Critique of Judgment

Part One, “The Critique of Aesthetic Judgment,” which includes “The Analytic of the Beautiful” and “The Analytic of the Sublime.” Translated by James Creed Meredith (1911), with alterations. A note on this translation can be found here.

Immanuel Kant





First Moment of a Judgment of Taste, As To Its Quality

§ 1. The judgment of taste is aesthetic.

If we wish to discern whether something is beautiful or not, we do not relate the representation of it to its object by means of rational understanding. Instead, we relate the representation though imagination (acting perhaps in conjunction with reason) to the subject and its feeling of pleasure or displeasure. The judgment of taste, therefore, is not a cognitive judgment, is 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 within itself and in 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. In the experience of delight 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. 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 judgment may be empirical (and therefore aesthetic); but the judgment which is pronounced by their means is logical, provided it refers them to the object. Conversely, even though the given representations were rational, the judgment itself would be aesthetic if it related solely to the subject (to its feeling).

§ 2. The delight which determines the judgment of taste is independent of all interest.

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 like that Iroquois chief who said that nothing in Paris pleased him more than the restaurants. I may even go a step further and inveigh with the vigor of a Rousseau against the vigor of a great against the vanity of the 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 judgment on the beautiful which is tinged with the slightest interest, is very partial and not a pure judgment 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 disinterested* delight which appears in the judgment 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.

*A judgment 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 judgments. But, of themselves judgments 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.

§ 3. Delight in the agreeable is coupled with interest.

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 judgment, 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 color 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 judgment 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 judgment 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 judgment 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 judgment.

§ 4. Delight in the good is coupled with interest.

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 be 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.*

*An 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.

§ 5. Comparison of the three specifically different kinds of delight.

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 judgment of taste is simply contemplative, i.e., it is a judgment 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 judgment of taste is not a cognitive judgment (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 judgment 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 honor, 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.

Definition of the Beautiful derived from the First Moment:

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.


Second Moment of Judgment of Taste, As To Its Quantity.


§ 6. The beautiful is that which, apart from concepts, is represented as the Object of a universal delight.

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 judgment 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 judgment, 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 judgment of taste). The result is that the judgment 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.

§ 7. Comparison of the beautiful with the agreeable and the good by means of the above characteristic.

As regards the agreeable, every one concedes that his judgment, 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 color is to one soft and lovely, to another dull and faded. One man likes the tone of wind instruments, another prefers that of strings. To quarrel over such points with the idea of condemning another’s judgment as incorrect when it differs from our own, as if the opposition between the two judgments 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, be 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 judgment 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 judgment 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 judgment of taste upon the beautiful deals or claims to deal in. It is a judgment in respect of sociability so far as resting on empirical rules. In respect of the good, it is true that judgments 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.

§ 8. In a judgment of taste the universality of delight is only represented as subjective.

This particular form of the universality of an aesthetic judgment, which is to be met in a judgment 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 judgment 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 judgment 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 judgment of taste, which is what is invariably done in the judgment 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 judgments merely private, the second, on the other hand, judgments ostensibly of general validity (public), but both alike being aesthetic (not practical) judgments 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 judgment (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 judgments), 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 judgment (upon the beautiful), can (as it actually does) find it possible for all that to formulate judgments capable of demanding this agreement in its universality. Such agreement it does in fact require from every one for each of its judgments of taste the persons who pass these judgments 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 judgment, 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 judgment, provided we add objective universal validity, to distinguish it from the merely subjective validity which is always aesthetic.)

Now a judgment that has objective universal validity has always got the subjective also, i.e., if the judgment 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 judgments of that kind have no bearing upon the object. But for this very reason the aesthetic universality attributed to a judgment 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 judgments of taste are singular judgments. For, since I must present the object immediately to my feeling of pleasure or displeasure, and that, too, without the aid of concepts, such judgments cannot have the quantity of judgments with objective general validity. Yet by taking the singular representation of the object of the judgment of taste, and by comparison converting it into a concept according to the conditions determining that judgment, we can arrive at a logically universal judgment. For instance, by a judgment of the taste I describe the rose at which I am looking as beautiful. The judgment, 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 judgment, but as a logical judgment founded on one that is aesthetic. Now the judgment, “The rose is agreeable” (to smell) is also, no doubt, an aesthetic and singular judgment, but then it is not one of taste but of sense. For it has this point of difference from a judgment 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 judgment upon the agreeable. It is only judgments 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 judgment 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 judgment 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 judgment capable of being at the same time deemed valid for everyone. The judgment of taste itself does not postulate the agreement of everyone (for it is only competent for a logically universal judgment 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 judgment of taste is, in fact, judging in conformity with that idea; but that this idea is what is contemplated in his judgment, and that, consequently, it is meant to be a judgment 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 be 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 judgment of taste.

§ 9. Investigation of the question of the relative priority in a judgment of taste of the feeling of pleasure and the estimating of the object.

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 judgment 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 judgment 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 judgment 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 judgment 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 judgment 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 judgments are possible a priori.

At present we are exercised with the lesser question of the way in which we become conscious, in a judgment 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 judgment 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 judgment dealt with in the Critique of Pure Reason). But, then, in that case the judgment would not be laid down with respect to pleasure and displeasure, and so would not be a judgment of taste. But, now, the judgment 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 judgment 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).

Definition of the Beautiful drawn from the Second Moment:

The beautiful is that which pleases universally without a concept.


Third Moment of Judgments of Taste: Moment of the relation of Purposes Brought under Review in Such Judgments.

§ 10. Purposiveness in general.

Let us define the meaning of “a purpose” in transcendental terms (i.e., without presupposing anything empirical, such as the feeling of pleasure). A purpose 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 purposiveness (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 a purpose. 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 a purpose, 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 a purpose, be called purposive 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 purposes, i.e., a will that would have so ordained it according to a certain represented rule. Purposiveness, therefore, may exist apart from a purpose, 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 purposiveness of form, and trace it in objects — though by reflection only — without basing it on a purpose (as the material of the nexus finalis).

§ 11. The sole foundation of the judgment of taste is the form of purposiveness of an object (or mode of representing it).

Whenever an end is regarded as a source of delight, it always imports an interest as determining ground of the judgment on the object of pleasure. Hence the judgment 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 purposive connection, determine the judgment of taste, and, consequently, neither can any concept of the good. For the judgment of taste is an aesthetic and not a cognitive judgment, 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 judgment of taste pronounced valid for every one; hence an agreeableness attending the representation is just as incapable of containing the determining ground of the judgment as the representation of the perfection of the object or the concept of the good. We are thus left with the subjective purposiveness in the representation of an object, exclusive of any end (objective or subjective) — consequently the bare form of purposiveness 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 judgment of taste.

§ 12. The judgment of taste rests upon a priori grounds.

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 judgments 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 judgment it is practical, The consciousness of mere formal purposiveness 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 purposive) in respect of cognition generally, but without being limited to a definite cognition, and consequently a mere form of the subjective purposiveness of a representation in an aesthetic judgment. This pleasure is also in no way practical, neither resembling that form 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.

§ 13. The pure judgment of taste is independent of charm and emotion.

Every interest vitiates the judgment of taste and robs it of its impartiality. This is especially so where, instead of, like the interest of reason, making purposiveness take the lead of the lead of the feeling of pleasure, it grounds it upon this feeling — which is what always happens in aesthetic judgments upon anything so far as it gratifies or pains. Hence judgments 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 judgment 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 purposiveness of form, is a pure judgment of taste.

§ 14. Exemplification.

Aesthetic, just like theoretical (logical) judgments, 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 judgments of sense (material aesthetic judgments), the latter (as formal) alone judgments of taste proper.

A judgment 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 judgment 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 color, 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 color 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 color, 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 color 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 color or tone, if any, it represents). For this reason, all simple colors are regarded as beautiful so far as pure. Composite colors 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 judgment 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 colors 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 honor.

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 colors, 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 judgment of taste. To say that the purity alike of colors 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 judgment of taste has, then, for its determining ground neither charm nor emotion, in a word, no sensation as matter of the aesthetic judgment.

§ 15. The judgment of taste is entirely independent of the concept of perfection.

Objective purposiveness 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 purposiveness, i.e., a purposiveness apart from an end, is wholly independent of the representation of the good. For the latter presupposes an objective purposiveness, i.e., the reference of the object to a definite end.

Objective purposiveness 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 judgment upon beauty. But in an objective, internal purposiveness, 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 purposiveness we always require the concept of an end, and, where such purposiveness 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 purposiveness 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 purposiveness. For since abstraction is made from this unity as end (what the thing is to be), nothing is left but the subjective purposiveness of the representations in the mind of the subject intuiting. This gives a certain purposiveness 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 purposiveness 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 judgment of taste is an aesthetic judgment, 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 purposiveness, involves no thought whatsoever of a perfection of the object, as a would — be formal purposiveness 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 judgment of taste would be just as much a cognitive judgment as one by which something is described as good — just as the man in the street, when be says that deceit is wrong, bases his judgment 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 judgment is quite unique, and affords absolutely no (not even a confused) knowledge of the object. It is only through a logical judgment that we get knowledge. The aesthetic judgment, 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 judgment 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 band, confused concepts, and the objective judgment 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 judgments) its role in the judgment of taste, as an aesthetic judgment, its role there is not that of a faculty for cognizing an object, but of a faculty for determining that judgment 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 judgment is possible according to a universal rule.

§ 16. A judgment of taste by which an object is described as beautiful, under the condition of a definite concept, is not pure.

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 purposiveness, as something to which the arrangement of the manifold is related — underlies this judgment. Many birds (the parrot, the hummingbird, the bird of paradise), and a number of crustaceans, 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 à la grecque, foliage for framework or on wallpapers, 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 judgment 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 purity of the judgment 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.

Maori facial tattooing (moko). This 1774 Sidney Parkinson engraving may be the very picture that prompted Kant’s remark about the New Zealanders.

Much might be added to a building that would immediately please the eye, were it not intended to be 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 who 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 judgment of taste in respect of the latter delight is made dependent upon the end involved in the former delight as a judgment of reason, and is thus placed under a restriction, then it is no longer a free and pure judgment 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 judgment 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 judgment. But in cases like this, although such a person should lay down a correct judgment 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 judgment of taste, the latter one that is applied intentionally.*

*My own analytical examination of competing interpretations of Kant’s notion of free and dependent beauty can be found here. —D.D.

§ 17. The ideal of beauty.

There can be no objective rule of taste by which what is beautiful may be defined by means of concepts. For every judgment 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.* 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?

*Models 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 purposiveness. Hence it cannot belong to the object of an altogether pure judgment 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 purposiveness 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 purposiveness 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 color, 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.*

*It 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 purposiveness 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 purposiveness — 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 judgment of taste.

Definition of the Beautiful Derived from the Third Moment.

Beauty is the form of purposiveness of an object, so far as perceived apart from the object’s purpose.*

*As 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 purposiveness, 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 purposiveness in its perception, which, in our estimate of it, is not referred to any end whatever.


Fourth Moment of the Judgment of Taste, as to the Modality of the Delight in the Object.

§ 18. Nature of the modality in a judgment of taste.

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 judgment, it can only be termed exemplary. In other words it is a necessity of the assent of all to a judgment regarded as exemplifying a universal rule incapable of formulation. Since an aesthetic judgment is not an objective or cognitive judgment, 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 judgments about the beauty of a certain object). For, apart from the fact that experience would hardly furnish evidences sufficiently numerous for this purpose, empirical judgments do not afford any foundation for a concept of the necessity of these judgments.

§ 19. The subjective necessity attributed to a judgment of taste is conditioned.

The judgment 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 judgments, therefore, despite an accordance with all the requisite data for passing judgment, 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.

§ 20. The condition of the necessity advanced by a judgment of taste is the idea of a common sense.

Were judgments of taste (like cognitive judgments) in possession of a definite objective principle, then one who in his judgment 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 judgment of the latter is not one by feeling, but always one by concepts, though usually only in the shape of obscurely represented principles.

The judgment 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 judgment of taste.

§ 21. Have we reason for presupposing a common sense?

Cognitions and judgments 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.

§ 22. The necessity of the universal assent that is thought in a judgment of taste, is a subjective necessity which, under the presupposition of a common sense, is represented as objective.

In all judgments 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 judgment 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 judgments containing an “ought.” The assertion is not that every one will fall in with our judgment, but rather that every one ought to agree with it. Here I put forward my judgment of taste as an example of the judgment 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 judgment that accords with it, as well as the delight in an object expressed in that judgment, 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 judgments 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 judgment 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 judgment 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.

Definition of the Beautiful drawn from the Fourth Moment.

The beautiful is that which, apart from a concept, is cognized as object of a necessary delight.

General Remark on the First Section of the Analytic.

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 judgment 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 judgment 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 purposiveness apart from an end) and with the specific character of a judgment 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 purposiveness 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 lopsided, 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 judgment 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 purposive 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 purposive 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 band 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.



Analytic of the Sublime.

§ 23. Transition from the faculty of estimating the beautiful to that of estimating the sublime.

The beautiful and the sublime agree on the point of pleasing on their own account. Further they agree in not presupposing either a judgment 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 judgments 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 purposiveness in its form making the object appear, as it were, preadapted to our power of judgment, 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 judgment, 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-purposive 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 purposiveness.

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 purposiveness relative to the employment of judgment 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 purposive in nature itself, but only in the possible employment of our intuitions of it in inducing a feeling in our own selves of a purposiveness 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 purposiveness of nature, and makes the theory of the sublime a mere appendage to the aesthetic estimate of the purposiveness of nature, because it does not give a representation of any particular form in nature, but involves no more than the development of a purposive employment by the imagination of its own representation.

§ 24. Subdivision of an investigation of the feeling of the sublime.

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 judgments of taste. For, the judgment being one of the aesthetic reflective judgment, 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 purposiveness, 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 judgment 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 judgment on the sublime — a divergence of method the reason for which is evident from § 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 purposive (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 purposiveness 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.



§ 25. Definition of the term “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 judgment, or have its source in one, and must introduce as basis of the judgment a subjective purposiveness of the representation with reference to the power of judgment. 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 judgment is none the less one to universal agreement; the judgments: “that man is beautiful” and “He is tall", do not purport to speak only for the judging subject, but, like theoretical judgments, they demand the assent of everyone.

Now in a judgment 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 judgment, 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 judgment 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 purposiveness 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 judgment finds itself set to a key that is an end 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 judgment upon its representation, which is subjectively purposive 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 judgment 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 judgment 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 judgment, 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.

§ 26. The estimation of the magnitude of natural things requisite for the idea of the sublime.

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 judgment 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 purposiveness for our judgment in the estimation of magnitude — but confine myself to the remark that if the aesthetic judgment is to be pure (unmixed with any teleological judgment which, as such, belongs to reason), and if we are to give a suitable example of it for the critique of aesthetic judgment, 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 judgment 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 judgment of understanding or reason.

Since whatever is to be a source of pleasure, apart from interest, to the merely reflective judgment must involve in its representation subjective, and, as such, universally valid purposiveness — though here, however, no purposiveness 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 purposiveness, 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 purposive according to the concept of an end (as all measurement is), but it is hot anything which for the aesthetic judgment is purposive or pleasing. Further, in this intentional purposiveness 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 judgment 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 judgment 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.

§ 27. Quality of the delight in our estimate of the sublime.

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 judgment 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 purposive, 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 judgment 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 judgment 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 purposiveness 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-puposive, but objectively, is requisite for the estimation of magnitude, and is consequently purposive. Here the very same violence that is wrought on the subject through the imagination is estimated as purposive 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 purposive — 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 purposive 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 purposiveness in our faculty of imagination, is still represented as purposive for ideas of reason and their animation. But in this very way the aesthetic judgment itself is subjectively purposive 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.



§ 28. Nature as Might.

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 judgment 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 judgment, 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 judgment 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 judgment 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 judgment. But observation of men proves the reverse, and that it may be the foundation of the commonest judgments, 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 judgment 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 judgment 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 judgment 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 honor. 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.

§ 29. Modality of the judgment on the sublime in nature.

