Philosophy Dictionary of Arguments

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Beauty: that something is beautiful expresses the positive evaluation of a sensory experience. For example, nature, fragrances, sounds and human emotions are perceived as beautiful. In the field of art, judgments about what is to be regarded as beautiful are subject to greater fluctuations or historical developments than in the sphere of natural perception. This need not be interpreted as evidence of subjective arbitrariness. Rather, judgments change with increasing knowledge. See also aesthetics, art, works of art, perception, judgments.

Annotation: The above characterizations of concepts are neither definitions nor exhausting presentations of problems related to them. Instead, they are intended to give a short introduction to the contributions below. – Lexicon of Arguments.

Author Item Summary Meta data
Gadamer I 50
Beauty/Kant/Gadamer: Kant's teaching of free and affectionate beauty(1) [is] strange and much disputed.Kant discusses here the difference between "pure" and "intellectual" taste judgement, which corresponds to the opposition of "free" and "attached" beauty (attached to a concept).
Pure beauty of pure taste judgement/Kant: For example, the free beauty of nature and - in the field of art - ornament.
"Attached" (conceptually defined) beauty/Kant: e.g. human, animal, building.
Gadamer I 51
Gadamer: (...) this is an indirect description of what an "object under a certain concept" represents and therefore belongs to the conditional, unfree beauty: the whole realm of poetry, the fine arts and architecture, as well as all natural things that we do not look at for their beauty alone like the ornamental flower. >Art Beauty/Kant, >Natural Beauty/Hegel.
Gadamer I 52
Conceptual beauty/Kant/Gadamer: (...) certainly there is no talk of beauty where a certain concept of understanding is schematically sensitized by the imagination, but only where the imagination is in free agreement with the understanding, i.e. where it can be productive. But this productive formation of the imagination is richest not where it is absolutely free, (...) but where it lives in a latitude which the unifying striving of the intellect does not so much erect as a barrier to it as it does to stimulate its play.
Ideal of Beauty/Kant: An ideal of beauty exists (...) only of the human form: in the 'expression of morality' "without which the object would not generally be pleasing". Judgement according to an ideal of beauty is then, as Kant says, of course not merely a judgement of taste.
Gadamer I 53
Only of the human form, precisely because it alone is capable of a beauty fixed by a concept of purpose, is there an ideal of beauty! This doctrine, established by Winckelmann and Lessing(2), gains a kind of key position in Kant's foundation of aesthetics. For it is precisely this thesis that shows how little a formal aesthetic of taste (arabesque aesthetics) corresponds to Kant's thought.
Normal idea/ Kant: The doctrine of the ideal of beauty is based on the distinction between the normal idea and the idea of reason or ideal of beauty. The aesthetic normal idea can be found in all genres of nature. How a beautiful animal (...) has to look (...), that is a guideline for judging the individual specimen. This normal idea is thus a single view of the imagination as the "image of the genus floating between all individuals". But the representation of such a normal idea does not please by beauty, but only because "it does not contradict any condition under which alone a thing of this genre can be beautiful". It is not the archetype of beauty, but merely of correctness.
Human Gestalt: This also applies to the normal idea of the human figure. But in the
human form, there is a real ideal of beauty in the "expression of the moral". (...) take this, together with the later teaching of aesthetic ideas and beauty, as a symbol of morality. Then one realizes that with the teaching of the ideal of beauty, the place is also prepared for the essence of art.
Gadamer I 54
Gadamer: What Kant obviously wants to say is this: in the depiction of the human Gestalt, the depicted object and that which speaks to us as artistic content in this depiction are one. There can be no other content of this representation than that which is already expressed in the form and appearance of the portrayed person.
Gadamer I 55
Ideals/Kant/Gadamer: It is precisely with this classicist distinction between the normal idea and the ideal of beauty that Kant destroys the basis from which the aesthetic of perfection finds its incomparably unique beauty in the perfect meaningfulness of all being. Only now is "art" able to become an autonomous phenomenon. >Art/Kant, >Art/Hegel.
Gadamer I 492
Beauty/Kant/Gadamer: Kant's fundamental definition of aesthetic pleasure as an uninterested pleasure does not only mean the negative, that the object of taste is neither used as useful nor desired as good, but it means positively that "existence" cannot add anything to the aesthetic content of pleasure, to the "pure sight", because it is precisely the aesthetic being that is representing itself.
Morality: Only from the moral point of view there is an interest in the existence of the beautiful, e.g. in the song of the nightingale, whose deceptive imitation is something morally offensive according to Kant.
Truth/GadamerVsKant: Whether it really follows from this constitution of aesthetic being that truth must not be sought here because nothing is recognized here, is of course the question. In our aesthetic analyses, we have described the narrowness of the concept of knowledge that causes Kant's question here, and from the question of the truth of art we had found our way into hermeneutics, in which art and history merged for us. >Hermeneutics/Gadamer.

1. Kant, Kritik der Urteilskraft, § 16ff.
2. Lessing, Entwürfe zum Laokoon Nr. 20 b; in Lessings Sämtl. Schriften ed. Lachmann, 1886ff., vol. 14, p. 415.

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.
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 2021-01-23
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