Kant on Natural Beauty and Morality

Malcolm Budd

in The Aesthetic Appreciation of Nature

Published in print January 2003 | ISBN: 9780199259656
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191597121 | DOI:
 Kant on Natural Beauty and Morality

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Examines Kant's view of the connection between a love of natural beauty and morality. Kant claims that anyone who takes an immediate interest in natural beauty can do so only in virtue of possessing at least the germ of a morally good disposition; someone who is in essence a morally good person cannot reflect on natural beauty without this reflection generating an immediate interest in natural beauty; and it is right to demand that each person takes such an interest. I argue that the thought that underlies this tripartite claim—that a pure judgement of taste does not, of itself, generate an interest—is correct, but that none of the three constituent claims is compellingly supported. I contrast Schiller's thoughts about love of nature in his On Naive and Sentimental Poetry with Kant's understanding of love of natural beauty and evaluate Schiller's principal claim.

Keywords: aesthetic judgement; Kant; love; morality; natural beauty; Schiller

Chapter.  8206 words. 

Subjects: Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art

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