Linnea Head: A Kantian Redefining of Art

A Kantian Redefining of the Conception of “Art”

Linnea Head

Currently, there is no definition for art. 1950’s art critic Harold Rosenberg exemplifies this undefined, ambiguous term: “To be Modern Art a work need not to be either modern nor art; it need not even be a work. A three-thousand year-old mask from the South Pacific qualifies as Modern and a piece of wood found on a beach becomes Art.” Rosenberg’s statement does two things to obliterate the conception of “art.” First, it destroys the question of quality. Second, it does not differentiate “art” from non-“art.” Modernist critics and artists have pushed the limits to the extent that both anything can be considered art and anyone can be considered an artist. The central question of criticism shifted when the question of quality was pushed in the background by transforming “art” into not just a noun but also an adjective. According to Thierry De Duve, the statement, “this is beautiful” changed to “this is art.”[1] At the crux of art criticism is aesthetic judgment. The shift from “beautiful” to “art” became an aesthetic judgment, making the criteria for quality in art obsolete. Following the diminished (or complete lack of) criteria for quality is the diminished criteria for art versus non-art. Not only is it irrelevant or possible to determine good art from bad art, but also there is no way from telling the difference between Raphael’s School of Athens and a toilet bowl. The only important question is, “is it art?” Modern critics and artists have

Raphael's The School of Athens (1511) (from Wikimedia Commons)
Raphael’s The School of Athens (1511) (from Wikimedia Commons)

allowed such to be the case. In order to preserve the merits of real fine artists like Raphael, we need to (re)define art. The purpose of this thesis is to provide a conservative and concise definition for art. Kant’s theory of art, from his Critique of Judgment, can revive and reclaim fine art. Since Kant was neither exposed to modernism, nor was he an art critic, I also bring forth formalist Clement Greenberg to help tie Kant to present day, despite Greenberg’s overly liberal qualifications for art.

In section I, I provide an explication of Greenberg’s overarching criticism, or rather conglomerated theory of art. While formalism and modernism are two separate concepts, Greenberg never specifies the difference between them. He takes himself to be a “Kantian formalist,” and so while the two can be read in accordance with formalism, Kant’s theory is immensely more adequate in defining art. I introduce the difference in their formalist approaches to art in section II. Greenberg differs from Kant in two respects: in the preliminary judgment of beauty and in Kant’s conception of aesthetic ideas. In section III, I expound Kant’s theory of art as compatible with but not limited to modern formalism. He states that the judgment of the beautiful in nature is similar to the beautiful in art, as we see nature as beautiful things and art as beautiful presentations. In his dialectic, he first differentiates fine art from other art, specifically mechanical. Fine art is beautiful art for Kant: a declaration produced through reflective judgment that occurs when the imagination (the power of intuitions) harmonizes with the understanding (the power of concepts). Second, in his explication of aesthetic ideas, Kant assigns the production of fine art to genius and the judgment of fine art to taste. Greenberg’s discussion only covers taste, which is what I highlight to be the cause for modernism’s allowance of both bad art and non-art to pass as fine. My analysis of Kant serves as a sort of second-look or response to Greenberg’s “Kantian formalism.” In section IV, I apply both of their theories to a work that exemplifies the current inadequate definition Modernism has supplied for “art.” This work is Yves Klein’s Blue, a “painting” entirely consisting of a single solid color. Showing the insufficiency in his theory, through a Greenberg lens, I must argue in favor of its status as “art.” In my application of Kant’s theory, however, I illustrate how Klein’s Blue could at best be considered mechanical art, but not fine. Through this example, I hope to show that Kant’s theory of art can provide a stricter definition with refined criteria to both preserve the value in previous works and movements as well as leave room for genuinely deserving present and future works.

Section I: What art is for Clement Greenberg

For Clement Greenberg, art is a matter of subjective experience. Through the experience of art, content, the “gist, meaning, what works of art are ultimately about,”[2], becomes available to the viewer. “Art” cannot be determined by anything else except for the experience of it: “Art is a matter strictly of experience, not of principles, and what counts first and last in art is quality; all other things are secondary.”[3] Art is not determined by agreeing to a set of rules, or objective principles removed from the individual piece(s), nor the individual viewer(s). A lack of objective lawfulness leaves the experience to be the determinant for labeling a work as “art”. Content and quality are synonymous for Greenberg: “the quality of a work of art inheres in its ‘content,’ and vice versa. Quality is ‘content.’ You know that a work of art has content because of its effect. The more direct denotation of effect is ‘quality.’”[4] The content becomes the effect it has on the individual. Because it is up to the individual, it is (subjective) taste that discerns a painting’s quality. The content is the subject matter, but the subject matter is not necessarily representational. For a formalist, art is the effect of the experience, rather than the concepts presented, if there are any at all.

Greenberg’s formalist critique considers non-representational art just as much art as representational art. A judgment of quality is a judgment of value, and “the presence or absence of a recognizable image has no more to do with the value in painting or sculpture than the presence or absence of a libretto has to do with value in music. Taken by itself, no single one of its parts or aspects decides the quality of a work of art as a whole.”[5] Representational art presents knowable objects in a certain way, whereas non-representational art presents unfamiliar objects or the absence of objects. A recognizable image provides conceptual meaning, and “it is granted that a recognizable image will add conceptual meaning to a picture, but the fusion of conceptual with aesthetic meaning does not affect quality.”[6] For example, knowing that Michelangelo’s Tondo Doni has the figures of the Virgin Mary, baby Jesus, and Joseph will add to understanding the historical and cultural significance, but it does not add or take away from the aesthetic experience of it. Greenberg states that what we judge in painting that results in determining its value does not have to do with the recognizable images or lack thereof. For example, I would not call the Tondo Doni art because it is clearly Mary, Joseph, and Jesus. Instead, I might see the spiral movement Mary’s arms create and judge that as adding to the content of the painting.

