated by us to be such an end. For otherwise the judgement that would be determined by reference to such an end would found upon heteronomy, instead of founding upon autonomy and being free, as befits a judgement of taste.
The principle of the idealism of finality is still more clearly apparent in fine art. For the point that sensations do not enable us to adopt an aesthetic realism of finality (which would make art merely agreeable instead of beautiful) is one which it enjoys in common with beautiful nature. But the further point that the delight arising from aesthetic ideas must not be made dependent upon the successful attainment of determinate ends (as an art mechanically directed to results), and that, consequently, even in the case of the rationalism of the principle, an ideality of the ends and not their reality is fundamental, is brought home to us by the fact that fine art, as such, must not be regarded as a product of understanding and science, but of genius, and must, therefore, derive its rule from aesthetic ideas, which are essentially different from rational ideas of determinate ends.
Just as the ideality of objects of sense as phenomena is the only way of explaining the possibility of their forms admitting of a priori determination, so, also, the idealism of the finality in estimating the beautiful in nature and in art is the only hypothesis upon which a critique can explain the possibility of a judgement of taste that demands a priori validity for every one (yet without basing the finality represented in the object upon concepts).
Intuitions are always required to verify the reality of our concepts. If the concepts are empirical, the intuitions are called examples: if they are pure concepts of the understanding, the intuitions go by the name of schemata. But to call for a verification of the objective reality of rational concepts, i.e., of ideas, and, what is more, on behalf of the theoretical cognition of such a reality, is to demand an impossibility, because absolutely no intuition adequate to them can be given.
All hypotyposis (presentation, subjectio sub adspectum) as a rendering in terms of sense, is twofold. Either it is schematic, as where the intuition corresponding to a concept comprehended by the understanding is given a priori, or else it is symbolic, as where the concept is one which only reason can think, and to which no sensible intuition can be adequate. In the latter case the concept is supplied with an intuition such that the procedure of judgement in dealing with it is merely analogous to that which it observes in schematism. In other words, what agrees with the concept is merely the rule of this procedure, and not the intuition itself. Hence the agreement is merely in the form of reflection, and not in the content.
Notwithstanding the adoption of the word symbolic by modern logicians in a sense opposed to an intuitive mode of representation, it is a wrong use of the word and subversive of its true meaning; for the symbolic is only a mode of any intrinsic connection with the intuition of sentation is, in fact, divisible into the schematic and the symbolic. Both are hypotyposes, i.e., presentations (exhibitiones), not mere marks. Marks are merely designations of concepts by the aid of accompanying sensible signs devoid of any intrinsic connection with the intuition of the object. Their sole function is to afford a means of reinvoking the concepts according to the imagination’s law of association-a purely subjective role. Such marks are either words or visible (algebraic or even mimetic) signs, simply as expressions for concepts.25
25The intuitive mode of knowledge must be contrasted with the discursive mode (not with the symbolic). The former is either schematic, by mean demonstration, symbolic, as a representation following a mere analogy.
All intuitions by which a priori concepts are given a foothold are, therefore, either schemata or symbols. Schemata contain direct, symbols indirect, presentations of the concept. Schemata effect this presentation demonstratively, symbols by the aid of an analogy (for which recourse is had even to empirical intuitions), in which analogy judgement performs a double function: first in applying the concept to the object of a sensible intuition, and then, secondly, in applying the mere rule of its reflection upon that intuition to quite another object, of which the former is but the symbol. In this way, a monarchical state is represented as a living body when it is governed by constitutional laws, but as a mere machine (like a handmill) when it is governed by an individual absolute will; but in both cases the representation is merely symbolic. For there is certainly no likeness between a despotic state and a handmill, whereas there surely is between the rules of reflection upon both and their causality. Hitherto this function has been but little analysed, worthy as it is of a deeper study. Still this is not the place to dwell upon it. In language we have many such indirect presentations modelled upon an analogy enabling the expression in question to contain, not 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 (instead of to follow), substance (as Locke puts it: the support of accidents), and numberless others, are not schematic, but rather symbolic hypotyposes, and express concepts without employing a direct intuition for the purpose, but only drawing upon an analogy with one, i.e., transferring the reflection upon an object of intuition to quite a new concept, and one with which perhaps no intuition could ever directly correspond. Supposing the name of knowledge may be given to what only amounts to a mere mode of representation (which is quite permissible where this is not a principle of the theoretical determination of the object in respect of what it is in itself, but of the practical determination of what the idea of it ought to be for us and for its final employment), then all our knowledge of God is merely symbolic; and one who takes it, with the properties of understanding, will, and so forth, which only evidence their objective reality in beings of this world, to be schematic, falls into anthropomorphism, just as, if he abandons every intuitive element, he falls into Deism which furnishes no knowledge whatsoever-not even from a practical point of view.
Now, I say, the beautiful is the symbol of the morally good, and only in this light (a point of view natural to every one, and one which every one exacts from others as a duty) does it give us pleasure with an attendant claim to the agreement of every one else, whereupon the mind becomes conscious of a certain ennoblement and elevation above mere sensibility to pleasure from impressions of sense, and also appraises the worth of others on the score of a like maxim of their judgement. This is that intelligible to which taste, as noticed in the preceding paragraph, extends its view. It is, that is to say, what brings even our higher cognitive faculties into common accord, and is that apart from which sheer contradiction would arise between their nature and the claims put forward by taste. In this faculty, judgement does not find itself subjected to a heteronomy of laws of experience as it does in the empirical estimate of things-in respect of the objects of such a pure delight it gives the law to itself, just as reason does in respect of the faculty of desire. Here, too, both on account of this inner possibility in the subject, and on account of the external possibility of a nature harmonizing therewith, it finds a reference in itself to something in the subject itself and outside it, and which is not nature, nor yet freedom, but still is connected with the ground of the latter, i.e., the supersensible-a something in which the theoretical faculty gets bound up into unity with the practical in an intimate and obscure manner. We shall bring out a few points of this analogy, while taking care, at the same time, not to let the points of difference escape us.
