Volume 24, Issue 1, Fall 2019
The Time of the Beautiful in Kant’s Critique of Judgment
The present article considers the problem of the preservation of pleasure in Kant’s Critique of Judgment. The problem stems from the fact that the Critique of Judgment contains not one but two distinct definitions of pleasure. In the definition of pleasure in §10 of the Analytic of the Beautiful Kant emphasizes that all pleasure is characterized by the tendency to preserve itself. On the other hand, in the definition of §VII of the unpublished Introduction Kant makes a sharp distinction between interested and disinterested pleasures, whereby only the former kind is defined by the tendency for self-preservation. Yet, how can the disinterested pleasure of the beautiful preserve itself, given that insofar as it is disinterested it can be based on neither desire for its own preservation nor continued existence of the object? In addressing this issue, most commentators erroneously reintroduce desire (whether explicitly or surreptitiously) in the pleasure of aesthetic reflection. By contrast, I propose to resolve this issue by turning to Kant’s account of lingering in §12 of the Analytic of the Beautiful and, more importantly, §§43-53 of the Deduction, where Kant affords his conception of aesthetic ideas.