Clement Greenberg in 1972. (from Wikimedia Commons)
Clement Greenberg in 1972 (from Wikimedia Commons)

Greenberg favors work that provokes discomfort. Abstract art specifically is not constrained to the illusion of three-dimensional space. We might feel a discomfort when a painting presents something that we would not recognize as an object in this world, (an object that takes up space with dimension.) A flat line or shape that does not convey spatial depth “is what we may miss even more than we do the images of that used to fill it.”[7] The absence of spatial illusion, of corporeal representation, might be what makes us feel disconcerted. Further, because abstract art is free from the constraint of space in the world, it is not obliged to use “the nouns and transitive verbs, as it were, of the language of painting.”[8] Since abstract painting does not use the same “language” as illusionist paintings do, “the eye has trouble locating central emphases and is more directly compelled to treat the whole of the surface as a single undifferentiated field of interest, and this in turn, compels us to feel and judge the picture more immediately in terms of its overall unity.”[9] What initially makes us feel uncomfortable now leads us to look at the painting as a whole, rather than looking at individual aspects or parts.  Greenberg considers this expansion of focus valuable in art. Viewing art in its entirety is superior because it is not constrained in the same way that our eyes are in perceiving the world.

Greenberg allows paintings to enjoy a kind of autonomy that real-world objects do not by dissolving content into form.[10] Corporeality is one way in which real-world objects are constrained. They must extend in space through dimensions. Greenberg demonstrates that the lack of constraint to space in abstract art creates this autonomy: “a modernist work of art must try, in principle, to avoid dependence upon any order of experience not given in the most essentially construed nature of its medium. This means, among other things, renouncing the illusion and explicitness.”[11] A painting, in order to achieve quality, does not need to imitate the world or anything in it. It can borrow colors, shapes and lines that happen in it, but it is free to present those basic elements or characteristics and place them accordingly. Because they are not prescribed the same laws as nature (and the nature of our sight), art enjoys autonomy: “the arts are to achieve concreteness, ‘purity’, by acting solely in terms of their separate and irreducible selves.”[12] Art is separate and detached from reality. It is separate, or attempts to achieve what Greenberg calls “purity” because it makes its own rules, it seeks its own validation: “the avant-garde poet or artist tries in effect to imitate God by creating something valid solely on its own terms, in the way nature itself is valid, in the way a landscape—not its picture—is aesthetically valid; something given, increate, independent of meanings, similar or originals.”[13] The way in which we may call God’s creation’s “pure”, art can achieve this “purity” analogously. God makes His own rules; his creations are “pure” because they are not complying with anything else except themselves. (God could also be referred to as a divine artist, or Nature.)

Art is analogous to nature and adheres to its own ‘rules’, its own validation. Abstract art demonstrates this self-validation most profoundly:

With the arrival of outrightly abstract art, it seemed that the picture was deprived of real space and real space as a model for its own articulation and unity…[for example] when Braque and Picasso stopped trying to imitate the normal appearance of a wineglass and tried instead to approximate, by analogy, the way nature opposed verticals in general to horizontals in general…art caught up with a new conception and feeling of reality that was already emerging in general sensibility as well as in science.[14]

Greenberg maintains that art creates its own nature, its own validation, through form. The quality is discerned by the piece’s content, thus Greenberg dissolves content into form: “Content is to be dissolved so completely into form that the work of art or literature cannot be reduced in whole or in part to anything not itself.”[15] Art is not constrained to anything outside itself. The form becomes the legislature to determine its quality or content. To judge art is to judge it within itself. In other words, we judge art as art. Judging art as art, for Greenberg, is to judge the form in a piece.

Greenberg’s content is ineffable. Content comes from the [subjective] experience of the piece. Analyzing a piece, or art criticism in general, can provide some insight into a work’s validity or quality, but Greenberg would never allow this to be sufficient to the experience of it. In other words, communicating (through language) the subject matter, or quality, of a piece would not ever be able to replace the experiencing of it. Instead, art is determined in the most fundamental, “rock-bottom” way.[16] Content’s ineffability remains purely aesthetic and allows judgment to be subjective, determined through individual taste. As taste is derived from feelings, it is thrust upon us involuntarily: “aesthetic judgment is not voluntary…your aesthetic judgment, being an intuition and nothing else, is received, not taken. You no more choose to like or not like a given item of art than you choose to see the sun as bright or the night as dark.”[17] Like how we are forced to perceive the sun as bright and the night as dark through our senses, the experience of a work of art is imposed upon us, or, i.e. the take away from the experience is not optional. The aesthetic judgment compels us to figure the sun’s brightness. Likewise, the aesthetic experience of the piece compels a reaction in the viewer. The difference in reactions can be explained through a difference in (subjective) taste.

Greenberg’s taste becomes objective because of consensus over time. Works that hold universal quality are determined to match objective taste because over time, they have been declared to be universally liked or approved of. Consensus is the telling factor, “and there is no explaining this durability– the durability which creates a consensus– except by the fact that taste is ultimately objective. The best taste, that is; the taste which makes itself known by the durability of its verdicts; and in this durability lies the proof of its objectivity. (My reasoning here is no more circular than experience itself.)”[18] Objective taste is determined through a repeated series of individuals affirming the same piece. Of course, objective taste is determined is through multiple individuals’ subjective experience of it.

Section II: Account of the Relationship between Greenberg and Kant

The First Edition of Kant’s Critique of Judgement (from Wikimedia Commons)

Greenberg was not entirely mistaken when he called Kant the first modernist.[19] However, Greenberg appropriated Kant, and has left too much room for works to be considered fine art. While Kant and Greenberg could be read as in agreement with each other as Kant’s theory seems to leave room for both representational and nonrepresentational art, Kant’s theory proves to be much more appropriate for two major reasons: through the criteria of the necessary judgment of beauty (fine art is beautiful art for Kant), and through Kant’s aesthetic ideas. Greenberg has omitted the first criteria for which something is to be considered fine art, and replaced judgment of beauty with judgment of “art”. For Kant, this move is not sufficient. The “schön” in the German expression for “fine art”, “schöne Kunst” also means “beautiful.” For Kant, taste is responsible for finding something beautiful. Greenberg figures taste to determine not beauty but “art.” He appropriates taste to make a more general judgment, disregarding like or dislike, beauty or ugliness, etc. For Greenberg, taste finds something as art or not as art. (Although Greenberg never seems to offer examples of non-art.) Further, Greenberg covers taste, but does not cover the production of art. Kant covers production through aesthetic ideas, the free harmony of the imagination and the understanding, and the production of spirit through genius.