(1) The beautiful pleases immediately (but only in reflective intuition, not, like morality, in its concept). (2) It pleases apart from all interest (pleasure in the morally good is no doubt necessarily bound up with an interest, but not with one of the kind that are antecedent to the judgement upon the delight, but with one that judgement itself for the first time calls into existence). (3) The freedom of the imagination (consequently of our faculty in respect of its sensibility) is, in estimating the beautiful, represented as in accord with the understanding’s conformity to law (in moral judgements the freedom of the will is thought as the harmony of the latter with itself according to universal laws of Reason). (4) The subjective principles of the estimate of the beautiful is represented as universal, i.e., valid for every man, but as incognizable by means of any universal concept (the objective principle of morality is set forth as also universal, i.e., for all individuals, and, at the same time, for all actions of the same individual, and, besides, as cognizable by means of a universal concept). For this reason the moral judgement not alone admits of definite constitutive principles, but is only possible by adopting these principles and their universality as the ground of its maxims.
Even common understanding is wont to pay regard to this analogy; and we frequently apply to beautiful objects of nature or of art names that seem to rely upon the basis of a moral estimate. We call buildings or trees majestic and stately, or plains laughing and gay; even colours are called innocent, modest, soft, because they excite sensations containing something analogous to the consciousness of the state of mind produced by moral judgements. Taste makes, as it were, the transition from the charm of sense to habitual moral interest possible without too violent a leap, for it represents the imagination, even in its freedom, as amenable to a final determination for understanding, and teaches us to find, even in sensuous objects, a free delight apart from any charm of sense.
The division of a critique into elementology and methodology-a division which is introductory to science-is one inapplicable to the critique of taste. For there neither is, nor can be, a science of the beautiful, and the judgement of taste is not determinable by principles. For, as to the element of science in every art — a matter which turns upon truth in the presentation of the object of the art-while this is, no doubt, the indispensable condition (conditio sine qua non) of fine art, it is not itself fine art. Fine art, therefore, has only got a manner (modus), and not a method of teaching (methodus). The master must illustrate what the pupil is to achieve and how achievement is to be attained, and the proper function of the universal rules to which he ultimately reduces his treatment is rather that of supplying a convenient text for recalling its chief moments to the pupil’s mind, than of prescribing them to him. Yet, in all this, due regard must be paid to a certain ideal which art must keep in view, even though complete success ever eludes its happiest efforts. Only by exciting the pupil’s imagination to conformity with a given concept, by pointing out how the expression falls short of the idea to which, as aesthetic, the concept itself fails to attain, and by means of severe criticism, is it possible to prevent his promptly looking upon the examples set before him as the prototypes of excellence, and as models for him to imitate, without submission to any higher standard or to his own critical judgement. This would result in genius being stifled, and, with it, also the freedom of the imagination in its very conformity to law-a freedom without which a fine art is not possible, nor even as much as a correct taste of one’s own for estimating it.
The propaedeutic to all fine art, so far as the highest degree of its perfection is what is in view, appears to lie, not in precepts, but in the culture of the mental powers produced by a sound preparatory education in what are called the humaniora-so called, presumably, because humanity signifies, on the one hand, the universal feeling of sympathy, and, on the other, the faculty of being able to communicate universally one’s inmost self-properties constituting in conjunction the befitting social spirit of mankind, in contradistinction to the narrow life of the lower animals. There was an age and there were nations in which the active impulse towards a social life regulated by laws-what converts a people into a permanent community-grappled with the huge difficulties presented by the trying problem of bringing freedom (and therefore equality also) into union with constraining force (more that of respect and dutiful submission than of fear). And such must have been the age, and such the nation, that first discovered the art of reciprocal communication of ideas between the more cultured and ruder sections of the community, and how to bridge the difference between the amplitude and refinement of the former and the natural simplicity and originality of the latter-in this way hitting upon that mean between higher culture and the modest worth of nature, that forms for taste also, as a sense common to all mankind, that true standard which no universal rules can supply.
Hardly will a later age dispense with those models. For nature will ever recede farther into the background, so that eventually, with no permanent example retained from the past, a future age would scarce be in a position to form a concept of the happy union, in one and the same people, of the law-directed constraint belonging to the highest culture, with the force and truth of a free nature sensible of its proper worth.
However, taste is, in the ultimate analysis, a critical faculty that judges of the rendering of moral ideas in terms of sense (through the intervention of a certain analogy in our reflection on both); and it is this rendering also, and the increased sensibility, founded upon it, for the feeling which these ideas evoke (termed moral sense), that are the origin of that pleasure which taste declares valid for mankind in general and not merely for the private feeling of each individual. This makes it clear that the true propaedeutic for laying the foundations of taste is the development of moral ideas and the culture of the moral feeling. For only when sensibility is brought into harmony with moral feeling can genuine taste assume a definite unchangeable form.
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