Beautiful nature contains countless things as to which we at once take every one as in their judgment 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 judgment 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 judgment, but also of the faculties of cognition which lie at its basis, seems to be requisite to enable us to lay down a judgment 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 decent, and, for the most part, intelligent, Savoyard peasant, (as Herr von Sassure relates), unhesitatingly called anyone who loves snowy mountains a fool. 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 judgment 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 judgments 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 judgment 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 judgment 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 judgment also.

In this modality of aesthetic judgments, namely, their assumed necessity, lies what is for the Critique of judgment 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 judgment itself, in the class of judgments of which the basis of an a priori principle is the distinguishing feature, and, thus distinguished, to introduce them into transcendental philosophy.

General Remark upon the Exposition of Aesthetic Reflective Judgments.

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 permits also of being understood and reduced to concepts (although in the aesthetic judgment it is not reduced), and it cultivates, as it instructs us to attend to, purposiveness 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 judgment. Further, it is not ascribed to nature but to freedom, and that in a determinant and not a merely reflective judgment. 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 judgment 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 judgments 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 purposive on behalf of the contemplative understanding, in the other case in so far as, in their opposition to sensibility, they are, on the contrary, purposive in reference to the ends of practical reason. Both, however, as united in the same subject, are purposive 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 purposiveness 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 purposive.

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 judgment 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 purposive 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 judgment (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 judgment 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 purposive, 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 judgment there must be no question of anything but pure aesthetic judgments. Consequently examples are not to be selected from such beautiful, or sublime objects as presuppose the concept of an end. For then the purposiveness 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 judgment 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 judgments. 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 judgment, 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 judgment (in such case no longer pure), although it is certainly also a also a necessary condition of aesthetic delight that they should not conflict. With these ends. Aesthetic purposiveness is the conformity to law of judgment 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 judgment, it is then conformable to law, no doubt, but not an act of free judgment.

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 purposiveness 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 affection* 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.

*There 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 honor 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 purposiveness (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 Islam. 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 purposiveness) 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 judgments, 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 reclusiveness, 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 are

The transcendental exposition of aesthetic judgments 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 judgment 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 judgments 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 judgment 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 judgment of taste, where we appraise it as a judgment 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 judgments of taste, inasmuch as they require delight to be taken as immediately connected with a representation. Accordingly, though the empirical exposition of aesthetic judgments 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 judgment upon the judgments of others and pass sentence of commendation or condemnation upon them, with even the least semblance of authority.

The remaining part of the analytic of the aesthetic judgment contains first of all the:


Deduction of Pure Aesthetic Judgments.

§ 30. The deduction of aesthetic judgments upon objects of nature must not be directed to what we call sublime in nature, but only to the beautiful.

The claim of an aesthetic judgment to universal validity for every subject, being a judgment which must rely on some a priori principle, stands in need of a deduction (i.e., a derivation of its title). Further, where the delight or aversion turns on the form of the object this has to be something over and above the exposition of the judgment. Such is the case with judgments of taste upon the beautiful in nature. For there the purposiveness has its foundation in the object and its outward form — although it does not signify the reference of this to other objects according to concepts (for the purpose of cognitive judgments), but is merely concerned in general with the apprehension of this form so far as it proves accordant in the mind with the faculty of concepts as well as with that of their presentation (which is identical with that of apprehension). With regard to the beautiful in nature, therefore, we may start a number of questions touching the cause of this purposiveness of their forms e.g., How we are to explain why nature has scattered beauty abroad with so lavish a hand even in the depth of the ocean where it can but seldom be reached by the eye of man — for which this beauty alone is purposive?

But the sublime in nature — if we pass upon it a pure aesthetic judgment unmixed with concepts of perfection, as objective purposiveness, which would make the judgment teleological — may be regarded as completely wanting in form or figure, and none the less be looked upon as an object of pure delight, and indicate a subjective purposiveness of the given representation. So, now, the question suggests itself, whether in addition to the exposition of what is thought in an aesthetic judgment of this kind, we may be called upon to give a deduction of its claim to some (subjective) a priori principle.

This we may meet with the reply that the sublime in nature is improperly so-called, and that sublimity should, in strictness, be attributed merely to the attitude of thought, or, rather, to that which serves as basis for this in human nature. The apprehension of an object otherwise formless and in conflict with ends supplies the mere occasion for our coming to a consciousness of this basis; and the object is in this way put to a subjectively-purposive use, but it is not estimated as subjectively-purposive on its own account and because of its form. (It is, as it were, a species finalis accepta, non data.)* Consequently the exposition we gave of judgments upon the sublime in nature was at the same time their deduction. For, in our analysis of the reflection on the part of judgment in this case, we found that in such judgments there is a purposive relation of the cognitive faculties, which has to be laid a priori at the basis of the faculty of ends (the will), and which is therefore itself a priori a purpose. This, then, at once involves the deduction, i.e., the justification of the claim of such a judgment to universally necessary validity.

*“Purposive appearance as received, not as given.”

Hence we may confine our search to one for the deduction of judgments of taste, i.e., of judgments upon the beauty of things of nature, and this will satisfactorily dispose of the problem for the entire aesthetic faculty of judgment.

§ 31. Of the method of the deduction of judgments of taste.

The obligation to furnish a deduction, i.e., a guarantee of the legitimacy of judgments of a particular kind, only arises where the judgment lays claim to necessity. This is the case even where it requires subjective universality, i.e., the concurrence of every one, albeit the judgment is not a cognitive judgment, but only one of pleasure or displeasure in a given object, i.e., an assumption of a subjective purposiveness that has a thoroughgoing validity for every one, and which, since the judgment is one of taste, is not to be grounded upon any concept of the thing.

Now, in the latter case, we are not dealing with a judgment of cognition — neither with a theoretical one based on the concept of a nature in general, supplied by understanding, nor with a (pure) practical one based on the idea of freedom, as given a priori by reason — and so we are not called upon to justify a priori the validity of a judgment which represents either what a thing is, or that there is something which I ought to do in order to produce it. Consequently, if for judgment generally we demonstrate the universal validity of a singular judgment expressing the subjective purposiveness of an empirical representation of the form of an object, we shall do all that is needed to explain how it is possible that something can please in the mere formation of an estimate of it (without sensation or concept), and how, just as the estimate of an object for the sake of a cognition generally has universal rules, the delight of any one person may be pronounced as a rule for every other.

Now if this universal validity is not to be based on a collection of votes and interrogation of others as to what sort of sensations they experience, but is to rest, as it were, upon an, autonomy of the subject passing judgment on the feeling of pleasure (in the given representation), i.e., upon his own taste, and yet is also not to be derived from concepts; then it follows that such a judgment — and such the judgment of taste in fact is — has a double and also logical peculiarity. For, first, it has universal validity a priori, yet without having a logical universality according to concepts, but only the universality of a singular judgment. Secondly, it has a necessity (which must invariably rest upon a priori grounds), but one which depends upon no a priori proofs by the representation of which it would be competent to enforce the assent which the judgment of taste demands of every one.

The solution of these logical peculiarities, which distinguish a judgment of taste from all cognitive judgments, will of itself suffice for a deduction of this strange faculty, provided we abstract at the outset from all content of the judgment, viz., from the feeling of pleasure, and merely compare the aesthetic form with the form of objective judgments as prescribed by logic. We shall first try, with the help of examples, to illustrate and bring out these characteristic properties of taste.

§ 32. First peculiarity of the judgment of taste.

The judgment of taste determines its object in respect of delight (as a thing of beauty) with a claim to the agreement of every one, just as if it were objective.

To say, “This flower is beautiful" is tantamount to repeating its own proper claim to the delight of everyone. The agreeableness of its smell gives it no claim at all. One man revels in it, but it gives another a headache. Now what else are we to suppose from this than that its beauty is to be taken for a property of the flower itself which does not adapt itself to the diversity of heads and the individual senses of the multitude, but to which they must adapt themselves, if they are going to pass judgment upon it. And yet this is not the way the matter stands. For the judgment of taste consists precisely in a thing being called beautiful solely in respect of that quality in which it adapts itself to our mode of taking it in.

Besides, every judgment which is to show the taste of the individual, is required to be an independent judgment of the individual himself. There must be no need of groping about among other people’s judgments and getting previous instruction from their delight in or aversion to the same object. Consequently his judgment should be given out a priori, and not as an imitation relying on the general pleasure a thing gives as a matter of fact. One would think, however, that a judgment a priori must involve a concept of the object for the cognition of which it contains the principle. But the judgment of taste is not founded on concepts, and is in no way a cognition, but only an aesthetic judgment.

Hence it is that a youthful poet refuses to allow himself to be dissuaded from the conviction that his poem is beautiful, either by the judgment of the public or of his friends. And even if he lends them an ear, he does so not because he has now come to a different judgment, but because, though the whole public, at least so far as his work is concerned, should have false taste, he still, in his desire for recognition, finds good reason to accommodate himself to the popular error (even against his own judgment). It is only in aftertime, when his judgment has been sharpened by exercise, that of his own free will and accord he deserts his former judgments behaving in just the same way as with those of his judgments which depend wholly upon reason. Taste lays claim simply to autonomy. To make the judgments of others the determining ground of one’s own would be heteronomy.

The fact that we recommend the works of the ancients as models, and rightly too, and call their authors classical, as constituting sort of nobility among writers that leads the way and thereby gives laws to the people, seems to indicate a posteriori sources of taste and to contradict the autonomy of taste in each individual. But we might just as well say that the ancient mathematicians, who, to this day, are looked upon as the almost indispensable models of perfect thoroughness and elegance in synthetic methods, prove that reason also is on our part only imitative, and that it is incompetent with the deepest intuition to produce of itself rigorous proofs by means of the construction of concepts. There is no employment of our powers, no matter how free, not even of reason itself (which must create all its judgments from the common a priori source), which, if each individual had always to start afresh with the crude equipment of his natural state, would not get itself involved in blundering attempts, did not those of others tie before it as a warning. Not that predecessors make those who follow in their steps mere imitators, but by their methods they set others upon the track of seeking-in-themselves for the principles, and so of adopting their own, often better, course. Even in religion — where undoubtedly every one bas to derive his rule of conduct from himself, seeing that he himself remains responsible for it and, when he goes wrong, cannot shift the blame upon others as teachers or leaders — general precepts learned at the feet either of priests or philosophers, or even drawn from ones’ own resources, are never so efficacious as an example of virtue or holiness, which, historically portrayed, does not dispense with the autonomy of virtue drawn from the spontaneous and original idea of morality (a priori), or convert this into a mechanical process of imitation. Following which has reference to a precedent, and not imitation, is the proper expression for all influence which the products of an exemplary author may exert upon others and this means no more than going to the same sources for a creative work as those to which he went for his creations, and learning from one’s predecessor no more than the mode of availing oneself of such sources. Taste, just because its judgment cannot be determined by concepts or precepts, is among all faculties and talents the very one that stands most in need of examples of what has in the course of culture maintained itself longest in esteem. Thus it avoids an early lapse into crudity and a return to the rudeness of its earliest efforts.

§ 33. Second peculiarity of the judgment of taste.

Proofs are of no avail whatever for determining the judgment of taste, and in this connection matters stand just as they would were that judgment simply subjective.

If any one does not think a building, view, or poem beautiful, then, in the first place, he refuses, so far as his inmost conviction goes, to allow approval to be wrung from him by a hundred voices all lauding it to the skies. Of course he may affect to be pleased with it, so as not to be considered as wanting in taste. He may even begin to harbour doubts as to whether he has formed his taste upon an acquaintance with a sufficient number of objects of a particular kind (just as one who in the distance recognizes, as he believes, something as a wood which every one else regards as a town, becomes doubtful of the judgment of his own eyesight). But, for all that, he clearly perceives that the approval of others affords no valid proof, available for the estimate of beauty. He recognizes that others, perchance, may see and observe for him, and that what many have seen in one and the same way may, for the purpose of a theoretical, and therefore logical, judgment, serve as an adequate ground of proof for or albeit he believes he saw otherwise, but that what has pleased others can never serve him as the ground of an aesthetic judgment. The judgment of others, where unfavourable to ours, may, no doubt, rightly make us suspicious in respect of our own, but convince us that it is wrong it never can. Hence there is no empirical ground of proof that can coerce any one’s judgment of taste.

In the second place, a proof a priori according to definite rules is still less capable of determining the judgment as to beauty. If any one reads me his poem, or brings me to a play, which, all said and done, fails to commend itself to my taste, then let him adduce Batteux or Lessing, or still older and more famous critics of taste, with all the host of rules laid down by them, as a proof of the beauty of his poem; let certain passages particularly displeasing to me accord completely with the rules of beauty (as set out by these critics and universally recognized): I stop my ears, I do not want to hear any reasons or any arguing about the matter. I would prefer to suppose that those rules of the critics were at fault, or at least have no application, than to allow my judgment to be determined by a priori proofs. I take my stand on the ground that my judgment is to be one of taste, and not one of understanding or reason.

This would appear to be one of the chief reasons why this faculty of aesthetic judgment has been given the name of taste. For a man may recount to me all the ingredients of a dish, and observe of each and every one of them that it is just what I like, and, in addition, rightly commend the wholesomeness of the food; yet I am deaf to all these arguments. I try the dish with my own tongue and palate, and I pass judgment according to their verdict (not according to universal principles).

As a matter of fact, the judgment of taste is invariably laid down as a singular judgment upon the object. The understanding can, from the comparison of the object, in point of delight, with the judgments of others, form a universal judgment, e.g.: “All tulips are beautiful.” But that judgment is then not one of taste, but is a logical judgment which converts the reference of an object to our taste into a predicate belonging to things of a certain kind. But it is only the judgment whereby I regard an individual given tulip as beautiful, i.e., regard my delight in it as of universal validity, that is a judgment of taste. Its peculiarity, however, consists in the fact, that, although it has merely subjective validity, still it extends its claims to all subjects, as unreservedly as it would if it were an objective judgment, resting on grounds of cognition and capable of being proved to demonstration.

§ 34. An objective principle of taste is not possible.

A principle of taste would mean a fundamental premiss under the condition of which one might subsume the concept of an object, and then, by a syllogism, draw the inference that it is beautiful. That, however, is absolutely impossible. For I must feel the pleasure immediately in the representation of the object, and I cannot be talked into it by any grounds of proof. Thus although critics, as Hume says, are able to reason more plausibly than cooks, they must still share the same fate. For the determining ground of their judgment they are not able to look to the force of demonstrations, but only to the reflection of the subject upon his own state (of pleasure or displeasure), to the exclusion of precepts and rules.

There is, however, a matter upon which it is competent for critics to exercise their subtlety, and upon which they ought to do so, so long as it tends to the rectification and extension of our judgments of taste. But that matter is not one of exhibiting the determining ground of aesthetic judgments of this kind in a universally applicable formula — which is impossible. Rather is it the investigation of the faculties of cognition and their function in these judgments, and the illustration, by the analysis of examples, of their mutual subjective purposiveness, the form of which in a given representation has been shown above to constitute the beauty of their object. Hence with regard to the representation whereby an object is given, the critique of taste itself is only subjective; viz., it is the art or science of reducing the mutual relation of the understanding and the imagination in the given representation (without reference to antecedent sensation or concept), consequently their accordance or discordance, to rules, and of determining them with regard to their conditions. It is art if it only illustrates this by examples; it is science if it deduces the possibility of such an estimate from the nature of these faculties as faculties of knowledge — in general. It is only with the latter, as transcendental critique, that we have here any concern. Its proper scope is the development and justification of the subjective principle of taste, as an a priori principle of judgment. As an art, critique merely looks to the physiological (here psychological) and, consequently, empirical rules, according to which in actual fact taste proceeds (passing by the question of their possibility) and seeks to apply them in estimating its objects. The latter critique criticizes the products of fine art, just as the former does the faculty of estimating them.

§ 35. The principle of taste is the subjective principle of the general power of judgment.

