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E491 IMMANUEL KANT QUESTIONS

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Assigned: from Critique of Judgment, "Analytic of the Beautiful" and "Analytic of the Sublime" (499-536).

From Critique of Judgment (1790)

1. What is philosophical idealism? How does it describe the relationship between the mind and the external world? (general question)

2. What implications might philosophical idealism have for broader notions about politics and societal organization? Responding to this question helps one understand why the romantic poets borrowed so heavily from Kantian ideas. (general question)

From Critique of Judgment, Book I. "Analytic of the Beautiful"

3. Describe the mental process leading to what Kant calls an "aesthetic judgment" or a "judgment of taste." (505)

4. Why, according to Kant, isn't it possible to make "a pure judgment of taste" as soon as "interest" enters the picture? At 509 top, Kant uses the term "disinterested{ness}." How does this word encapsulate what he has been saying about the purity of a proper aesthetic judgment? (506-07)

5. How does Kant define judgments about "the agreeable" and "the good"? Why aren't these kinds of judgment aesthetic? (See 505-06 for a definition of this term.) Provide your own examples of a judgment about the agreeable and the good, respectively. (507-08)

6. Why, according to Kant, do we suppose we have the right to other people's agreement once we have declared an object beautiful? That is, we would not demand that everybody like chocolate ice cream just because we like it, but we would insist that our statement, "this rose is beautiful" is a universally correct judgment. Why? (509-11)

7. According to Kant, do we feel pleasure before making a judgment of taste, or do we make the judgment first and then feel pleasure? What reasons does he provide for his answer? (512-13)

8. What does Kant appear to mean by the terms "design" and "form"? How do these two terms differ from "charm" and "emotion"? Why is the design of a presentation or object central to a judgment of taste? (514-15)

9. Following upon question 8, what role does "sensation" play in the making of an aesthetic judgment? Does Kant disdain sensation or sensory experience, or does his desire to abstract from it stem from some other purpose? Explain. (514-15)

10. According to Kant, what is "free beauty" (pulchritudo vaga)? What examples does he offer? Why is it important that our liking for such objects does not refer to any definite concept, i.e. that we don't refer the object to a fixed purpose or concept? (515-16)

11. How do you understand Kant's terms "common sense" (sensus communis) and "purposiveness without a purpose"? What significance do they hold for Kant's claims about the human value of aesthetic judgment? (518-19)

From Critique of Judgment, Book II. "Analytic of the Sublime"

12. In what respects, according to Kant, are the beautiful and the sublime similar? (519-20)

13. What "significant differences" does Kant address between the beautiful and the sublime? Which difference is the most important, and why? (520-21)

14. What reason does Kant give for considering the "{the concept of} the beautiful in nature" more important than the "the concept of the sublime in nature"? What can our experience of the beautiful do for us that our experience with the sublime cannot? (520-21)

15. Following upon question 14, how does Kant's attitude towards the sublime differ from that of Longinus? (520-21, general question)

16. How does Kant define the term "sublime"? Why is it the case that "nothing that can be an object of the sense is to be called sublime"? (521-22)

17. Why, according to Kant, should we most properly turn to "crude nature" and not to "products of art" (523) in explaining the sublime? (523-24)

18. How is it that the feeling most relevant to our experience of the sublime is "respect"? What is it that we respect when we experience the sublime, and why? How does this experience entail "a feeling of displeasure" and yet "at the same time also {involve} a pleasure"? (525)

19. How does Kant define nature as a "might"? Why is it necessary for a judgment of sublimity that we "consider and object fearful without being afraid of it" (527)? What would happen to our experience of sublimity, for instance, if -- my example -- we were clinging to a flimsy branch over the edge of Niagara Falls rather than viewing the Falls from a safe distance? (526-27)

20. How does Kant argue that neither judgments about beauty nor judgments about the sublime are a matter of "mere convention"? (528-29)

21. What is Kant's definition of the sensus communis, or "common sense," and why is such a capacity important to his framework for explaining aesthetic judgments? How is it, further, that (at 531 middle), "taste can be called a sensus communis, more legitimately than can sound understanding"? (529-31, Section 29)

22. Kant wrote a famous essay called "What is Enlightenment?" How does he characterize "enlightenment" while analyzing the sensus communis? (530)

23. How does Kant distinguish "art" from "nature"? What are the distinguishing characteristics of art? And how is art to be further distinguished from craft and from science? (531-32, Section 43)

24. How does Kant treat the issue of "genius"? What can the artist or genius do especially well? (533-34, Section 49)

25. How, according to Kant, is beauty the "symbol of the morally good"? (534-35, Section 59)

Edition: Leitch, Vincent B., ed. The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism. 1st ed. New York: Norton, 2001. ISBN 0-393-97429-4.


Created by admin. Last Modification: Wednesday 20 July, 2011 05:03:51 PM PDT by admin_main.

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