[SydPhil] Seminar: Lissa Merritt @ Wed 7 Nov 2012 15:30 (Seminars)

Gregory Strom gbstrom at gmail.com
Fri Nov 2 14:12:30 AEDT 2012

Dear everyone,

Lissa Merritt will present the following talk on November 7 in the
Wednesday philosophy seminar series at the University of Sydney.

Greg Strom
“Kant on the Pleasures of Understanding”

Why did Kant write the Critique of Judgment, and why did he say that his
analysis of the judgment
of taste — his technical term for our enjoyment of beauty — is the most
important part of it?
Kant claims that his analysis of taste “reveals a property of our faculty
of cognition that without
this analysis would have remained unknown” (KU §8, 5:213). The clue lies in
Kant’s view
that while taste is an aesthetic, and non-cognitive, mode of judgment, it
nevertheless involves
the “free play” of cognitive capacities that is pleasurable in some way
that ordinary cognitive
business is not. My thesis is that the judgment of taste reveals a pleasure
that is not usually
apparent when we understand something in particular, but which is
nevertheless proper to
the activity of understanding as such. This matters, I argue, because in
this way the judgment
of taste points to a standard of cognitive virtue. Although Kant argues for
such a standard
in his account of enlightenment, I argue that his account of taste
introduces an important
corrective to that account, which places great – and potentially distorting
– emphasis on the
notion of cognitive agency. Taste, I argue, teaches us how to dislodge
notions of control and
intention from their presumptive position of prominence in the Kantian
ideal of cognitive self-

Wed 7 Nov 12:30 – 13:30 Eastern Time - Melbourne, Sydney
The Refectory, USYD
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