Arthur Danto locates the major difference between Kant and Greenberg, (or formalism in general), in Kant’s idea of “spirit.” While Greenberg and Kant align in the conception of “free beauty”, Danto points out the second part or “second theory” of art concerning “the concept of spirit, which has little to do with taste, nor does it touch in any way the aesthetic of nature… When we speak of spirit, on the other hand, we are speaking of the creative power of the artist…”[20] Here, Danto is confusing genius with spirit. Genius is the source of creative power in the artist. The discussion of spirit is in the section titled, “On the Powers of the Mind Which Constitute Genius,”[21] so it is not completely clear as to whether Kant is attributing spirit to the production or the judgment of art, (or both). However, according to my interpretation, it seems that spirit or a lack thereof is detectable through the judgment of art. Interestingly, it seems that spirit is most identifiable when it is absent: “of certain products that are expected to reveal themselves at least in part to be fine art, we say that they have no spirit, even though we find nothing to censure in them as far as taste is concerned.”[22] Either way, Danto is headed in the right direction of where Greenberg falls short: according to Danto, Greenberg only covers taste, (which is a liberal kind of taste that allows “good taste [to be] optional, bad taste [to be] artistically acceptable, and ‘kalliphobia’—an aversion if not a loathing for beauty—[to be] at least respected.”[23]) Kant covers both taste, which is a faculty of judging, and the production of art, genius. Danto may have chosen spirit to point out the deficiency in Greenberg’s mode of deciphering quality in art. Greenberg’s formalist critique does not cover spirit in art, allowing something that is “defective through lacking spirit…[but] we are talking about more than form, more than design.”[24] For Danto, Greenberg’s theories or critiques of art do not suffice in explanation for art, whereas Kant’s do: “what impresses me is that Kant’s highly compressed discussion of spirit is capable of addressing the logic of artworks invariantly as to time, place, and culture and of explaining why Formalism is so impoverished a philosophy of art.”[25] Formalism might be considered so depleted because of the shift in formalist criticism from “beauty” to “art”. De Duve points to this shift: “to reread Kant after Duchamp, replacing the judgment, ‘this is beautiful’ by the judgment ‘this is art,’ is to consider the word ‘art’ conflates genius and taste and refers both to an ‘inexponible’ aesthetic Idea and to an ‘indemonstrable’ rational Idea…(In the Kantian vocabulary, exponible means ‘what can be established theoretically’; demonstrable means—in this context—‘what can be shown to the senses.’”[26]

While Danto points to spirit as to where Greenberg and Kant depart from one another, I locate their split in Kant’s aesthetic ideas. Greenberg’s failure to differentiate taste and aesthetic ideas omits genius, i.e. he fails to differentiate the production of art and the judgment of art. Greenberg’s criticism has led the objectivity in taste, in his terms, and Kant’s universal subjective validity, to be applied to both the viewer and the artist. This comingling of taste and genius set the stage for “artists” like Marcel Duchamp, and anyone (everyone) else to be considered artists, such as Duchamp’s belief of “universal creativity.”[27] For Kant, at the heart of judgment of art, is the detection of aesthetic ideas. They stem from genius in the artist and are detected (non-rationally) through the judgment of it. Spirit animates this idea in the judgment of it. As Kant states, taste alone can find something beautiful (or “art”, for Greenberg), but “taste is merely an ability to judge, not to produce; and if something conforms to it, that [fact] does not yet make the thing a work of fine art.”[28] There is a need for both taste and genius, because there are things that could involve genius, such as “tableware, or for that matter, a moral treatise, or even a sermon [that] should have this form of fine art, yet without its seeming studied, but we do not call these things fine art.”[29] Likewise, there are works that are labeled as “art” but lack spirit, i.e. lack an unstudied air[30]. Fine art includes mediums like poetry, painting, music, etc. and so “here we often find a would-be work of fine art that manifests genius without taste, or another that manifests taste without genius.”[31]

While Greenberg and Kant can be read in concurrence as formalist, Kant’s theory is more adequate in distinguishing (fine) art. Both Greenberg and Kant begin by analyzing art through the (sensual) experience of it and then regard its effect. But Greenberg does not guide the viewer (or the artist) much more. The sensual experience for Greenberg is how art achieves its own “purity.” Paul Crowther questions this “purity” as art as a private experience, “wholly disconnected from the continuum of life.”[32] This is all fine and good, (and in agreement with Kant’s theory), but it does not “explain why form is aesthetically significant… (For) we must account for the aesthetic judgment as a logical complex involving the interplay of perceptual and… socio-historical factors… [as well as] the psychology of the experience: its capacity to distance us from the demands of everyday practical existence.”[33]  While it does not seem that Kant acknowledges “socio-historical factors” informing our experience in art, Crowther points to aesthetic ideas as the “key concept here.”[34] Kant’s “aesthetic ideas” fix the problem that formalism poses: which is “severing its connections to life.”[35] According to Crowther, aesthetic ideas have the power to help us comprehend concepts in a new way, as an aesthetic idea  “is a concept whose embodiment in an image or sensible form serves to energize that concept by allowing it to be taken up and imaginatively developed by the receiver.”[36] Again, Crowther is closer than Danto in discerning where Greenberg’s and Kant’s theories split, but Kant never points to the need of contextualizing art. In other words, he does not state that we need to know art history or from which culture it comes. Rather, he (1) points to the fact that when judging art, we judge it as a piece of art, (as opposed to a natural object, or another kind of artifice), and (2) that we identify (non-determinate) ideas, (ideas belonging to the imagination), to help us comprehend the aesthetic idea. Kant states: “Such presentations of the imagination we may call ideas. One reason for this is that they do at least strive toward something that lies beyond the bounds of experience, and hence try to approach an exhibition of rational concepts (intellectual ideas), and thus [these concepts] are given a semblance of objective reality.”[37] These ideas (not concepts) are aesthetic, “inner intuitions [,] to which no concept can be completely adequate.”[38]  While Crowther is on the right track, his account of aesthetic ideas is not wholly correct. In judging art, there is an inadequacy of concepts to aesthetic ideas. Crowther merely stresses their conceptual character. However, Crowther is right in distinguishing a real issue in formalism: that it does not help us comprehend art, or how art can provide, (in Kant’s terms), “a wealth of undeveloped material for the understanding.”[39]

Greenberg guides the viewer out through a subjective aesthetic experience, but then leaves her stranded in the “disconnected continuum.” Not only does it not provide proper direction for the viewer, the judger of the “art”, but it also allows too much leeway for other things to be taken as “art”. How are we to tell art from another kind of aesthetic experience? With Greenberg’s theory, what is the difference between Raphael’s School of Athens and a toilet? Kant’s theory has the answer. Greenberg’s theory provides that art has an effect. Kant explains how and what that effect is through a preliminary judgment of beauty and his explication of aesthetic ideas.

