• Kant with Michael Fried: Feeling, Absorption, and Interiority in the Critique of Judgment

    Magdalena Ostas (see profile)
    Aesthetic theory, Aesthetics, Immanuel Kant, Visual arts, Art criticism
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    While the greater part of criticism and reflection on Kant takes the question of aesthetics in the Critique of Judgment to center on the subject’s relation to art, art is not actually Kant’s model of aesthetic experience in the text. This essay argues that the The Critique of Judgment, in other words, cannot simply be understood as Kant’s engagement with the realm of what we understand by aesthetics. Rather, an aesthetic object for Kant constitutes itself as aesthetic object only in relation to a particular kind of subject or unique experience of the subject. Aesthetic experience for Kant is an economy between subject and object rather than an encounter with what we understand by beauty. Aesthetics, then, rather than being the division of Kant’s philosophy concerned with art or the beautiful becomes, instead, a mode or a displaced way of his posing questions about subjectivity more generally. This essay shows that this economy between subject and object bears a striking resemblance to the shift between artwork and beholder that Michael Fried claims transpires at about the same period in the history of art and aesthetics.
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