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Immanuel Kant on Taste - Dictionary of Arguments

Gadamer I 40
Taste/Kant/Gadamer: The long history of this term until it was made the foundation of Kant's critique of judgement suggests that the concept of taste is originally a moral rather than an aesthetic concept. It describes an ideal of genuine humanity and owes its coinage to the endeavour to stand out critically against the dogmatism of the "school" (>Scholasticism). It is only later that the use of the term is restricted to the "aesthetic". >Taste/Gracian.
Gadamer I 41
It is well known that there is no possibility to argue in matters of taste (Kant rightly says that there is dispute, but not disputation in matters of taste(1)), but not only because there are no conceptually general standards
Gadamer I 42
which all must acknowledge, but because one does not even seek such, indeed, would not even find it right if such existed.
Gadamer I 43
Taste is (...) not a communal sense in the way that it makes itself dependent on an empirical generality, the universal unanimity of the judgements of others. It does not say that everyone will agree with our judgement, but should agree with it (as Kant states(2)).
Fashion: Compared to the tyranny that fashion represents, assured taste therefore preserves a specific freedom and superiority. This is its very own normative power, to be sure of the approval of an ideal community. >Fashion/Gadamer.
Gadamer I 48
Kant himself felt it as a kind of intellectual surprise that in the context of what is subject to taste, an a priori moment arose for him that went beyond the empirical generality(3). The "Critique of Judgement" arose from this insight. >Judgment/Urteilskraft/Kant.
It is no longer a mere criticism of taste in the sense that the taste is the subject of critical evaluation by the other. It is criticism of criticism, i.e. it asks about the right of such critical behaviour in matters of taste.
Imitation/"Nachahmung"/Kant: In the field of aesthetic taste, the model and pattern has its preferred function, but, as Kant rightly says, not in the manner of imitation, but of succession(4). The model and example gives the taste a clue to take its own course, but does not relieve it of the actual task. "For taste must be a self-sufficient property"(5).
Knowledge/Taste/Gadamer: one will be able to recognize that Kant's reasoning of aesthetics is based on the judgement of taste
Gadamer I 49
does justice to both sides of the phenomenon, its empirical non-generality and its a priori claim to generality. But the price he pays for this justification of criticism in the field of taste is that he denies taste any meaning of knowledge. It is a subjective principle to which he reduces the public spirit. In it nothing is recognized of the objects that are judged beautiful, but it is only asserted that a priori a feeling of pleasure in the subject corresponds to them.
Gadamer I 51
Art/beauty/Kant/Gadamer: The recognition of art seems to depend on the foundation of
Aesthetics in "pure taste judgement" is impossible - unless the standard of taste is reduced to a mere precondition. >Aesthetics/Kant, >Beauty/Kant.

Gadamer I 63
Taste/Kant/GadamerVsKant: One does violence to the concept of taste if one does not incorporate the mutability of taste into it. If anything, taste is a testimony to the mutability of all human things and the relativity of all human values.
Kant's reasoning that aesthetics is based on the concept of taste is not really satisfying from there. It is far more obvious to use the concept of genius, which Kant developed as a transcendental principle for artistic beauty, as a universal aesthetic principle. Far better than the concept of taste, it fulfils the demand to be invariant to the changes of time. >Genius/Kant.


1. Kant, Kritik der Urteilskraft, 1799, S. 233.
2. Ebenda S. 67
3. Vgl. Paul Menzer, Kants Ästhetik in ihrer Entwicklung, 1952.
4. Kant, Kritik der Urteilskraft, 1799, S. 139, vgl. 200.
5. Kritik der Urteilskraft, § 17 (S. 54).


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Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.
I. Kant
I Günter Schulte Kant Einführung (Campus) Frankfurt 1994
Externe Quellen. ZEIT-Artikel 11/02 (Ludger Heidbrink über Rawls)
Volker Gerhard "Die Frucht der Freiheit" Plädoyer für die Stammzellforschung ZEIT 27.11.03
Gadamer I
Hans-Georg Gadamer
Wahrheit und Methode. Grundzüge einer philosophischen Hermeneutik 7. durchgesehene Auflage Tübingen 1960/2010

Gadamer II
H. G. Gadamer
The Relevance of the Beautiful, London 1986
German Edition:
Die Aktualität des Schönen: Kunst als Spiel, Symbol und Fest Stuttgart 1977


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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2021-06-21
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