The judgment of taste is differentiated from logical judgment by the fact that, whereas the latter subsumes a representation under a concept of the object, the judgment of taste does not subsume under a concept at all — for, if it did, necessary and universal approval would be capable of being enforced by proofs. And yet it does bear this resemblance to the logical judgment, that it asserts a universality and necessity, not, however, according to concepts of the object, but a universality and necessity that are, consequently, merely subjective. Now the concepts in a judgment constitute its content (what belongs to the cognition of the object). But the judgment of taste is not determinable by means of concepts. Hence it can only have its ground in the subjective formal condition of a judgment in general. The subjective condition of all judgments is the judging faculty itself, or judgment. Employed in respect of a representation whereby an object is given, this requires the harmonious accordance of two powers of representation. These are: the imagination (for the intuition and the arrangement of the manifold of intuition), and the understanding (for the concept as a representation of the unity of this arrangement). Now, since no concept of the object underlies the judgment here, it can consist only in the subsumption of the imagination itself (in the case of a representation whereby an object is given) under the conditions enabling the understanding in general to advance from the intuition to concepts. That is to say, since the freedom of the imagination consists precisely in the fact that it schematizes without a concept, the judgment of taste must found upon a mere sensation of the mutually quickening activity of the imagination in its freedom, and of the understanding with its conformity to law. It must therefore rest upon a feeling that allows the object to be estimated by the purposiveness of the representation (by which an object is given) for the furtherance of the cognitive faculties in their free play. Taste, then, as a subjective power of judgment, contains a principle of subsumption, not of intuitions under concepts, but of the faculty of intuitions or presentations, i.e., of the imagination, under the faculty of concepts, i.e., the understanding, so far as the former in its freedom accords with the latter in its conformity to law.

For the discovery of this title by means of a deduction of judgments of taste, we can only avail ourselves of the guidance of the formal peculiarities of judgments of this kind, and consequently the mere consideration of their logical form.

§ 36. The problem of a deduction of judgments of taste.

To form a cognitive judgment we may immediately connect with the perception of an object the concept of an object in general, the empirical predicates of which are contained in that perception. In this way, a judgment of experience is produced. Now this judgment rests on the foundation of a priori concepts of the synthetical unity of the manifold of intuition, enabling it to be thought as the determination of an object. These concepts (the categories) call for a deduction, and such was supplied in the Critique of Pure Reason. That deduction enabled us to solve the problem: How are synthetical a priori cognitive judgments possible? This problem had, accordingly, to do with the a priori principles of pure understanding and its theoretical judgments.

But we may also immediately connect with a perception a feeling of pleasure (or displeasure) and a delight, attending the representation of the object and serving it instead of a predicate. In this way there arises a judgment which is aesthetic and not cognitive. Now, if such a judgment is not merely one of sensation, but a formal judgment of reflection that exacts this delight from everyone as necessary, something must lie at its basis as its a priori principle. This principle may, indeed, be a mere subjective one (supposing an objective one should be impossible for judgments of this kind), but, even as such, it requires a deduction to make it intelligible how an aesthetic judgment can lay claim to necessity. That, now, is what lies at the bottom of the problem upon which we are at present engaged, i.e.: How are judgments of taste possible? This problem, therefore, is concerned with the a priori principles of pure judgment in aesthetic judgments, i.e., not those in which (as in theoretical judgments) it has merely to subsume under objective concepts of understanding, and in which it comes under a law, but rather those in which it is itself, subjectively, object as well as law.

We may also put the problem in this way: How a judgment possible which, going merely upon the individual’s own feeling of pleasure in an object independent of the concept of it, estimates this as a pleasure attached to the representation of the same object in every other individual, and does so a priori, i.e., without being allowed to wait and see if other people will be of the same mind?

It is easy to see that judgments of taste are synthetic, for they go beyond the concept and even the intuition of the object, and join as predicate to that intuition something which is not even a cognition at all, namely, the feeling of pleasure (or displeasure). But, although the predicate (the personal pleasure that is connected with the representation) is empirical, still we need not go further than what is involved in the expressions of their claim to see that, so far as concerns the agreement required of everyone, they are a priori judgments, or mean to pass for such. This problem of the critique of judgment, therefore, is part of the general problem of transcendental philosophy: How are synthetic a priori judgments possible?

§ 37. What exactly it is that is asserted a priori of an object in a judgment of taste.

The immediate synthesis of the representation of an object with pleasure can only be a matter of internal perception, and, were nothing more than this sought to be indicated, would only yield a mere empirical judgment. For with no representation can I

connect a determinate feeling (of pleasure or displeasure) except where I rely upon the basis of an a priori principle in reason determining the will. The truth is that the pleasure (in the moral feeling) is the consequence of the determination of the will by the principle. It cannot, therefore, be compared with the pleasure in taste. For it requires a determinate concept of a law: whereas the pleasure in taste has to be connected immediately with the sample estimate prior to any concept. For the same reason, also, all judgments of taste are singular judgments, for they unite their predicate of delight, not to a concept, but to a given singular empirical representation.

Hence, in a judgment of taste, what is represented a priori as a universal rule for the judgment and as valid for everyone, is not the pleasure but the universal validity of this pleasure perceived, as it is, to be combined in the mind with the mere estimate of an object. A judgment to the effect that it is with pleasure that I perceive and estimate some object is an empirical judgment. But if it asserts that I think the object beautiful, i.e., that I may attribute that delight to everyone as necessary, it is then an a priori judgment.

§ 38. Deduction of judgments of taste.

Admitting that in a pure judgment of taste the delight in the object is connected with the mere estimate of its form, then what we feel to be associated in the mind with the representation of the object is nothing else than its subjective purposiveness for judgment. Since, now, in respect of the formal rules of estimating, apart from all matter (whether sensation or concept), judgment can only be directed to the subjective conditions of its employment in general (which is not restricted to the particular mode of sense nor to a particular concept of the understanding), and so can only be directed to that subjective factor which we may presuppose in all men (as requisite for a possible experience generally), it follows that the accordance of a representation with these conditions of the judgment must admit of being assumed valid a priori for every one. In other words, we are warranted in exacting from every one the pleasure or subjective purposiveness of the representation in respect of the relation of the cognitive faculties engaged in the estimate of a sensible object in general*.

*In order to be justified in claiming universal agreement an aesthetic judgment merely resting on subjective grounds, it is sufficient to assume: (1) that the subjective conditions of this faculty of aesthetic judgment are identical with all men in what concerns the relation of the cognitive faculties, there brought into action, with a view to a cognition in general. This must be true, as otherwise men would be incapable of communicating their representations or even their knowledge; (2) that the judgment has paid regard merely to this relation (consequently merely to the formal condition of the faculty of judgment), and is pure, i.e., is free from confusion either with concepts of the object or sensations as determining grounds. If any mistake is made in this latter point, this only touches the incorrect application to a particular case of the right which a law gives us, and does not do away with the right generally.


What makes this deduction so easy is that it is spared the necessity of having to justify the objective reality of a concept. For beauty is not a concept of the object, and the judgment of taste is not a cognitive judgment. All that it holds out for is that we are justified in presupposing that the same subjective conditions of judgment which we find in ourselves are universally present in every man, and further that we have rightly subsumed the given object under these conditions. The latter, no doubt, has to face unavoidable difficulties which do not affect the logical judgment. (For there the subsumption is under concepts; whereas in the aesthetic judgment it is under a mere sensible relation of the imagination and understanding mutually harmonizing with one another in the represented form of the object, in which case the subsumption may easily prove fallacious.) But this in no way detracts from the legitimacy of the claim of the judgment to count upon universal agreement — a claim which amounts to no more than this: the correctness of the principle of judging validly for every one upon subjective grounds. For as to the difficulty and uncertainty concerning the correctness of the subsumption under that principle, it no more casts a doubt upon the legitimacy of the claim to this validity on the part of an aesthetic judgment generally, or, therefore, upon the principle itself, than the mistakes (though. not so often or easily incurred), to which the subsumption of the logical judgment under its principle is similarly liable, can render the latter principle, which is objective, open to doubt. But if the question were: How is it possible to assume a priori that nature is a complex of objects of taste? the problem would then have reference to teleology, because it would have to be regarded as an end of nature belonging essentially to its concept that it should exhibit forms that are a purpose for our judgment. But the correctness of this assumption may still be seriously questioned, while the actual existence of beauties of nature is patent to experience.

§ 39. The communicability of a sensation.

Sensation, as the real in perception, where referred to knowledge, is called organic sensation and its specific quality may be represented as completely communicable to others in a like mode, provided we assume that every one has a like sense to our own. This, however, is an absolutely inadmissible presupposition in the case of an organic sensation. Thus a person who is without a sense of smell cannot have a sensation of this kind communicated to him, and, even if be does not suffer from this deficiency, we still cannot be certain that he gets precisely the same sensation from a flower that we get from it. But still more divergent must we consider men to be in respect of the agreeableness or disagreeableness derived from the sensation of one and the same object of sense, and it is absolutely out of the question to require that pleasure in such objects should be acknowledged by every one. Pleasure of this kind, since it enters into the mind through sense — our role, therefore, being a passive one — may be called the pleasure of enjoyment.

On the other hand, delight in an action on the score of its moral character is not a pleasure of enjoyment, but one of self-asserting activity and in this coming up to the idea of what it is meant to be. But this feeling, which is called the moral feeling, requires concepts and is the presentation of a purposiveness, not free, but according to law. It, therefore, admits of communication only through the instrumentality of reason and, if the pleasure is to be of the same kind for everyone, by means of very determinate practical concepts of reason.

The pleasure in the sublime in nature, as one of rationalizing contemplation, lays claim also to universal participation, but still it presupposes another feeling, that, namely, of our supersensible sphere, which feeling, however obscure it may be, has a moral foundation. But there is absolutely no authority for my presupposing that others will pay attention to this and take a delight in beholding the uncouth dimensions of nature (one that in truth cannot be ascribed to its aspect, which is terrifying rather than otherwise). Nevertheless, having regard to the fact that attention ought to be paid upon every appropriate occasion to this moral birthright, we may still demand that delight from everyone; but we can do so only through the moral law, which, in its turn, rests upon concepts of reason.

The pleasure in the beautiful is, on the other hand, neither a pleasure of enjoyment nor of an activity according to law, nor yet one of a rationalizing contemplation according to ideas, but rather of mere reflection. Without any guiding-line of end or principle, this pleasure attends the ordinary apprehension of an object by means of the imagination, as the faculty of intuition, but with a reference to the understanding as faculty of concepts, and through the operation of a process of judgment which bas also to be invoked in order to obtain the commonest experience. In the latter case, however, its functions are directed to perceiving an empirical objective concept, whereas in the former (in the aesthetic mode of estimating) merely to perceiving the adequacy of the representation for engaging both faculties of knowledge in their freedom in an harmonious (subjectively purposive) employment, i.e., to feeling with pleasure the subjective bearings of the representation. This pleasure must of necessity depend for every one upon the same conditions, seeing that they are the subjective conditions of the possibility of a cognition in general, and the proportion of these cognitive faculties which is requisite for taste is requisite also for ordinary sound understanding, the presence of which we are entitled to presuppose in every one. And, for this reason also, one who judges with taste (provided he does not make a mistake as to this consciousness, and does not take the matter for the form, or charm for beauty) can impute the subjective purposiveness, i.e., his delight in the object, to everyone else and suppose his feeling universally communicable, and that, too, without the mediation of concepts.

§ 40. Taste as a kind of sensus communis.

The name of sense is often given to judgment where what attracts attention is not so much its reflective act as merely its result. So we speak of a sense of truth, of a sense of propriety, or of justice, etc. And yet, of course, we know, or at least ought well enough to know, that a sense cannot be the true abode of these concepts, not to speak of its being competent, even in the slightest degree, to pronounce universal rules. On the contrary, we recognize that a representation of this kind, be it of truth, propriety, beauty, or justice, could never enter our thoughts were we not able to raise ourselves above the level of the senses to that of higher faculties of cognition. Common human understanding which as mere sound (not yet cultivated) understanding, is looked upon as the least we can expect from any one claiming the name of man, has therefore the doubtful honor of having the name of common sense (sensus communis) bestowed upon it; and bestowed, too, in an acceptation of the word common (not merely in our own language, where it actually has a double meaning, but also in many others) which makes it amount to what is vulgar — what is everywhere to be met with — a quality which by no means confers credit or distinction upon its possessor.

However, by the name sensus communis is to be understood the idea of a public sense, i.e., a critical faculty which in its reflective act takes account (a priori) of the mode of representation of everyone else, in order, as it were, to weigh its judgment with the collective reason of mankind, and thereby avoid the illusion arising from subjective and personal conditions which could readily be taken for objective, an illusion that would exert a prejudicial influence upon its judgment. This is accomplished by weighing the judgment, not so much with actual, as rather with the merely possible, judgments of others, and by putting ourselves in the position of everyone else, as the result of a mere abstraction from the limitations which contingently affect our own estimate. This, in turn, is effected by so far as possible letting go the element of matter, i.e., sensation, in our general state of representative activity, and confining attention to the formal peculiarities of our representation or general state of representative activity. Now it may seem that this operation of reflection is too artificial to be attributed to the faculty which we call common sense. But this is an appearance due only to its expression in abstract formulae. In itself nothing is more natural than to abstract from charm and emotion where one is looking for a judgment intended to serve as a universal rule.

While the following maxims of common human understanding do not properly come in here as constituent parts of the critique of taste, they may still serve to elucidate its fundamental propositions. They are these: (I) to think for oneself; (2) to think from the standpoint of everyone else; (3) always to think consistently. The first is the maxim of unprejudiced thought, the second that of enlarged thought, the third that of consistent thought. The first is the maxim of a never-passive reason. To be given to such passivity, consequently to heteronomy of reason, is called prejudice; and the greatest of all prejudices is that of fancying nature not to be subject to rules which the understanding by virtue of its own essential laws lays at its basis, i.e., superstition. Emancipation from superstition is called enlightenment;* for although this term applies also to emancipation from prejudices generally, still superstition deserves pre-eminently (in sensu eminenti) to be called a prejudice. For the condition of blindness into which superstition puts one, which is as much as demands from one as an obligation, makes the need of being led by others, and consequently the passive state of the reason, pre-eminently conspicuous. As to the second maxim belonging to our habits of thought, we have quite got into the way of calling a man narrow (narrow, as opposed to being broad-minded) whose talents fall short of what is required for employment upon work of any magnitude (especially that involving intensity). But the question here is not one of the faculty of cognition, but of the mental habit treating everything in terms of a purpose. This, however small the range and degree to which man’s natural endowments extend, still indicates a man of enlarged mind: if he detaches himself from the subjective personal conditions of his judgment, which cramp the minds of so many others, and reflects upon his own judgment from a universal standpoint (which he can only determine by shifting his ground to the standpoint of others). The third maxim — that, namely, of consistent thought — is the hardest of attainment, and is only attainable by the union of both the former, and after constant attention to them has made one at home in their observance. We may say: the first of these is the maxim of understanding, the second that of judgment, the third of that reason.

*We readily see that enlightenment, while easy, no doubt, in thesi, in hypothesis is difficult and slow of realization. For not to be passive with one’s reason, but always to be self — legislative, is doubtless quite an easy matter for a man who only desires to be adapted to his essential end, and does not seek to know what is beyond his understanding. But as the tendency in the latter direction is hardly avoidable, and others are always coming and promising with full assurance that they are able to satisfy one’s curiosity, it must be very difficult to preserve or restore in the mind (and particularly in the public mind) that merely negative attitude (which constitutes enlightenment proper).

I resume the thread of the discussion interrupted by the above digression, and I say that taste can with more justice be called a sensus communis than can sound understanding; and that the aesthetic, rather than the intellectual, judgment can bear the name of a public sense,* i.e., taking it that we are prepared to use the word sense of an effect that mere reflection has upon the mind; for then by sense we mean the feeling of pleasure. We might even define taste as the faculty of estimating what makes our feeling in a given representation universally communicable without the mediation of a concept.

*Taste may be designated a sensus communis aestheticus, common human understanding a sensus communis logicus.

The aptitude of men for communicating their thoughts requires, also, a relation between the imagination and the understanding, in order to connect intuitions with concepts, and concepts, in turn, with intuitions, which both unite in cognition. But there the agreement of both mental powers is according to law, and under the constraint of definite concepts. Only when the imagination in its freedom stirs the understanding, and the understanding apart from concepts puts the imagination into regular play, does the representation communicate itself not as thought, but as an internal feeling of a purposive state of the mind.

