A taste of moral concerns: On the Applied Judgment of Taste

João Lemos

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Abstract

Kant’s account of taste is often taken to imply that aesthetic appreciation and moral issues are incompatible – as if one could not consider purposes of a moral sort while passing a judgment of taste.
Taking into account how morally and politically engaged art has proven to be, it is easy to see why interest in Kant’s account of taste has waned.
This cannot be the whole story, though. I claim that the applied judgment of taste can include the consideration of moral purposes while remaining an aesthetic judgment: Iargue, first, that the beauty of buildings and the beauty of horses may include the consideration of concepts of a moral sort and that human beauty does necessarily include it; in the second part of my paper, I will give an account of why the applied judgment of taste is a genuine kind of judgment of taste. If my views are correct, the applied judgment of taste instantiates aesthetic appreciation of morally and politically engaged art objects without dismissing – and on the contrary, considering – their moral and political engagement. As such, Kant’s notion of applied judgment of taste might enrich current discussions in the fields of aesthetics, philosophy of art, and art itself.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)132-140
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Comparative Literature and Aesthetics
Volume43
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Keywords

  • Kant
  • taste
  • beauty
  • aesthetic appreciation
  • moral and political engagement

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