. 5
( 10)


the manifold of a homogeneous intuition in general, because I generate time
itself in the apprehension of the intuition. (A142“3/B182)

Discursive or conceptual thought applied to the pure image of magni-
tude (time or space) thus yields a metric in which one unit thought
after a preceding homogeneous unit will yield two units, and so on. As
Charles Parsons points out, unlike other views of addition in which “we
have a timeless relation, for example, that one set is the union of two
others . . . and in reference to which any talk of successive addition is on
the face of it entirely metaphorical,” in Kant™s view, addition has to be
successive, because it is literally the placing of one unit after another in
thought.6 It is this succession that creates the order of units that we call
numbers. Consequently, number is the measure of extensive magnitudes.

1.2. Intensive Magnitudes
In contrast to extensive magnitudes, which are measured by homoge-
neous unitary parts that succeed one another, intensive magnitudes are
measured by the degrees contained within them. Kant writes of inten-
sive magnitudes, “I call that magnitude ( oße) which can only be appre-
hended as a unity (Einheit), and in which amount (Vielheit) can only be
represented through approximation to negation = o, intensive magni-
tude” (A168/B210). Kant™s description of intensive magnitudes as what
can “only be apprehended as a unity” contrasts them to extensive magni-
tudes, “in which the representation of the parts makes possible the rep-
resentation of the whole (and therefore necessarily precedes the latter)”
(A162). The difference between intensive and extensive magnitudes thus
involves how each of these forms of unity relates to their “quantity”
(Vielheit), the multiplicity of which they are unities. Unities of extensive

6 Parsons (1982), 31.
Melissa Zinkin

magnitude are the sums of their parts. For example, one yard is made up
of thirty-six inches. Intensive magnitudes, on the other hand, are mea-
sured as wholes from which “parts” (or degrees) can be derived, or that can
gradually be diminished to zero. In the Metaphysik Vigilantus (1794“5),
Kant thus describes an intensive magnitude as one

whereby the parts are not cognized previously in order to determine the mag-
nitude, rather (it) must be cognized as a unity, and the parts drawn from the
unity. Thus e.g., a line, which must be composed, differs from an extinguishing
light: with the latter there is only a unity of sensation, but in each following state
a different degree of this. (XXVIV:999)

Intensive magnitudes can thus be called the ˜ground™ from which a range
of values can be derived.7 By contrast, an extensive magnitude is not the
˜ground™ of the quantities it posits, but merely a collection of units.8 Inten-
sive magnitudes are thus those things whose standard of measurement
pertains to them alone. Extensive magnitudes, on the other hand, such
as “space [or] the size of an army,”9 are all measured by the same system
of counting.
Kant calls the different forms of unity that result from the synthesis of
extensive and intensive magnitudes ˜aggregates™ and ˜coalitions™, respec-
tively (B201n). In the Anticipations of Perception, he uses the example
of money to illustrate this difference between extensive and intensive
magnitudes, which he says is also the difference between intuition and
mere perception or sensation. This example is noteworthy, since, as the
quality of a thing, intensive magnitudes are also values. Kant writes:

If I call thirteen dollars a quantum of money, I do so correctly insofar as I mean
an amount of a mark of ¬ne silver, which is to be sure a continuous magni-
tude, in which no part is the smallest but each part could constitute a coin that
would always contain material for smaller ones. But if by the term “thirteen round

7 See Kant™s Metaphysics Herder (1762“4):
A quantum is considered either intensively “ that which has a quantity insofar as it is a
ground “ or extensively “ that which has a quantity, but not insofar as it is a ground, for
example space, the size of an army. Quantity is considered either intensively, insofar as
something posits something else a given number of times; or extensively, insofar as in
something, something else is posited a given number of times. (XXVIII:22)
8 My view of intensive magnitudes as the basis for the quantities that can be derived from
them differs somewhat from the view of Daniel Warren (2001). Warren argues that by
describing an intensive magnitude as a “ground,” Kant means the causal ground of a
consequence (30). Unlike Warren, I interpret the “ground-consequence” description of
intensive magnitudes teleologically rather than mechanistically.
9 XXVIII:22.
Intensive Magnitudes and the Normativity of Taste 143

dollars” I mean so many coins (whatever their amount of silver might be), then
it would not be suitable to call this a quantum of dollars, but it must instead be
called an aggregate, i.e. a number of coins. (A170/B212)

Here a continuous magnitude, which is the unity of a coalition, is the value
of the silver. No matter how many units thirteen dollars can be broken up
into, it will still have the same value. Such a continuous magnitude can-
not be measured additively by counting its units. When thirteen dollars
are understood as “thirteen round dollars,” Kant even seems to suggest
that they have no value at all. They are just so many physical objects, a
number of coins: “so many coins (whatever their amount of silver might
be).” A continuous magnitude is thus the measure of the value of an
indivisible whole. If there is no complete whole, then there is nothing
to which an intensive measure can be attributed. This is the meaning of
Kant™s statement that “if the synthesis of the manifold of appearance is
interrupted, then it is the aggregate of many appearances (and not really
appearance as quantum)” (A170/B212). If a degree is without reference
to an original unity, it loses its value. For example, only once something,
such a lump of silver, is designated as having a value of thirteen dollars
can the value of the parts into which it is divided be determined. If the
lump has no designated worth, then the worth of its parts, as parts, cannot
be determined. The quality, or value, of a thing is thus a measure that
is made with regard to a standard of the completeness or fullness of the
kind of value of the thing that is measured.
Kant™s description in the Anticipations of Perception of intensive mag-
nitudes as “¬‚owing” is also related to the fact that they are unities from
which “parts (or values) are drawn.” He writes,
[B]etween any reality and negation there is a continuous nexus of possible real-
ities, and of possible smaller perceptions. Every color, e.g. red, has a degree,
which however small it may be is never the smallest, and it is the same with
warmth, with the moment of gravity, etc. The property of magnitudes on account
of which no part of them is the smallest (no part is simple) is called their
continuity . . . magnitudes of this sort can be called ¬‚owing, since the synthesis
(of the productive imagination) in their generation is a progress in time, the
continuity of which is customarily designated by the expression “¬‚owing” (“elaps-
ing”) (¬‚iesende).” (A169“70/B211“12)

“Flowing magnitudes” are those that are generated by the motion of a
point. Here Kant is probably referring to Newton.10 What Newton refers
to as a ˜¬‚owing magnitude™ or a ˜¬‚uent™ is a quantity generated by a

10 Friedman (1992), 74.
Melissa Zinkin

continual motion.11 The reason intensive magnitudes are discussed here
with regard to ¬‚owing magnitudes is because they are the quantities, or
functions, from which continuous lines, and so on, are generated and are
what determine the measure such a ¬‚owing magnitude will have.
To summarize the discussion so far, we can say that an intensive mag-
nitude is a quality or value and that as a form of unity it determines the
values of what ¬‚ows or is drawn from it. Yet, it still remains unclear what
exactly the basis of its “measure” is. If Kant is to claim that intensive mag-
nitudes and the degrees by which they are measured can be known a
priori, he must provide a transcendental condition for this knowledge.
Unlike Leibniz, he cannot just dogmatically claim that intensive magni-
tudes exist.
In contrast to extensive magnitudes, whose standard of measurement
is whole numbers that represent the succession of units in time, in the
Critique of Pure Reason Kant describes the standard of measurement for
intensive magnitudes as that which represents the transition from the
presence to the absence of a sensation in time. Kant writes:
[T]here is a relation and connection between, or rather a transition from reality to
negation, that makes every reality representable as a quantum, and the schema of
a reality as the quantity of something insofar as it ¬lls time, is just this continuous
and uniform generation of that quantity in time as one descends in time from
the sensation that has a certain degree to its disappearance or gradually ascends
from negation to its magnitude. (A143/B182“3)

A schema, it will be recalled, is the expression in time of one of the pure
concepts of thought. It is a determination of time. This passage should
therefore not be read as saying that the schema of reality is the degree
to which a sensation can ¬ll time. That would make the schema a deter-
mination of sensations and would make the application of the category
of reality to time something based on a subjective feeling. Instead, the
schema of reality should be regarded as the determination of time itself
as what can be ¬lled in degrees by sensation, and thus as what makes
possible the metric of intensive magnitudes. In this way, the standard
for measuring the degrees of intensity of a sensation is derived from a
moment of time considered not as a unit that can be followed by other

11 Newton writes in the “Quadrature of Curves,” “I don™t here consider mathematical quan-
tities as composed of parts extremely small, but as generated by a continual motion. Lines
are described, and by describing are generated, not by any apposition of parts but by a
continual motion of points, surfaces are generated by the motion of lines . . . and so in
the rest” (1967, 141). See also Friedman™s discussion of this passage in Friedman (1992),
Intensive Magnitudes and the Normativity of Taste 145

moments, but as something that can be ¬lled up to a greater or lesser
degree. Still, Kant™s account leaves it unclear how we are to measure this
“greater or lesser,” this “quantity of something” with regard to how it ¬lls
up a moment of time.
Paul Guyer™s discussion of Kant™s attempt in the Anticipations of Per-
ception to assimilate “his theory of intensive magnitude into the theory of
time determination” makes clear how problematic intensive magnitudes
are for Kant.12 In order for Kant to be able to say that the instant in which
a sensation occurs can also be a measure of the increase or decrease in
intensity of the sensation, individual sensations of a given quality need
to be thought of as “members of a potential series of instances of the
same kind of sensation, which are undergoing an increase or decrease of
intensity over time.”13 But, Guyer contends, the premise of Kant™s argu-
ment, which is that “apprehension, merely by means of sensation ¬lls
only an instant” (A167/B209), con¬‚icts with the idea that sensations can
come in a continuous variation of intensity. This is because what is appre-
hended in an instant does not necessarily bring with it any indication of
another temporal determination. A shade of blue could indicate a stage
in a series of degrees of blue or it could not. And if it is a stage of a series
of degrees, then it is being measured in an extensive form of time. Kant
has given no a priori basis from which one can claim that sensations vary
in intensity and no way to measure this intensity. What he needs is some
form of intuition that would be the basis of a scale that could represent
the amount of time indicated by a particular degree of a sensation that
is apprehended in an instant.
One can picture this scale as being vertical to the horizontal time
line, so that a sensation would have two temporal coordinates: one being
the point of extensive time at which the sensation occurs; the other, the
second order of time it would have taken the sensation to ascend from
negation to its magnitude. Such an order would represent the degrees of
sensation “anticipated” as possible on the basis of the present sensation.
Since such a form of time is not argued for in the Critique of Pure Reason,
Guyer is right that the Anticipations of Perception results in confusion.
Indeed, as I will argue in the next section, this is due to the fact that the
categories, such as that of “reality,” can only be applied to what is intu-
ited in a complete instant of homogeneous time. Consequently, a priori
judgments of intensive magnitudes are impossible within the context of

12 Guyer (1987), 203.
13 Ibid.
Melissa Zinkin

the Critique of Pure Reason. However, it is precisely such a form of time in
which intensity can be measured that is presented in the Critique of the
Power of Judgment.

