The Critic and the Lover of Art

  • R. K. Elliott


In the last section of the first book of the Critique of Aesthetic Judgement Kant admitted that he was uncertain whether a common aesthetic sense incorporating a universal aesthetic norm actually exists. It seems that he recognised that if there is no common aesthetic sense a universal community of taste could not be achieved simply by everyone’s contemplating Nature and Art disinterestedly, for he suggests that if this common sense does not exist the demand of the judgement of taste for universal assent will be a requirement of (moral) reason and that the ‘ought’ of the judgement of taste will ‘only betoken the possibility of arriving at some sort of unanimity in these matters’.1 If I interpret him correctly, he maintains in the later books that whether or not a common aesthetic sense exists we have a duty o. imperfect obligation to bring a universal community of taste into being and must therefore presuppose that we are able to do so. I. there is no common aesthetic sense, somehow or other all men will have to acquire a similar taste even though initially they do not all respond in the same way to objects which they contemplate from the aesthetic point of view.


Aesthetic Judgement Unfavourable Response Aesthetic Response Aesthetic Point Shadow Side 
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  1. 1.
    Cenacolo del Perugino, Florence. Illustrated in Frescoes from Florence (Arts Council, 1969 ) p. 176.Google Scholar
  2. 1.
    See Max Raphael, The Demands of Art (1968)chap. 6.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Royal Institute of Philosophy 1972

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. K. Elliott

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