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—fore, besides noting simple form, to aim at a concept, “ so that the object may be apprehended through an aesthetic judgement logically conditioned.” ". By this means is formed the ideal of beauty in the human face, the expression of moral life.” Kant admits that there may also be artistic productions without a concept, comparable with the free beauties of nature, flowers and some birds (parrot, humming-bird, bird of paradise, etc.) : ornamental drawings, cornice-mouldings, musical fantasies without words, represent nothing, no object reducible to a determined concept, and must be reckoned among free beauties.” But does not this necessitate their exclusion from true and proper art, from the operation of genius in which fancy and intellect must both, according to Kant, have a place 2 This is Baumgartenism transposed into a higher key, Imagination more concentrated, more elaborated, more suggestive, *::::: until from moment to moment it seems about to burst into a wholly different conception of art. But it is still Baumgartenism, from whose intellectualistic bonds it never escapes. Nor was escape possible. A concept of imagination was entirely lacking to Kant's system and his philosophy of the spirit. Glancing over the table of faculties of the spirit which precedes his r Critique of Judgment, we see that Kant co-ordinates with it the cognitive faculty, the feeling of pleasure and pain, and the appetitive faculty; to the first corresponds intellect, to the second, judgement (teleological and aesthetic), to the third, reason; * he finds no place for imagination amongst powers of the spirit but places it among the facts of sensation. He knows a reproductive imagination and an associative, but he knows nothing of a genuinely productive imagination, imagination in the proper sense.” We have seen that, in his doctrine, genius is the co-operation of several faculties. Yet sometimes Kant had an inkling that intellectual * Krit. d. Urth. § 48. * Op. cit. § 17. * Op. cit. § 16. * For the historical genesis of this tripartition, cf. remarks in
Schlapp, op. cit. pp. 150-153. * See also Anthropol. (ed. Kirchmann), §§ 26-31 ; cf. Schlapp,
op. cit. p. 296.
The forms of intuition and the Transcendental AEsthetic.
activity is preceded by something which is not mere sensational material, but is an independent non-intellectual theoretical form. He obtained a glimpse of this latter form not when he was reflecting on art in the strict sense but when he was examining the process of knowledge : he does not treat of it in his Critique of Judgment, but in the first section of his Critique of Pure Reason, in the first part of the Transcendental Doctrine of Elements. He says here that sensations only enter the spirit when the latter itself gives them form ; a form not identical with that which intellect gives to sensations, but much simpler, namely pure intuition, the totality of the a priori principles of sensibility. There must therefore be “a science which forms the first part of the transcendental doctrine of elements, distinct from that which contains the principles of pure thought and is named transcendental Logic.” Now, what name does Kant confer upon this science whose existence he has deduced 2 None other than Transcendental AEsthetic (die transcendentale Asthetik). In a note he even insists that this is the right name for the new science of which he treats, and censures the Germans for their habit of applying it to the Critique of Taste, which, as he thought at that time, could never become a science. Thus, he concludes, we approach more closely to the usage of the ancients, among whom the distinction between ala ómrå kai vomitá" was well known.
Nevertheless, after having so rightly postulated the necessity for a science of the forms of sensation or pure intuition, purely intuitive knowledge, Kant went on, simply because he had no exact idea of the nature of the aesthetic faculty and of art, to fall into an intellectualistic error by reducing the form of sensibility or pure intuition into the two categories or functions of space and time, and by asserting that the spirit emerges from the chaos of sensation by organizing its sensations in space and time.” But space and time as such are very far from being primitive categories; they are relatively late and complex forma
* Kritik d. rein. Vernunft, i. 1, § 1 and note. * Op. cit. §§ 1-8.
