Larissa Berger: "Necessary Universality and the Felt Syllogism of Taste"

The Higher Seminar in Aesthetics

Larissa Berger, University of Siegen: "Necessary Universality and the Felt Syllogism of Taste: A Reading of Kant's sensus communis"

The sensus communis (SC) is one of the core elements of Kant’s theory of beauty: it is supposed to explain why judgments of taste are endowed with necessary universality. In my talk I will investigate how the SC can fulfil this role. Therefore, I will first introduce the SC’s two components of being a ‘sense’ and being ‘communal’. Secondly, I will make a digression by investigating the role of the categories (the objective conditions of cognition) and the principles of pure reason. I will show that the latter function as major premises in syllogisms, which yield necessarily universal judgments of experience as their conclusions. Thirdly, I will suggest that the SC also functions as the major premise in a (quasi-)syllogism, which yields a judgment of taste as its conclusion. It is only a (quasi-)syllogism because its premises are non-conceptual and non-propositional. Nonetheless, the conclusion, i.e. the judgment of taste, is necessarily universal, as it was yielded by inference in a (quasi-)syllogism, whose major premise, the SC, includes the subjective condition of cognition.