An Inquiry into the nature of aesthetic theory in its relation to theory of knowledge in Kant’s critical philosophy

Özdoyran, Güven
The main concern of the dissertation is to investigate Kant’s aesthetic theory and its problematic relation to theory of knowledge in his transcendental philosophy. In the Critique of Judgment, Kant constructs his aesthetic theory by arguing that the aesthetic experience is based on a certain type of feeling, namely, the feeling of pleasure, rather than a concept. He grounds such a feeling on the aesthetic judgment of reflection. In spite of its non-conceptual and subjective characteristic, an aesthetic reflective judgment still has a claim to be universally valid. Here, the feeling of pleasure in beautiful is produced by the free harmonious relation between the imagination and the understanding. Judgment, in its reflective employment, does not determine its object, but determines the feeling of pleasure in the judging subject. On the other hand, the categories, as pure concepts of the understanding, carry nearly all the weight in his theory of knowledge presented in the Critique of Pure Reason. The imagination, in this case, is strictly bounded up with the rules which are imposed by the concepts of the understanding. By this way, judgment, as a cognitive faculty, determines its object and gains its objective validity. In this context, the dissertation aims to discuss the nature of Kant’s aesthetic theory and the components which constitute a pure aesthetic judgment of reflection and to clarify its proper place in critical philosophy regarding his theory of knowledge.