Kant – What is Art

Kant - What is ArtImmanuel Kant, a famous German philosopher who published a very influential work called Critique of Pure Reason, which was an investigation into the nature of reason itself.  He felt that only by understanding the true limitations of human understanding and knowledge could one begin to pose valuable metaphysical questions.  Kant posed that a mind can only think about things based on its own experience with them and that since the mind is wired toward the idea of causality, everything that we encounter comes to be thought of as either a cause or an effect.  This, however, stops man from understanding some basic things, such as the nature of the world itself.  It can only be experienced during the span of a man’s life and therefore, one will never know if the world has indeed existed forever and, if not, what might have actually caused it.

His views on fine art stretch to the idea that it must be intentionally produced.  Additionally, art is something, which must be experienced through intuitions and sensations instead of concepts, which are already known.  Therefore, each work of art is meant to be experienced as a completely unique piece, independent of every other work of art in the world.

Kant believed that art needed to be beautiful and pleasing because good works of art would stimulate the mind into reacting to that beauty.  This viewpoint is rather limited in today’s art world, however, for modern art will often produce works, which are neither.  Instead, Kant believed that to truly be successful, a work of art has to be judged immediately, in the form, as it exists to the viewer.

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