The Outline And Discussion Of Kant

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The Outline And Discussion Of Kant’s Conception Of Genius Essay, Research Paper 93 THE PHILOSOPHY OF ART FROM HUME TO HEGEL Outline and Discuss Kant’s conception of Genius As part of his Critique of the Aesthetic Judgement, Kant sets out to explain what constitutes a fine work of art, and in doing so he asserts that “fine arts must necessarily be regarded as arts of genius.” (page 168, ‘The Critique of Judgement’, Immanuel Kant). He then goes on to justify this, and to explain what genius consists of, and how a work of genius is arrived at. Kant begins by stating that for the representation of any work of art to be possible, it must have certain rules at its foundation. However, with fine art, the beauty of the object is judged independently of any concept, and

therefore a work of fine art cannot have been derived from any rule which had a concept as its basis. From this it follows that “fine art is only possible as a product of genius”, where “genius is a talent for producing that for which no definite rule can be given.” (page 168). It follows from this notion of genius that as no definite rule can be given, the author will not be able to explain how the ideas that created the fine work of art came to them. Kant now goes on to make an important distinction between the work of a genius and the work of what he terms “a man of brains.” (page 169). As rules cannot be laid down to enable others to create works of genius, the work of genius differs crucially from the work of a scientist. We may refer to Newton as “a man of

brains…[but] all that Newton has set forth in his immortal work on the Principles of Natural Philosophy may well be learned…but we cannot learn to write in a true poetic vein.” (page 170). Scientists can explain the steps that they followed and methods that they used to reach their discovery, but no fine artist can show how their ideas came to them as they themselves do not know. We can therefore see that no matter how important the work of a scientist, it can never be termed the work of a genius. So what is the rule with no concept as its basis that is behind a work of fine art? As we cannot actually set out this rule due to its lack of a concept, Kant feels that the only way in which it can be understood is by experiencing the works of geniuses directly. In this way the

works become exemplary models, which a pupil can then use for following, though not for imitation. Alternatively the work of a genius may inspire other geniuses to create their own original works of genius. 15/06/93 However, Kant does not want to say that a work of genius is devoid of any rules whatsoever. “Genius can do no more than furnish rich material for products of fine art; its elaboration and its form require a talent academically trained, so that it may be employed in such a way as to stand the test of judgement.” (page 171-172). In other words, without experience and technique, a genius will not produce a fine work of art. A genius needs the best training and conditions possible to flourish, and only “shallow minds fancy that the best evidence they can give of

their being full-blown geniuses is by emancipating themselves from all academic constraints of rules, in the belief that one cuts a finer figure on the back of an ill-tempered than of a trained horse.” (page 171). We saw in Kant’s Four Moments of the Aesthetic Judgement that to estimate the beauty of an object in nature, we require taste, and must not bring into consideration the objective finality of the object in making our judgement. In other words, the end of the object or perfection contained therein is not to be included in our judgement. A product of art on the other hand in being declared beautiful “always presupposes an end in the cause (and its causality), a concept of what the thing is intended to be must first of all be laid at its basis…as its end constitutes