The Critique of Judgement, by Immanuel Kant


§ 60.

Of the method of Taste

The division of a Critique into Elementology and Methodology, as preparatory to science, is not applicable to the Critique of taste, because there neither is nor can be a science of the Beautiful, and the judgement of taste is not determinable by means of principles. As for the scientific element in every art, which regards truth in the presentation of its Object, this is indeed the indispensable condition (conditio sine qua non) of beautiful art, but not beautiful art itself. There is therefore for beautiful art only a manner (modus), not a method of teaching (methodus). The master must show what the pupil is to do and how he is to do it; and the universal rules, under which at last he brings his procedure, serve rather for bringing the main points back to his remembrance when occasion requires, than for prescribing them to him. Nevertheless regard must be had here to a certain ideal, which art must have before its eyes, although it cannot be completely attained in practice. It is only through exciting the Imagination of the pupil to accordance with a given concept, by making him note the inadequacy of the expression for the Idea, to which the concept itself does not attain because it is an aesthetical Idea, and by severe criticism, that he can be prevented from taking the examples set before him as types and models for imitation, to be subjected to no higher standard or independent judgement. It is thus that genius, and with it the freedom of the Imagination, is stifled by its very conformity to law; and without these no beautiful art, and not even an accurately judging individual taste, is possible.

The propaedeutic to all beautiful art, regarded in the highest degree of its perfection, seems to lie, not in precepts, but in the culture of the mental powers by means of those elements of knowledge called humaniora, probably because humanity on the one side indicates the universal feeling of sympathy, and on the other the faculty of being able to communicate universally our inmost [feelings]. For these properties taken together constitute the characteristic social spirit1 of humanity by which it is distinguished from the limitations of animal life. The age and peoples, in which the impulse towards a law-abiding social life, by which a people becomes a permanent community, contended with the great difficulties presented by the difficult problem of uniting freedom (and therefore equality also) with compulsion (rather of respect and submission from a sense of duty than of fear)— such an age and such a people naturally first found out the art of reciprocal communication of Ideas between the cultivated and uncultivated classes and thus discovered how to harmonise the large-mindedness and refinement of the former with the natural simplicity and originality of the latter. In this way they first found that mean between the higher culture and simple nature which furnishes that true standard for taste as a sense common to all men which no universal rules can supply.

With difficulty will a later age dispense with those models, because it will be always farther from nature; and in fine, without having permanent examples before it, a concept will hardly be possible, in one and the same people, of the happy union of the law-abiding constraint of the highest culture with the force and truth of free nature which feels its own proper worth.

Now taste is at bottom a faculty for judging of the sensible illustration of moral Ideas (by means of a certain analogy involved in our reflection upon both these); and it is from this faculty also and from the greater susceptibility grounded thereon for the feeling arising from the latter (called moral feeling), that the pleasure is derived which taste regards as valid for mankind in general and not merely for the private feeling of each. Hence it appears plain that the true propaedeutic for the foundation of taste is the development of moral Ideas and the culture of the moral feeling; because it is only when sensibility is brought into agreement with this that genuine taste can assume a definite invariable form.

1 [I read Geselligkeit with Rosenkranz and Windelband; Hartenstein and Kirchmann have Gluckseligkeit.]

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