Jessica Williams: "Kant on the Sources of Aesthetic Normativity"

  • Date: –16:00
  • Location: Zoom (contact Irene Martinez Marin for link)
  • Organiser: Department of Philosophy
  • Contact person: Irene Martinez Marin
  • Seminarium

The Higher Seminar in Aesthetics

Jessica Williams, University of South Florida: "Kant on the Sources of Aesthetic Normativity"


Abstract
In the Critique of the Power of Judgment, Kant frequently uses the language of obligation when discussing judgments of beauty. He talks of expectations, demands, requirements, and duties. For example, he claims that we require that others cultivate taste, and we even expect them to feel the pleasure of beauty “as if it were a duty.” (CJ, 5:296).  But how could there be a duty (or at least an expectation that approaches duty) to feel pleasure?  Or a requirement to develop taste? What could ground these obligations? Most commentators appeal to cognitive or moral considerations to explain why we should cultivate taste and appreciate beauty. In this talk, I will suggest that, in addition to these cognitive and moral sources of normativity, Kant also acknowledges distinctly aesthetic grounds of obligation that arise within the context of aesthetic communities. Furthermore, I suggest that it is only by appealing to the commitments we undertake as members of aesthetic communities that we can explain the obligations to attend to and preserve particular objects of natural beauty or works of art.