Section III: What Art is for Immanuel Kant

For Kant, we come to know art as art (as an art object) through (universally valid) subjective judgment. We view art as a beautiful presentation, determined to be beautiful and purposive, through our reflective judgment. The presentation (as beautiful) brings the imagination (power of the a priori intuitions) into harmony with the understanding (the power of concepts.)[40] Because this harmony arouses a feeling of pleasure, it is “regarded as purposive for the reflective power of judgment.”[41] The power, or lawfulness, of purposive pleasure is in this unity (of the imagination and the understanding.) The pleasure arises from the form of the object, since it is a presentation and not the thing itself. It comes from the form and not the material of which it is composed, and so it necessarily connected with the pleasure when we judge it reflectively: “the object is then called beautiful.”[42] It is called beautiful not because it is what makes the object what it is, e.g. the beauty of a rose is not in the definition of a rose. However, the judgment of beauty it is not merely subjective, “but in general for everyone who judges [it].”[43] Hence, it is universally subjectively valid.

Claude Monet's Impression Sunrise (1872) (from Wikimedia Commons)
Claude Monet’s Impression Sunrise (1872) (from Wikimedia Commons)

The beauty in art is judged similarly to the beauty in nature, as in, we like them through our judgment of their purposiveness without a purpose. We admire nature through the way in “which its beautiful products display itself as art, [i.e., as acting] not merely by chance but, as it were, intentionally, in terms of a lawful arrangement and as a purposiveness without a purpose; and since we do not find this purpose anywhere outside us, we naturally look for it in ourselves.”[44] We look for the purposiveness within ourselves in nature, because as far as we know, it does not present its purposiveness externally, i.e. no clear intention is apparent. This inward search for purposiveness is our reflective judgment. We view the beauty in nature as purposive because there is no determinate reason as to why we find it beautiful. Unlike nature, art is created through intention. But like nature, we also judge it purposively. We like it (and find it beautiful) through “a pure judgment of taste…[and] for either art imitates nature to the point of deception, in which case it achieves its effect by being (regarded as) natural beauty. Or it is an art in which we can see that it intentionally aimed at our liking: but in that case, though our liking for the product would arise directly through taste, it would arouse only an indirect interest in the underlying cause, namely, an interest in an art that can interest us only by its purpose and never in itself.”[45] If the purpose or intention of a work is to present an object we like, merely to give us pleasure, our only interest of the art would be because we like the object it is presenting and not the art itself. For example, I like horses. If the purpose of the painting were to depict a horse, my interest would be merely in the fact that it is a presentation of a horse, “I like this painting because I like horses.” My liking would not be because I like the actual painting. If we only like a painting because we like what its purpose is, to say present an object in nature, or to give us pleasure, say for example, to use an array of pretty colors, then we would not like the piece itself, but the concepts or colors that it is displaying. For an example in nature, we do not consider a seed beautiful because of its purpose: to become a rose. At least we do not find it aesthetically pleasing because of its purpose. But rather, we like the rose because we find it beautiful. The purposiveness is in our reflective judgment, to which no determinate concept can be applied: we see the rose as being beautiful for a reason, but we are not supplied with that reason.

When we judge the beauty in nature and in art, we view them as reciprocally analogous. We view nature as if purposive in its products, (creations, for this is why we can label them as “products”). We view art in the same way, as purposive, as we know it is created with intention. However, it must seem natural:

In [dealing with] a product of fine art we must become conscious that it is art rather than nature, and yet the purposiveness in its form must seem as free from all constraint of chosen rules as if it were a product of mere nature. It is this feeling of freedom in the play of our cognitive powers, a play that yet must also be purposive, which underlies that pleasure which alone is universally communicable although not based on concepts. Nature, we say, is beautiful [schön] if it also looks like art; and art can be called fine [schön] art only if we are conscious that it is art while yet it looks to us like nature.[46]

Art is created with intention. By contrast nature, as far as we know, is not. However, the way in which we judge it is as if it was, by some divine artist. We judge it as if it were (created with) purposiveness. For example, the way a tree or a bird is presented to us aesthetically looks as though it takes a certain shape or form that must have been planned or intended, i.e. geared towards a purpose. However, it is our judgment that we view it as such. Through our judgment, Kant states that we view nature as art, although we could never know apodictically that some divine artist created nature. Art, differently, is created with intention, and it is created for its own sake. Although created with intention, “it must still not seem intentional; i.e., fine art must have the look of nature even though we are conscious of it as art.”[47] Nature is not created with intention, but we judge it purposively. Art is supposed to give us the illusion that it functions the same way that nature does. A bird comes to be a bird through its bird-ness. It does not have the (conscious) intention to do so, but we posit its purpose as achieving bird-ness. Art, on the other hand, is created with purpose, to be art. But when judging the art, we must not regard it as if it were trying to achieve its purpose. For example, if we are looking at a work that is meant to be a human face, insofar as it is trying to be a work of fine art, we must not look at is as trying to depict a human face. If we are led to this thought, then the intention is there and the product is not considered fine. It must look like it becomes a piece of art like a bird becomes a bird, unconsciously as if it were unintentionally achieving its purpose.

The purposiveness of fine art is established through our reflective judgment of it. Although we recognize the intentional creation of it, no determinate concept can be applied: “if the intention were directed at producing a determinate object and were achieved by the art, then we would like the object only through concepts…we like [this kind of] art in merely judging it, i.e., we would not like it as fine but only mechanical art.”[48] Mechanical art is art we like just because it presents a concept we like. For example, if I were to like a painting of a horse just because I like horses, this painting would be mechanical. Likewise, if the artist’s intention were to depict a recognizable horse, it would also be mechanical:

If art merely performs the acts that are required to make a possible object actual, adequately to our cognition of that object, then it is mechanical art; but if what it intends directly is [to arouse] the feeling of pleasure, then it is called aesthetic art. The latter is either agreeable or fine art. It is agreeable art if its purpose is that the pleasure should accompany presentations that are mere sensations; it is fine art if its purpose is that the pleasure should accompany presentations that are ways of cognizing.[49]

Here, Kant and Greenberg are congruent. Greenberg thinks that a work of fine art is determined through its quality, which is not through a clear recognition of the concept it may present. It is the form, the way in which the object or ideas are presented that arouse our liking to be considered fine.

