Philosophy of the Arts


Kant, taste and time

Kant’s Critique of Judgement can be seen to put aside all sorts of irrelevant, and illegitimate considerations for our judgements of taste, such as our interests, concepts, moral values, sentiments and excitement.
Why is there no discussion in Kant of fashionable and trendy following of judgements, in short: of the influence of one’s time, one’s historical background?
This question is particularly pertinent in light of the fact that his immediate predecessor, David Hume, had so much to say about exactly this, in his “Of the Standard of Taste”.

Hume and Kant

Hume had a taste for this issue–Kant didn’t. Why? Did Kant think that his considerations covered all that was relevant to the legitimacy of our judgements of taste? Or was it because he approached aesthetics atomistically? He concentrated on types of propositions and the considerations that form their norms of correctness (as we would nowadays rather call them). The first element sacrificed in atomism is temporal continuity [see Zeno’s paradoxes].

Time and the judgement of taste

Are our judgements of necessity about the object’s intrinsic properties? Or are they, often if not always, instigated by the social effects to be acquired by our sharing them with significant others? That is, often our judgements are motivated by our social needs as related to our times–comparable to fashion: we may like what we wear, but at the same time we anticipate social success.

Hume, David. 1985. “Of the Standard of Taste.” In Essays Moral Political and Literary, 226-250. Indianapolis: Liberty Fund. (Internet)
Kant, Immanuel. 1987 (1790). Critique of Judgement (Kritik der Urteilskraft). Translated by Werner S. Pluhar. Indianapolis and Cambridge (Berlin und Libau): Hackett Publishing Company (Lagarde und Friederich).

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