2. time, concepts, and the imagination
in the first critique
Before proceeding to my analysis of the Critique of the Power of Judgment, I
will show that for Kant, concepts can only be applied to representations
that have been apprehended and reproduced in an extensive form of
time. In the following section, I will then show that what is apprehended
in an intensive form of time “ and what consequently cannot be thought
by means of a concept “ is what forms the basis of a judgment of taste.
According to Kant, the role of concepts in cognition is to produce a
synthesis of a manifold of representations according to a rule. Implicit
in his discussion of the synthesis produced according to a concept is the
idea that what is synthesized is discrete representations each contained
in one moment of time. In the Subjective Deduction of the ¬rst edition
of the Critique of Pure Reason, Kant describes the “synthesis of recognition
in the concept” as follows:

If, in counting, I forget that the units that now hover before my senses were suc-
cessively added together by me, then I would not cognize the generation of the
multitude through this successive addition of one to the other, and consequently
I would not cognize the number; for this concept consists solely in the conscious-
ness of this unity of the synthesis. The word “concept” itself could already lead us
to this remark. For it is this one consciousness that uni¬es the manifold that has
been successively intuited, and then also reproduced, into one representation.

The synthesis of recognition in the concept serves to unify a manifold in
one consciousness according to a rule. This act of synthesis orders our
representations according to a concept that makes it possible for our cog-
nition to be of an object and not be a mere subjective association of per-
ceptions. A concept is required for such a uni¬ed representation, since
the manifold that is to be uni¬ed consists of past representations con-
tained in the discrete moments of their successive apprehension. These
can be uni¬ed only on the condition that there is a transcendental form
of apperception, a “numerical unity” of consciousness, which grounds
the conscious activity (however weak) of unifying these representations
according to a concept.
Intensive Magnitudes and the Normativity of Taste 147

Moreover, our representations can only be uni¬ed by a concept if they
are in fact the distinct and absolute unities contained in their original
moments of apprehension. Kant writes, “Every intuition contains a man-
ifold in itself, which, however, would not be represented as such if the
mind did not distinguish the time in the succession of impressions on
one another: for as contained in one moment no representation can ever be
anything other than absolute unity” (A99). Recognition is only possible
if what is recognized is the same as it once was. If, in counting, the units
that now hover before my senses were to merge or be reproduced as over-
lapping one another, then they would no longer be recognizable as the
original representations they were. The unity of the synthesis would not
be a sum, and thus the concept of the sum of these units could not be
Of course, by calling a concept “something that serves as a rule” for the
uni¬cation of appearances, Kant is not referring just to the rule of addi-
tion. He is referring to the fact that all concepts are normative and orga-
nize the manifold according to an ordered procedure. According to Kant,
there are twelve fundamental rules of this sort, each of which is followed
when an object is thought by means of them. But no matter what category
is used for the synthesis of the manifold, one particular form of time is
required in order for it to be possible to recognize what is reproduced by
the imagination. This is time considered extensively as the basis of a series
of homogeneous distinct successive moments. And when these moments
are connected, they are in fact ˜added™ to one another. Kant writes in the
second edition Deduction, “the empirical consciousness that accompa-
nies different representations is by itself dispersed and without relation to
the identity of the subject. The latter relation (that to the identity of the
subject) does not come about by my accompanying each representation
with consciousness, but rather by adding (hinzusetzen) one representation
to the other and being conscious of their synthesis” (B133).
But what if representations were not unitary or apprehended succes-
sively? Would it be possible for them to be uni¬ed by a concept? In
this case, I believe, it would be dif¬cult to ¬nd the concept that could
serve as the rule for these representations. Indeed, Kant writes, “if repre-
sentations reproduced one another without distinction, just as they fell
together, there would in turn be no determinate connection between
unruly heaps (regelose Haufen) of them, and no cognition at all would
arise” (A121). What happens in a situation where the imagination repro-
duces a previously apprehended representation “without distinction,” so
that it “falls together,” overlaps, or merges with another representation?
Melissa Zinkin

Or what happens in the case in which the same representation is repro-
duced over and over again rather than in a sequence? These, I believe,
can be instances in which the imagination is working with an intensive
form of temporal intuition that makes it possible for different represen-
tations to be compared not with regard to their temporal order, but with
regard to how long they endure with respect to each other, or the rate of
speed at which a sequence of moments takes place, or how the moments
overlap or merge.14
This view of time can be explained with reference to Kant™s First Anal-
ogy. He writes:
Our apprehension of the manifold of appearance is always successive, and is there-
fore always changing. We can therefore never determine from this alone whether
this manifold, as object of experience, is simultaneous or successive, if something
does not ground it which always exists, i.e. something lasting and persisting, of
which all change and simultaneity are nothing but so many ways (modi of time) in
which that which persists exists. . . . If one were to ascribe such a succession to time
itself, one would have to think yet another time in which this succession would be
possible. Only through that which persists does existence in different parts of the
temporal series acquire a magnitude, which one calls duration. (A182“3/B226)

Kant™s point in the First Analogy is that the concept of substance must
have objective validity if we are to be able to say that objects change. If we
were not able to determine something as persisting in time through the
category of substance, we would not be able to say that anything about this
substance has changed. For all we would know, it could just have become
a completely different substance. Similarly, without something persisting,
the measurement of the duration of time would be impossible. My point,
however, is that in order to apprehend not the succession or simultane-
ity of objects of experience, but their rate of speed, or acceleration, for
example, we must indeed think “another time” in which the rate of change

14 Uehling gives as an example of the “temporal shape” that is the result of the play
of the imagination in judgments of taste the bass voice of the ¬rst four measures of
Bach™s Kyrie Elesion. “Leaving out the rests, to indicate silence in the pattern, we would
have:””””” (1971, 60“1). It should be clear from my discussion that such a pattern
would be impossible for the imagination to create if it is working with just one order of
time. How would it constitute a measure of the rhythm of the notes, or mark the spaces
¬lled with voice if time were just a one-dimensional line? The marks can only indicate the
duration of or absence of sound if they are made with respect to an external measure.
Without this, we could not measure how long the silence lasts. In order for there to be
silence in the music, or for time to be considered as empty, it must be understood as a
two-dimensional form and not as a line. Only in this way is it possible to measure not
the number of points that succeed one another, but how long each one endures and the
“space” between them.
Intensive Magnitudes and the Normativity of Taste 149

can be measured. Just as one clock measures the succeeding moments of
time and quanti¬es their duration, another clock is needed to measure
whether or not those moments are accelerating. The measure produced
by this second order of time is not of the moments of time considered
extensively, one after the other, but is of the rate of their change, be it
quick or slow. This “other time,” which can be said to be what is used to
re¬‚ect upon the ¬rst measure of time, is what I am calling an intensive
form of time, since, by means of it, one can measure the degree to which
what is apprehended in extensive time takes up time. In other words, this
form is what makes possible the intuition of intensive magnitudes. It is
with regard to this form of time, for example, that we could compare the
movement of the second hand on two different clocks to see whether it
takes each of them the same time to hit the one-second mark. It is this
re¬‚ective form of time that I believe the imagination uses when making
a judgment of taste, where what matters is “what I make of this repre-
sentation in myself, not how I depend on the existence of the object”
(V:205).15 In this case, the imagination is free to play with time.16

3. intensive magnitudes in the critique of the
aesthetic power of judgment
According to Kant, in a judgment of taste, the faculties of imagination
and understanding must be in a harmony that makes it possible for what
the imagination freely presents to be in accord with the lawfulness of
the understanding, although no concept of the understanding can be
applied to this presentation. This particular “harmony” or “free play”
of the faculties is the mental state whose universal communicability is
the ground for judgments of taste as well as the pleasure we take in
an object judged to be beautiful (V:217). In order to understand what

15 Theodore Gracyk suggests something similar to this (1986, 49“56). He draws a distinc-
tion between the subjective time order and the objective time order and claims that the
subjective time order can contain a formlessness that is present in the feeling of the sub-
lime. Gracyk™s conclusion, however, is very different from mine. He uses his distinction
to explain how everything can be considered beautiful, whereas my distinction between
intensive and extensive magnitudes is meant to explain how judgments of taste differ
from cognition.
16 In Kants Qualit¨ tskategorein (1930), Anneliese Maier similarly argues that Kant implicitly
presupposes a third a priori “presentational form” for apprehending qualities, which
is analogous to the a priori forms of intuition, space, and time. My view contrasts with
Maier™s in that I am arguing that this third a priori form of qualitative sensibility has a
distinctive temporal character.
Melissa Zinkin