Fine art is free from external constraint. All of fine art is produced from educated and talented artists. Their education is their formal training or technical knowledge of how to create art, while their talent is genius. For Kant, the presence of both is necessary, (taste and genius need to both be present for a piece to be considered fine.) However, Kant stresses the lack of apparent “academic form”, of the lack of clear intention, for which I articulated above. Fine art is supposed to look as though it follows its own rules, as if it were natural in its own right. To use Greenberg’s language, it seeks its own validation. Kant states:

A product of art appears like nature if, through we find it to agree quite punctiliously with the rules that have to be followed for the product to become what it is intended to be, it does not do so painstakingly. In other words, the academic form must not show; there must be no hint that the rule was hovering before the artist’s eyes and putting fetters on his mental powers.[50]

When we judge the fine art, we must see it as though we are regarding a bird, as the bird does not go through excruciating mental effort to collect twigs to build a nest or turn its head, just as much as the tree does not strain to hold its branches up. The work must appear as though naturally in-formed. For example, the concept of contrapposto in Greek antiquity sculptures is meant to look like a natural stance as the result of a natural way in which the statue resides. However, specifically with contrapposto, we know how common this standard was for artists, and the life-size statues were certainly not effortless to create. It instead works rigorously in accordance with mathematical and physical laws. The seeming effortlessness, or the naturalness that the contrapposto stance achieves, does however achieve that appearance of effortlessness and lack of external constraint imposed upon it.

The lack of external constraint on art does not mean sheer freedom that creates art, rather an internal governing faculty: Kant’s conception of genius. Genius is a faculty within the artist, “the talent (natural endowment) that gives the rule to art.”[51] Since it is a natural endowment, it is “the innate mental predisposition (ingenium) through which nature gives rule to art.”[52] Genius is an internal governing agency. Greenberg wished to remove the external constraints of art, like those imposed by illusions of nature, the ways in which we observe natural phenomena, the ways in which our eyes see, etc. However, he never explains how art arrives at its own governance. Artist Francisco Goya stated “there are no rules in art: no hay replas in la pintura.”[53] Goya’s statement might explain, “why we may be less happy with a highly finished work than with one in which less care has been taken. It is the spirit in art—the presence of genius—that is really important.”[54] Greenberg’s sense of freedom was a negative one, free from external constraint as well as free from internal constraint. Kant’s conception of genius answers the question of the production of art, providing an answer as to how art is created. Genius is the source of production. Genius creates first and foremost originality.[55] Second, “since nonsense too can be original, the products of genius must also be models; i.e., they must be exemplary.”[56] By models or exemplary, they become a standard for imitation of others.[57] Third, “genius cannot describe or indicate scientifically how it brings about its products, and it is rather as nature that it gives the rule.”[58] An artist often is unable to explain or communicate her method as to how she created the piece. She could remember the steps she took, but only in retrospect, only through the act of doing them in her memory. Inspiration comes from genius. Lastly, since the process of genius is not verbal, “nature, through genius, prescribes the rule not to science but to art, and this also only insofar as the art is to be fine art.”[59] The creation of art is not a methodical kind of logic, with specific steps to get an accurate or inaccurate result, but instead, it’s its own source of creation. The creation is aesthetic, the rules are non-verbal, and so they adhere not to the understanding, but to genius.

While genius is responsible for the production of art, the judgment of art resides in taste. – A pure judgment of taste is “our liking for the object [that] is connected with out mere judging of the form of the object…this liking is nothing but our [our consciousness of] the form’s subjective purposiveness for the power of judgment, which we feel as connected in the mind with presentation of the object.”[60] Taste does not require a concept in order to like it, but rather the liking of its presentation, the liking of the form it takes. When we like an object’s form, we call it beautiful, beauty being “an object’s form of purposiveness insofar as it is perceived in the object without the presentation of a purpose.”[61] For example, we find a tulip beautiful without knowing or referring to the purpose of it. Of course, a tulip is a beautiful natural object. The artist’s genius presents an object that the viewer declares to be beautiful through her judgment of its form’s purposiveness without referring to the purpose, or intention of it. Genius presents it in such a way that while we know it was created with intention, it seems effortless, or purposeless.

For Kant, a judgment of beautiful art, fine art, presupposes purposiveness. The art is created through conscious intention, so, the art is intending to portray something: “If the object is given as a product of art, and as such is to be declared beautiful, then we must first base it on a concept of what the thing is [meant] to be, since art always presupposes a purpose in the cause (and its causality).”[62] For example, an artist has the intention of painting the concept of sadness, and so the way in which we would start to judge it by knowing that it is a presentation of sadness. So, it is not just the form that we take in account, but what the form is attempting to portray: (“we have to look beyond the mere form and toward a concept.”)[63] In a painting that is supposed to be depicting sadness, imagine if we both did not have the concept of sadness attached to it as well as it being a non-representational painting. For all we know, we could be looking at a bunch of two-dimensional shapes. Once we assign the concept it is depicting, we can then understand the aesthetic form that sadness is portrayed. However, as this example of sadness is not typically seen as a beautiful concept, art has the advantage of portraying it in a way that is beautiful, as “a natural beauty is a beautiful thing; artistic beauty is a beautiful presentation of a thing…fine art shows its superiority precisely in this, that it describes things beautifully that in nature we would dislike or find ugly.”[64] For example, war is ugly but a painting depicting war can be beautiful. It is the way in which it is presented, the form, which we judge to determine the painting’s quality.

Precisely because we judge the form, art can present ugly concepts (the understanding) beautifully (imagination) through allegory. If we view a presentation of concepts we typically dislike, like war or death, we can still find them beautiful in art: “and hence has permitted them only to be presented indirectly and by means of an interpretation of reason rather than presented for a merely aesthetic power of judgment.”[65] By this, Kant means that it is our imagination that allows the understanding of the concept we are viewing to be portrayed in the way it is in art to be considered beautiful. In other words, the presentation of the thing connects the concept with the imagination that allows it to register as beautiful.

Recognition of a (non-determinate) concept in art is what Kant calls aesthetic ideas. The principle for which the viewer is to determine the presence of an aesthetic idea is through spirit. Spirit is “the animating principle in the mind…use[d] to animate [or quicken] the soul, the material it employs for this, is what imparts to the mental powers a purposive momentum, i.e., imparts to them a play which is such that it sustains itself on its own and even strengthens the powers for such play.”[66] Spirit is that je-ne-sais-quois. This principle of spirit is what animates the aesthetic idea. Similar to Greenberg’s explanation, aesthetic ideas are ineffable. Aesthetic ideas are themselves “intuitions” to which “…no [determinate] concept, can be adequate, so that no language can express it completely and allow us to grasp it.”[67] The aesthetic presentation could never be replaced with a verbal explanation of it. For example, the viewing of Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa is not the same as explaining what it is like to experience, how excellent the painting is, how mysterious her smile is, how captivating her eyes are, etc.… Because the aesthetic idea cannot be explained verbally, it is the counterpart of a rational thought, “which is, conversely, a concept to which no intuition (presentation to the imagination) can be adequate.”[68] Here, Greenberg remains in agreement with Kant, in that the imagination is what holds the presentation of fine art, where the experience of the work is irreplaceable.

