Aesthetics: Hume, Kant, and Criticism

Stephen Mulhall

in Stanley Cavell

Published in print January 1999 | ISBN: 9780198238508
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191679643 | DOI:
Aesthetics: Hume, Kant, and Criticism

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This chapter examines Cavell's work in the field of aesthetics, and in particular his essay ‘Aesthetic Problems of Modern Philosophy’. Cavell attempts to cast light upon the role of rationality in aesthetics by asking: Does the notorious lack of agreement over aesthetic judgements entail that such judgements lack rationality, or does it rather show the sort of rationality such judgements possess? He begins by summarizing Hume's conclusions about this issue, finding them lacking in credibility but also symptomatic of more contemporary misconceptions, by virtue of Hume's emphasis on agreement as the standard of taste. Cavell turns to Kant to explain his remarks, whose writings on aesthetics defend the specific assumption that judgements concerning the beautiful demand or impute or claim general validity (universal agreement), and that in making such judgements we go on claiming this agreement even when we know from experience that they will not receive it.

Keywords: Cavell; aesthetics; Hume; Kant; Aesthetic Problems of Modern Philosophy

Chapter.  4916 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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