Taste is, therefore, the faculty of forming an a priori estimate of the communicability of the feeling that, without the mediation of a concept, are connected with a given representation.

Supposing, now, that we could assume that the mere universal communicability of our feeling must of itself carry with it an interest for us (an assumption, however, which we are not entitled to draw as a conclusion from the character of a merely reflective judgment), we should then be in a position to explain how the feeling in the judgment of taste comes to be exacted from everyone as a sort of duty.

§ 41. The empirical interest in the beautiful.

Abundant proof bas been given above to show that the judgment of taste by which something is declared beautiful must have no interest as its determining ground. But it does not follow from this that, after it has once been posited as a pure aesthetic judgment, an interest cannot then enter into combination with it. This combination, however, can never be anything but indirect. Taste must, that is to say, first of all be represented in conjunction with something else, if the delight attending the mere reflection upon an object is to admit of having further conjoined with it a pleasure in the real existence of the object (as that wherein all interest consists). For the saying, a posse ad esse non valet consequentia,* which is applied to cognitive judgments, holds good here in the case of aesthetic judgments. Now this “something else” may be something empirical, such as an inclination proper to the nature of human beings, or it may be something intellectual, as a property of the will whereby it admits of rational determination a priori. Both of these involve a delight in the existence of the object, and so can lay the foundation for an interest in what has already pleased of itself and without regard to any interest whatsoever.

*“From possibility to actuality.”

The empirical interest in the beautiful exists only in society. And if we admit that the impulse to society is natural to mankind, and that the suitability for and the propensity towards it, i.e., sociability, is a property essential to the requirements of man as a creature intended for society, and one, therefore, that belongs to humanity, it is inevitable that we should also look upon taste in the light of a faculty for estimating whatever enables us to communicate even our feeling to every one else, and hence as a means of promoting that upon which the natural inclination of everyone is set.

With no one to take into account but himself, a man abandoned on a desert island would not adorn either himself or his hut, nor would he look for flowers, and still less plant them, with the object of providing himself with personal adornments. Only in society does it occur to him to be not merely a man, but a man refined after the manner of his kind (the beginning of civilization) — for that is the estimate formed of one who has the bent and turn for communicating his pleasure to others, and who is not quite satisfied with an object unless his feeling of delight in it can be shared in communion with others. Further, a regard to universal communicability is a thing which every one expects and requires from every one else, just as if it were part of an original compact dictated by humanity itself. And thus, no doubt, at first only charms, e.g., colors for painting oneself (roucou among the Caribs and cinnabar among the Iroquois), or flowers, sea-shells, beautifully colored feathers, then, in the course of time, also beautiful forms (as in canoes, wearing-apparel, etc.) which convey no gratification, i.e., delight of enjoyment, become of moment in society and attract a considerable interest. Eventually, when civilization has reached its height it makes this work of communication almost the main business of refined inclination, and the entire value of sensations is placed in the degree to which they permit of universal communication. At this stage, then, even where the pleasure which each one has in an object is but insignificant and possesses of itself no conspicuous interest, still the idea of its universal communicability almost indefinitely augments its value.

This interest, indirectly attached to the beautiful by the inclination towards society, and, consequently, empirical, is, however, of no importance for us here. For that to which we have alone to look is what can have a bearing a priori, even though indirect, upon the judgment of taste. For, if even in this form an associated interest should betray itself, taste would then reveal a transition on the part of our critical faculty. from the enjoyment of sense to the moral feeling. This would not merely mean that we should be supplied with a more effectual guide for the purposive employment of taste, but taste would further be presented as a link in the chain’ of the human faculties a priori upon which all legislation, depend. This much may certainly be said of the empirical interest in objects of taste, and in taste itself, that as taste thus pays homage to inclination, however refined, such interest will nevertheless readily fuse also with all inclinations and passions, which in society attain to their greatest variety and highest degree, and the interest in the beautiful, if this is made its ground, can but afford a very ambiguous transition from the agreeable to the good. We have reason, however, to inquire whether this transition may not still in some way be furthered by means of taste when taken in its purity.

§ 42. The intellectual interest in the beautiful.

It has been with the best intentions that those who love to see in the ultimate end of humanity, namely the morally good, the goal of all activities to which men are impelled by the inner bent of their nature, have regarded it as a mark of a good moral character to take an interest in the beautiful generally. But they have, not without reason, been contradicted, by others, who appeal to the fact of experience, that virtuosi in matters of taste being not alone often, but one might say as a general rule, vain, capricious, and addicted to injurious passions, could perhaps more rarely than others lay claim to any pre-eminent attachment to moral principles. And so it would seem, not only that the feeling for the beautiful is specifically different from the moral feeling (which as a matter of fact is the case), but also that the interest which we may combine with it will hardly consort with the moral, and certainly not on grounds of inner affinity.

Now I willingly admit that the interest in the beautiful of art (including under this heading the artificial use of natural beauties for personal adornment, and so from vanity) gives no evidence at all of a habit of mind attached to the morally good, or even inclined that way. But, on the other hand, I do maintain that to take an immediate interest in the beauty of nature (not merely to have taste in estimating it) is always a mark of a good soul; and that, where this interest is habitual, it is at least indicative of a temper of mind favourable to the moral feeling that it should readily associate itself with the contemplation of nature. It must, however, be borne in mind that I mean to refer strictly to the beautiful forms of nature, and to put to one side the charms which she is wont so lavishly to combine with them; because, though the interest in these is no doubt immediate, it is nevertheless empirical.

One who alone (and without any intention of communicating his observations to others) regards the beautiful form of a wild flower, a bird, an insect, or the like, out of admiration and love of them, and being loath to let them escape him in nature, even at the risk of some misadventure to himself — so far from there being any prospect of advantage to him — such a one takes an immediate, and in fact intellectual, interest in the beauty of nature. This means that he is not alone pleased with nature’s product in respect of its form, but is also pleased at its existence, and is so without any charm of sense having a share in the matter, or without his associating with it any end whatsoever.

In this connection, however, it is of note that were we to play a trick on our lover of the beautiful, and plant in the ground artificial flowers (which can be made so as to look just like natural ones), and perch artfully carved birds on the branches of trees, and he were to find out how he had been taken in, the immediate interest which these things previously had for him would at once vanish — though, perhaps, a different interest might intervene in its stead, that, namely, of vanity in decorating his room with them for the eyes of others. The fact is that our intuition and reflection must have as their concomitant the thought that the beauty in question is nature’s handiwork; and this is the sole basis of the immediate interest that is taken in it. Failing this, we are either left with a bare judgment of taste void of all interest whatever, or else only with one that is combined with an interest that is mediate, involving, namely, a reference to society; which latter affords no reliable indication of morally good habits of thought.

The superiority which natural beauty has over that of art, even where it is excelled by the latter in point of form, in yet being alone able to awaken an immediate interest, accords with the refined and well-grounded habits of thought of all men who have cultivated their moral feeling. If a man with taste enough to judge of works of fine art with the greatest correctness and refinement readily quits the room in which he meets with those beauties that minister to vanity or, at least, social joys, and betakes himself to the beautiful in nature, so that he may there find as it were a feast for his soul in a train of thought which he can never completely evolve, we will then regard this his choice even with veneration, and give him credit for a beautiful soul, to which no connoisseur or art collector can lay claim on the score of the interest which his objects have for him. Here, now, are two kinds of objects which in the judgment of mere taste could scarcely contend with one another for a superiority. What then, is the distinction that makes us hold them in such different esteem?

We have a faculty of judgment which is merely aesthetic — a faculty of judging of forms without the aid of concepts, and of finding, in the mere estimate of them, a delight that we at the same time make into a rule for every one, without this judgment being founded on an interest, or yet producing one. On the other hand, we have also a faculty of intellectual judgment for the mere forms of practical maxims (so far as they are of themselves qualified for universal legislation) — a faculty of determining an a priori delight, which we make into a law for everyone, without our judgment being founded on any interest, though here it produces one. The pleasure or displeasure in the former judgment is called that of taste; the latter is called that of the moral feeling.

But, now, reason is further interested in ideas (for which in our moral feeling it brings about an immediate interest), having also objective reality. That is to say, it is of interest to reason that nature should at least show a trace or give a hint that it contains in itself some ground or other for assuming a uniform accordance of its products with our wholly disinterested delight (a delight which we cognize a priori as a law for every one without being able to ground it upon proofs). That being so, reason must take an interest in every manifestation on the part of nature of some such accordance. Hence the mind cannot reflect on the beauty of nature without at the same time finding its interest engaged. But this interest is akin to the moral. One, then, who takes such an interest in the beautiful in nature can only do so in so far as he has previously set his interest deep in the foundations of the morally good. On these grounds we have reason for presuming the presence of at least the germ of a good moral disposition in the case of a man to whom the beauty of nature is a matter of immediate interest.

It will be said that this interpretation of aesthetic judgments on the basis of kinship with our moral feeling has far too studied an appearance to be accepted as the true construction of the cypher in which nature speaks to us figuratively in its beautiful forms. But, first of all, this immediate interest in the beauty of nature is not in fact common. It is peculiar to those whose habits of thought are already trained to the good or else are eminently susceptible of such training; and under the circumstances the analogy in which the pure judgment of taste that, without relying upon any interest, gives us a feeling of delight, and at the same time represents it a priori as proper to mankind in general, stands to the moral judgment that does just the same from concepts, is one which, without any clear, subtle, and deliberate reflection, conduces to a like immediate interest being taken in the objects of the former judgment as in those of the latter — with this one difference, that the interest in the first case is free, while in the latter it is one founded on objective laws. In addition to this, there is our admiration of Nature, which in her beautiful products displays herself as art, not as mere matter of chance, but, as it were, designedly, according to a law-directed arrangement, and as purposiveness apart from any end. As we never meet with such an end outside ourselves, we naturally look for it in ourselves, and, in fact, in that which constitutes the ultimate end of our existence — the moral side of our being. (The inquiry into the ground of the possibility of such a natural purposiveness will, however, first come under discussion in the Teleology.)

The fact that the delight in beautiful art does not, in the pure judgment of taste, involve an immediate interest, as does that in beautiful nature, may be readily explained. For the former is either such an imitation of the latter as goes the length of deceiving us, in which case it acts upon us in the character of a natural beauty, which we take it to be; or else it is an intentional art obviously directed to our delight. In the latter case, however, the delight in the product would, it is true, be brought about immediately by taste, but there would be nothing but a mediate interest in the cause that lay beneath — an interest, namely, in an art only capable of interesting by its end, and never in itself. It will, perhaps, be said that this is also the case where an object of nature only interests by its beauty so far as a moral idea is brought into partnership therewith. But it is not the object that is of immediate interest, but rather the inherent character of the beauty qualifying it for such a partnership — a character, therefore, that belongs to the very essence of beauty.

The charms in natural beauty, which are to be found blended, as it were, so frequently with beauty of form, belong either to the modifications of light (in coloring) or of sound (in tones). For these are the only sensations which permit not merely of a feeling of the senses, but also of reflection upon the form of these modifications of sense, and so embody as it were a language in which nature speaks to us and which has the semblance of a higher meaning. Thus the white color of the lily seems to dispose the mind to ideas of innocence, and the other seven colors, following the series from the red to the violet, similarly to ideas of (1) sublimity, (2) courage, (3) candour, (4) amiability, (5) modesty, (6) constancy, (7) tenderness. The bird’s song tells of joyousness and contentment with its existence. At least so we interpret nature — whether such be its purpose or not. But it is the indispensable requisite of the interest which we here take in beauty, that the beauty should be that of nature, and it vanishes completely as soon as we are conscious of having been deceived, and that it is only the work of art — so completely that even taste can then no longer find in it anything beautiful nor sight anything attractive. What do poets set more store on than the nightingale’s bewitching and beautiful note, in a lonely thicket on a still summer evening by the soft light of the moon? And yet we have instances of how, where no such songster was to be found, a jovial host has played a trick on the guests with him on a visit to enjoy the country air, and has done so to their huge satisfaction, by biding in a thicket a rogue of a youth who (with a reed or rush in his mouth) knew how to reproduce this note so as to hit off nature to perfection. But the instant one realizes that it is all a fraud no one will long endure listening to this song that before was regarded as so attractive. And it is just the same with the song of any other bird. It must be nature, or be mistaken by us for nature, to enable us to take an immediate interest in the beautiful as such; and this is all the more so if we can even call upon others to take a similar interest. And such a demand we do in fact make, since we regard as coarse and low the habits of thought of those who have no feeling for beautiful nature (for this is the word we use for susceptibility to an interest in the contemplation of beautiful nature), and who devote themselves to the mere enjoyments of sense found in eating and drinking.

§ 43. Art in general.

(1) Art is distinguished from nature as making (facere) is from acting or operating in general (agere), and the product or the result of the former is distinguished from that of the latter as work (opus) from operation (effectus).

By right it is only production through freedom, i.e., through an act of will that places reason at the basis of its action, that should be termed art. For, although we are pleased to call what bees produce (their regularly constituted cells) a work of art, we only do so on the strength of an analogy with art; that is to say, as soon as we call to mind that no rational deliberation forms the basis of their labour, we say at once that it is a product of their nature (of instinct), and it is only to their Creator that we ascribe it as art. If, as sometimes happens, in a search through a bog, we light on a piece of hewn wood, we do not say it is a product of nature but of art. Its producing cause had an end in view to which the object owes its form. Apart from such cases, we recognize an art in everything formed in such a way that its actuality must have been preceded by a representation of the thing in its cause (as even in the case of the bees), although the effect could not have been thought by the cause. But where anything is called absolutely a work of art, to distinguish it from a natural product, then some work of man is always understood.

(2) Art, as human skill, is distinguished also from science (as ability from knowledge), as a practical from a theoretical faculty, as technic from theory (as the art of surveying from geometry). For this reason, also, what one can do the moment one only knows what is to be done, hence without anything more than sufficient knowledge of the desired result, is not called art. To art that alone belongs which the possession of the most complete knowledge does not involve one’s having then and there the skill to do it. Camper, describes very exactly how the best shoe must be made, but he, doubtless, was not able to turn one out himself.*

*In my part of the country, if you set a common man a problem like that of Columbus and his egg, he says, “There is no art in that, it is only science”: i.e., you can do it if you know how; and he says just the same of all the would — be arts of jugglers. To that of the tight — rope dancer, on the other hand, he has not the least compunction in giving the name of art.

(3) Art is further distinguished from handicraft. The first is called free, the other may be called industrial art. We look on the former as something which could only prove purposive (be a success) as play, i.e., an occupation which is agreeable on its own account; but on the second as labour, i.e., a business, which on its own account is disagreeable (drudgery), and is only attractive by means of what it results in (e.g., the pay), and which is consequently capable of being a compulsory imposition. Whether in the list of arts and crafts we are to rank watchmakers as artists, and smiths on the contrary as craftsmen, requires a standpoint different from that here adopted — one, that is to say, taking account of the proposition of the talents which the business undertaken in either case must necessarily involve. Whether, also, among the so-called seven free arts some may not have been included which should be reckoned as sciences, and many, too, that resemble handicraft, is a matter I will not discuss here. It is not amiss, however, to remind the reader of this: that in all free arts something of a compulsory character is still required, or, as it is called, a mechanism, without which the soul, which in art must be free, and which alone gives life to the work, would be bodyless and evanescent (e.g., in the poetic art there must be correctness and wealth of language, likewise prosody and metre). For not a few leaders of a newer school believe that the best way to promote a free art is to sweep away all restraint and convert it from labour into mere play.

