On the Beautiful as the Symbol of the Morally Good in Kant's Aesthetics

Tanık, Duygu
This study analyzes the meaning and role of the analogy between beauty and the morally good introduced in Kant’s Critique of Judgment by his famous statement: “beautiful is the symbol of the morally good.” By examining this analogy, this thesis investigates the possible relations between aesthetics and morality with regard to Kant’s aesthetics, it argues that aesthetic experience is a source of motivation for the continuity of our moral acts. By claiming that natural beauty has superiority in providing moral motivation among all aesthetic experiences, the scope of this thesis consists in our aesthetic experience of nature. Aesthetic experience of natural beauty has two important outcomes. First, it strengthens our moral feeling and enables us to regard nature as if it is an appropriate place for our moral acts. That is, it makes us feel as if in harmony with nature. This harmonious look toward nature leads to the second outcome of appreciating natural beauty, that is, it provides unity indirectly to the critical philosophy. These two outcomes of analogical thinking of the beautiful and the morally good are grounded by investigating the function of the principle of subjective purposiveness in aesthetic judgments of beauty.


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Citation Formats
D. Tanık, “On the Beautiful as the Symbol of the Morally Good in Kant’s Aesthetics,” M.A. - Master of Arts, Middle East Technical University, 2022.