Kant’s Critical Aesthetics
558 St. Johns Place
Brooklyn, NY 11238
Art was anything but peripheral to Kant’s philosophical project. In judging a thing to be beautiful, Kant maintained, we bridge “the great gulf” of nature and human freedom, and prepare ourselves to “love something, even nature, without interest”—that is, exercise moral judgment. Immensely influential in its time, the so-called “third Critique” inspired and gave energy to both German Idealism, which attempted to provide a rational and holistic account of the unity of all of things, and German Romanticism, which emphasized loss, longing and the fragmentary.
In this class, students will read the “Critique of the Aesthetic Power of Judgment” in its entirety. Among the questions we’ll explore include: Can aesthetic judgments be considered objective? How do they differ from other value-judgments, like mere judgments of taste or moral judgments? What is artistic genius? What does our capacity to appreciate beauty and the sublime say about the nature of being human and our place in the world? What if anything is the relationship between beauty and moral goodness? Finally, to what extent do Kant’s foundational ideas still inform contemporary understandings of our relationship to nature and art?
Course ScheduleWednesday, 6:30-9:30pm
February 28 — March 21, 2018