However, Greenberg merely states that the art produces an effect, whereas Kant explains how the effect of the work is what allows our judgment of it to provide a plethora of new material for which to cognize. The presentation of an aesthetic idea is called an idea because “they strive towards something that lies beyond the bounds of experience, and hence try to approach an exhibition of rational concepts (intellectual ideas), and thus [these concepts] are given a semblance of objective reality.”[69] They are not rational thoughts, but they attempt to portray an idea as if it was a rational one, by analogy:

We may even restructure experience; and though in doing so we continue to follow analogical laws, yet we also follow principles which reside higher up, namely in reason (and which are just as natural to us as those which the understanding follows in apprehending empirical nature). In this process we feel our freedom from the law of association (which attaches to the empirical use of the imagination); for although it is under that law that nature lends us material, yet we can process that material into something quite different, namely, into something that surpasses nature.[70]

For example, “a poet ventures to give sensible expression to rational ideas of invisible beings, the realm of the blessed, the realm of hell, eternity, creation, and so on.”[71] One cannot experience these concepts in this life, but art allows us to experience them through their presentation of theoretical ideas. The success of an artist is when she translates an abstract idea into a material object for which we could potentially experience these abstract ideas. She expresses, for example, the view of humanity through God’s eyes, (for example, like that of a modern conception of a mathematized world presented in cubism). The power of this presentation resides in imagination and not to rational thought. It is not really possible to describe in words what it is like to view the world through God’s eyes, through rational thought, but through an aesthetic idea, through the imagination, it potentially is made available through the experiencing of [fine] art:

An aesthetic idea is a presentation of the imagination which is conjoined with a given concept and is connected, when we use imagination in its freedom, with such a multiplicity of partial presentations that no expression that stands for a determinate concept can be found for it. Hence it is a presentation that makes us add to a concept the thought of much that is ineffable, but the feeling of which quickens our cognitive powers and connects language, which otherwise would be mere letters, with spirit.[72]

Fine art harmonizes the imagination and the understanding, but the governing agency changes when the objective is aesthetic. By this, Kant clarifies that when the imagination’s job is cognizing, it adheres to the understanding. When the objective is aesthetic, the imagination is free, so that “it may supply, in an unstudied way, a wealth of undeveloped material for the understanding which the latter disregarded in its concept.”[73] In other words, the understanding follows the imagination’s processing of the aesthetic presentation, so that it can add to the concept of it. For example, when the imagination’s objective is cognizing a rose, it processes what a rose when looking at it. It recognizes the petals, the color, the stem and leaves, the smell, and everything that makes it as a concept a rose. But when its objective is aesthetic, it does not reflect upon all that makes it a rose, but how it is beautiful. In art, the imagination’s objective is aesthetic. It declares whether or not something is a beautiful presentation. If the art is representational, it will simultaneously identify the object, just as we would say, “this is a beautiful rose”, or “this is beautiful”, but know that it is a rose at the same time. We know that a painting of a horse is a horse but we regard the presentation, the way in which it is presented as aesthetically beautiful, not because it is a horse but because it is beautiful.

Marcel Duchamp's Fountain (1917) (from Wikimedia Commons)
Marcel Duchamp’s Fountain (1917) (from Wikimedia Commons)

Through the function of genius, the artist expresses these ideas for a given concept and expresses them for others through spirit in fine art. The art is judged as if free, so as to appear purposive without a purpose. Genius presents the art in a way that gives the illusion of freedom. The art is judged and presented as an “unstudied, unintentional subjective purposiveness in the imagination’s free harmony with the understanding’s lawfulness presuppos[ing] such a proportion and attunement of these powers as cannot be brought about by any compliance with rules.”[74] The imagination is not constrained to the rules like the understanding. For example, if I see a book, I must call it a book because I know the concept of book. When I recognize it, I am compelled to label it to its determinate concept. For the imagination, it recognizes beautiful art as beautiful, in a positively free way. The illusion of freedom is apparent in genius’s ability to express it in a certain way, and in our ability to judge it as an expression of a certain concept, as an (aesthetic) idea.

For Greenberg, the experience of art is necessarily aesthetic, but he fails to appreciate aesthetic ideas, which are at the heart of Kant’s theory. Greenberg’s concept of “purity” aims at a freedom from external constraint, but also from the constraints within art. Aesthetic ideas, produced through genius, are what make a work art for Kant. Greenberg creates an absolute kind of autonomy, where art is not even restricted to rules of art in general, such as “academic form” or the expression of aesthetic ideas. For Kant, we cannot even begin to comprehend art without these rules. Fine art is art that displays presentations as if not constrained by the laws of art, but as if they were free. It is the illusion of a lack of constraint. The imagination and the understanding harmonize and their unity creates a “happy relation.”[75] Greenberg’s modernism transforms the “purity” in art to explore the constraints inherent in a given medium. For Greenberg, art achieves “purity” and thus is successful as a work of art, if it also does not follow the rules within its medium. For example, representational painting is constrained by the illusion of corporeality. In the next section, we will look at a work of “art” that is questionable as to whether it should be considered fine art or not, through the lens of both Greenberg and Kant.

Section IV: Yves Klein’s “Blue”: Fine Art or Not?

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:IKB_191.jpg
IKB 191 by Yves Klein (from Wikimedia Commons)

Subjective Experience: Blue. Pure blue stretched across an entire canvas. Nothing else. An abyss? A shape? A Void? What is it? What is “blue”? An abstraction of a nitrogen molecule expanded? The sky? The ocean? Sadness? Feeling? A pigment from God’s pallet? What is it?

Yves Klein painted a series of monochromes, but most famously he created his own shade of blue, Klein’s International Blue. Invented in the early 1960s, it is a synthetic ultramarine pigment, which covers entire canvases. A single shade of pure color, monochromatic paintings are non-representational and certainly up for debate as to whether they should be labeled (fine) art. In this section, we will first look at Klein Blue through the lens of Clement Greenberg and then through Kant. For Greenberg, I argue that while Greenberg admitted to modernism creating a lot of bad art, his theory overall allows pieces like this to be considered qualitatively “art.” Kant fills the gaps created in Greenberg’s theory, and Yves Klein’s Blue would be at best considered mechanical art.

