notes on Kant and modernity taken from introduction to German philosophy by Andrew Bowie

‘a new philosophical focus on how human practices affect the ways in which the world is understood’.

I think this means that the world and how we talk about it are not crystal clear and unproblematic.  our human perception colours what we see, understand, feel.  It isnt a case of a what which is talked about objectively by a ‘who’  but the ‘what’ talked about by the who is dependent on the who and is never seen without the who.  and is never seen for what it is  by the who  and maybe does not exist without the who??

this reminds my of heisenbergs uncertainty principle 1927

‘The uncertainty principle is one of the most famous (and probably misunderstood) ideas in physics. It tells us that there is a fuzziness in nature, a fundamental limit to what we can know about the behaviour of quantum particles and, therefore, the smallest scales of nature. Of these scales, the most we can hope for is to calculate probabilities for where things are and how they will behave. Unlike Isaac Newton’s clockwork universe, where everything follows clear-cut laws on how to move and prediction is easy if you know the starting conditions, the uncertainty principle enshrines a level of fuzziness into quantum theory.’

Gosh this is hard


to be continued (gtihatbc)


louis markos lecture

louis markos says that very important notion in Kant is that aesthetic judgement is free of all purpose, agenda etc; is subjective – ie of the individual; but because it is free of agenda, it is also universal.  why do we need this paradox?

like burke  if we want to set up a framework of talking about aesthetics, it must be universal???

markos says ‘taste’ is different – it does have an end outside itself -that of gratification so does have a purpose.

okay so is this where I am going wrong ?  for me art must be gratifying I must feel that special something – maybe I have been mistaking this gratification and raising its status above what it deserves.  for example I needthe buzz of a human reference in art which is why so much abstract stuff leaves me cold and not a bit judgemental.  Maybe there is something else which I dont have (see earlier post on feeling inadequate qua art appreciation)

okay markos goes on to say that there is ahigher taste and this is a taste that focuses on form.  (pat, notice that the link between greenberg’s isolation of form as the only thing peculiar to painting; and notice that abstract art has to do with form only)

for Kant taste that focusses on form is free and aesthetic


markos says it is becasue a poems form may be studied as an end in itself as a purposeless purpose

formalism is good fodder for the aesthetic

more later

Monday 24

Louis Markos

says that Kant says that aesthetic judgement is both subjective and universal and it is universal because it is free from all ideologies.  it has to be subjective or it is not free but if the subjective realm is to offer itself as a sustem for systematic study it must be universal (where in coj does he says this  there is a need for references here or maybe I can pick it up in other commentaries on coj)  Like burke if it is not universal then why do it swhay study aesthetics?

LM stresses that all this is not to do with the object but with the subjects perception of it.

the sublime according to LM

two kinds of sublime:

the quantitative and the qualitative

qualitative is with feelings of infinity

qualitative is to do with too much chaotic we cannot deal with it – our intuition cannot grasp it

tha qualitative/beauty turns to understanding and understanding turns sense data into concepts                      the quantitative/sublime turns to reason and reason takes the concepts and turns them into higher laws

imagination deals only with feelings but as soon as we start to think about our feelings we have moved into the realm of understanding bnecause as soon as we think abou our feelings we bein to notice parallels, make concepts etcetera  and/but when we start to think about our thinking we get into reason

the qualitative sublime occurs when we feel fear/awe in front of an overwhelming power  but actually not in front of any actual danger when it just becomes terror.  In this qualitative sublime, our imagination finds itself inadequate to withstnd this power so it turns to reason to help

(pat here I note that evolution meant that our cognitive faculties were shaped by the environment in which we evolved, is tailored to that environment and excludes other possibilities so our perceptions are entirely subjective  cf different animals perceive different ranges of colour according to their evolutionary needs – this then would argue that there can be no universal beauty)

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