Kant means by the harmony of the faculties, it is helpful to take literally
Kant™s term ˜harmony™ and understand the power of judgment as an
instrument on which there are two strings, the understanding and the
imagination. If they are stroked together in one stroke, their harmony
will be rather simple. But if one is made to vibrate at a different rate than
the other, the chord will be more interesting. The case is the same when
the imagination does not work with the extensive form of time, which
is required in order for what it apprehends to be subsumed under the
understanding, but rather uses a different form of time. In this case, the
re¬‚ection of the faculty of judgment on this more complicated form of
harmony can result in the claim that this state is a source of pleasure. Kant
writes, “all stiff regularity (whatever approaches mathematical regularity)
is of itself contrary to taste: the consideration of it affords no lasting
entertainment, but rather . . . it induces boredom” (V:242).
Since it is the free play of the imagination that is distinctive of judg-
ments of taste, my task here is to show that this play is due to the freedom
of the imagination from the extensive form of intuition presented in
the ¬rst Critique, and that this is why, in judgments of taste, “it is not a
matter of a determinate concept” (XX:220). However, my argument that
judgments of taste require an intensive form of intuition might seem to
be weakened by the fact that Kant does not explicitly discuss intensive
magnitudes with regard to judgments of taste, whereas he does discuss
them in the Critique of Pure Reason with regard to judgments of cogni-
tion. If my view is right, why does Kant not make it explicit in the third
Critique that judgments of taste involve an intensive form? I think the
answer to this question is that in the third Critique, Kant is not primarily
concerned with the forms of intuition by means of which sensible objects
are given to us.17 Rather, he is interested in the norms and justi¬cations
for a priori judgments of taste, which are judgments of the necessity of
the subjective feeling of pleasure or displeasure that we have regarding
certain objects that are already given to us. Still, all feelings must require
some form of sensibility, and they must occur in some form of time. My
aim is thus to show that an intensive form of intuition is presupposed in
Kant™s account of judgments of taste and that this can explain why, in
such judgments, what is formed by the imagination cannot be subsumed
under a concept “ another point that is not explicitly justi¬ed in the
third Critique. Although Kant does not refer to intensive forms by name,
his references to the “quickening” of the faculties of the imagination of

17 See XX:222.
Intensive Magnitudes and the Normativity of Taste 151

the understanding, our “lingering” in our contemplation of the beauti-
ful, and the “organ of the inner sense” all suggest that such a form of
intuition is required.
Still, one might ask, what is the relationship between the intensive
magnitudes that Kant does refer to in the ¬rst Critique and those I am
arguing are presupposed in the third? Although judgments of taste have
the intensive form of sensibility in common with the mere sensations
that Kant refers to in the ¬rst Critique, this does not prevent them from
being distinctive. In fact, the subjective element of any aesthetic judgment
does differ from mere sensations. Only aesthetic judgments involve a
feeling of pleasure or displeasure. This is because, in this case, what is
apprehended by the imagination is referred solely to the subject and not
to any concept so as to give rise to determinate cognition (V:189). In
contrast to the intensive magnitude of a sensation that, as Kant explains
in the Anticipations of Perception, is a measure of the sensation of the
subject with regard to an object, in an aesthetic judgment, the intensive
magnitude is the measure of the subject™s sensation of her own mental
state. And, according to Kant, the way that the subject feels his or her
own state is by means of a feeling of pleasure or displeasure. In this way,
the feeling of pleasure or displeasure in a judgment of taste can be said
to be a pure intensive intuition, a judgment of the agreeable, an impure
intensive intuition, or that of mere sense, an empirical intensive intuition.
The pure form of intensive intuition makes possible the determination
of the feeling of pleasure in the subject™s own mental state. As a form
of empirical sensibility in the Anticipations of Perception, it is supposed
to ground objective empirical judgments of the intensity of sensations of
material objects.18
The function of this intensive form of intuition in Kant™s account of
judgments of taste can be explained by analogy to the role in cognition
of the extensive form of the intuition of space. Just as there are empiri-
cal intuitions of particular spaces, there are also empirical intuitions of
intensive magnitudes. These are of the sensible qualities of objects, of
how they taste, smell, feel, and so on. However, just as there is an a priori
form of spatial intuition, there is also an a priori form of the intuition
of intensive magnitudes. This, I will argue in the next section, is the

18 Warren argues against Maier™s view that there is a third form of sensibility by pointing
out that, unlike space and time, a form of pure sensibility is impossible (2001, 15). This,
however, is precisely what I am arguing is possible. Like the a priori intuition of space,
the sensus communis can ˜represent™ a feeling of pleasure absent any empirical sensation
and just by means of the pure functioning of the mental faculties.
Melissa Zinkin

sensus communis. When what is intuited by the sensus communis is not an
object of the external senses but the inner state of the subject, then it is
the basis of a pure aesthetic judgment, or a judgment of (inner) taste.
Although I can say that something I see is a square, this is different from
presenting (darstelle) a square a priori by means of a construction of the
imagination.19 Only in the second case is the intuition of a square of a
pure mathematical form. Similarly, what is intuited by the sensus communis
in a pure judgment of taste is just the activity of subjective faculties of cog-
nition themselves as the imagination seeks to present an idea.
Before proceeding, I still need to address one of the major problems
involved in considering how the imagination can be free from the under-
standing in judgments of taste. This concerns how it is possible to bring
what is intuited by the imagination to consciousness without the unity pro-
vided by the concepts of the understanding.20 I will brie¬‚y suggest how
a solution to this problem also supports my view that judgments of taste
involve an intensive form of intuition. Indeed, in the Critique of the Power
of Judgment, Kant does not say that the imagination is independent of the
understanding, only that it is free from being determined by its laws. It is
therefore possible to consider the imagination to be free from the laws of
understanding while still considering it to be “under” the understanding
as the faculty of the unity of representations. We need to retain the idea
that the imagination is in some way related to the understanding because,
without any ultimate reference to the unity of apperception, which is the
basis of unity in our acts of understanding, no unity of form would be
possible “ and even in the Critique of the Power of Judgment we are not deal-
ing with a mere rhapsody of perceptions. My view is that it is precisely
the relationship between the understanding, which can only think what
is apprehended extensively, and the imagination, which, in this case, is
apprehending representations intensively, that enables the faculties to
“reciprocally animate each other” (V:287). Indeed, this is the only way
the relationship between the imagination and the understanding can be
conceived in order for what is apprehended by the imagination to be, on
the one hand, purposive for conceptualization by the understanding and
yet, on the other hand, still not be subsumable by concepts. If what the
imagination apprehends is in an extensive form, we still need a further
reason why, in some cases and not others, this activity forms the basis of
a judgment of taste.

19 See A713/B741.
20 See Uehling (1971), Chapter 2.
Intensive Magnitudes and the Normativity of Taste 153

If I am right that judgments of taste involve an intensive form created
by the imagination, what would such form be like? Kant™s discussion of
the aesthetic normal idea (Normalidee) of beauty provides an example
of the imagination at work in presenting an idea free from the laws of
understanding. The form the imagination produces here is one that can
still have a harmonious relation to the understanding but not be determined
by the understanding. Kant writes:

It should be noted that the imagination does not only know how to recall for
us occasionally signs of concepts, even after a long time, in a way that is entirely
incomprehensible to us; it also knows how to reproduce the image and shape of
an object out of an immense number of objects of different kinds, or even of one
and the same kind; indeed, when the mind is set on making comparisons, it even
knows how, by all accounts actually if not consciously, as it were to superimpose
one image on another and by means of the congruence of several of the same
kind to arrive at a mean that can serve them all as a common measure. Someone
has seen a thousand grown men. Now if he would judge what should be estimated
as their comparatively normal size, then, (in my opinion) the imagination allows
a great number of images (perhaps all thousand) to be superimposed on one
another, and, if I may here apply the analogy of optical presentation, in the
space where the greatest number of them coincide and within the outline of
the place that is illuminated by the most concentrated colors, there the average
size becomes recognizable, which is in both height and breadth equidistant from
the most extreme boundaries of the largest and smallest statures; and this is the
stature for a beautiful man. (One could get the same result mechanically if one
measured all thousand men, added up their heights, widths (and girths) and then
divided the sum by a thousand. But the imagination does this just by means of a
dynamic effect, which arises from the repeated apprehension of such ¬gures on
the organ of inner sense.) (V:233“4)

