Thursday, January 23, 2014

Beauty and Music according to Kant

"There are two kinds of beauty; free beauty or merely dependent beauty. The first presupposes no concept of what the object ought to be; the second does presuppose such a concept and the perfection of the object in accordance therewith. The first is called the (self-subsistent) beauty of this or that thing; the second, as dependent upon a concept (conditioned beauty), is ascribed to objects which come under the concept of a particular purpose. Flowers are free natural beauties… Many birds (such as the parrot, the humming bird, the bird of paradise), and many sea shells are beauties in themselves, which do not belong to any object determined in respect of its purpose by concepts, but please freely and in themselves...

We can refer to the same class what are called in music phantasies (i.e. pieces without any theme), and in fact ALL MUSIC without words"

-- Immanuel Kant, The Critique of Judgement [1892] § 16.

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