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An Introduction to Kant's Aesthetics: Core Concepts and Problems

An Introduction to Kant's Aesthetics: Core Concepts and Problems

Christian Helmut Wenzel

ISBN: 978-1-405-13036-3

Oct 2005, Wiley-Blackwell

200 pages

In Stock

$42.95

Description

In An Introduction to Kant’s Aesthetics, Christian Wenzel discusses and demystifies Kant’s Critique of the Power of Judgment, guiding the reader each step of the way and placing key points of discussion in the context of Kant’s other work.

  • Explains difficult concepts in plain language, using numerous examples and a helpful glossary.
  • Proceeds in the same order as Kant’s text for ease of reference and comprehension.
  • Includes an illuminating foreword by Henry E. Allison.
  • Offers twenty-six further-reading sections, commenting briefly on books and articles from the English, German, and French, that are relevant for each topic
  • Provides an extensive bibliography and a chapter summarizing Kant's main points.

Foreword by Henry E. Allison viii

Acknowledgments xi

About This Book xii

Note on the Translation xiv

Introduction 1

The Aesthetic Dimension Between Subject and Object 1

The Meaning of “Aesthetic” 4

Categories as a Guide 8

The “Moments” of a Judgment of Taste 13

1 Disinterestedness: First Moment 19

Disinterestedness as a Subjective Criterion 19

Three Kinds of Satisfaction: Agreeable, Beautiful, Good 23

2 Universality: Second Moment 27

The Argument from Self-Reflection: Private, Public, Universal 27

Subjective Universality 31

A Case of Transcendental Logic 35

Singular “but” Universal 39

How to Read Section 9 46

3 Purposiveness: Third Moment 54

Purpose without Will, Purposiveness without Purpose 54

Purposiveness and Form: Charm versus Euler 60

Of “Greatest Importance”: Beauty and Perfection 65

Beauty: Free, Dependent, and Ideal 69

4 Necessity: Fourth Moment 77

Exemplary Necessity 77

Kant’s Interpretation of the sensus communis 81

The Deduction 86

5 Fine Art, Nature, and Genius 94

Fine Art and Why It Must Seem like Nature 94

Genius and Taste 98

Genius and Aesthetic Ideas 101

6 Beyond Beauty 106

The Sublime 106

Beauty as the Symbol of Morality 113

The Analytic, the Dialectic, and the Supersensible 120

7 Two Challenges 128

Can Kant’s Aesthetics Account for the Ugly? 128

Can there be Beauty and Genius in Mathematics? 133

Summary and Overview 141

Before Kant 141

Kant’s Aesthetics 142

After Kant 146

Glossary 149

Bibliography 157

Index 171

"As an overall assessment, then, this is undoubtedly one of the most interesting and meticulous "guides" to Kant's aesthetic theory. Even though Wenzel clearly adopts a slightly different approach to Kant's aesthetic theory than this reviewer, this book is probably the best introductory volume currently available." Elisabeth Shellekens, The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism

"In sum, I highly recommend this book to students and scholars with some familiarity with Kant and the “Critique of Aesthetic Judgment.” This book will surely deepen their understanding of Kant." Kenneth F. Rogerson, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

“Wenzel’s book is an invaluable aid for all serious students of Kant’s third Critique. The reconstruction of arguments is clear and concise; the annotated bibliography is remarkably knowledgeable and helpful.” Karl Ameriks, University of Notre Dame


“This volume will be indispensable to any new reader of Kant's third Critique who seeks illumination of its key concepts, insights into its philosophical context, and guidance for further study.” Eckart Förster, Johns Hopkins University


  • Discusses and demystifies Kant’s Critique of the Power of Judgment and connects it to Kant’s other relevant work.

  • Explains difficult concepts in plain language, using numerous examples and a helpful glossary.

  • Proceeds in the same order as Kant’s text for ease of reference and comprehension.

  • Includes an illuminating foreword by Henry E. Allison.