In this passage, the work of the imagination is contrasted with the
mechanical process of additive measurement. Here, what could be
obtained mechanically is obtained otherwise by means of a “dynamic
effect, which arises from the repeated apprehension of such ¬gures on
the organ of inner sense.” In this case, the apprehension of the imag-
ination is multiple, and, as the illustration from optics shows, it is not
a succession, but an overlapping of representations. Here, indeed, the
imagination is apprehending representations according to an intensive
form and creating a unity that can serve as the ground of the measures
that can follow from it. The normal idea of beauty is thus analogous to
the point of highest intensity. Moreover, the act of comparison described
here is not that of ¬nding what applies universally to all of these represen-
tations, but of ¬nding the average between them and what they should
have in common. For example, if, after overlapping all of these men, as
Melissa Zinkin

in Kant™s example, we found that the average was six feet tall, it is still pos-
sible that none of the men is exactly six feet tall. In this case, the “concept
that this comparison makes possible” would not be able to recognize the
objects that are supposed to fall under it. When we actually do form a con-
cept by means of comparison, this is done extensively, so to speak, by lin-
ing up all of the images and seeing what is the same in each of them. Kant
writes, “to re¬‚ect (or consider) is to hold given presentations up to, and
compare them with, either other presentations or one™s cognitive power
[itself] in reference to a concept that this comparison makes possible”
(XX:211). The discursive concept that is supposed to result from this com-
parison would then apply universally to the representations that formed
the basis of the original comparison.21 However, in that case, where a
concept is made possible, there would be cognition, not a judgment
of taste.
Although Kant™s example here is meant to explain what an archetype
or ideal of the beautiful might be, and not to explain the free beauty that
is the object of a pure judgment of taste, the activity of the imagination
that he describes in this passage is still common to both pure judgments
of taste and the ideal of beauty. An ideal of beauty does not belong to the
object of an entirely pure judgment of taste because it is the represen-
tation of an individual thing that is an instance of a concept of reason.
As such, the ideal of beauty is determined by a concept and therefore
cannot be the object of a pure judgment of taste. In his discussion of
the ideal of beauty, however, Kant makes the distinction between two ele-
ments that are involved in this ideal. The ¬rst is the aesthetic normal idea;
the second is the idea of reason (V:233). The aesthetic normal idea is a
mere image, an intuition of the imagination. The idea of reason, on the
other hand, is that principle by which the ends of humanity are judged
to be presented in the ¬gure of the human being. The aesthetic normal
idea itself, which I have argued is produced by the imagination when
it works independently of the understanding, is, however, not a beauty
¬xed by a concept of objective purposiveness but is what is still free from
this concept, and hence is a vague beauty. This intuition of the imag-
ination, as the passage quoted previously explains, is not a recollected
image produced by a concept, but rather an intense image that is the
work of the imagination alone, which creates an “unruly heap” by means

21 See Henry Allison™s discussion of “universalizing comparison” in the production of
schemata in Kant™s Theory of Taste (2001, 24“30). It is noteworthy that in his discussion
of comparison, Allison does not mention the passage I have cited.
Intensive Magnitudes and the Normativity of Taste 155

of superimposition from which some common measure can possibly
be found.
The normal idea, Kant explains, is

not derived from the proportions taken from experience, as determinate rules;
rather it is in accordance with it that rules for judging ¬rst become possible. It is
the image for the whole species, hovering among all the particular and variously
diverging intuitions of individuals, which nature used as the archetype underlying
her productions in the same species, but does not seem to have fully achieved in
any individual. It is by no means the entire archetype of beauty in this species, but
only the form that constitutes the indispensable condition of all beauty, and so
merely the correctness in the presentation of the species. (V:235)

The aesthetic normal idea (which is an individual intuition of the imag-
ination) constitutes the indispensable condition of all beauty, since it is
the image produced by the imagination at play in making comparisons
between objects of many different kinds. It is an image, or form, that
hovers among various individuals. This form is not produced under the
guidance of a concept that would direct the imagination to recall a rep-
resentation previously apprehended in an extensive form of time, but is
the result of the play of the imagination in superimposing many images
into one that can be apprehended in one moment in time. When the
imagination apprehends in this way and the understanding tries to sub-
sume this image under its laws, the subsequent relationship between the
two faculties is the basis for a judgment of taste.
This relationship is the harmony that is created when the two men-
tal powers, working in different “meters,” entertain each other with the
indeterminate purpose of making what the imagination apprehends sub-
sumable under the laws of the understanding. Kant writes:

The regularity that leads to the concept of an object is of course the indispensable
condition (conditio sine qua non) of grasping the object in a single representation
and determining the manifold in its form. This determination is an end with
regard to cognition; and in relation to this it is also always connected with sat-
isfaction (which accompanies the accomplishment of any aim, even a merely
problematic one). But then it is merely the approval of the solution, and not
a free and indeterminately purposive entertainment of the mental powers with
that which we call beautiful, where the understanding is in the service of the
imagination and not vice versa. (V:242)

Here we see how a judgment of beauty is based on the activity that occurs
when the imagination apprehends in an intensive form and the under-
standing tries to follow the activity of the imagination and grasp the form
Melissa Zinkin

the imagination creates under rules that can only be used for what has
been apprehended extensively.
According to Kant, the pleasure we take in a beautiful object is “the
very consciousness of the merely formal purposiveness in the play of the
cognitive powers of the subject in the case of a representation through
which an object is given” (V:222). This play is precisely that between
the multiple apprehensions of a representation by the imagination to
form an image of the highest intensity and the understanding seeking
to make discursive and uniform this reinforcement of representations.
Kant writes, “we linger over the consideration of the beautiful, because this
contemplation strengthens (st¨ rkt) and reproduces itself” (V:222). This
play promotes such a lingering contemplation, because it is none other
than the reinforcing and reproducing activity of the imagination itself as
it tries to create an intense image, and the activity of the understanding
as it tries to think this as contained in one moment of time.22 This activity
is indeed distinctive of the mental state that is required for a judgment of
beauty, since it is the state of freely coming up with a standard of value. A
condition for being a beautiful object is thus that its form not be uniform,
and that it therefore require an intensive form of mental activity to ¬nd
some unity to all of its various aspects. Terms describing a beautiful object
as having a richness or depth attest to the intuitive correctness of Kant™s
view that a beautiful object is one that enables the mind to ¬nd multiple
forms in the same object.

4. the sensus communis
So far, I have argued that what distinguishes aesthetic judgments from
cognitive judgments is the intensive form in which the imagination cre-
ates an image or intuition of the manifold. It is because of this difference
in the form of intuition that aesthetic judgments are not based on con-
cepts, since concepts can only recognize what has been apprehended in
an extensive form of time. I will now brie¬‚y indicate how the condition
for the normativity of judgments of taste, what Kant calls “a common
sense,” is the a priori form of intensive magnitudes that makes possible
the intuition of the intensive forms created by the imagination.
The sensus communis is the condition of the possibility of intuiting a
formal intensive intuition presented by the imagination, such as that
which is judged to be beautiful. As such, I will argue, it is also the basis

22 A view similar to my own here can be found in a recent article by Fred Rush Jr. (2001).
Intensive Magnitudes and the Normativity of Taste 157

of the particular kind of universality claimed in a judgment of taste. For
Kant, judgments of taste are normative because they require that the
subjective feeling of pleasure or displeasure one takes in an object also
be felt by everyone. In other words, they are claims that my judgment is
an example of the standard of judging that ought to be used by everyone
in making judgments of taste and thus that they ought to feel the same
pleasure in a judgment of taste that I do. The common sense, I will
argue, is what makes it possible to claim that the feeling produced by the
cognitive faculties when the imagination and the understanding are in a
state of free play, is a feeling that “ought” to be shared by everyone and is
therefore normative. In this way, I can answer a question that is central to
current discussions of Kant™s third Critique,23 namely, how the normativity
of, and the pleasure taken in, judgments of taste are necessarily related.
My claim is that what grounds the normativity of judgments of taste is
the sensus communis considered as an intensive form of sense, or sensus
communis aestheticus, as opposed to an extensive form of sense. And what
the sensus communis senses is precisely the pleasure taken in the particular
relationship of the imagination and the understanding that occurs in a
judgment of taste.
As the faculty that provides the transcendental condition for the pos-
sibility of universally communicating a mental state, the sensus communis,
like space and time, is a form of sense. According to Kant, the sensus
communis is the subjective “sense” possessed by each of us that makes
communication possible. It is a “faculty for judging that in its re¬‚ec-
tion takes account (a priori) of everyone else™s way of representing in
thought. . . . Now this happens by one holding his judgment up not so
much to the actual as to the merely possible judgment of others, and
putting himself into the position of everyone else, merely by abstracting
from the limitations that contingently attach to our own judging” (V:294).
The sensus communis thus makes possible the communicability of a judg-
ment by enabling us to see what in our own private judgment would be

23 In what follows, I am in slight disagreement with the recent work of Hannah Ginsborg. In
“Re¬‚ective Judgment and Taste” (1990b), Ginsborg argues that in a judgment of taste,
“the act of judgment which precedes the pleasure, is . . . identical with the act through
which the pleasure is judged to be universally valid” (72). My claim is that the basis
for the distinctive pleasure taken in the harmony of the faculties is the same basis for
the communicability of this pleasure and that this is why the two forms are the same.
This basis is the sensus communis, considered as an intensive form of sense. It is indeed
noteworthy that nowhere in her argument for the normativity of the mental state involved
in a judgment of taste does Ginsborg mention the sensus communis.
Melissa Zinkin

held in common with others. But what exactly does the sensus communis
sense? It does not sense others™ mental states directly; it is a sense for
our own mental state that can determine whether this state is something
that we can have in common with others. The sensus communis is thus a
˜common sense™ in more than one way. It is a sense we have in common
for a mental state we can have in common. In addition to this, the sensus
communis is, in the Aristotelian sense, a sense for what is common among
one™s own cognitive faculties and thus of the relationship between the
cognitive faculties. In fact, Kant describes the sensus communis as that “by
which, however, we do not mean any external sense but rather the effect
of the free play of our cognitive powers” (V:238).
What the sensus communis senses is thus the relationship between
the cognitive faculties that produces a mental state of “animation,”
“harmony,” or “quickening.” Kant writes:

[I]f cognitions are to be able to be communicated, then the mental state, i.e.
the disposition of the cognitive powers for a cognition in general, and indeed
that proportion which is suitable for making cognition out of a representation
(whereby an object is given to us) must also be capable of being universally
communicated. . . . But this disposition of the cognitive powers has a different pro-
portion depending on the difference of the objects that are given. Nevertheless,
there must be one in which this inner relationship is optimal for the animation of
both powers of the mind (the one through the other) with respect to cognition
(of given objects) in general; and this disposition cannot be determined except
through the feeling (not by concepts). (V:238“9)

