Melissa Zinkin
State University of New York at Binghamton
Abstract In the Critique of the Power of Judgment, Kant refers to the pleasure that we feel when judging that an object is beautiful as the pleasure of "mere reflection". Yet Kant never makes explicit what exactly is the relationship between the activity of "mere reflection" and the feeling of pleasure. I discuss several contemporary accounts of the pleasure of taste and argue that none of them is fully accurate, since, in each case, they leave open the possibility that one can reflect without having a feeling of pleasure, and hence allow a possible skepticism of taste. I then present my own account, which can better explain why Kant thinks that when one reflects one must also have a feeling of pleasure. My view, which emphasizes the role of attention in Kant, depicts well what we do when we judge something to be beautiful. It can also suggest a way to explain the relation between judgments of taste and moral feeling, and begin to show how the faculty of feeling fills a gap in the system of our cognitive faculties.
Keywords Kant  Critique of Judgment  reflection
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1080/0020174X.2012.716194
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 68,944
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Love as a Moral Emotion.J. David Velleman - 1999 - Ethics 109 (2):338-374.

View all 23 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Kant on Aesthetic Attention.Jessica J. Williams - 2021 - British Journal of Aesthetics 61 (4):421-435.
Kant on Animal and Human Pleasure.Alexandra Newton - 2017 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 47 (4):518-540.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

The Subjective Basis of Kant's Judgment of Taste.Brian Watkins - 2011 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 54 (4):315-336.
Pleasure in Kant: Toward an Account of Desire Formation.Iain Morrisson - 2006 - Journal of Philosophical Research 31:219-232.
Kant's Theory of Judgment, and Judgments of Taste: On Henry Allison's "Kant's Theory of Taste".Béatrice Longuenesse - 2003 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 46 (2):143 – 163.
Observations on the Feeling of the Beautiful and Sublime.Immanuel Kant - 1960 - Berkeley: University of California Press.
Aesthetic Judging and the Intentionality of Pleasure.Hannah Ginsborg - 2003 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 46 (2):164 – 181.
The Harmony of the Faculties.Fred L. Rush - 2001 - Kant-Studien 92 (1):38-61.
Reflection, Enlightenment, and the Significance of Spontaneity in Kant.Melissa McBay Merritt - 2009 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 17 (5):981-1010.


Added to PP index

Total views
129 ( #89,222 of 2,498,159 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
5 ( #140,331 of 2,498,159 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes