My "Introduction to Aesthetics" textbook (a cheap-looking book made by people of questionable credentials) claims that Immanuel Kant had said something to the effect of "Beauty doesn't lie on the rosy cheeks of a maiden, but in the eyes of a man in love" to illustrate his view that "beauty is purely subjective", but I can't for the life of me find that quote anywhere. You can only translate the words so many ways (the book isn't in English, but in my native language), and I even Googled just "Kant" and "cheeks" alone but still got nothing.

For context, this course on aesthetics is rather secondary, so the school didn't bother to get a more legitimate-looking book, they just got a Marxist-looking one, and I'm a poor student in a third world country so access to good textbooks isn't feasible.

So had Kant ever said anything like that?

  • 1
    It sure reminds me of "beauty is in the eye of the beholder"... Jan 17, 2019 at 20:22
  • @elliotsvensson - ... that is usually atrributed to Plato, but I think it is again misattributed. Jan 17, 2019 at 20:24
  • From this ( jstor.org/stable/429035?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents ) your quote probably came from Kant's "Critique of Judgment". Jan 17, 2019 at 20:24
  • C.S. Lewis criticized Kant's "Critique of Judgment" conclusion about complete subjectivity, basing beauty instead on feelings of pleasure, in his book "The Abolition of Man." www.basicincome.com/bp/files/The_Abolition_of_Man-C_S_Lewis.pdf Jan 17, 2019 at 20:30
  • This does not imply beauty is completely subjective, if biology or cultural convention cause this to be a shared reaction.
    – user9166
    Jan 18, 2019 at 16:12

1 Answer 1


Maybe a way to exemplify in simple terms Kant's point of view ...

Critique of Judgment, “Critique of Aesthetic Judgment”, Remark to §38. Deduction of judgments of taste :

for beauty is not a concept of the object [emphasis added], and the judgment of taste is not a judgment of cognition.

  • It's represented as a quote though. Damn, I guess I have no choice but to content myself with working with this piece of spurious "textbook" garbage. Jan 17, 2019 at 16:52

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