Volume 57, Issue 4, December 2017
A Kantian Analytic of the Ugly
Kant’s theory of taste, as expounded in the Critique of Judgment, deals exhaustively with judgments of beauty. Rarely does Kant mention ugliness. This omission has led to a debate among commentators about how judgments of ugliness should be explained in a Kantian framework. I argue that the judgment of ugliness originates in the disharmonious play between the faculties of imagination and understanding. Such disharmony occurs when the understanding finds that it cannot in principle form any concept suitable to a representation as it is presented by the imagination.