To consider Greenberg’s perspective, let us review that it is a matter of a private, subjective experience. The subjective experience is derivative of the individual’s taste: “it remains: that when no esthetic value judgment, no verdict of taste, is there, then art isn’t there either, then esthetic experience of any kind isn’t there. It’s as simple as that. (In idea. The trouble is that art has little to do with ideas.”[76] Obviously there is an object, but to label it as art, it must be determined by the viewer. The viewer experiences it and then processes its effect as art. For Greenberg, the effect is art plainly and simply because it has an effect at all:

To repeat: In the esthetic context judging means liking or not liking (or you can say being moved or not, stirred, exhilarated, or not, or not enough, along a scale of degrees that’s infinitely divisible as any total continuum). If, as I’ve said more or less, the essence of the experience of art as art consists in degrees of liking and not liking, then what has to be pointed to in the first place when talking about art are those degrees. It’s there that the interest and excitement of talking about art is, or at least starts from. Moments of taste. That interest and that excitement fade and become something else when the talk turns to what’s read off from art and read into it, to what’s interpreted out of and into it. Then it’s no longer art as rock-bottom experience, as its own reality, that’s being dealt with.[77]

So, while I am admittedly not currently standing in front of a work Klein Blue, I will say that I feel something when I regard it. If I am to take Greenberg’s criteria seriously, by the fact that in my experience of Klein Blue, I feel something, and that feeling, while it is a general feeling of dislike, I must consider that it is producing some sort of effect on me. Therefore, Klein’s Blue is art. The “rock-bottom” experience of the piece for me is dislike. It seems that the declaration of any feeling whatsoever is all that is necessary to consider it art.

Secondly, Klein’s Blue is considered art through a Greenberg lens because it achieves absolute autonomy. Taking an analysis from an art critic in defense of Klein’s monochromatic style, we can perhaps better comprehend the work before us, Blue. According to Nuit Banai, Yves Klein created a kind of freedom of color, a new kind of condition: “This condition began to free colour from its immanent connection to a physical support and transformed it into a medium in its own right. Through Klein’s practice, colour became a passage between the materiality of the object and a range of experiences beyond its physical limits.”[78] This description is precisely what Greenberg wishes for art to achieve: not only independence from external constraint, as it is non-representational, but also it relieves itself from the laws in art. It achieves “purity” through breaking what color is traditionally constrained to, for example, an element of a body in a painting. Klein’s Blue, or Klein’s monochromic style in general, is answering the question, “what is art?” Greenberg’s answer: this.

The Greenberg analysis is immensely unsatisfactory since all it achieves is answering “what” rather than “why.” For Kant, we start with an object as a presentation of “art,” regarding its purpose to be art. We then ask ourselves if we find the object pleasing. I do not, but for the sake of continuing this analysis, I will pretend that my taste determines it to be beautiful. It is perfectly adequate to like or dislike something, as that is a matter of taste, but merely liking it does not yet make it fine art. Since it has passed the taste-test, next, I will regard the aesthetic idea or ideas behind it. Is it a work of genius? Does it have spirit? Without genius being the source of the work, it would merely be considered mechanical. So what is the aesthetic idea here? As a single color, labeled as “blue”, it is hard to assign a specific concept for which it is meant to convey, i.e. it is hard to decipher the aesthetic idea. Again, it does not have to be representational, like it could be an aesthetic presentation of sadness, but, in order to cognize the work at all, we have to assign it to some sort of idea. For example, let us consider it to be an aesthetic response to the question, “what is ‘blue’?” Quickly, we could dive into a philosophical discussion about color and perhaps the mechanics of sight. However, to remind us, Kant states: “if art merely performs the acts that are required to make a possible object actual, adequately to our cognition of that object, then it is mechanical art.”[79] In other words, if Klein’s Blue answers the question, “what is ‘blue’?” then the answer is “this.” Above, though, we saw an art critique as to how it is portraying what it is to be art. With that aesthetic idea, it becomes not an aesthetic idea, but ideas about aesthetics. Danto clarifies that aesthetic ideas are not “ideas about aesthetics. [Rather] what it does mean is an idea presented to and through the senses, hence an idea not abstractly grasped, but experienced through, and by means of, the senses.”[80]

For Kant, Klein’s Blue is mechanical. The only success that Klein achieves is renouncing the rules for color in painting. For Kant, both taste and genius must be present. Genius presents the work by following the rules within its medium, but not making it appear so, i.e. “the academic form must not show; there must be no hint that the rule was hovering before the artist’s eyes and putting fetters on his mental powers.[81] Genius still uses academic form, but gives the illusion of not being constrained to them. Through this illusion, it creates something original: “Now since originality of talent is one essential component (though not the only one) of the character of genius, shallow minds believe that the best way to show that they are geniuses in first bloom is by renouncing all rules of academic constraint, believing that they will cut a better figure on the back of an ill-tempered than of a training-horse.”[82] Genius “requires a talent that is academically trained,” making it capable of giving form to the material.[83] To highlight this point to destroy the belief in “artists” that they are creating something absolutely original and absolutely profound, Kant states:

It is utterly ridiculous for someone to speak and decide like a genius in matters that require the most careful rational investigation. One does not quite know whether to laugh harder at the charlatan who spreads all this haze, in which we can judge nothing distinctly but can imagine all the more, or rather laugh at the audience, which naively imagines that the reason why it cannot distinctly recognize and grasp this masterpiece of insight is that large masses of new truths are being hurled at it, whereas it regards the detail (which is based on carefully weighed explications and academically correct examination of the principles) as only the work of a bungler.[84]

In summation, for Kant, originality is not achieved when the artist merely disregards or breaks the rules. Genius is quite the opposite. If an art merely achieves “originality” through this, leading us to the question, “what is art?,” then it does not come from genius. Klein’s work is not a product of genius, and in a Kantian analysis, we need both taste and genius. Art is not fine when it merely teaches us about itself. We are now safe to label Klein’s Blue as mechanical. This example demonstrates precisely why Kant’s theory of art is immensely more satisfactory and accurate in judging art.

[1] De Duve, Thierry, Kant After Duchamp, (Boston: MIT Press, 1998), 314.

