Thinking Art pp 111-135 | Cite as

Aesthetic Judgment: The Legacy of Kant

In the preceding chapters we have been introduced to four classical theories of art. In spite of their mutual differences these theories nevertheless have one characteristic in common. They tell us how we should consider or define art. Time and again they assume that the own point of view reveals the essence of art in an unproblematic way. The theories give us a decisive answer to the fundamental question “what, actually, is art?”. This also explains why they are so exclusive. They identify art respectively with “imitation”, “expression”, and “form” and/or “a synthesis of form and expression”, without leaving any room for nuance or ambiguity. The theories previously discussed can also be considered as providing us with a well-defined norm art should meet. These theories thus have very specific normative implications. We have already seen how each of these theories has served certain artists as a guideline in their artistic quest, but their normative implications, however, reach much further. On close inspection, these theories offer us different criteria for judging individual works of art. In this respect, they are relevant for the critical appraisal of artworks, especially within art criticism.


Moral Judgment Sense Impression Aesthetic Experience Categorical Imperative Aesthetic Judgment 
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Further Reading

Good and concise introductions to Kant are:

  1. Stephan Körner, Kant, New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1982 (Originally published by Penguin Books in 1955).Google Scholar
  2. Karl Ameriks, Interpreting Kant's critiques, Oxford: Clarendon; Oxford/New York: Oxford University Press, 2003.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

For a translation of Kant's third critique, see:

  1. Immanuel Kant, Critique of judgement, translated and introduced by John Henry Bernard, New York/London, Haffner Press, 1951.Google Scholar
  2. Recent edition of this translation: Mineola, NY: Dover Publications, 2005.Google Scholar

For another quite recent and good translation, see;

  1. Immanuel Kant, Critique of the power of judgement, translated/edited by Paul Guyer and Eric Matthews, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000.Google Scholar

For a translations of Kant's first two critiques:

  1. Immanuel kant, Critique of pure reason, translated/edited by Paul Guyer and Alan W. Wood, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997.Google Scholar
  2. Immanuel Kant, Practical philosophy, translated/edited by Mary Gregor, with an introduction by Alan W. Wood, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996. (Includes the Groundwork, Critique of practical reason and “What is Enlightenment?”)Google Scholar

On Kant's third critique and the unique introduction to the third critique by Kant:

  1. Immanuel Kant, First introduction to the critique of judgment, translated by James Haden, Indianapolis, IN: Bobbs-Merrill, 1965.Google Scholar
  2. Sarah L. Gibbons, Kant's theory of imagination, Oxford: Clarendon Press; New York: Oxford University Press, 1994.Google Scholar
  3. Douglas Burnham, An introduction to Kant's critique of judgement, Edinburgh: Edinburgh Press, 2000.Google Scholar
  4. Henry E. Allison, Kant's theory of taste: a reading of the “Critique of aesthetic judgement”, Cambridge/New York: Cambridge University Press, 2001.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. John R. Goodreau, The role of the sublime in Kant's moral metaphysics, Washington, DC: Council in Values and Philosophy, 1998.Google Scholar

Specific on Kant and aesthetics:

  1. Theodore E. Uehling, The notion of form in Kant's critique of aesthetic judgement, The Hague: Mouton, 1971.Google Scholar
  2. Donald W. Crawford, Kant's aesthetic theory, Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin, 1974.Google Scholar
  3. Eva Schaper, Studies in Kant's aesthetics, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1979.Google Scholar
  4. Ted Cohen and Paul Guyer (eds.), Essays in Kant's aesthetics, Chicago, IL: Chicago University Press, 1982.Google Scholar
  5. Kenneth F. Rogerson, Kant's aesthetics: the role of forms and expression, Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1986.Google Scholar
  6. Mary A. McCloskey, Kant's aesthetics, Basingstoke: Macmillan Press; Albany, NY: State of New York Press, 1987.Google Scholar
  7. Thierry de Duve, Kant after Duchamp, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1996.Google Scholar
  8. Salim Kemal, Kant's aesthetic theory: an introduction, New York: St. Martin's Press, 1997 (Originally published by Macmillan Press in 1952).Google Scholar
  9. Paul Guyer, Kant and the claims of taste, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997 (Originally published by Harvard University Press, 1979.Google Scholar
  10. Herman Parret (ed.), Kant's Ästhetik/Kant's aesthetics/L'esthétique de Kant, Berlin: in Walter De Gruyter, 1998.Google Scholar
  11. Rodolphe Gasché, The idea of form: rethinking Kant's aesthetics, Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2003.Google Scholar

On Kant and the sublime:

  1. Paul Crowther, The Kantian sublime: from morality to art, Oxford: Clarendon Press; New York: in Oxford University Press, 1989.Google Scholar
  2. Jean François Lyotard, Lessons on the analytic of the sublime: Kant's critique of judgement, Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1994.Google Scholar

For objections to Kant see:

  1. Martin Heidegger, Kant and the problem of metaphysics, translated by James S. Churchill and a foreword by Thomas Langan, Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1962.Google Scholar
  2. Nelson Goodman, Languages of art, Indianapolis, IN: Bobbs-Merrill, 1968 (especially p.242 and further).Google Scholar
  3. Richard Wollheim, Art and its objects, Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 1980 (especially section 22 and 23).Google Scholar
  4. Pierre Bourdieu, Distinction: a social critique of the judgement of taste, translated by Richard Nice, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1984.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

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