A Kantian Critique of Positive Aesthetics of Nature

Jonathan Parker


Upon introducing aesthetic judgment in his Critique of Judgment, Kant proceeds to focus almost exclusively on elucidating positive aesthetic judgment.  In the face of the conspicuous absence of negative judgment, scholars debate whether it is possible at all in Kant?s aesthetics. In the field of environmental aesthetics, an analogous issue exists.  Environmental philosophers adhering to a positive aesthetics of nature position claim that, for the most part, only positive aesthetic evaluations are appropriate for ?virgin? nature.  After examining whether negative judgments are possible in Kant, I apply the results to the positive aesthetics of nature position and argue that not only are negative judgments of nature possible, but that a Kantian analysis threatens the viability of the positive aesthetics position.  Alternatively, acceptance of positive aesthetics requires an abandonment of Kantian aesthetic theory.


Kant; Positive Aesthetics; Negative Aesthetic Judgment

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