tions.” As examples of the matter of sensation Kant quoted hardness, impenetrability, colour and so forth. But the mind only recognizes colour and hardness in so far as it has already given form to its sensations; considered as brute matter, sensations fall outside the cognitive spirit, they are a limit; colour, hardness, impenetrability and so on, when recognized, are already intuitions, spiritual elaborations, the aesthetic activity in its rudimentary manifestation. The characterizing or qualifying imagination which is asthetic activity ought to have occupied in the Critique of Pure Reason the pages devoted to the discussion of space and time, and would thus have constituted a real Transcendental AEsthetic, a real prologue to the transcendental Logic. In this manner Kant would have achieved the truth aimed at by Leibniz and Baumgarten and would have joined hands with Vico. His repeatedly announced opposition to the school of Theory of Wolff concerns not the concept of art but that of Beauty; *a two concepts for Kant entirely distinct. First of all, he by Kant from did not admit that sensation could be called “confused “"“” knowledge,” a confused form, that is, of intellectual cognition ; rightly judging this to be a false account of sensibility, since a concept, however confused, is always a concept or a rough sketch of a concept, never an intuition.” But he further denied that pure beauty contained a concept, and therefore denied that it was a perfection sensibly apprehended. These reflexions have no doubt Some connexion with those concerning the nature of art in the Critique of Judgment ; but the connexion is far from close, still less are they actually fused into a single whole. That Kant was minutely familiar with eighteenth-century writers who had discussed beauty and taste is shown by: his Lectures, wherein they are all quoted and used.” Of these the greater part, especially the English, were sensationalists, others intellectualists; some few, as we have noted, were inclined towards mysticism. Kant began
* See above, pp. 4-5. * Krit. d. r. Vern. § 8, and introd. to $ ii.; cf. Krit. d. Urth. § 15. * See catalogue in Schlapp, op. cit. pp. 403-404, and passim.
by tending towards sensationalism in aesthetic problems, then became the adversary of sensationalists and intellectualists alike. This development can be traced in his Observations on the Beautiful and Sublime, as well as in his Lectures; its final expression is reached in the Critique of Judgment. Of the four moments, as he calls them, i.e. the four determinations, he accords to Beauty, the two negative are directed, one against the sensationalists, the other against the intellectualists. “That is beautiful which pleases without interest " : “That is beautiful which pleases without concepts.” Here he asserts the existence of a spiritual region, distinct on one side from the pleasurable, the useful and the good, and on the other from truth. But this region, as we know very well, is not that of art, which Kant attaches to the concept : it is the region of a special activity of feeling which he calls judgement or, more exactly, aesthetic judgement. The other two moments give some kind of a definition of this region: “That is beautiful which has the form of finality without the representation of an end " : “That is beautiful which is the object of universal pleasure.” ” What is this mysterious sphere 2 What this disinterested pleasure we experience in pure colours and tones, in flowers, and even in adherent beauty when we make abstraction from the concept to which it adheres 2 Our answer is: there is no such sphere; it does not exist; the examples given are instances either of pleasure in general or of facts of artistic expression. Kant, who so emphatically criticizes the sensationalists and the intellectualists, does not show the same severity towards the neo-Platonic line of thought whose revival we remarked in the eighteenth century. Winckelmann in particular exercised strong influence over his mind. In one course of his Lectures we find him making a curious distinction between form and matter : in music melody is matter and harmony form : in a flower the scent is material and the shape (Gestalt) is form (Form).” This
Mystical features in Kant's theory of Beauty.
1 Krit. d. Urth. §§ 1-9. * Op. cit. §§ Io-22. * Schlapp, op. cit. p. 78.
reappears slightly modified in the Critique of Judgment. “In painting, statuary and all the figurative arts in architecture and gardening, so far as they are fine arts, the drawing is the essential ; in which the foundation of taste lies not in what gratifies (vergnigt) in sensation, but in that which pleases (gefällt) by its form. The colours which illuminate the drawing belong to sensuous stimulus (Reiz) and may bring the object more vividly before the senses, but do not render it worthy of contemplation as a thing of beauty; they are, moreover, often limited by the exigencies of the beautiful form, and even where their sensuous stimulus is legitimate, they are ennobled only by the beautiful form.” Continuing in pursuit of this phantasm of beauty which is not the beauty of art nor yet the pleasing, and is equally detached from expressivemess and pleasure, Kant loses himself in insoluble contradictions. Little inclined to submit himself to the charm of imagination, abhorring “poetic philosophers ” like Herder,” he makes statements and refuses to commit himself to them, affirms and immediately criticizes his affirmations, and wraps up Beauty in a mystery which, at bottom, was nothing more than his own individual incertitude and inability to see clearly the existence of an activity of feeling which, in the spirit of his sane philosophy, represented a logical contradiction. “Necessary and universal pleasure" and “finality without the idea of an end" are the organized expression in words of this contradiction. By way of clearing up the contradiction he arrives at the following thought: “The judgement of taste is founded on a concept (the concept of a general foundation of the subjective teleology of nature through judgement); but it is a concept by which it is impossible to know or demonstrate anything of the object, because the object in itself is indeterminable and unsuited to cognition ; on the other hand, it has validity for every one (for every one, I say, in
* Krit. d. Urth. § 14. * For Kant's judgement of Herder, see Schlapp, op. cit. pp. 320-327, note.