Aesthetic Judgment and the Moral Image of the World: Studies by Dieter Henrich

By Dieter Henrich

A suite of 4 essays on aesthetic, moral, and political concerns via Dieter Henrich, the preeminent Kant pupil in Germany this day.

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Additional resources for Aesthetic Judgment and the Moral Image of the World: Studies in Kant (Studies in Kant and German Idealism)

Example text

From now on tl1e only activities engaged in the play were the very activities shown by the Critique of Pure Reason to be operative in the constitution of objects from given intuitions in space and time. Consequentl)', natural objects and products of the skilled crafts had to be moved into the position of paradigm cases of the beautiful, while the work of art became the subject of a complex theory with a richer set of premises. At the same time and for the same reason, the harmonious play was moved closer to the perceptual process and thus, as Kant expressed himself, deeper into the depth of the mind-a change one can l1ardly deplore, for an aesthetics that com- 36 I NT E R PRE TAT ION S mences with a theory of art always proceeds on insecure ground and through unexplored territory.

It is reflective judgment that holds the power of imagination (as it perceives and thus synthesizes a manifold) up to the understanding. But that does not necessarily mean that it is engaged in a search for concepts that would actually apply to the perception in question. Rather, it compares the state of imagination with the conditions of a possible conceptualization in general. Yet a symptom of the possession of a concept is always the possibility of its being exhibited in intuition. One cannot even search for concepts unless one conceives them already in light of the way in which they can be exhibited.

But first I will briefly discuss a possible objection and a difficulty that might have prevented interpreters from achieving an adequate reading of Kant's critique of taste. One can object that although the "exhibition" of a quality like "red" can consist in the production of some red objects, Kant insists t11at in the aesthetic situation only format-namel~ spatial and temporal-features count. But then we have to remind ourselves that in the aesthetic situation no particular concept can be exhibited, for the absence of appropriate concepts is essential to it.

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