When the cognitive powers are in a certain “optimal” relationship, we
have cognition. And when they are in a relationship with a different
proportion of activity, this produces a judgment of taste. This propor-
tion, I have argued, occurs when the object given to the mind is one
that is intuited by the imagination in an intensive form. The sensus com-
munis is the faculty that makes possible the feeling of our mental state
whatever the proportion of the relationship between the faculties. How-
ever, its capacity to make sensible this “quickened” state of mind is the
essential feature of the sensus communis and what explains its role as
the necessary condition for universal communicability of judgments of
Although the sensus communis is the form that makes possible the intu-
ition of any mental state, whatever proportion the cognitive faculties are
in, its distinctive function is to serve as the basis for the normativity of the
pleasurable state that occurs when the imagination is in a state of free
play. Judgments of cognition do not require the sensus communis in order
Intensive Magnitudes and the Normativity of Taste 159

to be universally communicable. They are objective. Since they have a
determinate objective principle, anyone making a judgment in accor-
dance with that principle is also claiming that her judgment is uncondi-
tionally necessary and hence communicable (V:237). Judgments of taste,
however, require the communicability of the judgment for their norma-
tivity. This is precisely what is distinctive about them (a fact that has been
overlooked by some commentators).24 This is why Kant writes that “taste
can be called a sensus communis with greater justice than can the healthy
understanding and that the aesthetic power of judgment rather than
the intellectual can bear the name of a communal sense. (One could
designate taste as the sensus communis aestheticus (and) common human
understanding as sensus communis logicus)” (V:295/295n).
Kant describes the normativity of judgments of taste by saying that the
necessary liking required of the object of a judgment of taste is a “should,
i.e. the objective necessity of the ¬‚owing together (Zusammen¬‚eißens) of
the feeling of everyone with that of each” (V:240). His claim is that this
necessary ¬‚owing together of everyone™s feeling is based on the sensus
communis as a sense that is common to all for what is common to all. It is
noteworthy that Kant™s use of the word ˜¬‚owing™ here is reminiscent of his
discussion of ¬‚owing magnitudes in the Anticipations of Perception. The
sensus communis here functions as the measure of intensive magnitudes in
contrast to the units of extensive magnitude. But in this case, the intensive
magnitude being measured is not a particular sensible representation
apprehended by the imagination in its freedom, but human sensibility as
such, “the ¬‚owing together of everyone™s feeling.” In this way, it functions
as the basis of the normative feeling that is claimed in judgments of
beauty. When I claim that something is beautiful, I do not merely demand
that someone else agrees with me, in the sense of adding her judgment
to mine and saying she thinks so too. It is not that I require others to
line up and vote the same way as I do. Rather, I demand that they share
my feeling of pleasure in the object. Indeed, I do not think that my
judgment could count as a judgment of taste unless I believe everyone
ought to agree with me. And if I do make such a claim and others disagree
with me, I don™t merely feel a difference between us, but alienated from
an important aspect of humanity, namely, a shared sensibility. Because
the sensus communis is intensive in form, it is a shared sense. In fact, Kant

24 I therefore disagree with Allison™s claim that in §21 Kant argues that common sense is a
condition of cognition (2001, 157). Instead, it is a condition of the communicability of
Melissa Zinkin

writes that a person who thinks in this way, from the position of everyone
else and with a “broad mind,” puts his talents to “intensive” (intensiven)
use (V:295).
This relation of part to whole, of one sensing subject to the other
sensing subjects, is thus not a relation of one unit to the total aggregate
of units. It is not a relation of whole numbers. Instead it is an intensive or
¬‚owing quantum in which each part is measured as a degree of the whole,
and which has value only with regard to the whole, just as in the example
of the silver discussed earlier. In other words, my feeling of pleasure in a
judgment of taste only has any worth, or only counts as an appropriate
feeling of pleasure, if I can assume as a standard a unity, or coalition, of
judging subjects. Indeed, what Kant calls the “problem of a deduction of
judgments of taste,” namely,

[h]ow is a judgment possible which, merely from one™s own feeling of pleasure
in an object, independent of its concept judges the pleasure, as attached to the
representation of the same object in every other subject a priori, i.e. without having
to wait for the assent of others? (V:288)

has the same strangeness Kant ascribes to the principle of the Anticipa-
tions of Perception:

If it were supposed that there is something which can be cognized a priori in every
sensation, as sensation in general (without a particular one being given), then
this would deserve to be called an anticipation in an unusual sense, since it seems
strange to anticipate experience precisely in what concerns it matter, which one
can only draw out of it. (A167/B209)

A judgment of taste is an anticipation in the same way as the claim that
every possible object of sensation has an intensive magnitude is, since a
judgment of taste claims a priori of all subjects that they must experience
the same pleasure in an object, and it does so prior to the reception of
their assent. The basis of both anticipations is an intensive form. With
regard to the real in appearances, we can anticipate that it has a degree
that can be the object of sensation. With regard to the feeling of other
subjects, we must assume that the value of each of us as evaluating subjects
depends on a common sensibility that must be shared.
I have argued that the difference between cognitive judgments and
judgments of taste, with regard to both their structure and their claim
to normativity, can be explained by means of one point of distinction:
The former involve extensive forms, whereas the latter involve intensive
Intensive Magnitudes and the Normativity of Taste 161

forms. I believe that this one distinction can solve many of the puzzles
involved in trying to ¬gure out how, for Kant, the same group of mental
faculties can, in one instance, claim that its experience is of a fact and, in
another instance, claim that something is beautiful. Hopefully, it can also
begin to provide an account of the particular absorption, or intensity,
that pertains only to aesthetic experience.

The Harmony of the Faculties Revisited

Paul Guyer

1. The concept of the free yet harmonious play between the cognitive
powers of imagination and understanding is the central concept in Kant™s
explanation of the experience of beauty and his analysis of the judgment
of taste. In Kant™s view, when I make a judgment of taste, I assert that the
pleasure I take in a particular object is one that under ideal circumstances
should be felt by any other observer of the object as well. Such a judgment
therefore asserts the “subjectively universal validity” of my pleasure in the
object (CPJ, §8, 5:215), thus making a claim about that pleasure; but it
also makes this claim on the basis of the feeling of pleasure itself rather
than on the basis of the subsumption of its object under any determinate
concept “ this is indeed what makes the judgment an “aesthetic” judgment
(CPJ, §1, 5:203“4; FI, VIII, 20:229). In order for me justi¬ably to claim
subjectively universal validity for my feeling of pleasure, Kant supposes,
that pleasure must be based in some condition of cognitive powers that
are themselves common to all human beings; but since, as Kant assumes,
the judgment of taste and the feeling of pleasure that grounds it cannot
be determined by the subsumption of its object under any determinate
concept, that pleasure cannot be due to the ordinary cognition of an
object, which consists precisely in the subsumption of the manifold of
sensibility induced by the object and presented to the understanding by
the imagination under a determinate concept, but must instead arise
from some relation of the imagination and understanding that does not
depend upon such a subsumption. These two conditions, Kant supposes,
can be satis¬ed only by a state of free yet harmonious play between those
cognitive powers.

The Harmony of the Faculties Revisited 163

2. But the concept of the harmonious free play of imagination and
understanding is obscure, and Kant™s central attempts to explicate it do
not obviously succeed.
(i) In the ¬rst draft of the Introduction to the Critique of the Power of Judg-
ment, Kant distinguishes an “aesthetic judgment of sense,” which merely
asserts that the subject who makes it takes pleasure in an object because
of some “sensation . . . immediately produced by the empirical intuition
of the object” that does not involve the higher powers of cognition and
therefore cannot ground a claim of subjectively universal validity, from an
“aesthetic judgment of re¬‚ection,” which can claim such validity because
it is grounded on a sensation of pleasure “which the harmonious play
of the two faculties of cognition in the power of judgment, imagination
and understanding, produces in the subject insofar as in the given rep-
resentation the faculty of the apprehension of the one and the faculty
of presentation of other other are reciprocally expeditious” (FI, VIII,
20:224). Here everything turns on the mysterious phrase “reciprocally
(ii) In the published version of the Introduction, Kant writes that the
feeling of pleasure that is both the subject matter and the ground for
a judgment of beauty “can express nothing but [the object™s] suitabil-
ity to the cognitive faculties that are in play in the re¬‚ecting power of
judgment, insofar as they are in play,” a condition that obtains if in the
“apprehension of forms in the imagination” and their “comparison” to
the “faculty for relating intuitions to concepts” “the imagination (as the
faculty of a priori intuitions) is unintentionally brought into accord with
the understanding, as the faculty of concepts, through a given represen-
tation” (CPJ, VII, 5:189“90). This statement, like those in the ¬rst draft of
the Introduction, does nothing to cash in the concept of a harmonious
play or accord between imagination and understanding.
(iii) In the section of the Analytic of the Beautiful that he labels the
“key to the critique of taste” (CPJ, §9, 5:216), in which he argues that
the feeling of pleasure that grounds a judgment of taste must itself be the
product of some form of judging if it is to be universally valid,1 Kant ¬rst
repeats the language of play, saying that “The powers of cognition that are
set into play by” the “representation” of a beautiful object “are hereby in

