The Critique of Judgement


There are many salts and also stones of a crystalline figure which owe their origin in like manner to some earthly substance being dissolved in water under the influence of agencies little understood.The drusy configurations of many minerals, of the cubical sulphide of lead, of the red silver ore, etc., are presumably also similarly formed in water, and by the concursion of their particles, on their being forced by some cause or other to relinquish this vehicle and to unite among themselves in definite external shapes.

But, further, all substances rendered fluid by heat, which have become solid as the result of cooling, give, when broken, internal evidences of a definite texture, thus suggesting the inference that only for the interference of their own weight or the disturbance of the air, the exterior would also have exhibited their proper specific shape.This has been observed in the case of some metals where the exterior of a molten mass has hardened, but the interior remained fluid, and then.owing to the withdrawal of the still fluid portion in the interior, there has been an undisturbed concursion of the remaining parts on the inside.A number of such mineral crystallizations, such as spars, hematite, aragonite, frequently present extremely beautiful shapes such as it might take art all its time to devise; and the halo in the grotto of Antiparos is merely the work of water percolating through strata of gypsum.

The fluid state is, to all appearance, on the whole older than the solid, and plants as well as animal bodies are built up out of fluid nutritive substance, so far as this takes form undisturbed-in the case of the latter, admittedly, in obedience, primarily, to a certain original bent of nature directed to ends (which, as will be shown in Part II, must not be judged aesthetically, but teleologically by the principle of realism); but still all the while, perhaps, also following the universal law of the affinity of substances in the way they shoot together and form in freedom.In the same way, again, where an atmosphere, which is a composite of different kinds of gas, is charged with watery fluids, and these separate from it owing to a reduction of the temperature, they produce snow-figures of shapes differing with the actual composition of the atmosphere.These are frequently of very artistic appearance and of extreme beauty.So without at all derogating from the teleological principle by which an organization is judged, it is readily conceivable how with beauty of flowers, of the plumage of birds, of crustacea, both as to their shape and their colour, we have only what may be ascribed to nature and its capacity for originating in free activity aesthetically final forms, independently of any particular guiding ends, according to chemical laws, by means of the chemical integration of the substance requisite for the organization.

But what shows plainly that the principle of the ideality of the finality in the beauty of nature is the one upon which we ourselves invariably take our stand in our aesthetic judgements, forbidding us to have recourse to any realism of a natural end in favour of our faculty of representation as a principle of explanation, is that in our general estimate of beauty we seek its standard a priori in ourselves, and, that the aesthetic faculty is itself legislative in respect of the judgement whether anything is beautiful or not.This could not be so on the assumption of a realism of the finality of nature; because in that case we should have to go to nature for instruction as to what we should deem beautiful, and the judgement of taste would be subject to empirical principles.For in such an estimate the question does not turn on what nature is, or even on what it is for us in the way of an end, but on how we receive it.For nature to have fashioned its forms for our delight would inevitably imply an objective finality on the part of nature, instead of a subjective finality resting on the play of imagination in its freedom, where it is we who receive nature with favour, and not nature that does us a favour.That nature affords us an opportunity for perceiving the inner finality in the relation of our mental powers engaged in the estimate of certain of its products, and, indeed, such a finality as arising from a supersensible basis is to be pronounced necessary and of universal validity, is a property of nature which cannot belong to it as its end, or rather, cannot be estimated by us to be such an end.For otherwise the judgement that would be determined by reference to such an end would found upon heteronomy, instead of founding upon autonomy and being free, as befits a judgement of taste.

The principle of the idealism of finality is still more clearly apparent in fine art.For the point that sensations do not enable us to adopt an aesthetic realism of finality (which would make art merely agreeable instead of beautiful) is one which it enjoys in common with beautiful nature.But the further point that the delight arising from aesthetic ideas must not be made dependent upon the successful attainment of determinate ends (as an art mechanically directed to results), and that, consequently, even in the case of the rationalism of the principle, an ideality of the ends and not their reality is fundamental, is brought home to us by the fact that fine art, as such, must not be regarded as a product of understanding and science, but of genius, and must, therefore, derive its rule from aesthetic ideas, which are essentially different from rational ideas of determinate ends.

Immanuel Kant