Reflective sentimentalism in Aesthetics: Hume’s Question and Kant’s Answer

‘Beauty’ is an evaluative predicate; the evaluation of an object as beautiful or not is constituted by an aesthetic sentiment. But not all the sentiments that people have in response to a particular object of perception can support an aesthetic judgment all other people have reason to agree with. Only proper aesthetic sentiments can do so. Aesthetic judgments which are well-grounded are based on proper aesthetic sentiments – and vice versa. The challenge for the philosopher is to explain in virtue of what a sentiment is aesthetically proper without merely moving in a circle. Both Hume and Kant tried to meet this challenge, but they did so in different ways. And my claim is that only Kant did so successfully.

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