Volume 24, Issue 1, Fall 2019
Plato and Kant on Beauty and Desire
This article attempts to find common ground between Plato and Kant on the topic of beauty and aesthetic contemplation. The Kantian notion of “liking devoid of interest” is interpreted in such a way that it can be brought into harmony with two Platonic accounts of beauty found in the Symposium and the Hippias Major. I argue that both thinkers do justice to the relationship between desire and beauty, while also both asserting that the proper appreciation of beauty per se—whether in an object or as an essence—requires a disinterested stance.