§ 44. Fine art

There is no science of the beautiful, but only a critique. Nor, again, is there an elegant (schöne) science, but only a fine (schöne) art. For a science of the beautiful would have to determine scientifically, i.e., by means of proofs, whether a thing was to be considered beautiful or not; and the judgment upon beauty, consequently, would, if belonging to science, fail to be a judgment of taste. As for a beautiful science — a science which, as such, is to be beautiful, is a nonentity. For if, treating it as a science, we were to ask for reasons and proofs, we would be put off with elegant phrases (bons mots). What has given rise to the current expression elegant sciences is, doubtless, no more than this, that common observation has, quite accurately, noted the fact that for fine art, in the fulness of its perfection, a large store of science is required, as, for example, knowledge of ancient languages, acquaintance with classical authors, history, antiquarian learning, etc. Hence these historical sciences, owing to the fact that they form the necessary preparation and groundwork for fine art, and partly also owing to the fact that they are taken to comprise even the knowledge of the products of fine art (rhetoric and poetry), have by a confusion of words, actually got the name of fine sciences.

Where art, merely seeking to actualize a possible object to the cognition of which it is adequate, does whatever acts are required for that purpose. then it is mechanical. But should the feeling of pleasure be what it has immediately in view, it is then termed aesthetic art. As such it may be either agreeable or fine art. The description “agreeable art” applies where the end of the art is that the pleasure should accompany the representations considered as mere sensations, the description “fine art” where it is to accompany them considered as modes of cognition.

Agreeable arts are those which have mere enjoyment for their object. Such are all the charms that can gratify a dinner party: entertaining narrative, the art of starting the whole table in unrestrained and sprightly conversation, or with jest and laughter inducing a certain air of gaiety. Here, as the saying goes, there may be much loose talk over the glasses, without a person wishing to be brought to book for all he utters, because it is only given out for the entertainment of the moment, and not as a lasting matter to be made the subject of reflection or repetition. (Of the same sort is also the art of arranging the table for enjoyment, or, at large banquets, the music of the orchestra — a quaint idea intended to act on the mind merely as an agreeable noise fostering a genial spirit, which, without any one paying the smallest attention to the composition, promotes the free flow of conversation between guest and guest.) In addition must be included play of every kind which is attended with no further interest than that of making the time pass by unheeded.

Fine art, on the other hand, is a mode of representation which is intrinsically purposive, and which, although devoid of an end, has the effect of advancing the culture of the mental powers in the interests of social communication.

The universal communicability of a pleasure involves in its very concept that the pleasure is not one of enjoyment arising out of mere sensation, but must be one of reflection. Hence aesthetic art, as art which is beautiful, is one having for its standard the reflective judgment and not organic sensation. § 45. Fine art is an art, so far as it has at the same time the appearance of being nature.

A product of fine art must be recognized to be art and not nature. Nevertheless the purposiveness in its form must appear just as free from the constraint of arbitrary rules as if it were a product of mere nature. Upon this feeling of freedom in the play of our cognitive faculties — which play has at the same time to be purposive rests that pleasure which alone is universally communicable without being based on concepts. Nature proved beautiful when it wore the appearance of art; and art can only be termed beautiful, where we are conscious of its being art, while yet it has the appearance of nature.

For, whether we are dealing with beauty of nature or beauty of art, we may make the universal statement: That is beautiful which pleases in the mere estimate of it (not in sensation or by means of a concept). Now art has always got a definite intention of producing something. Were this “something,” however, to be mere sensation (something merely subjective), intended to be accompanied with pleasure, then such product would, in our estimation of it, only please through the agency of the feeling of the senses. On the other hand, were the intention one directed to the production of a definite object, then, supposing this were attained by art, the object would only please by means of a concept. But in both cases the art would please, not in the mere estimate of it, i.e., not as fine art, but rather as mechanical art.

Hence the purposiveness in the product of fine art, intentional though it be, must not have the appearance of being intentional; i.e., fine art must be clothed with the aspect of nature, although we recognize it to be art. But the way in which a product of art seems like nature is by the presence of perfect exactness in the agreement with rules prescribing how alone the product can be what it is intended to be, but with an absence of laboured effect (without academic form betraying itself), i.e., without a trace appearing of the artist having always had the rule present to him and of its having fettered his mental powers.

§ 46. Fine art is the art of genius.

Genius is the talent (natural endowment) which gives the rule to art. Since talent, as an innate productive faculty of the artist, belongs itself to nature, we may put it this way: Genius is the innate mental aptitude (ingenium) through which nature gives the rule to art.

Whatever may be the merits of this definition, and whether it is merely arbitrary, or whether it is adequate or not to the concept usually associated with the word genius (a point which the following sections have to clear up), it may still be shown at the outset that, according to this acceptation of the word, fine arts must necessarily be regarded as arts of genius.

For every art presupposes rules which are laid down as the foundation which first enables a product, if it is to be called one of art, to be represented as possible. The concept of fine art, however, does not permit of the judgment upon the beauty of its product being derived from any rule that has a concept for its determining ground, and that depends, consequently, on a concept of the way in which the product is possible. Consequently fine art cannot of its own self excogitate the rule according to which it is to effectuate its product. But since, for all that, a product can never be called art unless there is a preceding rule, it follows that nature in the individual (and by virtue of the harmony of his faculties) must give the rule to art, i.e., fine art is only possible as a product of genius.

From this it may be seen that genius (1) is a talent for producing that for which no definite rule can be given, and not an aptitude in the way of cleverness for what can be learned according to some rule; and that consequently originality must be its primary property. (2) Since there may also be original nonsense, its products must at the same time be models, i.e., be exemplary; and, consequently, though not themselves derived from imitation, they must serve that purpose for others, i.e., as a standard or rule of estimating. (3) It cannot indicate scientifically how it brings about its product, but rather gives the rule as nature. Hence, where an author owes a product to his genius, he does not himself know how the ideas for it have entered into his head, nor has he it in his power to invent the like at pleasure, or methodically, and communicate the same to others in such precepts as would put them in a position to produce similar products. (Hence, presumably, our word Genie is derived from genius, as the peculiar guardian and guiding spirit given to a man at his birth, by the inspiration of which those original ideas were obtained.) (4) Nature prescribes the rule through genius not to science but to art, and this also only in so far as it is to be fine art.

§ 47. Elucidation and confirmation of the above explanation of genius.

Every one is agreed on the point of the complete opposition between genius and the spirit of imitation. Now since learning is nothing but imitation, the greatest ability, or aptness as a pupil (capacity), is still, as such, not equivalent to genius. Even though a man weaves his own thoughts or fancies, instead of merely taking in what others have thought, and even though he go so far as to bring fresh gains to art and science, this does not afford a valid reason for calling such a man of brains, and often great brains, a genius, in contradistinction to one who goes by the name of shallow-pate, because he can never do more than merely learn and follow a lead. For what is accomplished in this way is something that could have been learned. Hence it all lies in the natural path of investigation and reflection according to rules, and so is not specifically distinguishable from what may be acquired as the result of industry backed up by imitation. So all that Newton bas set forth in his immortal work on the Principles of Natural Philosophy may well be learned, however great a mind it took to find it all out, but we cannot learn to write in a true poetic vein, no matter how complete all the precepts of the poetic art may be, or however excellent its models. The reason is that all the steps that Newton had to take from the first elements of geometry to his greatest and most profound discoveries were such as he could make intuitively evident and plain to follow, not only for himself but for every one else. On the other hand, no Homer or Wieland can show how his ideas, so rich at once in fancy and in thought, enter and assemble themselves in his brain, for the good reason that he does not himself know, and so cannot teach others. In matters of science, therefore, the greatest inventor differs only in degree from the most laborious imitator and apprentice, whereas he differs specifically from one endowed by nature for fine art. No disparagement, however, of those great men, to whom the human race is so deeply indebted, is involved in this comparison of them with those who on the score of their talent for fine art are the elect of nature. The talent for science is formed for the continued advances of greater perfection in knowledge, with all its dependent practical advantages, as also for imparting the same to others. Hence scientists can boast a ground of considerable superiority over those who merit the honor of being called geniuses, since genius reaches a point at which art must make a halt, as there is a limit imposed upon it which it cannot transcend. This limit has in all probability been long since attained. In addition, such skill cannot be communicated, but requires to be bestowed directly from the hand of nature upon each individual, and so with him it dies, awaiting the day when nature once again endows another in the same way — one who needs no more than an example to set the talent of which he is conscious at work on similar lines.

Seeing, then, that the natural endowment of art (as fine art) must furnish the rule, what kind of rule must this be? It cannot be one set down in a formula and serving as a precept — for then the judgment upon the beautiful would be determinable according to concepts. Rather must the rule be gathered from the performance, i.e., from the product, which others may use to put their own talent to the test, so as to let it serve as a model, not for imitation, but for following. The possibility of this is difficult to explain. The artist’s ideas arouse like ideas on the part of his pupil, presuming nature to have visited him with a like proportion of the mental powers. For this reason, the models of fine art are the only means of handing down this art to posterity. This is something which cannot be done by mere descriptions (especially not in the line of the arts of speech), and in these arts, furthermore, only those models can become classical of which the ancient, dead languages, preserved as learned, are the medium.

Despite the marked difference that distinguishes mechanical art, as an art merely depending upon industry and learning, from fine art, as that of genius, there is still no fine art in which something mechanical, capable of being at once comprehended and followed in obedience to rules, and consequently something academic, does not constitute the essential condition of the art. For the thought of something as end must be present, or else its product would not be ascribed to an art at all, but would be a mere product of chance. But the effectuation of an end necessitates determinate rules which we cannot venture to dispense with. Now, seeing that originality of talent is one (though not the sole) essential factor that goes to make up the character of genius, shallow minds fancy that the best evidence they can give of their being full-blown geniuses is by emancipating themselves from all academic constraint of rules, in the belief that one cuts a finer figure on the back of an ill-tempered than of a trained horse. Genius can do no more than furnish rich material for products of fine art; its elaboration and its form require a talent academically trained, so that it may be employed in such a way as to stand the test of judgment. But, for a person to hold forth and pass sentence like a genius in matters that fall to the province of the most patient rational investigation, is ridiculous in the extreme. One is at a loss to know whether to laugh more at the impostor who envelops himself in such a cloud — in which we are given fuller scope to our imagination at the expense of all use of our critical faculty — or at the simple-minded public which imagines that its inability clearly to cognize and comprehend this masterpiece of penetration is due to its being invaded by new truths en masse, in comparison with which, detail, due to carefully weighed exposition and an academic examination of root principles, seems to it only the work of a numbskull.

§ 48. The relation of genius to taste.

For judging beautiful objects, what is required is taste; but for the production of fine art, one needs genius.

If we consider genius as the talent for fine art (which the proper signification of the word imports), and if we would analyse it from this point of view into the faculties which must concur to constitute such a talent, it is imperative at the outset accurately to determine the difference between beauty of nature, which it only requires taste to estimate, and beauty of art, which requires genius for its possibility (a possibility to which regard must also be paid in estimating such an object).

A beauty of nature is a beautiful thing; beauty of art is a beautiful representation of a thing.

To enable me to estimate a beauty of nature, as such, I do not need to be previously possessed of a concept of what sort of a thing the object is intended to be, i.e., I am not obliged to know its material purposiveness (its purpose), but, rather, in forming an estimate of it apart from any knowledge of the end, the mere form pleases on its own account. If, however, the object is presented as a product of art, and is as such to be declared beautiful, then, seeing that art always presupposes an end in the cause (and its causality), a concept of what the thing is intended to be must first of all be laid at its basis. And, since the agreement of the manifold in a thing with an inner character belonging to it as its end constitutes the perfection of the thing, it follows that in estimating beauty of art the perfection of the thing must be also taken into account — a matter which in estimating a beauty of nature, as beautiful, is quite irrelevant. It is true that in forming an estimate, especially of animate objects of nature, e.g., of a man or a horse, objective purposiveness [purpose] is also commonly taken into account with a view to judgment upon their beauty; but then the judgment also ceases to be purely aesthetic, i.e., a mere judgment of taste. Nature is no longer estimated as it appears like art, but rather in so far as it actually is art, though superhuman art; and the teleological judgment serves as a basis and condition of the aesthetic, and one which the latter must regard. In such a case, where one says, for example, “That is a beautiful woman,” what one in fact thinks is only this, that in her form nature excellently portrays the ends present in the female figure. For one has to extend one’s view beyond the mere form to a concept, to enable the object to be thought in such manner by means of an aesthetic judgment logically conditioned.

Where fine art evidences its superiority is in the beautiful descriptions it gives of things that in nature would be ugly or displeasing. The Furies, diseases, devastations of war, and the like, can (as evils) be very beautifully described, nay even represented in pictures. One kind of ugliness alone is incapable of being represented conformably to nature without destroying all aesthetic delight, and consequently artistic beauty, namely, that which excites disgust. For, as in this strange sensation, which depends purely on the imagination, the object is represented as insisting, as it were, upon our enjoying it, while we still set our face against it, the artificial representation of the object is no longer distinguishable from the nature of the object itself in our sensation, and so it cannot possibly be regarded as beautiful. The art of sculpture, again, since in its products art is almost confused with nature, has excluded from its creations the direct representation of ugly objects, and, instead, only sanctions, for example, the representation of death (in a beautiful genius), or of the warlike spirit (in Mars), by means of an allegory, or attributes which wear a pleasant guise, and so only indirectly, through an interpretation on the part of reason, and not for the pure aesthetic judgment.

So much for the beautiful representation of an object, which is properly only the form of the presentation of a concept and the means by which the latter is universally communicated. To give this form, however, to the product of fine art, taste merely is required. By this the artist, having practised and corrected his taste by a variety of examples from nature or art, controls his work and, after many, and often laborious, attempts to satisfy taste, finds the form which commends itself to him. Hence this form is not, as it were, a matter of inspiration, or of a free swing of the mental powers, but rather of a slow and even painful process of improvement, directed to making the form adequate to his thought without prejudice to the freedom in the play of those powers.

Taste is, however, merely a critical, not a productive faculty; and what conforms to it is not, merely on that account, a work of fine art. It may belong to useful and mechanical art, or even to science, as a product following definite rules which are capable of being learned and which must be closely followed. But the pleasing form imparted to the work is only the vehicle of communication and a mode, as it were, of execution, in respect of which one remains to a certain extent free, notwithstanding being otherwise tied down to a definite end. So we demand that table appointments, or even a moral dissertation, and, indeed, a sermon, must bear this form of fine art, yet without its appearing studied. But one would not call them on this account works of fine art. A poem, a musical composition, a picture — gallery, and so forth, would, however, be placed under this head; and so in a would — be work of fine art we may frequently recognize genius without taste, and in another taste without genius.

§ 49. The faculties of the mind which constitute genius.

Of certain products which are expected, partly at least, to stand on the footing of fine art, we say they are soulless; and this, although we find nothing to censure in them as far as taste goes. A poem may be very pretty and elegant, but is soulless. A narrative has precision and method, but is soulless. A speech on some festive occasion may be good in substance and ornate withal, but may be soulless. Conversation frequently is not devoid of entertainment, but yet soulless. Even of a woman we may well say, she is pretty, affable, and refined, but soulless. Now what do we here mean by soul?

Soul (Geist) in an aesthetical sense, signifies the animating principle in the mind. But that whereby this principle animates the psychic substance (Seele) — the material which it employs for that purpose — is that which sets the mental powers into a swing that is purposive, i.e., into a play which is self-maintaining and which strengthens those powers for such activity.

Now my proposition is that this principle is nothing else than the faculty of presenting aesthetic ideas. But, by an aesthetic idea I mean that representation of the imagination which induces much thought, yet without the possibility of any definite thought whatever, i.e., concept, being adequate to it, and which language, consequently, can never get quite on level terms with or render completely intelligible. It is easily seen, that an aesthetic idea is the counterpart (pendant) of a rational idea, one which, conversely, is a concept to which no intuition (representation of the imagination) can be adequate.

The imagination (as a productive faculty of cognition) is a powerful agent for creating, as it were, a second nature out of the material supplied to it by actual nature. It affords us entertainment where experience proves too commonplace; and we even use it to remodel experience, always following, no doubt, laws that are based on analogy, but still also following principles which have a higher seat in reason (and which are every whit as natural to us as those followed by the understanding in laying hold of empirical nature). By this means we get a sense of our freedom from the law of association’ (which attaches to the empirical employment of the imagination), with the result that the material can be borrowed by us from nature in accordance with that law, but be worked up by us into something else — namely, what surpasses nature.

