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The role of concepts in Kant's account of aesthetic experience

Smith, SD; (2013) The role of concepts in Kant's account of aesthetic experience. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London). Green open access

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The thesis begins by exploring Kant's account of cognition as it is presented within the Critique of Pure Reason, particularly with reference to the conceptualist/non-conceptualist debate as it has developed over recent years. I argue that there is an important non-conceptualist position within Kant's account that concerns the unity of space and time as non-conceptual intuitive wholes. This argument will be used in discussing and exploring Kant's account of both aesthetic receptivity and aesthetic creativity as presented within the Critique of Judgement. My exploration of this third Critique will begin by looking at Kant's account of the harmony of the faculties and how we should understand the sense in which our aesthetic response is a non-conceptually determined one. The same concern will apply to an analysis of Kant's account of the mathematical sublime, and in the later stages of this discussion we will find an interesting relation between Kant's account of the role of infinity (space and time as unified wholes), and our earlier argument concerning space and time as formal intuitive wholes. After this focus upon the conditions of aesthetic receptivity my focus shifts towards aesthetic creativity as presented in Kant's account of fine art and genius. The main focus here will be with Kant's remark that art, in order to be art, must seem like nature. I will argue that this statement must be understood in two interdependent ways, where the first element concerns the formal construction of a representation so that it looks like nature in the sense of being a unified and readable representation. I will argue that artistic creativity at this level is the precondition of the second sense in which art must seem like nature, which concerns the content of a representation, and that a non-conceptual intuitional base is essential to this end.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: The role of concepts in Kant's account of aesthetic experience
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Keywords: Kant, Conceptualism/non-conceptualism, Aesthetic judgment, Formal Intuition, Gestalt
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Dept of Philosophy
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1411581
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