The Possibilities of Experiencing The beautiful





The Possibilities of Experiencing The beautiful


In The Critique of the Power of Judgment, Immanuel Kant provides a description of judgement of aesthetics based on individual appeal. Although Kant’s theories of the objectivity and subjectivity of beauty have received much criticism over the centuries, they continue to be a source of influence today. Kant’s man views on the process of experiencing beauty was that it did not originate from the rational aspect of ourselves, but it was rather subjected to personal judgement based on how we viewed the world. Where one saw deformity, another could experience beauty. As such, Kant was of the opinion that beauty was something universal, as everyone was able to at one point behold and receive visual pleasure from something that is judged as beautiful. Kant attempts to provide a differentiation between judgement of beauty and judgement based on logic. Kant also provides a description of the ‘moments’ that judgements go through in the process of declaring the beauty of an object beheld. Kant tries to relate beauty with the imagination process, and also separates beauty from the comprehension process, meaning that beauty does not need to contain a logical background, but involves the ‘free harmony” of one’s senses to make judgements.

Basic Points of Kant’s views on Judgement of Beauty

Kant’s main argument of beauty is that it has a universal validity. Kant argues that initially, one person may make a judgement that an object is beautiful based on their aesthetic appeal. There is also a high possibility that the next person has viewed the object in the same light, thus making it universally communicable through it representation to each individual. This makes it possible for different people to connect through sharing pleasure by beholding the same object.  Kant also maintains that beauty is based on how the object appeals to someone emotionally, resulting from the appropriate judgement.  Beauty is also described as an independent aspect through several ways.

Foremost, an individual will not find something beautiful because they desire to be in possession of it. Secondly, beauty does not generate the feeling of desiring to possess the said object. For instance, a place may be described as beautiful. However, the aesthetic appeal does on necessarily correspond to someone wishing to possess that land which the individual finds beautiful. Thirdly, beauty is independent of the practical usefulness of the item. An individual may find something useful even though they do not receive any material benefit from it. On the other hand, something which holds significant value to a person may not necessarily be regarded as beautiful. Fourthly, judgement of beauty is independent of the moral aspects related to it. Whether the object holds any moral goodness or not, will not determine whether people will find it beautiful. Therefore, judgements of beauty are not necessarily pure in nature.

Kant also emphasizes the aspect of reflection of beauty onto oneself. An object’s judgement of beauty will be determined by the experiences of the person, together with the manner in which the object reflects itself onto this individual. Possibilities of experiencing beauty in an object will be influenced by the inspiration drawn from it. This can be in the form of deeds, objects, art, people, or literature. Aesthetic appeal will be established when the subject is able to understand what the object represents not only universally but also within their personal lives. Judgement of beauty can therefore be a transformative process, similar to how people change decisions and opinions based on new information, experiences and perhaps ideas.


Kant separates the aspect of beauty with cognition, arguing that beauty is not regarded from a logical perspective, or that one does not have to think about a logical process to arrive at the conclusion that something is aesthetically pleasing. Kant maintains that beauty is something to simply behold. It is subjected to our senses and experiences of the individual.  Kant also holds the manner in which an object is regarded as beautiful is also subjective to its universal representation. Representations could be cultural, religious or political. These representations could provide a kind of positive or negative stimulation to one’s senses, and this will be the sole criteria of judgement on the objects beauty or lack thereof.

Kant observes the importance of our judgement of beauty and how it representative of a person’s nature or experiences.  Aesthetic appeal has a large role to play in defining how our conscious and subconscious is framed. Because aesthetic appeal is derived from the free harmony of the senses to come to a judgement, it could therefore be possible to tell a thing or two about a person’s nature based on what they find beautiful or what they see as not beautiful. Aspects such as cultural background, experience and religious beliefs can be derived from a subject’s judgement of their aesthetic appeal of an object.

Objects of beauty are not regarded as a means to an end. Instead, a subject will view the object as an end itself. This means that an individual will not base their beauty based on how they will be able to benefit from it. This is because the subject regards the visual pleasure as a desirable feeling that suffices them being able to experience. The imaginary path that is inspired by the object is seen to be the end goal of regarding something as beautiful. Beauty is also influential from one subject to another, according to Kant.

Key Problematic Issues

Kant provides a rather complex paradox particularly when describing the process of creating something beautiful. There is no standard rule that gauges aesthetic appeal in the form of art. However, in order for the art to be considered beautiful, it must act as an example from which people must derive the universally correspondent forms of beauty. This creates a rather intricate issue to solve in the judgement of beauty. On one hand, beauty is seen as a form that cannot be measured by any device or panel of judges to be conventionally accepted as aesthetically appealing. On the other hand, Kant provides a relatively contradictory statement, maintaining that even though beauty has no standard gauge.

Another vivid issue presented in Kant’s views on judgement of beauty is their universal nature. Kant states that other people ought to view an object as beautiful as is the case with the first witness. However, this may be a representation of imposition of opinion s from one person to another. While a person may wish to judge an object as beautiful, the object will not be reflected in the same way to another person. Therefore, beauty can rarely be regarded as a universal aspect, as this means that every human being regards it as beautiful.

Saliency of Illustrations

Kant provides an example of an artist producing an artwork. In the process of describing how beauty cannot be gauged by the methodology applied in its creation, Kant states that the process of painting artwork after learning how to paint may not necessarily produce an aesthetic appeal to the audience. Instead, the piece of art will only be beautiful if it is successful in provoking an individual’s senses in order to form visual pleasure. Kant also provides another example of roses in order to provide the logical reasoning behind the universal approach. Kant describes the rose flower as something that is not only just beautiful, but has an aesthetically grounded logical appeal. This goes to say that there exist some objects which are universal in their representation of beauty.


Kant has provided one of the most influential modern day theories of judgement of beauty. Kant has argued that beauty in itself is derived from emotions rather than rational thought processes. He has provided a comprehensive analysis of the activity of judgement of beauty through four main “moments.” The first moment emphasizes the dependency of beauty on psychological aspects such as emotions, and that they are independent of the material gains that one stands to gain. The second moment describes the universality of judgement of beauty, stating that aesthetic appeal can be shared among different individuals. The third moments encompass the aspect of beauty as an end in itself rather than a means in itself. The fourth moment describes beauty as a necessity, and that which contains universal validity. Kant provides descriptive illustrations to provide a deeper meaning on the important aspects he has related with beauty.

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