Such representations of the imagination may be termed ideas. This is partly because they at least strain after something lying out beyond the confines of experience, and so seek to approximate to a presentation of rational concepts (i.e., intellectual ideas), thus giving to these concepts the semblance of an objective reality. But, on the other hand, there is this most important reason, that no concept can be wholly adequate to them as internal intuitions. The poet essays the task of interpreting to sense the rational ideas of invisible beings, the kingdom of the blessed, hell, eternity, creation, etc. Or, again, as to things of which examples occur in experience, e.g., death, envy, and all vices, as also love, fame, and the like, transgressing the limits of experience he attempts with the aid of an imagination which emulates the display of reason in its attainment of a maximum, to body them forth to sense with a completeness. of which: nature affords no parallel; and it is in fact precisely in the art of poetry that the faculty of aesthetic ideas can show itself to full advantage. This faculty, however, regarded solely by itself alone, is really no more than a talent (of the imagination).

If, now, we attach to a concept a representation of the imagination belonging to its presentation, but inducing solely on its own account such a wealth of thought as would never admit of comprehension in a definite concept, and, as a consequence, giving aesthetically an unbounded expansion to the concept itself, then the imagination here displays a creative activity, and it puts the faculty of intellectual ideas (reason) into motion — a motion, at the instance of a representation, towards an extension of thought, that, while germane, no doubt, to the concept of the object, exceeds what can be laid hold of in that representation or clearly expressed.

Those forms which do not constitute the presentation of a given concept itself, but which,. as secondary representations of the imagination, express the derivatives connected with it, and its kinship with other concepts, are called (aesthetic) attributes of an object, the concept of which, as an idea of reason, cannot be adequately presented. In this way Jupiter’s eagle, with the lightning in its claws, is an attribute of the mighty king of heaven, and the peacock of its stately queen. They do not, like logical (aesthetic) attributes of an object, the concept of the sublimity and majesty of creation, but rather something else — something that gives the imagination an incentive to spread its flight over a whole host of kindred representations that provoke more thought than admits of expression in a concept determined by words. They furnish an aesthetic idea, which serves the above rational idea as a substitute for logical presentation, but with the proper function, however, of animating the mind by opening out for it a prospect into a field of kindred representations stretching beyond its ken. But it is not alone in the arts of painting or sculpture, where the name of attribute is customarily employed, that fine art acts in this way; poetry and rhetoric also drive the soul that animates their work wholly from the aesthetic attributes of the objects — attributes which go hand in hand with the logical, and give the imagination an impetus to bring more thought into: play in the matter, though in an undeveloped manner, than allows of being brought within the embrace of a concept, or, therefore, of being definitely formulated in language. For the sake of brevity I must confine myself to a few examples only. When the great king expresses himself in one of his poems by saying:

Oui, finissons sans trouble, et mourons sans regrets,
En laissant l’Univers comble de nos bienfaits.
Ainsi l’Astre du jour, au bout de sa carriere,
Repand sur l’horizon une douce lumiere,
Et les derniers rayons qu’il darde dans les airs
Sont les derniers soupirs qu’il donne a l’Univers;

he kindles in this way his rational idea of a cosmopolitan sentiment even at the close of life, with help of an attribute which the imagination (in remembering all the pleasures of a fair summer’s day that is over and gone — a memory of which pleasures is suggested by a serene evening) annexes to that representation, and which stirs up a crowd of sensations and secondary representations for which no expression can be found. On the other hand, even an intellectual concept may serve, conversely, as attribute for a representation of sense, and so animate the latter with the idea of the supersensible; but only by the aesthetic factor subjectively attaching to the consciousness of the supersensible being employed for the purpose. So, for example, a certain poet says in his description of a beautiful morning: “The sun arose, as out of virtue rises peace.” The consciousness of virtue, even where we put ourselves only in thought in the position of a virtuous man, diffuses in the mind a multitude of sublime and tranquillizing feelings, and gives a boundless outlook into a happy future, such as no expression within the compass of a definite concept completely attains.*

*Perhaps there has never been a more sublime utterance, or a thought more sublimely expressed, than the well — known inscription upon the Temple of Isis (Mother Nature): “I am all that is, and that was, and that shall be, and no mortal hath raised the veil from before my face.” Segner made use of this idea in a suggestive vignette on the frontispiece of his Natural Philosophy, in order to inspire his pupil at the threshold of that temple into which he was about to lead him, with such a holy awe as would dispose his mind to serious attention.

In a word, the aesthetic idea is a representation of the imagination, annexed to a given concept, with which, in the free employment of imagination, such a multiplicity of partial representations are bound up, that no expression indicating a definite concept can be found for it one which on that account allows a concept to be supplemented in thought by much that is indefinable in words, and the feeling of which quickens the cognitive faculties, and with language, as a mere thing of the letter, binds up the spirit (soul) also.

The mental powers whose union in a certain relation constitutes genius are imagination and understanding. Now, since the imagination, in its employment on behalf of cognition, is subjected to the constraint of the understanding and the restriction of having to be conformable to the concept belonging’ thereto, whereas aesthetically it is free to furnish of its own accord, over and above that agreement with the concept, a wealth of undeveloped material for the understanding, to which the latter paid no regard in its concept, but which it can make use of, not so much objectively for cognition, as subjectively for quickening the cognitive faculties, and hence also indirectly for cognitions, it may be seen that genius properly consists in the happy relation, which science cannot teach nor industry learn, enabling one to find out ideas for a given concept, and, besides, to hit upon the expression for them — the expression by means of which the subjective mental condition induced by the ideas as the concomitant of a concept may be communicated to others. This latter talent is properly that which is termed soul. For to get an expression for what is indefinable in the mental state accompanying a particular representation and to make it universally communicable — be the expression in language or painting or statuary — is a thing requiring a faculty for laying hold of the rapid and transient play of the imagination, and for unifying it in a concept (which for that very reason is original, and reveals a new rule which could not have been inferred from any preceding principles or examples) that admits of communication without any constraint of rules.

If, after this analysis, we cast a glance back upon the above definition of what is called genius, we find, first, that it is a talent for art — not one for science, in which clearly known rules must take the lead and determine the procedure. Secondly, being a talent in the line of art, it presupposes a definite concept of the product — as its end. Hence it presupposes understanding, but, in addition, a representation, indefinite though it be, of the material, i.e., of the intuition, required for the presentation of that concept, and so a relation of the imagination to the understanding. Thirdly, it displays itself, not so much in the working out of the projected end in the presentation of a definite concept, as rather in the portrayal, or expression of aesthetic ideas containing a wealth of material for effecting that intention. Consequently the imagination is represented by it in its freedom from all guidance of rules, but still as purpose for the presentation of the given concept. Fourthly, and lastly, the unsought and undesigned subjective purposiveness in the free harmonizing of the imagination with the understanding’s conformity to law presupposes a proportion and accord between these faculties such as cannot be brought about by any observance of rules, whether of science or mechanical imitation, but can only be produced by the nature of the individual.

Genius, according to these presuppositions, is the exemplary originality of the natural endowments of an individual in the free employment of his cognitive faculties. On this showing, the product of a genius (in respect of so much in this product as is attributable to genius, and not to possible learning or academic instruction) is an example, not for imitation (for that would mean the loss of the element of genius, and just the very soul of the work), but to be followed by another genius — one whom it arouses to a sense of his own originality in putting freedom from the constraint of rules so into force in his art that for art itself a new rule is won — which is what shows a talent to be exemplary. Yet, since the genius is one of nature’s elect — a type that must be regarded as but a rare phenomenon — for other clever minds his example gives rise to a school, that is to say a methodical instruction according to rules, collected, so far as the circumstances admit, from such products of genius and their peculiarities. And, to that extent, fine art is for such persons a matter of imitation, for which nature, through the medium of a genius gave the rule.

But this imitation becomes aping when the pupil copies everything down to the deformities which the genius only of necessity suffered to remain, because they could hardly be removed without loss of force to the idea. This courage has merit only in the case of a genius. A certain boldness of expression and, in general, many a deviation from the common rule becomes him well, but in no sense is it a thing worthy of imitation. On the contrary it remains all through intrinsically a blemish, which one is bound to try to remove, but for which the genius is, as it were, allowed to plead a privilege, on the ground that a scrupulous carefulness would spoil what is inimitable in the impetuous ardour of his soul. Mannerism is another kind of aping — an aping of peculiarity (originality) in general, for the sake of removing oneself as far as possible from imitators, while the talent requisite to enable one to be at the same time exemplary is absent. There are, in fact, two modes (modi) in general of arranging one’s thoughts for utterance. The one is called a manner (modus aestheticus), the other a method (modus logicus). The distinction between them is this: the former possesses no standard other than the feeling of unity in the presentation, whereas the latter here follows definite principles. As a consequence, the former is alone admissible for fine art. It is only, however, where the manner of carrying the idea into execution in a product of art is aimed at singularity, instead of being made appropriate to the idea, that mannerism is properly ascribed to such a product. The ostentatious (precieux), forced, and affected styles, intended to mark one out from the common herd (though soul is wanting), resemble the behaviour of a man who, as we say, hears himself talk, or who stands and moves about as if he were on a stage to be gaped at — action which invariably betrays a ignoramus.

§ 50. The combination of taste and genius in products of fine art.

To ask whether more stress should be laid in matters of fine art upon the presence of genius or upon that of taste, is equivalent to asking whether more turns upon imagination or upon judgment. Now, imagination rather entitles an art to be called an inspired (geistreiche) than a fine art. It is only in respect of judgment that the name of fine art is deserved. Hence it follows that judgment, being the indispensable condition (conditio sine qua non), is at least what one must look to as of capital importance in forming an estimate of art as fine art. So far as beauty is concerned, to be fertile and original in ideas is not such an imperative requirement as it is that the imagination in its freedom should be in accordance with the understanding’s conformity to law. For, in lawless freedom, imagination, with all its wealth, produces nothing but nonsense; the power of judgment, on the other hand, is the faculty that makes it consonant with understanding.

Taste, like judgment in general, is the discipline (or corrective) of genius. It severely clips its wings, and makes it orderly or polished; but at the same time it gives it guidance directing and controlling its flight, so that it may preserve its character of purposiveness. It introduces a clearness and order into the plenitude of thought, and in so doing gives stability to the ideas, and qualifies them at once for permanent and universal approval, for being followed by others, and for a continually progressive culture. And so, where the interests of both these qualities clash in a product, and there has to be a sacrifice of something, then it should rather be on the side of genius; and judgment, which in matters of fine art bases its decision on its own proper principles, will more readily endure an abatement of the freedom and wealth of the imagination than that the understanding should be compromised.

The requisites for fine art are, therefore, imagination, understanding, soul, and taste.*

*The first three faculties are first brought into union by means of the fourth. Hume, in his history, informs the English that although they are second in their works to no other people in the world in respect the evidences they afford of the three first qualities separately considered, still in what unites them they must yield to their neighbours, the French.

§ 51. The division of the fine arts.

Beauty (whether it be of nature or of art) may in general be termed the expression of aesthetic ideas. But the provision must be added that with beauty of art this idea must be excited through the medium of a concept of the object, whereas with beauty of nature the bare reflection upon a given intuition, apart from any concept of what the object is intended to be, is sufficient for awakening and communicating the idea of which that object is regarded as the expression.

Accordingly, if we wish to make a division of the fine arts, we can choose for that purpose, tentatively at least, no more convenient principle than the analogy which art bears to the mode of expression of which men avail themselves in speech with a view to communicating themselves to one another as completely as possible, i.e., not merely in respect of their concepts but in respect of their sensations also.* Such expression consists in word, gesture, and tone (articulation, gesticulation, and modulation). It is the combination of these three modes of expression which alone constitutes a complete communication of the speaker. For thought, intuition, and sensation are in this way conveyed to others simultaneously and in conjunction.

*The reader is not to consider this scheme for a possible division of the fine arts as a deliberate theory. It is only one of the various attempts that can and ought to be made.

Hence there are only three kinds of fine art: the art of speech, formative art, and the art of the play of sensations (as external sense impressions). This division might also be arranged as a dichotomy, so that fine art would be divided into that of the expression of thoughts or intuitions, the latter being subdivided according to the distinction between the form and the matter (sensation). It would, however, in that case appear too abstract, and less in line with popular concepztions.

(1) The arts of speech are rhetoric and poetry. Rhetoric is the art of transacting a serious business of the understanding as if it were a free play of the imagination; poetry that of conducting a free play of the imagination as if it were a serious business of the understanding.

Thus the orator announces a serious business, and for the purpose of entertaining his audience conducts it as if it were a mere play with ideas. The poet promises merely an entertaining play with ideas, and yet for the understanding there enures as much as if the promotion of its business had been his one intention. The combination and harmony of the two faculties of cognition, sensibility and understanding, which, though doubtless indispensable to one another, do not readily permit of being united without compulsion and reciprocal abatement, must have the appearance of being undesigned and a spontaneous occurrence — otherwise it is not fine art. For this reason what is studied and laboured must be here avoided. For fine art must be free art in a double sense: i.e., not alone in a sense opposed to contract work, as not being a work the magnitude of which may be estimated, exacted, or paid for, according to a definite standard, but free also in the sense that, while the mind, no doubt, occupies itself, still it does so without ulterior regard to any other end, and yet with a feeling of satisfaction and stimulation (independent of reward).

The orator, therefore, gives something which he does not promise, viz., an entertaining play of the imagination. On the other hand, there is something in which he fails to come up to his promise, and a thing, too, which is his avowed business, namely, the engagement of the understanding to some end. The poet’s promise, on the contrary, is a modest one, and a mere play with ideas is all he holds out to us, but he accomplishes something worthy of being made a serious business, namely, the using of play to provide food for the understanding, and the giving of life to its concepts by means of the imagination. Hence the orator in reality performs less than he promises, the poet more.

(2) The formative arts, or those for the expression of ideas in sensuous intuition (not by means of representations of mere imagination that are excited by words) are arts either of sensuous truth or of sensuous semblance. The first is called plastic art, the second painting. Both use figures in space for the expression of ideas: the former makes figures discernible to two senses, sight and touch (though, so far as the latter sense is concerned, without regard to beauty), the latter makes them so to the former sense alone. The aesthetic idea (archetype, original) is the fundamental basis of both in the imagination; but the figure which constitutes its expression (the ectype, the copy) is given either in its bodily extension (the way the object itself exists) or else in accordance with the picture which it forms of itself in the eye (according to its appearance when projected on a flat surface). Or, whatever the archetype is, either the reference to an actual end or only the semblance of one may be imposed upon reflection as its condition.

To plastic art, as the first kind of formative fine art, belong sculpture and architecture. The first is that which presents concepts of things corporeally, as they might exist in nature (though as fine art it directs its attention to aesthetic purposiveness). The second is the art of presenting concepts of things which are possible only through art, and the determining ground of whose form is not nature but an arbitrary end — and of presenting them both with a view to this purpose and yet, at the same time, with aesthetic purposiveness. In architecture the chief point is a certain use of the artistic object to which, as the condition, the aesthetic ideas are limited. In sculpture the mere expression of aesthetic ideas is the main intention. Thus statues of men, gods, animals, etc., belong to sculpture; but temples, splendid buildings for public concourse, or even dwelling-houses, triumphal arches, columns, mausoleums, etc., erected as monuments, belong to architecture, and in fact all household furniture (the work of cabinetmakers, and so forth — things meant to be used) may be added to the list, on the ground that adaptation of the product to a particular use is the essential element in a work of architecture. On the other hand, a mere piece of sculpture, made simply to be looked at and intended to please on its own account, is, as a corporeal presentation, a mere imitation of nature, though one in which regard is paid to aesthetic ideas, and in which, therefore, sensuous truth should not go the length of losing the appearance of being an art and a product of the elective will.

