Kant's Aesthetic Revolution

Journal of Religious Ethics 3 (2):171 - 191 (1975)

Abstract

This paper interprets the Critique of Judgment as the culmination of Kant's contribution to our understanding of freedom--the human meaning of which is being-with-other-as-with-own. Central to that complex achievement and to the overarching role assigned by Kant to the aesthetic dimension (beauty, feeling, judgment, and art) is his revolutionary new way of seeing beauty and art as the expression of aesthetic ideas--a definition of them which carries him beyond formalism to illuminate also the modern and romantic search for freedom. This move also brings Kant to the threshold of religious ethics as man's ultimate freedom, his being-with-the-infinitely-transcendent-as-with-own, is, in art and beauty, disclosed for imagination and made available for the life of feeling in this world.

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