In the Critique of Judgement Kant tries to characterise the aesthetic judgement as (among others) universal, i.e as a judgement that we can demand others to have as well as us. If I understand correctly it's connected to two other moments that characterise the aesthetic judgement: its being disinterested and its being purposive without any purpose.

While I can understand the idea behind disinterestedness and behind purposiveness without a purpose, I can't understand the notion of universality and how it stands in relation to the other two.

Can you make sense of it?

  • Kant Aesthetics, IEP: iep.utm.edu/kantaest
    – Gordon
    Feb 7, 2019 at 23:51
  • SEP has a detailed commentary on Kant's "subjective universality":"For Kant, the normative claim of the judgment of taste has its roots in the more general workings of our cognitive faculties, which Kant thinks we can assume others share... However, Kant does not have much to say about the nature of the “universality” or normativity that is being explained by such a speculative account of pleasure in beauty."
    – Conifold
    Feb 8, 2019 at 6:50

1 Answer 1


The use of universality here is "subjective" and not objective! In the First Critique you get determinate judgments that involve the subsumption of particulars under universals. But the Third Critique is all about reflective judgments and not merely determinate ones. These entail subjects or particulars that go in search of universals. It encompasses the superaltern rather than the subaltern movement. That's one of the main reasons Kant must write multiple Critiques Could you really have one without the other? An experience of the beautiful is, therefore, what it "feels like" to make a universal judgment in the classical, formal sense. We "demand" that others recognize as beautiful what we ourselves claim to be beautiful. How would you honestly react to someone who remarked, "I don't see beauty in flowers or the sunset!"? This is how "Beauty as a Symbol of Morality" (section 59) becomes pivotal.

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