Painting, as the second kind of formative art, which presents the sensuous semblance in artful combination with ideas, I would divide into that of the beautiful Portrayal of nature, and that of the beautiful arrangement of its products. The first is painting proper, the second landscape gardening. For the first gives only the semblance of bodily extension; whereas the second, giving this, no doubt, according to its truth, gives only the semblance of utility and employment for ends other than the play of the imagination in the contemplation of its forms.* The latter consists in no more than decking out the ground with the same manifold variety (grasses, flowers, shrubs, and trees, and even water, hills, and dales) as that with which nature presents it to our view, only arranged differently and in obedience to certain ideas. The beautiful arrangement of corporeal things, however, is also a thing for the eye only, just like painting — the sense of touch can form no intuitable representation of such a form, In addition I would place under the head of painting, in the wide sense, the decoration of rooms by means of hangings, ornamental accessories, and all beautiful furniture the sole function of which is to be looked at; and in the same way the art of tasteful dressing (with rings, snuffboxes, etc.). For a parterre of various flowers, a room with a variety of ornaments (including even the ladies’ attire), go to make at a festal gathering a sort of picture which, like pictures in the true sense of the word (those which are not intended to teach history or natural science), has no business beyond appealing to the eye, in order to entertain the imagination in free play with ideas, and to engage actively the aesthetic judgment independently of any definite end. No matter how heterogeneous, on the mechanical side, may be the craft involved in all this decoration, and no matter what a variety of artists may be required, still the judgment of taste, so far as it is one upon what is beautiful in this art, is determined in one and the same way: namely, as a judgment only upon the forms (without regard to any end) as they present themselves to the eye, singly or in combination, according to their effect upon the imagination. The justification, however, of bringing formative art (by analogy) under a common head with gesture in a speech, lies in the fact that through these figures the soul of the artists furnishes a bodily expression for the substance and character of his thought, and makes the thing itself speak, as it were, in mimic language — a very common play of our fancy, that attributes to lifeless things a soul suitable to their form, and that uses them as its mouthpiece.

*It seems strange that landscape gardening may be regarded as a kind of painting, notwithstanding that it presents its forms corporeally. But, as it takes its forms bodily from nature (the trees, shrubs, grasses, and flowers taken, originally at least, from wood and field) it is to that extent not an art such as, let us say, plastic art. Further, the arrangement which it makes is not conditioned by any concept of the object or of its end (as is the case in sculpture), but by the mere free play of the imagination in the act of contemplation. Hence it bears a degree of resemblance to simple aesthetic painting that has no definite theme (but by means of light and shade makes a pleasing composition of atmosphere, land, and water.)

(3) The art of the beautiful play of sensations (sensations that arise from external stimulation), which is a play of sensations that has nevertheless to permit of universal communication, can only be concerned with the proportion of the different degrees of tension in the sense to which the sensation belongs, i.e., with its tone. In this comprehensive sense of the word, it may be divided into the artificial play of sensations of hearing and of sight, consequently into music and the art of color. It is of note that these two senses, over and above such susceptibility for impressions as is required to obtain concepts of external objects by means of these impressions, also admit of a peculiar associated sensation of which we cannot well determine whether it is based on sense or reflection; and that this sensibility may at times be wanting, although the sense, in other respects, and in what concerns its employment for the cognition of objects, is by no means deficient but particularly keen. In other words, we cannot confidently assert whether a color or a tone (sound) is merely an agreeable sensation, or whether they are-in-themselves a beautiful play of sensations, and in being estimated aesthetically, convey, as such, a delight in their form. If we consider the velocity of the vibrations of light, or, in the second case, of the air, which in all probability far outstrips any capacity on our part for forming an immediate estimate in perception of the time interval between them, we should be led to believe that it is only the effect of those vibrating movements upon the elastic parts of our body, that can be evident to sense, but that the time-interval between them is not noticed nor involved in our estimate, and that, consequently, all that enters into combination with colors and tones is agreeableness, and not beauty, of their composition. But, let us consider, on the other hand, first, the mathematical character both of the proportion of those vibrations in music, and of our judgment upon it, and, as is reasonable, form an estimate of color contrasts on the analogy of the latter. Secondly, let us consult the instances, albeit rare, of men who, with the best of sight, have failed to distinguish colors, and, with the sharpest hearing, to distinguish tones, while for men who have this ability the perception of an altered quality (not merely of the degree of the sensation) in the case of the different intensities in the scale of colors or tones is definite, as is also the number of those which may be intelligibly distinguished. Bearing all this in mind, we may feel compelled to look upon the sensations afforded by both, not as mere sense-impressions, but as the effect of an estimate of form in the play of a number of sensations. The difference which the one opinion or the other occasions in the estimate of the basis of music would, however, only give rise to this much change in its definition, that either it is to be interpreted, as we have done, as the beautiful play of sensations (through bearing), or else as one of agreeable sensations. According to the former interpretation, alone, would music be represented out and out as a fine art, whereas according to the latter it would be represented as (in part at least) an agreeable art.

§ 52. The combination of the fine arts in one and the same product.

Rhetoric may in a drama be combined with a pictorial presentation as well of its subjects as of objects; as may poetry with music in a song; and this again with a pictorial (theatrical) presentation in an opera; and so may the play of sensations in a piece of music with the play of figures in a dance, and so on. Even the presentation of the sublime, so far as it belongs to fine art, may be brought into union with beauty in a tragedy in verse, a didactic poem or an oratorio, and in this combination fine art is even more artistic. Whether it is also more beautiful (having regard to the multiplicity of different kinds of delight which cross one another) may in some of these instances be doubted. Still in all fine art the essential element consists in the form which is purposive for observation and for estimating. Here the pleasure is at the same time culture, and disposes the soul to ideas, making it thus susceptible of such pleasure and entertainment in greater abundance. The matter of sensation (charm or emotion) is not essential. Here the aim is merely enjoyment, which leaves nothing behind it in the idea, and renders the soul dull, the object in the course of time distasteful, and the mind dissatisfied with itself and ill-humoured, owing to a consciousness that in the judgment of reason its disposition is perverse.

Where fine arts are not, either proximately or remotely, brought into combination with moral ideas, which alone are attended with a selfsufficing delight, the above is the fate that ultimately awaits them. They then only serve for a diversion, of which one continually feels an increasing need in proportion as one has availed oneself of it as a means of dispelling the discontent of one’s mind, with the result that one makes oneself ever more — and more unprofitable and dissatisfied with oneself. With a view to the purpose first named, the beauties of nature are in general the most beneficial, if one is early habituated to observe, estimate, and admire them.

§ 53. Comparative estimate of the aesthetic worth of the fine arts.

Poetry (which owes its origin almost entirely to genius and is least willing to be led by precepts or example) holds the first rank among all the arts. It expands the mind by giving freedom to the imagination and by offering, from among the boundless multiplicity of possible forms accordant with a given concept, to whose bounds it is restricted, that one which couples with the presentation of the concept a wealth of thought to which no verbal expression is completely adequate, and by thus rising aesthetically to ideas. It invigorates the mind by letting it feel its faculty — free, spontaneous, and independent of determination by nature of regarding and estimating nature as phenomenon in the light of aspects which nature of itself does not afford us in experience, either for sense or understanding, and of employing it accordingly in behalf of, and as a sort of schema for, the supersensible. It plays with semblance, which it produces at will, but not as an instrument of deception; for its avowed pursuit is merely one of play, which, however, understanding may turn to good account and employ for its own purpose. Rhetoric, so far as this is taken to mean the art of persuasion, i.e., the art of deluding by means of a fair semblance (as ars oratoria), and not merely excellence of speech (eloquence and style), is a dialectic, which borrows from poetry only so much as is necessary to win over men’s minds to the side of the speaker before they have weighed the matter, and to rob their verdict of its freedom. Hence it can be recommended neither for the bar nor the pulpit. For where civil laws, the right of individual persons, or the permanent instruction and determination of men’s minds to a correct knowledge and a conscientious observance of their duty is at stake, then it is below the dignity of an undertaking of such moment to exhibit even a trace of the exuberance of wit and imagination, and, still more, of the art of talking men round and prejudicing them in favour of any one. For although such art is capable of being at times directed to ends intrinsically legitimate and praiseworthy, still it becomes reprehensible on account of the subjective injury done in this way to maxims and sentiments, even where objectively the action may be lawful. For it is not enough to do what is right, but we should practise it solely on the ground of its being right. Further, the simple lucid concept of human concerns of this kind, backed up with lively illustrations of it, exerts of itself, in the absence of any offence against the rules of euphony of speech or of propriety in the expression of ideas of reason (all which together make up excellence of speech), a sufficient influence upon human minds to obviate the necessity of having recourse here to the machinery of persuasion, which, being equally available for the purpose of putting a fine gloss or a cloak upon vice and error, fails to rid one completely of the lurking suspicion that one is being artfully hoodwinked. In poetry everything is straight and above board. It shows its hand: it desires to carry on a mere entertaining play with the imagination, and one consonant, in respect of form, with the laws of understanding, and it does not seek to steal upon and ensnare the understanding with a sensuous presentation.*

*I confess to the pure delight which I have ever been afforded by a beautiful poem; whereas the reading of the best speech of a Roman forensic orator, a modern parliamentary debater, or a preacher, has invariably been mingled with an unpleasant sense of disapproval of an insidious art that knows how, in matters of moment, to move men like machines to a judgment that must lose all its weight with them upon calm reflection. Force and elegance of speech (which together constitute rhetoric) belong to fine art; but oratory (ars oratoria), being the art of playing for one’s own purpose up — the weaknesses of men (let this purpose be ever so good in intention or even in fact) merits no respect whatever. Besides, both at Athens and at Rome, it only attained its greatest height at a time when the state was hastening to its decay, and genuine patriotic sentiment was a thing of the past. One who sees the issue clearly, and who has a command of language in its wealth and its purity, and who is possessed of an imagination that is fertile and effective in presenting his ideas, and whose heart, withal, turns with lively sympathy to what is truly good — he is the vir bonus dicendi peritus, the orator without art, but of great impressiveness, Cicero would have him, though he may not himself always always remained faithful to this ideal.

After poetry, if we take charm and mental stimulation into account, I would give the next place to that art which comes nearer to it than to any other art of speech, and admits of very natural union with it, namely the art of tone. For though it speaks by means of mere sensations without concepts, and so does not, like poetry, leave behind it any food for reflection, still it moves the mind more diversely, and, although with transient, still with intenser effect. It is certainly, however, more a matter of enjoyment than of culture — the play of thought incidentally excited by it being merely the effect of a more or less mechanical association — and it possesses less worth in the eyes of reason than any other of the fine arts. Hence, like all enjoyment, it calls for constant change, and does not stand frequent repetition without inducing weariness. Its charm, which admits of such universal communication, appears to rest on the following facts. Every expression in language has an associated tone suited to its sense. This tone indicates, more or less, a mode in which the speaker is affected, and in turn evokes it in the hearer also, in whom conversely it then also excites the idea which in language is expressed with such a tone. Further, just as modulation is, as it were, a universal language of sensations intelligible to every man, so the art of tone wields the full force of this language wholly on its own account, namely, as a language of the affections, and in this way, according to the law of association, universally communicates the aesthetic ideas that are naturally combined therewith. But, further, inasmuch as those aesthetic ideas are not concepts or determinate thoughts, the form of the arrangement of these sensations (harmony and melody), taking the place of the place of the form of a language, only serves the purpose of giving an expression to the aesthetic idea of an integral whole of an unutterable wealth of thought that fills the measure of a certain theme forming the dominant affection in the piece. This purpose is effectuated by means of a proposition in the accord of the sensations (an accord which may be brought mathematically under certain rules, since it rests, in the case of tones, upon the numerical relation of the vibrations of the air in the same time, so far as there is a combination of the tones simultaneously or in succession). Although this mathematical form is not represented by means of determinate concepts, to it alone belongs the delight which the mere reflection upon such a number of concomitant or consecutive sensations couples with this their play, as the universally valid condition of its beauty, and it is with reference to it alone that taste can lay claim to a right to anticipate the judgment of every man.

But mathematics, certainly, does not play the smallest part in the charm and movement of the mind produced by music. Rather is it only the indispensable condition (conditio sine qua non) of that proportion of the combining as well as changing impressions which makes it possible to grasp them all in one and prevent them from destroying one another, and to let them, rather, conspire towards the production of a continuous movement and quickening of the mind by affections that are in unison with it, and thus towards a serene self-enjoyment.

If, on the other hand, we estimate the worth of the fine arts by the culture they supply to the mind, and adopt for our standard the expansion of the faculties whose confluence, in judgment, is necessary for cognition, music, then, since it plays merely with sensations, ’has the lowest place among the fine arts — just as it has perhaps the highest among those valued at the same time for their agreeableness. Looked at in this light, it is far excelled by the formative arts. For, in putting the imagination into a play which is at once free and adapted to the understanding, they all the while carry on a serious business, since they execute a product which serves the concepts of understanding as a vehicle, permanent and appealing to us on its own account, for effectuating their union with sensibility, and thus for promoting, as it were, the urbanity of the higher powers of cognition. The two kinds of art pursue completely different courses. Music advances from sensations to indefinite ideas: formative art from definite ideas to sensations. The latter gives a lasting impression, the former one that is only fleeting. The former sensations imagination can recall and agreeably entertain itself with, while the latter either vanish entirely, or else, if involuntarily repeated by the imagination, are more annoying to us than agreeable. Over and above all this, music has a certain lack of urbanity about it. For owing chiefly to the character of its instruments, it scatters its influence abroad to an uncalled — for extent (through the neighbourhood), and thus, as it were, becomes obtrusive and deprives others, outside the musical circle, of their freedom. This is a thing that the arts that address themselves to the eye do not do, for if one is not disposed to give admittance to their impressions, one has only to look the other way. The case is almost on a par with the practice of regaling oneself with a perfume that exhales its odours far and wide. The man who pulls his perfumed handkerchief from his pocket gives a treat to all around whether they like it or not, and compels them, if they want to breathe at all, to be parties to the enjoyment, and so the habit has gone out of fashion.*

*Those who have recommended the singing of hymns at family prayers have forgotten the amount of annoyance which they give to the general public by such noisy (and, as a rule, for that very reason, pharisaical) worship, for they compel their neighbours either to join in the singing or else abandon their meditations.

Among the formative arts I would give the palm to painting: partly because it is the art of design and, as such, the groundwork of all the other formative arts; partly because it can penetrate much further into the region of ideas, and in conformity with them give a greater extension to the field of intuition than it is open to the others to do.

§ 54. Remark.

As we have often shown, an essential distinction lies between what pleases simply in the estimate formed of it and what gratifies (pleases in sensation). The latter is something which, unlike the former, we cannot demand from every one. Gratification (no matter whether its cause has its seat even in ideas) appears always to consist in a feeling of the furtherance of the entire life of the man, and hence, also of his bodily well-being, i.e., his health. And so, perhaps, Epicurus was not wide of the mark when he said that at bottom all gratification is bodily sensation, and only misunderstood himself in ranking intellectual and even practical delight under the head of gratification. Bearing in mind the latter distinction, it is readily explicable how even the gratification a person feels is capable of displeasing him (as the joy of a necessitous but good-natured individual on being made the heir of an affectionate but penurious father), or how deep pain may still give pleasure to the sufferer (as the sorrow of a widow over the death of her deserving husband), or how there may be pleasure over and above gratification (as in scientific pursuits), or how a pain (as, for example, hatred, envy, and desire for revenge) may in addition be a source of displeasure. Here the delight or aversion depends upon reason, and is one with approbation or disapprobation. Gratification and pain, on the other hand, can only depend upon feeling, or upon the prospect of a possible well-being or the reverse (irrespective of source).

The changing free play of sensations (which do not follow any preconceived plan) is always a source of gratification, because it promotes the feeling of health; and it is immaterial whether or not we experience delight in the object of this play or even in the gratification itself when estimated in the light of reason. Also this gratification may amount to an affection, although we take no interest in the object itself, or none, at least, proportionate to the degree of the affection. We may divide the above play into that of games of chance (Gluckspiel), harmony (Tonspiel), and wit (Gedankenspiel). The first stands in need of an interest, be it of vanity or selfseeking, but one which falls far short of that centered in the adopted mode of procurement. All that the second requires is the change of sensations, each of which has its bearing on affection, though without attaining to the degree of an affection, and excites aesthetic ideas. The third springs merely from the change of the representations in the judgment, which, while unproductive of any thought conveying an interest, yet enlivens the mind.