1 For my earlier discussions of the complexities of this section, see my “Pleasure and Society
in Kant™s Theory of Taste,” in Cohen and Guyer (1982), 21“54, and Guyer (1997a),
Paul Guyer

a free play, since no determinate concepts restricts them to a particular
rule of cognition,” and “Thus the state of mind in this representation
must be that of a feeling of the free play of the powers of representation
in a given representation for a cognition in general” (5:217). He then
adds two new terms when he says that “The animation of both faculties
(the imagination and the understanding) to an activity that is indeter-
minate, but yet, through the stimulus of the given representation, in
unison, namely that which belongs to a cognition in general, is the sen-
sation whose universal communicability is postulated by the judgment
of taste,” a “sensation of the effect that consists in the facilitated play of
both powers of the mind (imagination and understanding), enlivened
through mutual agreement” (CPJ, §9, 5:219). These statements claim
that the free, harmonious, or, as Kant says here, “facilitated” play of the
cognitive powers “animates” or “enlivens” them, but they do not explain
in what facilitation or animation consist.
(iv) In the General Remark that follows the Analytic of the Beautiful,
Kant sums up what he has argued to that point by saying that “it turns
out that everything ¬‚ows from the concept of taste as a faculty for judg-
ing the object in relation to the free lawfulness of the imagination,” the
condition that obtains when an object provides the senses “with a form
that contains precisely such a composition of the manifold as the imag-
ination would design in harmony with the lawfulness of the understanding
in general if it were left free by itself,” a state in which the imagination
is both “free and yet lawful by itself ” (CPJ, §22, 5:240“1). This varies the
previous accounts of free play by suggesting that this free play is located
within the imagination rather than in a relation between the imagination
and the understanding while adding that this free play within the imagi-
nation is somehow consistent with the “lawfulness” that is characteristic of
the faculty of understanding, but still does not make clear what play is.
(v) Finally, in the section that is to prepare the way for the “Deduc-
tion of pure aesthetic judgments,” which will argue that if our pleasure
in beauty is grounded in a condition of cognitive faculties that are uni-
versally shared, then it must be universally sharable itself, by explaining
how our pleasure in beauty is in fact grounded in a condition of the
cognitive faculties, Kant puts all his previous terms together. Here he
writes that “the judgment of taste must rest on a mere sensation of the
reciprocally animating imagination in its freedom and the understanding
with its lawfulness, thus on a feeling that allows the object to be judged
in accordance with the purposiveness of the representation (by means of
which an object is given) for the promotion of the faculty of cognition
The Harmony of the Faculties Revisited 165

in its free play” “ and then adds one more unexplained idea when he
writes that “taste, as a subjective power of judgment, contains a principle
of subsumption, not of intuitions under concepts, but of the faculty of
intuitions or presentations (i.e., of the imagination) under the faculty of
concepts (i.e., the understanding), insofar as the former in its freedom is
in harmony with the latter in its lawfulness” (CPJ, §35, 5:297). This idea
of the subsumption of the faculty of imagination under the faculty of
understanding is not transparent, since the only conception of subsump-
tion that Kant uses elsewhere in his works is that of the subsumption of a
manifold under a determinate concept, whether a manifold of empirical
intuitions under an empirical concept or a manifold of speci¬c concepts
under some more generic concept. So this notion of subsumption could
hardly explain all of Kant™s previous accounts of the free and animating
play of the cognitive powers.
3. The opacity of all these attempted elucidations of the idea of the
free yet harmonious play of imagination and understanding has naturally
brought forth numerous attempts to interpret them. These interpreta-
tions can be divided into two main classes. Many interpretations of Kant™s
concept of the free play of the faculties explain this as a state of mind
in which the manifold of representations furnished by the perception
of an object satis¬es all of the conditions for normal cognition of an
object except for that of the actual application of a determinate concept to the
manifold. If cognition itself is equated with the subsumption of a mani-
fold of intuitions under a determinate concept “ as Kant suggests when
he famously states that “Intuition and concepts therefore constitute the
elements of all our cognition, so that neither concepts without intuition
corresponding to them in some way nor intuition without concepts can
yield a cognition” (A74/B50) “ then on this interpretation, the harmony
of imagination and understanding would be a state of mind that satis¬es
all the conditions for cognition except the ¬nal condition that would
transform it into actual cognition. For this reason, I propose to call such
interpretations ˜precognitive™ interpretations of the harmony of the fac-
ulties. The key task for all such interpretations, of course, is to explain
why we are pleased, indeed especially pleased, with a state of mind that
falls short of satisfying all of the conditions for ordinary cognition. An
alternative class of interpretations maintains that the free play of the fac-
ulties does not satisfy all but one of the normal conditions for cognition,
but rather that it satis¬es all of them, although only in an indeterminate
way: Instead of suggesting no determinate concept for the manifold of
intuition that it furnishes, a beautiful object suggests an indeterminate or
Paul Guyer

open-ended manifold of concepts for the manifold of intuition, allowing
the mind to ¬‚it back and forth playfully and enjoyably among different
ways of conceiving the same object without allowing or requiring it to
settle down on one determinate way of conceiving the object. We can
call such interpretations ˜multicognitive™ in order to convey that on this
sort of account the free play is precisely among a multiplicity of possible
concepts and hence cognitions suggested by the beautiful object.2
A particularly clear statement of the precognitive interpretation of the
harmony of the faculties is offered by Dieter Henrich when he writes that
since on Kant™s account we must be able to assert a judgment of taste
“without having a description of the object at our disposal,” this ability
“is readily explained in terms of a cognitive process that precedes the
process of concept formation in principle although it is compatible with
it.”3 But other interpreters in the recent literature on Kant™s aesthetic
theory have also offered similar accounts. In 1974, Donald Crawford
wrote that “Pleasure in the beautiful results when such an ordering” of
the manifold of intuition presented by an object “is achieved that the
cognitive powers are in harmony: it is as if the manifold has a unity to
which a concept ought to apply, even though there is no de¬nite concept
applicable.”4 In 1979, I wrote that on Kant™s account “there is a subjective
state in which the conditions of judgment are met” and that “this state
may obtain independently of the making of an actual knowledge claim
about the object,”5 and then proposed that this be interpreted as a state in
which the goal of cognition subjectively described, which is the uni¬cation

2 Andrea Kern suggests a somewhat similar division of interpretations of the concept of
free play, calling them the “material” and “hermeneutical” interpretations, the former
after Paul de Man, who describes seeing an object free of any conceptual admixture at all
as “purely material” and the latter after Hans-Georg Gadamer, who understands Kant™s
concept as a precursor of his own “hermeneutic” model of understanding, on which any
object is always seen against a background of possible interpretations even before we
settle down on one, as we ordinarily do. See Kern (2000), 51“3. Her references are to
de Man™s article “Phenomenality and Materiality in Kant,” an English version of which
may be found in Silverman and Ayelesworth (1990), 87“109, and to Gadamer™s Wahrheit
und Methode, translated as Gadamer (1992).
3 “Kant™s Explanation of Aesthetic Judgment,” in Henrich (1992), 38. Henrich here equates
Kant™s requirement that the judgment of taste and hence the underlying experience of
beauty be free of any concept that determines it with the thought that we cannot even
describe the object of taste; this depends upon the assumption that any description of any
object by means of concepts is necessarily suf¬cient to determine our response to it, which
is certainly debatable.
4 Crawford (1974), 90.
5 This is from the ¬rst edition of Kant and the Claims of Taste, published in 1979. The
quotation also appears in the second edition: Guyer (1997a), 66.
The Harmony of the Faculties Revisited 167

of our manifold of intuition, is felt to be achieved independently of the
satisfaction of the ordinary objective condition for cognition, namely, the
application of a concept “ “the harmony of the faculties produces pleasure
because it . . . represents a state in which a general cognitive objective . . . is
ful¬lled without the guarantee ordinarily provided by the subsumability
of intuitions under concepts.”6 I further suggested that this state could
be interpreted as one in which the ¬rst two syntheses that Kant describes
in the theory of threefold synthesis in the Transcendental Deduction of
the categories in the ¬rst edition of the Critique of Pure Reason, which
are the “synthesis of apprehension in the intuition” and the “synthesis
of reproduction in the imagination,” are felt to take place even without
the completion of the ¬nal form of synthesis, namely, the “synthesis of
recognition in the concept”:7 As I put it, “The harmony of the faculties is
then a state in which, somehow, a manifold of intuition is run through and
held together as a unity by the imagination without the use of a concept.”8
And in 1982, Ralf Meerbote wrote that “the object of a pure judgment
of taste is the presence . . . of conformity of the apprehended features of
manifold to the invariant features of the understanding,” although “this is
to differ from re¬‚ection toward the production of a speci¬c concept.”9 All
of these statements10 suggest an interpretation of the harmonious play of
imagination and understanding as a state in which the mind grasps the
unity of the manifold of intuition presented by an object, which would
ordinarily both lead to and depend upon the application of a determinate
concept of the object to that manifold, without actually applying such a
There are variants of this straightforward version of the precognitive
interpretation as well. Hannah Ginsborg has argued that “in the expe-
rience of an object as beautiful . . . I take my imaginative activity in the

