Perhaps one of the most troubling passages in all three of Kant’s Critiques is a short, confusing passage in which Kant claims that a judgment of taste must precede the feeling of pleasure. Many interpreters have argued that such a claim necessitates a viciously circular argument. But this circularity might not be vicious at all. In fact, this revolving shape actually leads to the most important site of the entire Analytic: the logic of the “without” as in the famous “purposiveness without purpose.” From an alternative position we will see that this spiraling shape repeats throughout the text, especially the four moments of the Analytic of Beauty. We will try to distinguish this aesthetic spiral from the classic hermeneutic circle, then return to the circular order of precedence in aesthetic judgment. Finally, we will try to clarify what is universally communicated in the demand on others involved in a judgment of taste.
Kant, aesthetics, purposiveness without purpose, hermeneutics
Ryan Johnson, “Kantian Excentricities,” Evental Aesthetics 3, no. 3 (2015): 54-77.