What a fund of gratification must be afforded by play, without our having to fall back upon any consideration of interest, is a matter to which all our evening parties bear witness for without play they hardly ever escape falling flat. But the affections of hope, fear, joy, anger, and derision here engage in play, as every moment they change their parts and are so lively that, as by an internal motion, the whole vital function of the body seems to be furthered by the process — as is proved by a vivacity of the mind produced — although no one comes by anything in the way of profit or instruction. But as the play of chance is not one that is beautiful, we will here lay it aside. Music, on the contrary, and what provokes laughter are two kinds of play with aesthetic ideas, or even with representations of the understanding, by which, all said and done, nothing is thought. By mere force of change they yet are able to afford lively gratification. This furnishes pretty clear evidence that the quickening effect of both is physical, despite its being excited by ideas of the mind, and that the feeling of health, arising from a movement of the intestines answering to that play, makes up that entire gratification of an animated gathering upon the spirit and refinement of which we set such store. Not any estimate of harmony in tones or flashes of wit, which, with its beauty, serves only as a necessary vehicle, but rather the stimulated vital functions of the body, the affection stirring the intestines and the diaphragm, and, in a word, the feeling of health (of which we are only sensible upon some such provocation) are what constitute the gratification we experience at being able to reach the body through the soul and use the latter as the physician of the former.

In music, the course of this play is from bodily sensation to aesthetic ideas (which are the objects for the affections), and then from these back again, but with gathered strength, to the body. In jest (which just as much as the former deserves to be ranked rather as an agreeable than a fine art) the play sets out from thoughts which collectively, so far as seeking sensuous expression, engage the activity of the body. In this presentation the understanding, missing what it expected, suddenly lets go its hold, with the result that the effect of this slackening is felt in the body by the oscillation of the organs. This favours the restoration of the equilibrium of the latter, and exerts a beneficial influence upon the health.

Something absurd (something in which, therefore, the understanding can of itself find no delight) must be present in whatever is to raise a hearty convulsive laugh. Laughter is an all action arising from a strained expectation being suddenly reduced to nothing. This very reduction, at which certainly understanding cannot rejoice, is still indirectly a source of very lively enjoyment for a moment. Its cause must consequently lie in the influence of the representation upon the body and the reciprocal effect of this upon the mind. This, moreover, cannot depend upon the representation being objectively an object of gratification (for how can we derive gratification from a disappointment?) but must rest solely upon the fact that the reduction is a mere play of representations, and, as such, produces an equilibrium of the vital forces of the body.

Suppose that some one tells the following story. An Indian at an Englishman’s table in Surat saw a bottle of ale opened, with all the foam flowing out. The Indian looked at this with great astonishment. “Well, what is so amazing in that?” asked the Englishman. “Oh, I’m not surprised that it’s coming out,” said the Indian, “It’s how you managed to get it all in.” At this we laugh, and it gives us hearty pleasure. This is not because we think ourselves, maybe, more quick-witted than this ignorant Indian, or because our understanding here brings to our notice any other ground of delight. It is rather that the bubble of our expectation was extended to the full and suddenly went off into nothing. Or, again, take the case of the heir of a wealthy man who wants to put on an impressive funeral for his dead relative. Things aren’t working out, he explains, because “the more money I give the mourners, the happier they look.” At this we laugh outright, and the reason lies in the fact that we had an expectation which is suddenly reduced to nothing. We must be careful to observe that the reduction is not one into the positive contrary of an expected object — for that is always something, and may frequently pain us — but must be a reduction to nothing. For where a person arouses great expectation by recounting some tale, and at the close its untruth becomes at once apparent to us, we are displeased at it. So it is, for instance, with the tale of people whose hair from excess of grief is said to have turned white in a single night. On the other hand, if a wag, wishing to cap the story, tells with the utmost circumstantiality of a merchant’s grief, who, on his return journey from India to Europe with all his wealth in merchandise, was obliged by stress of storm to throw everything overboard, and grieved to such an extent that in the selfsame night his wig turned grey, we laugh and enjoy the tale. This is because we keep for a time playing on our own mistake about an object otherwise indifferent to us, or rather on the idea we ourselves were following out, and, beating it to and fro, just as if it were a ball eluding our grasp, when all we intend to do is just to get it into our hands and hold it tight. Here our gratification is not excited by a knave or a fool getting a rebuff: for, even on its own account, the latter tale told with an air of seriousness would of itself be enough to set a whole table into roars of laughter; and the other matter would ordinarily not be worth a moment’s thought.

It is observable that in all such cases the joke must have something in it capable of momentarily deceiving us. Hence, when the semblance vanishes into nothing, the mind looks back in order to try it over again, and thus by a rapidly succeeding tension and relaxation it is jerked to and fro and put in oscillation. As the snapping of what was, as it were, tightening up the string takes place suddenly (not by a gradual loosening), the oscillation must bring about a mental movement and a sympathetic internal movement of the body. This continues involuntarily and produces fatigue, but in so doing it also affords recreation (the effects of a motion conducive to health).

For supposing we assume that some movement in the bodily organs is associated sympathetically with all our thoughts, it is readily intelligible how the sudden act above referred to, of shifting the mind now to one standpoint and now to the other, to enable it to contemplate its object, may involve a corresponding and reciprocal straining and slackening of the elastic parts of our intestines, which communicates itself to the diaphragm (and resembles that felt by ticklish people), in the course of which the lungs expel the air with rapidly succeeding interruptions, resulting in a movement conducive to health. This alone, and not what goes on in the mind, is the proper cause of the gratification in a thought that at bottom represents nothing. Voltaire said that heaven has given us two things to compensate us for the many miseries of life, hope and sleep. He might have added laughter to the list — if only the means of exciting it in men of intelligence were as ready to hand, and the wit or originality of humour which it requires were not just as rare as the talent is common for inventing stuff that splits the head, as mystic speculators do, or that breaks your neck, as the genius does, or that harrows the heart as sentimental novelists do (aye, and moralists of the same type).

We may, therefore as I conceive, make Epicurus a present of the point that all gratification, even when occasioned by concepts that evoke aesthetic ideas, is animal, i.e., bodily sensation. For from this admission the spiritual feeling of respect for moral ideas, which is not one of gratification, but a self-esteem (an esteem for humanity within us) that raises us above the need of gratification, suffers not a whit — nor does it impair the less noble feeling of taste.

In naiveté we meet with a joint product of both the above. Naiveté is the breaking forth of the ingenuousness originally natural to humanity, in opposition to the art of disguising oneself that has become a second nature. We laugh at the simplicity that is as yet a stranger to dissimulation, but we rejoice the while over the simplicity of nature that thwarts that art. We await the commonplace manner of artificial utterance, thoughtfully addressed to a fair show, and lo! nature stands before us in unsullied innocence — nature that we were quite unprepared to meet, and that he who laid it bare had also no intention of revealing. That the outward appearance, fair but false, that usually assumes such importance in our judgment, is here, at a stroke, turned to a nullity, that, as it were, the rogue in us is nakedly exposed, calls forth the movement of the mind, in two successive and opposite directions, agitating the body at the same time with wholesome motion. But that something infinitely better than any accepted code of manners, namely purity of mind (or at least a vestige of such purity), has not become wholly extinct in human nature, infuses seriousness and reverence into this play of judgment. But since it is only a manifestation that obtrudes itself for a moment, and the veil of a dissembling art is soon drawn over it again, there enters into the above feelings a touch of pity. This is an emotion of tenderness, playful in its way, that thus readily admits of combination with this sort of genial laughter. And, in fact, this emotion is as a rule associated with it, and, at the same time, is wont to make amends to the person who provides such food for our merriment for his embarrassment at not being wise after the manner of men. For that reason art of being naïf is a contradiction. But it is quite possible to give a representation of naiveté in a fictitious personage, and, rare as the art is, it is a fine art. With this naiveté we must not confuse homely simplicity, which only avoids spoiling nature by artificiality, because it has no notion of the conventions of good society.

The humorous manner may also be ranked as a thing which in its enlivening influence is clearly allied to the gratification provoked by laughter. It belongs to originality of mind (des Geistes), though not to the talent for fine art. Humour, in a good sense, means the talent for being able to put oneself at will into a certain frame of mind in which everything is estimated on lines that go quite off the beaten track (a topsy-turvy view of things), and yet on lines that follow certain principles, rational in the case of such a mental temperament. A person with whom such variations are not a matter of choice is said to have humours; but if a person can assume them voluntarily and of set purpose (on behalf of a lively presentation drawn from a ludicrous contrast), he and his way of speaking are termed humorous. This manner belongs, however, to agreeable rather than to fine art, because the object of the latter must always have an evident intrinsic worth about it, and thus demands a certain seriousness in its presentation, as taste does in estimating it.



§ 55.

For a power of judgment to be dialectical it must first of all be rationalizing; that is to say, its judgments must lay claim to universality,* and do so a priori, for it is in the antithesis of such judgments that dialectic consists. Hence there is nothing dialectical in the irreconcilability of aesthetic judgments 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 judgments of taste does not form a dialectic of taste — for no one is proposing to make his own judgment 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 judgments 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 judgment 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.

*Any judgment which sets up to be universal may be termed a rationalizing judgment (indicium ratiocinans); for so far as universal it may serve as the major premiss of a syllogism. On the other hand, only a judgment which is thought as the conclusion of a syllogism, and, therefore, as having an a priori foundation, can be called rational (indicium ratiocinatum).

§ 56. Representation of the antinomy of taste.

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 judgment is merely subjective (gratification or pain), and that the judgment has no right to the necessary agreement of others.

Its second commonplace, to which even those resort who concede the right of the judgment 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 judgment of taste be objective, it is not reducible to definite concepts, so that in respect of the judgment 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 judgments 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 judgment. 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 judgment 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 judgment 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 judgment of taste is based on concepts; for otherwise, despite diversity of judgment, there could be no room even for contention in the matter (a claim to the necessary agreement of others with this judgment).

§ 57. Solution of the antinomy of taste.

There is no possibility of removing the conflict of the above principles, which underlie every judgment of taste (and which are only the two peculiarities of the judgment of taste previously set out in the Analytic) except by showing that the concept to which the object is to refer in a judgment of this kind is not taken in the same sense in both maxims of the aesthetic judgment; that this double sense, or point of view, in our estimate, is necessary for our power of transcendental judgment; and that nevertheless the false appearance arising from the confusion of one with the other is a natural illusion, and so unavoidable.

The judgment 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 judgment 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 judgment. Hence it is a singular representation of intuition referable to the feeling of pleasure, and, as such, only a private judgment. 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 judgment 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 judgments 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 judgment 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 judgment 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 judgment of taste upon proofs, which contradicts the thesis.

All contradiction disappears, however, if I say: The judgment of taste does depend upon a concept (of a general ground of the subjective purposiveness of nature for the power of judgment), 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 judgment 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 judgment must have for its basis, is taken in the same sense in both the conflicting judgments, yet two opposite predicates are asserted of it. The thesis should therefore read: The judgment of taste is not based on determinate concepts; but the antithesis: The judgment 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 judgments might be derived, tested, and proved, is an absolute impossibility, for then it would not be a judgment 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 judgment, 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 judgment 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 judgment 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.

Remark 1.

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 purposiveness 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 purposiveness for which no objective principle can be prescribed.

Remark 2.

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, judgment, and reason, each of which, being a higher faculty of cognition, must have its a priori principles. For, so far as reason passes judgment 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-i-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 judgment; (3) for the faculty Of desire an antinomy in respect of the practical employment of selflegislative 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 judgments 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 judgment 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 judgment 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 judgment 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 judgment of taste is in fact a disguised judgment 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 judgments 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 purposiveness 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.

§ 58. The idealism of the purposiveness alike of nature and of art, as the unique principle of the aesthetic judgment.

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 judgment 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 purposiveness or of its idealism. Now, as a judgment of taste is not a cognitive judgment, 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 purposiveness in this judgment is regarded in thought as objective. In other words, the judgment 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 judgment generally in the subject. For this reason the judgment of taste, and the distinction between its realism and its idealism, can only, even on the principle of rationalism, depend upon its subjective purposiveness interpreted in one or other of two ways. Either such subjective purposiveness is, in the first case, a harmony with our judgment pursued as an actual (intentional) end of nature (or of art), or else, in the second case, it is only a supervening purposive harmony with the needs of our faculty of judgment 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 purposiveness 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 colors (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 surf ace, 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 judgment.

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 judgment, 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 purposive for our judgment 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 color, we have only what may be ascribed to nature and its capacity for originating in free activity aesthetically purposive 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 purposiveness in the beauty of nature is the one upon which we ourselves invariably take our stand in our aesthetic judgments, 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 judgment whether anything is beautiful or not. This could not be so on the assumption of a realism of the purposiveness of nature; because in that case we should have to go to nature for instruction as to what we should deem beautiful, and the judgment 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 purposiveness on the part of nature, instead of a subjective purposiveness 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 purposiveness in the relation of our mental powers engaged in the estimate of certain of its products, and, indeed, such a purposiveness 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 judgment 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 judgment of taste.

The principle of the idealism of purposiveness is still more clearly apparent in fine art. For the point that sensations do not enable us to adopt an aesthetic realism of purpose (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 purposiveness in estimating the beautiful in nature and in art is the only hypothesis upon which a critique can explain the possibility of a judgment of taste that demands a priori validity for every one (yet without basing the purposiveness represented in the object upon concepts).

§ 59. Beauty as the symbol of morality.

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 judgment 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.*

*The 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 judgment 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 judgment. 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, judgment 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 judgment upon the delight, but with one that judgment 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 judgments 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 judgment 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 colors are called innocent, modest, soft, because they excite sensations containing something analogous to the consciousness of the state of mind produced by moral judgments. 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.

§ 60. APPENDIX. The methodology of taste.

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 judgment 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 judgment. 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.



Note on the translation, by Denis Dutton

This version of the first part of Kant’s Critique of Judgment, the “Critique of Aesthetic Judgment,” is designed for student use. It was created by me from open text versions of James Creed Meredith’s 1911 translation for Oxford University Press (now in the public domain). As I continue to use this version in teaching, I will incorporate corrections of typos, add missing italics, check formatting against the original Akademie edition, and so forth. I would be more than delighted to hear from anyone who spots errors: I can be contacted here.

I will also be working regularly to update and modernize this 1911 text. Scholarship is one thing, and there is no pretense on my part that a cobbled-together and tinkered-with translation of the Critique of Judgment represents an advance for serious Kant studies. On the other hand, there is much to be said for making freely available a readable version of what is in my opinion the greatest work of philosophical aesthetics ever written.

My tinkering is work in progress. It is governed by the notion that it is hard enough already for English-speaking students to wrap their minds around Kant: there should be no more Verfremdungseffekt in the translation than is absolutely necessary. For example, the first change I made to this version was in § 2. It is true that the ethnologically-informed Kant speaks of an Iroquois sachem. But all sachem means in English is chief, so why not render it thus? And why the obsolete eating-house for Garküchen? Kant wrote, “...wie jener Irokesische Sachem, ihm gefalle in Paris nichts besser als die Garküchen.” I think it best to let it go as “ that Iroquois chief who said that nothing in Paris pleased him more than the restaurants.”

I also plan to include illustrations where desirable, such as that of the Maori moko (tattoo is actually a Tahitian word) in § 16. Many of Kant’s references to art are literary, but here and there opportunities arise for useful illustrative material. Again, reader suggestions are most welcome.

One major change incorporated here is the uniform translation of Zweckmäßigkeit as purposiveness, rather than Meredith’s finality. Along with this, Zweck is translated both as purpose and as end, depending on context (in one or two places, I’ve left it as final). As I continue to read over this translation, I hope to clarify passages that use these terms.

For anyone who wishes seriously to probe Kant’s aesthetics, I heartily recommend Werner S. Pluhar’s complete translation, which includes his own introduction: Immanuel Kant, Critique of Judgment, foreward by Mary J. Gregor (Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 1987).