6 Ibid., 74.
7 Critique of Pure Reason, A98“103.
8 Guyer (1997a), 76.
9 Ralf Meerbote, “Re¬‚ection on Beauty,” in Cohen and Guyer (1982), 55“86, at 72. Where
I have indicated an ellision in the quotation from Meerbote, he had written “or absence”;
these words express the assumption that negative as well as positive aesthetic judgments
are pure judgments of taste. This has been the subject of an extensive controversy in
recent literature, which I will not discuss in this essay; for my view, see “Kant on the Purity
of the Ugly” in Guyer (2005).
10 As well as the more recent statement by J¨ rgen Stolzenberg that Kant can only mean “that
in the manifold elements of an individual object given in intuition a certain connection
of these elements can be perceived, which is not producible or alterable at will or in
accordance with contingent rules of association, but for which there is nevertheless no
general conceptual expression applicable to other objects”; see Stolzenberg (2000), 10.
Paul Guyer

perception of the object to be as it ought to be in the primitive sense,
which means that I have no conception of how it ought to be except that
afforded by the example of my activity itself: namely, the indeterminate
conception that it ought to be this way,”11 but also that the ability to have
such an indeterminate sense that an object is as it ought to be is a precon-
dition of the general ability to learn to apply concepts to objects, which
express in a determinate way how objects falling under those concepts
ought to be; thus, on her account, the ability to have aesthetic experi-
ence is a precondition for having ordinary cognitive experience.12 Her
account is unusual not merely in describing aesthetic experience as a
precognitive state, but also in insisting that this precognitive state is a
precondition for any ordinary cognition.
Another variant on the precognitive view is that offered by Rudolf
Makkreel. Makkreel is concerned with the compatibility of Kant™s expla-
nation of the experience of beauty with his general epistemology (as are,
of course, other advocates of the precognitive interpretation as well),
and addresses this issue thus: Interpreting the Transcendental Deduc-
tion of the ¬rst Critique to demonstrate the applicability of the categories
or “pure concepts of the understanding,” that is, such completely general
and abstract concepts such as ˜magnitude,™ ˜substance,™ ˜causation,™ and
so on, to the objects of empirical intuition, he proposes that “The ˜free
conformity™ of the aesthetic imagination to the laws of the understand-
ing means that the imagination may not violate the categorial framework
of the understanding, although it may explicate possibilities left open
by that framework,”13 and then that in the experience of beauty, “the
imagination schematizes without using empirical concepts,” so that “The
aesthetic judgment directly compares the apprehended form of an object
with the way categories are generally schematized in relation to the form
of time.”14 On this account, the idea is not that in the experience of beauty
we are simply conscious of some sort of unity in the manifold of intuition
prior to and independently of the application of any determinate and
thus presumably empirical concept to the object; rather, we are some-
how conscious that the manifold satis¬es one of the particular temporal
structures that “schematizes” the pure concepts of the understanding,
such as the rule-governed succession of states of affairs in time that is the

11 Ginsborg (1997a), 70.
12 Ibid., 53“9, 73“4.
13 Makkreel (1990), 47.
14 Ibid., 56.
The Harmony of the Faculties Revisited 169

pattern of causation that schematizes the pure category of ground and
consequence “ but without applying any determinate, empirical causal
concept to the manifold. It is as if we somehow feel that the manifold sat-
is¬es the general concept of causation without being subsumable under
any particular causal concept, such as the concept of combustion or diges-
tion as a type of causation.15
The main alternative to the precognitive interpretation is the multi-
cognitive interpretation of the harmony of the faculties. Gerhard Seel, for
example, wrote in 1988 that on Kant™s account “the harmony of the cog-
nitive powers is nothing other than the stimulation of a successful attempt
at cognition,”16 and then proposed that such stimulation would be best
understood “ although in this he supposed he was going beyond Kant™s
ipsissima verba “ as if “In the case of the aesthetic function the intuitively
given is not subsumed under a determinate concept, but under a multitude
of concepts playfully applied to it.”17 Two recent prominent interpreters
have also advocated versions of this approach, although without evinc-
ing Seel™s concern that they might be reconstructing rather than merely
interpreting Kant. Fred Rush writes that in the case of “aesthetic re¬‚ec-
tion and the harmony of the faculties . . . perception is a taking of the
manifold as having one among many potential possible characters . . . a
state in which it is implicitly registered that what is perceived is one way,
but that does not foreclose, and indeed it rests upon, other ways it might
be subject to synthesis.”18 “What Kant envisions is a potentially endless
ranging over the manifold of intuition by the imagination, engaged in
the activity of modeling it as uni¬able in any of the multifarious ways
that the spatial and temporal properties of that manifold permit.”19 And
although his attempts to characterize the harmony of the faculty are not
obviously univocal, Henry Allison seems to be attracted primarily to the
multicognitive interpretation of the harmony of the faculties. He writes
that the free play of the imagination “does not issue in the exhibition

15 In his book, Makkreel goes on to argue that the categories in fact must be schema-
tized through empirical concepts, and that this is accomplished through the discovery
of empirical concepts within a system of such concepts, which is accomplished by the
re¬‚ecting use of judgment (58“9). But this use of re¬‚ecting judgment, which Kant
describes in the Introductions to the Critique of the Power of Judgment but not in the Cri-
tique of Aesthetic Judgment, is clearly entirely distinct from the aesthetic use of this power
of judgment.
16 Seel (1988), 344.
17 Ibid., 349.
18 Rush (2001), 52.
19 Ibid., 58.
Paul Guyer

of a determinate concept,” but rather in “what might be described as
the exhibition of the form of a concept in general (but not any concept
in particular).” It is not clear what “the form of a concept in general”
might be thought to be, and perhaps it could be understood as whatever
degree of spatiotemporal organization or unity of a manifold might be
thought to be a necessary condition for the application of a concept to
it, thus linking Allison™s interpretation to what I have called the precog-
nitive approach. But Allison continues, “the basic idea is presumably that
the imagination in its free play stimulates the understanding by occasion-
ing it to entertain fresh conceptual possibilities, while, conversely, the
imagination, under the general direction of the understanding, strives
to conceive new patterns of order.”20 This seems clearly to fall on the
side of the multicognitive interpretation of the harmony of the faculties:
Read literally, Allison™s statement suggests that both the imagination and
the understanding conceive of the object of taste in a variety of different
possible ways, although somehow each faculty stimulates the other to
do so.21
4. Now before I suggest some reasons why we should not simply choose
between these two approaches but should instead look for a third alter-
native, I want to concede that Kant™s texts certainly provide some basis for
each of these approaches. In fact, we can ¬nd support for each of these
approaches in a single text, namely, in Kant™s ¬rst draft of the Introduc-
tion to the third Critique. In Section VIII of this text, Kant surely provides
a basis for the precognitive approach when he writes that
A merely re¬‚ecting judgment about a given individual object, however, can be aes-
thetic if (before its comparison with others is seen), the power of judgment, which
has no concept ready for the given intuition, holds the imagination (merely in
the apprehension of the object) together with the understanding (in the pre-
sentation of a concept in general) and perceives a relation of the two faculties
of cognition which constitutes the subjective, merely sensitive condition of the
objective use of the power of judgment in general (namely the agreement of
those two faculties with each other). (FI, VIII, 20:223“4)

Here Kant™s statement that the imagination is involved “merely in the
apprehension” of the object, since apprehension is the ¬rst stage of the
threefold synthesis involved in ordinary cognition, as well as his statement

20 Allison (2001), 171.
21 Malcolm Budd may also suggest the multicognitive approach when he writes that “the
imagination™s freedom consists in its not being adequate to some particular empirical
concept “ all that is necessary is that it should be adequate to some empirical concept
or other” (Budd 2001, 255).
The Harmony of the Faculties Revisited 171

that the power of judgment “has no concept ready for the given intuition,”
both suggest that the harmony of the faculties is a state that logically and
even temporally precedes ordinary cognition, and should thus be under-
stood as a state in which the manifold is uni¬ed prior to the application of
any concept to it. If so, then the “subjective, merely sensitive condition of
the objective use of the power of judgment in general” would be precisely
the satisfaction of all the conditions for cognition of an object in a man-
ifold of intuition short of the application of a concept to the manifold.
Similarly, Kant™s eventual statement in the preparation for the deduc-
tion of pure aesthetic judgments that the “subjective formal condition of
a judgment in general,” which is satis¬ed in the case of a judgment of
beauty, consists “only in the subsumption of the imagination itself (in the
case of a representation by means of which an object is given) under the
condition that the understanding in general advance from intuitions to
concepts” (CPJ, §35, 5:287) might be interpreted to mean that the “sub-
jective formal condition” of the cognitive powers, which is the ground
of the experience and judgment of beauty, consists in the fact that the
imagination responds to a manifold of intuition as if it satis¬ed all the
conditions of cognition short of the application of any determinate con-
cept of an object to that manifold.
Yet advocates of the multicognitive approach can equally well appeal
to another statement in Section VII of the First Introduction on behalf
of their position:

If, then, the form of a given object in empirical intuition is so constituted that
the apprehension of its manifold in the imagination agrees with the presentation
of a concept of the understanding (though which concept be undetermined
[unbestimmet welches Begrifs]), then in the mere re¬‚ection understanding and imag-
ination mutually agree for the advancement of their business, and the object will
be perceived as purposive merely for the power of judgment, hence the purpo-
siveness itself will be considered as merely subjective; for which, further, no deter-
minate concept of the object at all is required nor is one thereby generated. . . .
(FI, VII, 20:220“1)22

Phrases such as “though which concept be undetermined” or “unde-
termined which concept” intimate that the aesthetically pleasing mani-
fold does not merely suggest the satisfaction of some precondition for
cognition, but rather suggests some concept for the object it presents

