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Kant’s Judgement of ‘Free Beauty’

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Kant’s Judgement of ‘Free Beauty’


Beauty is regarded as a subjective element. Quantification, contrast or comparisons, are, therefore, difficult on the subject. In that regard, Kant explores how individuals should treat the subject of beauty in various objects. This proposal seeks to point out the approach that will be taken exploring the Kant’s judgment of free beauty. The subtopics that will be addressed are mentioned in the essay. Similarly, this paper mentions and discusses some of the literature that will be used in developing the thesis.

Outline of General Topics that will be explored

Various topics will be discussed in the essay. Firstly, it will address pleasure and beauty. In this section, the essay shall examine Kant’s views on the formation of credible judgment. Secondly, the essay shall explore the universal nature of judgment. Kant advocated a universal agreement on judgment of beauty. In that regard, the essay shall explore the factors that qualify an object as beautiful, among other concepts. Thirdly, the essay shall cover beauty and its purposes. Consequently, the essay will explore the presentation of beauty and how judgment has to be developed, albeit devoid of influence. Finally, the essay explores why the judgment of free beauty is necessary.

Brief discussion of research statement

According to Kant, beauty is quantifiable only through its universality among different critics. He argues that the concept of beauty can only be judged devoid of logic that is not part of the object in question’s presentation. In understanding Kant’s arguments, several guiding factors will be used. Firstly, pleasure and beauty shall be explored. In the context of judgment, pleasure arises from the observation of perfect attributes in a presented form. Similarly, Kant advocates the notion that the absence of prior interests and desires is required in the experience of pleasure. In the literature, it is seen that all prior inclinations should be eliminated before an individual develops a judgment. For example, a Prettejohn (2005) state that all political thoughts need to be discarded before an individual develops a critique of politically themed art.

The second topic covered by the essay relates to the universality of a judgment. Kant argues for a universal development of judgment. He states that all critics should agree to a common line of judgment. The literature included develops the notion that critics should develop their understanding through congruence between their personal imaginations and understanding of the works (Ginsborg, 2013). For a universal agreement on judgment, all critics need to be able to appreciate the aesthetics of the work, devoid of the concept. Through observation of qualities, critics may be able to develop similar deductions to their counterparts. However, Prettejohn (2005) presents an argument against Kant’s perspective on universal judgment. She argues that art forms are developed with a theme in mind. Similarly, the universality needs to be based on aesthetic values.

The third topic in the essay will relate to beauty and its design in art. In his arguments, Kant maintained a metaphorical approach. He left the details of beauty and purpose open to contribution by critics. According to Ginsborg (2013), critics need to judge art forms with regards to their purposes. They should not attach their personal views as they develop a critique of the object. To achieve this need, critics should not judge the art in a manner that foists satisfaction to them. In the same respect, the critics should not assess for the satiation of a group’s desires as they deliver their judgment on the art form. In the literature, it is seen that the judgment should be carried out devoid of influence that does not correlate to the presentation of the art.

‘Necessity of the Judgment of Free Beauty’ is the final topic covered by the essay. According to Kant, universal agreement on beauty is mandatory for the concept to be regarded as pure in nature. Critics need to deevlop their conclusions from the presentation of the work, rather than their intuitions. Tatarkiewicz (2005) advances the view that Kant’s expectations of universal judgment arise from his views on similar pleasure following presentation of the art.

Brief examination of literature

Burnham (2005), in Kant’s Aesthetics, advances the idea that judgment on beauty should be advanced in a manner that receives no objections from other critics. He states that the ability of convincing other critics is central to the judgment of free beauty in the presented art. Tartakiewicz (2005) in History of Aesthetics argues for Kant’s proposition on universal pleasures arising from the presentation and purpose of art. In that regard, he observes the impact of moral impressions of an artist on the judgment of the art.

Ginsborg (2013) makes contributions to the argument through Kant’s Aesthetics and Teleology. The author advances the idea that critics should judge art on the basis of its purpose, and not their reservations. Similarly, they should not consider desires of any party during the process. Prettejohn (2005) advances several arguments through Beauty and Art. She contends that Kant’s views on beauty do not befit art. She attributes this to the presence of themes in the development of works of art. Similarly, she presents the works of art that were considered beautiful under Kantian ideals. However, a number of areas in the essay need additional research. Most importantly, the concessions made by Kant need to be explored and understood further. This will assist in developing an accurate judgment on the beauty of art in question.

Judgments on free beauty are difficult to develop. Kant advocates for a universal approach. To achieve this, he advances the idea of critiques based on the presentation of the art. Similarly, he argues against the involvement of personal reservations in the development of judgment. In that regard, several arguments have been presented through alternative literature. This will be useful in developing an effective discussion on Kant’s judgment of ‘free beauty’.



Burnham, D, 2005, Kant’s Aesthetics, Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Staffordshire University. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed

19October 2013].

Ginsborg, H, 2013, “Kant’s Aesthetics and Teleology”, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring  Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), [online] Available at: [Accessed

19October 2013].

Prettejohn, E, 2005, Beauty and Art: 1750-2000: 1750-2000, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Tatarkiewicz, W, 2005, History of Aesthetics: Edited by J. Harrell, C. Barrett and D. Petsch. London: Continuum International Publishing Group.


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