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Kant's Aesthetics (PH9B1-20/30)

Immanuel Kant’s third Critique is an extremely rich, but at times forbiddingly obscure, text. The aim of this module is to give students an in-depth introduction to the ‘Critique of Aesthetic Judgement,’ arguably the foundational text of modern aesthetics for both the analytic and the continental traditions, and selected debates in aesthetic theory to which it has given rise.

Programme content

We will cover aspects of the Introduction, notably the idea of reflective judgement, the Analytic of the Beautiful, the Deduction of Pure Aesthetic Judgements, the Analytic of the Sublime, as well as Kant's often marginalized remarks on fine art, genius and aesthetic ideas, and their relation to his theory of aesthetic judgement. Time permitting, we will consider historical questions such as the relation between Kant's aesthetics and those of David Hume and Edmund Burke, and topical questions such as the ongoing relevance of Kant's aesthetics today.

Topics covered

The following is a list of topics for this module in the 2015/16 academic year; precise seminar content may change from year to year.

  • Reflective judgement in Intros
  • First and Second Moments
  • Third Moment/dependent beauty
  • Fourth Moment/Sensus Communis
  • Deduction
  • Beauty and Morality
  • Fine Art, Genius, Aesthetic Ideas
  • The sublime
Timing and CATS

This module will run in the Spring Term and is worth 20 or 30 CATS depending on your programme of study.