The Critique of Judgement/P1/S1/B1/M2

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SS 6. The beautiful is that which, apart from concepts, is represented as the Object of a UNIVERSAL delight.[edit]

This definition of the beautiful is deducible from the foregoing definition of it as an object of delight apart from any intrest. For where an 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 an 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 a reason for his delight no person condition to which he 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 the 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 judgement, that it may be presupposed to be valid for all men. But this universally cannot spring from concepts. For from concepts there is no transition to the feeling of pleasure of displeasure (save in the case for of pure practical laws, which, however, carry an intrest with them; and such an interest dose not attach to the pure judgement of taste). The result is that the judgement of taste, with its attendant consciousness of detachment from all intrest, 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.

SS 7. Comparison of the beautiful with the agreeable and the good by means of the above characteristic[edit]

As regards the agreeable, every one person concedes that his judgement, 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 dose not take it amiss if, when he says that Canary-wine is agreeable, another corrects the expression and reminds himself 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 anyone be agreeabl eto eye or ear. A violet color is to one soft and lovely: to another dull and faded. One man like the tone of wind instruments, another prefers that of string instruments. To quarrel over such points with the idea of condemning another's judgements as incorrect when it differs from our own, as if the opposition between the two judgements 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 it merely pleases him, he 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 judgement 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 he denies them taste, which he 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 judgement 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 judgement of taste upon the beautiful deals of claims to deal in. it is a judgement in respect of sociability so far as resting on empirical rules. In respect of the good, it is true that judgements 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.