Thursday, May 29, 2003

On Kantian Aesthetics, and its relevance for JPII's Theology of the Body

Kant: 'Taste is the power of judging of an object or of a way of representing it through an entirely disinterested satisfaction or dissatisfaction. The object of such a satisfaction is called beautiful'[The Critique of Judgement]

"By saying that aesthetic appreciation is 'entirely disinterested' (ohne alles Interesse) Kant does not mean, ,of course, that it is boring: he means that it is contemplative. In terms of the theory of taste the aesthetic judgement implies that the object which is called beautiful causes satisfaction without reference to desire, to the appetitive faculty. A simple example is sufficient to convey an idea of what Kant means. Suppose that I look at a painting of fruit and say that it is beautiful. If I mean that I should like to eat the fruit, were it real, thus relating it to appetite, my judgment would not be a judgment of taste in the technical sense, that is, an aesthetic judgment; and I should be misusing the word 'beautiful'. The aesthetic judgement implies that the form of the thing is pleasing precisely as an object of contemplation, without any reference to appetite or desire." -Copleston, _History of Philosophy_, vol VI p. 357

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