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his feeling must in itself already involve an interest for us (which, how-
ever, one is not justified in inferring from the constitution of a merely
reflective power of judgment), then one would be able to explain how it
is that the feeling in the judgment of taste is required of everyone as if it
were a duty [ gleichsam als Pflicht jedermann zugemutet werde]. (v, 296)

Here is how I understand this passage: by itself, the ˜˜merely reflective™™
use of the power of judgment, namely the use in which the play of
imagination and understanding does not lead to a concept, would not
suffice to explain why we demand of everyone, as if it were a duty, that
they share our pleasure in the object we judge to be beautiful. Something
else is needed in order to explain this demand, something that would
make the sensus communis not only a Gemeinsinn (a common sense) but a
gemeinschaftlicher Sinn: a sense by virtue of which we take ourselves to
belong to a community of judging subjects. This something else is an
interest which we take not in the object of the judgment (that possibility
ANALYTIC OF THE BEAUTIFUL 289

has been excluded in the course of the first moment), but in the very fact
of the universal communicability of the judgment, that is to say in the
very fact that through this shared judgment we progress toward a com-
munity of judging subjects.
Indeed in the next two sections Kant sets about explaining successively
(1) that there is an empirical interest attached to the judgment of taste,
that of developing sociability in ourselves; and (2) that there is an ˜˜intel-
lectual™™ interest (an interest we have insofar as we are rational) in
recognizing in nature and in ourselves the sensible sign of a common
supersensible ground. In recognizing this supersensible ground, it is our
own moral nature that we also recognize, and this makes the ˜˜ought™™ in
˜˜all judging subjects ought to agree with my judgment™™ closer to a moral
˜˜ought™™ than to the obligation assigned to cognitive subjects, to yield to the
norms of truth in empirical judgments.
There is a caveat here. Only the beautiful in nature can give rise to
such an intellectual interest. For only judgments about nature serve the
interest of morality by pointing to the supersensible ground common to
nature and to us. As for the beautiful in art, at most it serves the interest
we have in the development of our natural tendency toward sociability,
which is an empirical interest, grounded in the empirical characteristics
of humanity as a natural species (v, 296“7). Does this mean that only
judgments of beauty in nature have the modality of necessity Kant tries
to justify in his deduction of judgments of taste? This would be sur-
prising, for all the examples Kant gives to illustrate the demand of a
universal agreement with our judgments of taste concern the beautiful
in art (see xx32“3, v, 281“5). How are we to understand this apparent
inconsistency? I think there are two answers.
The first can be found in the relation between sensus communis and
Aufkla ¨rung. Kant emphatically endorses the three mottos he attributes to
Aufkla ¨rung (Enlightenment): to think for oneself, to think by putting one-
self in the position of all other human beings, to think always consistently
(see v, 294). Now, the universal communicability of judgments of taste,
whether they apply to nature or to art, makes them uniquely apt to satisfy
the first two maxims of the Aufkla ¨rung. And in their case, the third maxim is
irrelevant: any singular aesthetic judgment carries its own exemplary norm
and thus is in no need of ˜˜consistency™™ with other judgments. In short, in
the case of aesthetic judgments the mere possibility of universal com-
municability of a feeling becomes the normative necessity of a duty to
create the conditions of such universal communicability. And this applies
to our experience of beauty in art just as much as in nature.
THE CRITICAL SYSTEM
290

The second answer lies in Kant™s conception of genius as a state of mind
in which ˜˜nature gives the rule to art™™ (v, 307). Relating artistic creation to
genius defined in this way means giving judgments of taste applied to
works of art their full share in the relation to the supersensible which is the
ground of the subjective universality and necessity of aesthetic judgments
applied to nature. This point is confirmed in the dialectic of the critique of
taste, where Kant describes genius as the ˜˜faculty of aesthetic ideas™™ (v,
344). An aesthetic idea, he says, is a sensible presentation of the super-
sensible, of which we neither have nor can have any determinate concept.
Despite Kant™s very Rousseauian suspicion of art and its relation to the
ends of self-love, it remains that the beautiful in art, insofar as art is the
creation of genius, lends itself to the same demand for the universal and
necessary agreement of all judging subjects, as the beautiful in nature.
Now we may well find that this is too much. To have to suppose a
consciousness of the supersensible ground common to the object and to
ourselves, as the ground of the subjective universality and necessity of
the aesthetic judgment, is more than most of us can swallow. However,
Kant™s analysis of the two judgments present in the judgment of taste “
the manifest judgment about the object, the implicit judgment about the
judging subjects “ may lend itself to a lighter reading. One might accept
the striking combination of a normative judgment about the judging
subjects (expressed in the predicate of the judgment of taste as I have
proposed to develop it) and a descriptive judgement about the object
considered in its form (expressed in the manifest judgment of taste, ˜˜this
X is beautiful™™), while rejecting Kant™s appeal to the supersensible as the
ultimate ground of the judgments of taste. One would then no longer
have any reason to grant any privileged status to the beautiful in nature
over the beautiful in art, since the main reason for that privilege seems to
be that nature, not human artefact, is a direct manifestation of the
supersensible that grounds aesthetic experience. In accounting for the
specific features of aesthetic experience and judgment of taste one may
still maintain that the mere possibility of universally sharing aesthetic
pleasure becomes a normative necessity, an obligation made to all
human beings to take their part in the common effort to constitute
humanity as a community of judging subjects, beyond the particular
limitations of each historically and biographically determined sensing,
feeling, emotional access to the world of sensory objects. This is, I think,
the lasting legacy of Kant™s view.
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INDEX OF CITATIONS




Critique of pure reason B113: 196
A90/B123: 37
Bviii: 98
A111: 216“19
Bxii: 61
B128: 23, 191, 192, 201
Bxiii: 61
n. 23, 202
B5: 149

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