22 The ¬rst part of this passage is cited by Budd immediately following the sentence previ-
ously quoted from him (see Budd 2001, 255), and by Rush immediately preceding the
second sentence previously quoted from him (see Rush 2001, 58).
Paul Guyer

without suggesting or “generating” any particular concept, something
that we could most readily understand if we take it to mean that it sug-
gests multiple concepts without forcing or allowing us to choose among
5. In spite of the fact that there is textual evidence for both the precog-
nitive and multicognitive interpretations of the harmony of the faculties,
however, there are also a variety of problems with each. The most obvi-
ous “ and often recognized23 “ problem with the precognitive approach
is that on this approach it may seem as if everything ought to be beauti-
ful, or at least capable of being found beautiful. That is, if our feeling
of beauty in a given manifold is a response to the fact that it satis¬es a
condition that must be satis¬ed in every case of cognition, even if it does
not satisfy all of the conditions that must be satis¬ed for actual cognition,
then why don™t we experience beauty in every case of cognition?
A variety of answers to this obvious problem have, of course, been sug-
gested, or suggest themselves. One proposal would be that the ubiquity
of beauty is not a problem for Kant at all “ that Kant embraces the conclu-
sion that we do or at least should be able to ¬nd every object beautiful.
This proposal would see Kant as anticipating “aesthetic attitude” theo-
ries from Schopenhauer to the midtwentieth century, that is, the view
that with the right “ typically, disinterested “ attitude any object can be
found to be beautiful, although, as Schopenhauer argues, the difference
between the artistic genius and the rest of us may be the ease with which
the former can adopt this attitude.24 However, there seems to be no evi-
dence that Kant ever held this view. While his paradigms of free beauties
of nature are certainly ordinary objects “ hummingbirds and crustacea “
rather than exalted works of human artistry, he never suggests that every
ordinary object can be found to be beautiful.25
A second proposal has been that Kant thinks that every object has
been found beautiful by us on our way to cognition, but that ordinarily
we forget this, and have to turn to art in order to recover this experience of

23 See for example Meerbote, “Re¬‚ection on Beauty,” in Cohen and Guyer (1982), 81,
Savile (1987), and Budd (2001, 251n6).
24 Schopenhauer (1958), §41, 210.
25 He does eventually assert that virtually every object “ except those that arouse loathing “
can be the object of a beautiful representation in art (CPJ, §48, 5:312), but that is quite
a different point; it does not imply that every object can be found beautiful in its own
right, that is, directly rather than through a representation of it, which is a numerically
and qualitatively distinct object from it.
The Harmony of the Faculties Revisited 173

pleasure.26 This proposal might initially seem to have a textual basis in
Kant™s remark that “we no longer detect any noticeable pleasure in the
comprehensibility of nature and the unity of its division into genera and
species, by means of which alone empirical concepts are possible through
which we cognize it in its particular laws; but it must certainly have been
there in its time, and only because the most common experience would
not be possible without it has it gradually become mixed up with mere cog-
nition and is no longer specially noticed” (CPJ, VI, 5:187). However, in this
passage from the Introduction, Kant is not describing aesthetic judgment
at all, but a different application of the power of re¬‚ecting judgment, its
role in ¬nding determinate concepts of species and genera by means of
which to classify the particular objects of nature,27 and he gives no hint
that he thinks that this pattern of an initial pleasure that is forgotten but
may then be recovered is characteristic of the judgment of beauty.
Finally, the most common solution proposed for this problem is that
not every object of ordinary cognition is or even can be found to be beau-
tiful, because the satisfaction of the precondition for ordinary cognition
that is characteristic of the experience of beauty occurs only in special cir-
cumstances. There are two ways in which this solution can be developed.
One idea is that the mind ordinarily procedes through all the necessary
conditions of cognition, right through and past the preconceptual con-
ditions and up to the application of a determinate concept to the object,
but that in some cases it is possible for the mind to abstract from the
application of a concept to the object “ to turn its attention away from
a concept, or away from the task of applying determinate concepts to
objects “ and to become aware of the unity that the manifold of intuition
has even apart from this concept.28 However, it is by no means clear that

26 See Bernstein (1992), 55“63.
27 See also footnote 16.
28 For example, Budd writes that “the only viable interpretation of Kant™s view is that in
judging an object™s beauty, its being an instance of that kind must not be allowed to
¬gure in the process of re¬‚ection, which must focus solely on the object™s form. In
fact, it is easy to see that the re¬‚ection involved in a judgement of taste must allow the
subject to abstract from what the object is seen to be” (2001, 253). Anthony Savile clearly
formulates the danger that on a precognitive account everything might turn out to be
beautiful, and then seems to suggest that we have a choice about how judgment is to
be “conducted,” either by determining judgment, in accordance with the guidelines
imposed by some concept, or by re¬‚ecting judgment, free from such guidelines (Savile
1987, 140), a freedom that presumably depends upon its being in our power to abstract
from any determinate concept that applies to the object.
Paul Guyer

Kant thinks that it is always in our own power to adopt the “aesthetic
attitude” of disinterestedness and thereby perceive beauty where we oth-
erwise would not. In his discussion of the distinction between free and
adherent beauty in §16, he states that “A judgment of taste in regard to an
object with a determinate internal end would be pure only if the person
making the judgment either had no concept of this end or abstracted
from it in his judgment,” and then seems to suggest that it is always
possible for anyone to abstract from such a concept because a dispute
between one person who is making a judgment of free beauty about an
object and another who is making a judgment of adherent beauty about
it could always be resolved if the latter would only abstract from the con-
cept involved in his judgment of adherent beauty (CPJ, 5:231).29 In his
discussion of the ideal of beauty in the next section, however, Kant seems
to imply the opposite when he argues that if one recognizes something
as a work of art, for example an archaeological artifact, then “the fact
that [it is] regarded as a work of art is already enough to require one to
admit that one relates [its] shape to some sort of intention and to a deter-
minate purpose” (CPJ, §17, 5:236n), even if one does not actually know
what that purpose is. This suggests that it is not always in one™s power
to abstract or divert one™s attention from a concept that applies to an
But maybe the solution lies in the objects of taste: That is, maybe some
but not all objects are beautiful because some but not all objects make
it particularly easy to grasp the unity or harmony of the manifolds they
present independently of any concept that applies to them. As Malcolm
Budd puts it, in the case of a beautiful object, its “structure will in re¬‚ec-
tion on its form both be a continuing stimulus to the imagination and
make easy the task of the understanding. . . . [A]n object™s form will be
contemplated with disinterested pleasure when the manifold combined
by the imagination is both rich enough to entertain the imagination in its
combinatory activity and such as to facilitate the understanding™s detec-
tion of regularity within it.”31 Once again, there is certainly textual evi-
dence for ascribing such a view to Kant. Earlier, I quoted a sentence from
the conclusion of §9 where Kant refers to the “facilitated (erleichterten) play
of both powers of the mind” (5:219; emphasis added), and this reference
to ˜facilitation™ is not unique, but had in fact long been used by Kant: One

29 I return to the adherent beauty later in this section and in Section 9.
30 I have discussed this tension at greater length in Guyer (1997a), 220“5.
31 Budd (2001), 258.
The Harmony of the Faculties Revisited 175

of his earliest notes on aesthetics (found among his notes on the chapter
on “empirical psychology” in Baumgarten™s Metaphysica) states that “In
everything that is to be approved in accordance with taste there must
be something that facilitates [erleichtert] the differentiation of the man-
ifold (delineation)” as well as “something that advances comprehensi-
bility (relations, proportions), something that makes possible taking it
all together [Zusammennehmung] (unity), and ¬nally something that pro-
motes the distinction from everything [else] possible (precision).”32 So
there is no doubt that the idea that some objects particularly facilitate our
grasp of them in ways that others do not, and that this fact is intimately
connected to their beauty, was a part of Kant™s thought, and interpreters
are hardly mistaken to observe this.
Nevertheless, there are philosophical dif¬culties with the idea that our
response to beauty depends on some cognitive process that precedes our
application of a determinate concept to an object or even on the possibil-
ity of abstracting from such a concept. Before turning to these problems,
however, I will discuss some problems with the multicognitive interpre-
tation, which in the end must also contend with these deeper issues.
First, there are two obvious textual dif¬culties with the multicognitive
approach. One is that even if it were clear that the parenthetical phrase
“unbestimmt welches Begrifs” (sic; FI, VII, 20:221) should be translated in a
way that suggests that the mind ranges indeterminately among a multi-
tude of determinate concepts, Kant only uses this sort of phrase, twice,
in a single passage: In Section VII of the First Introduction, Kant™s other
use of a similar phrase comes three paragraphs prior to the passage cited
from 20:221, when he says that “In our power of judgment we perceive
purposiveness insofar as it merely re¬‚ects upon a given object . . . in order
to bring the empirical intuition of that object under some concept (it is
indeterminate which [unbestimmt welchen])” (20:220).33 This usage is not
repeated in Section VIII of the First Introduction, in the published Intro-
duction to the third Critique, or in the body of the work. In all of these
places, Kant typically says that the experience and judgment of beauty
require no concept, no determinate concept, or only the faculty of concepts

32 R 625 (1769? 1764“8?), 15:271; previously cited Guyer (1997a), 17“18.
33 I here omit the continuation of this sentence, in which Kant says that we may also perceive
purposiveness in mere re¬‚ection upon an object “in order to bring the laws which the
concept of experience itself contains under common principles,” since this bears on
the use of re¬‚ecting judgment to establish a system of empirical laws, which is a distinct
form of re¬‚ecting judgment. For a full discussion of the different forms of re¬‚ecting
judgment, see Guyer (2003b).
Paul Guyer

without any concept. Thus he writes: “to discover beauty . . . requires noth-
ing but mere re¬‚ection (without any concept)” (FI, VIII, 20:229) and that
the “contemplation” leading to a judgment of taste “is not directed to
concepts” (CPJ, §5, 5:209); that in the state of the free play of the powers
of cognition “no determinate concept restricts them to a particular rule
of cognition” (CPJ, §9, 5:217); and that “the apprehension of forms in the
imagination” that grounds the response to and judgment of beauty “can
never take place without the re¬‚ecting power of judgment, even if unin-
tentionally, at least comparing them to its faculty for relating intuitions
to concepts” (CPJ, VII, 5:190; cf also §35, 5:287). None of these phrases
suggests that Kant supposes that aesthetic experience involves an inde-
terminate concept,34 let alone an indeterminate multitude of concepts; they


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