[2] Greenberg, Clement, “Problems of Criticism II: Complaints of an Art Critic,” Artforum, October (1967): 38.

[3] Greenberg, Clement, “Abstract, Representational, and so forth,” Art and Culture, Critical Essays (Boston: Beacon Press, 1961), 133.

[4] Greenberg, “Complaints of an Art Critic,” 38.

[5] Greenberg, “Abstract, Representational, and so forth,” 133-134.

[6] Greenberg, “Abstract, Representational, and so forth,” 134.

[7] Greenberg, “Abstract, Representational, and so forth,” 134.

[8] Greenberg, “Abstract, Representational, and so forth,” 137.

[9] Greenberg, “Abstract, Representational, and so forth,” 137.

[10] In Greenberg’s article, “Modernist Painting”, he states that three-dimensional space representation belongs to sculpture and not painting.

[11] Greenberg, Clement, “The New Sculpture,” Art and Culture, Critical Essays (Boston: Beacon Press, 1961), 139.

[12] Greenberg, “The New Sculpture,” 139.

[13] Greenberg, Clement, “Avant-Garde and Kitsch,” Art and Culture, Critical Essays (Boston: Beacon Press, 1961), 6.

[14] Greenberg, Clement, “On the Role of Nature in Modernist Painting,” Art and Culture, Critical Essays (Boston: Beacon Press, 1961), 172.

[15] Greenberg, “Avant-Garde and Kitsch,” 6.

[16] Greenberg, Clement. “The Experience of Value,” Homemade Esthetics: Observations on Art and Taste. (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999), 63. (The full passage is cited in section III.)

[17] Greenberg, Clement, “Seminar One,” Arts Magazine 48 (1973): 45.

[18] Greenberg, Clement, “Can Taste be Objective?,” ARTnews 72 (1973): 22.

[19] Greenberg, Clement, “Modernist Painting,” Arts Yearbook 4 (1961).

[20] Danto, Arthur C, What Art Is. (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2013), 117.

[21] Kant, Immanuel, Critique of Judgment, trans. Pluhar S. Werner. (Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 1987), §49, 313.

[22] Kant, Immanuel, Critique of Judgment, §49, 313.

[23] Danto, What Art Is, 116.

[24] Danto, What Art Is, 130.

[25] Danto, What Art Is, 126.

[26] De Duve, Kant After Duchamp, 314.

[27] De Duve, Kant After Duchamp, 290.

[28] Kant, Critique of Judgment, §48, 313.

[29] Kant, Critique of Judgment, §48, 313.

[30] Explication of genius, aesthetic ideas, and spirit are in the next section if this does not yet make sense.

[31] Kant, Critique of Judgment, §48, 313.

[32] Crowther, Paul, Critical Aesthetics and Postmodernism (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993), 58.

[33] Crowther, Critical Aesthetics, 58.

[34] Crowther, Critical Aesthetics, 66.

[35] Crowther, Critical Aesthetics, 56.

[36] Crowther, Critical Aesthetics, 67.

[37] Kant, Critique of Judgment, §49, 314.

[38] Kant, Critique of Judgment, §49, 314.

[39] Kant, Critique of Judgment, §49, 317.

[40] Kant, Critique of Judgment, VII, 190.

[41] Kant, Critique of Judgment, VII, 190.

[42] Kant, Critique of Judgment, VII, 190.

[43] Kant, Critique of Judgment, VII, 190.

[44] Kant, Critique of Judgment, §42, 301.

[45] Kant, Critique of Judgment, §42, 301.

[46] Kant, Critique of Judgment, §45, 306.

[47] Kant, Critique of Judgment, §45, 307.

[48] Kant, Critique of Judgment, §44, 306.

[49] Kant, Critique of Judgment, §44, 305.

[50] Kant, Critique of Judgment, §45, 307.

[51] Kant, Critique of Judgment, §46, 307.

[52] Kant, Critique of Judgment, §46, 307.

[53] Danto, What Art Is, 121.

[54] Danto, What Art Is, 121.

[55] Kant, Critique of Judgment, §46, 308.

[56] Kant, Critique of Judgment, §46, 308.

[57] Kant, Critique of Judgment, §46, 308.

[58] Kant, Critique of Judgment, §46, 308.

[59] Kant, Critique of Judgment, §46, 308.

[60] Kant, Critique of Judgment, §38, 290.

[61] Kant, Critique of Judgment, §17, 236.

[62] Kant, Critique of Judgment, §48, 311.

[63] Kant, Critique of Judgment, §48, 312.

[64] Kant, Critique of Judgment, §48, 311-312.

[65] Kant, Critique of Judgment, §48, 312.

[66] Kant, Critique of Judgment, §49, 313.

[67] Kant, Critique of Judgment, §49, 314.

[68] Kant, Critique of Judgment, §49, 314.

[69] Kant, Critique of Judgment, §49, 314.

[70] Kant, Critique of Judgment, §49, 314.

[71] Kant, Critique of Judgment, §49, 314.

[72] Kant, Critique of Judgment, §49, 316.

[73] Kant, Critique of Judgment, §49, 317.

[74] Kant, Critique of Judgment, §49, 318.

[75] Kant, Critique of Judgment, §49, 317.

[76] Greenberg, “The Experience of Value,” 62.

[77] Greenberg, “The Experience of Value,” 63.

[78] Banai, Nuit, “Monochromatic Interventions: Yves Klein and the Utopia of Spectacular Sensibility,” in Colour After Klein, Rethinking Colour in Modern and Contemporary Art, ed. Jane Alison (London: Black Dog Publishing, 2005), 36.

[79] Kant, Critique of Judgment, §44, 305.

[80] Danto, What Art Is, 123.

[81] Kant, Critique of Judgment, §45, 307.

[82] Kant, Critique of Judgment, §47, 310.

[83] Kant, Critique of Judgment, §47, 310.

[84] Kant, Critique of Judgment, §47, 310.

Linnea Head (Class of 2016) is currently working towards a B.A. in Philosophy with minors in English and Psychology. She is the captain of Ethics Bowl and involved in Greek Reading club and Young Americans for Liberty. After graduation, she intends on pursuing either constitutional law or Jurisprudence. In her free time, she does Crossfit, spends time with her family who mostly live in Cincinnati, and paints. Her essay, “A Kantian Redefining of the Conception of ‘Art’,” was spurred an interest in aesthetics because of her artistic interest. This essay was sponsored by Dr. Timothy Brownlee, Professor of philosophy.

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