The Possibility of Culture: Pleasure and Moral Development in Kant's Aesthetics (New Directions in Aesthetics)

The Possibility of Culture: Pleasure and Moral Development in Kant's Aesthetics (New Directions in Aesthetics)

Bradley Murray

Language: English

Pages: 160

ISBN: 1118950658

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


The Possibility of Culture: Pleasure and Moral Development in Kant’s Aesthetics presents an in-depth exploration and deconstruction of Kant’s depiction of the ways in which aesthetic pursuits can promote personal moral development.

  • Presents an in-depth exploration of the connection between Kant’s aesthetics and his views on moral development
  • Reveals the links between Kant’s aesthetics and his anthropology and moral psychology
  • Explores Kant’s notion of genius and his views on the connections between the social aspects of taste and moral development
  • Addresses aspects of Kant’s ethical theory that will interest scholars working in ethics and moral psychology

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a person was in a country that seemed to be uninhabited and was to see a geometrical figure, say a regular hexagon, traced on the sand. As he reflected, and tried to form a concept of the figure, his reason would make him conscious, though perhaps obscurely, that in the production of this concept there was unity of principle. His reason would then forbid him to consider the sand, the neighbouring sea, the winds, or even animals with their footprints, as causes familiar to him, or any other

theories, including the principle that every human being – regardless of race – is to be treated equally, guaranteed freedom, and never used merely as means to another human being’s end.12 Because he holds such views, Kant does not ultimately seem to believe that the racial hierarchy that he accepts has very many implications when it comes to the question of how members of particular racial groups are to be treated. To this end, he comes out against slavery and colonialism, particularly in his

the experience. However, it is entirely possible to hold that the experience of sublimity is a mixed one in this way without also holding that the experience is characterized by a split between an outer object, which is displeasing, and an inner object, which is pleasing. Given that Kant’s explanation of the source of the pleasure in an experience of sublimity does not accord with the way things seem to us as we are actually having this experience, we would expect that he would offer us a

Morals 6:459. 8 Morals 6:402. 9 Morals 6:402. 10 Anthropology 7:119. 11 Anthropology 7:120. 12 Anthropology 7:121. 136  The Possibility of Culture 13 David Hume, “Of the Standard of Taste,” in Essays, Moral, Political, and Literary (Indianapolis: Liberty Classics, 1987), 231–258. 14 It should be noted that some commentators locate a “first attempt” at a deduction occurring in the Fourth Moment of the Analytic of the Beautiful, in Section 21. See for example Paul Guyer, Kant and the

credit to be occupied with.”9 Thus, Kant and Rousseau are agreed that the arts are luxuries, and that luxuries are diversions. But they disagree over whether the diversion is helpful in the long run, especially when it comes to culture. Moreover, because Kant holds that luxury, as diversion, can help us to develop morally as individuals, and because, as we have seen, he holds that moral development at the individual level makes possible social progress, he is in a position to hold that pursuing

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