Why read Kant’s Critique of Judgment today? Does this classic of aesthetic theory still possess the vitality to prompt those of us engaged with art and criticism to think more deeply about issues that move us, issues such as the force of aesthetic experience, the essence of art, and the relationship of beauty and meaning? It does, if we find the right way into it.
Michel Chaouli shows us one such way. He unwraps the gray packing paper of Kant’s prose to reveal the fresh and fierce ideas that dwell in this masterpiece—not just the philosopher’s theory of beauty but also his ruminations on organisms and life. Each chapter in Thinking with Kant’s Critique of Judgment unfolds the complexity of a key concept, to disclose its role in Kant’s thought and to highlight the significance it holds for our own thinking.
Chaouli invites all who are interested in art and interpretation—novice and expert alike—to set out on the path of thinking with the Critique of Judgment. The rewards are handsome: we see just how profoundly Kant’s book can shape our own ideas about aesthetic experience and meaning. By thinking with Kant, we learn to surpass the horizon of his thought and find ourselves pushed to the very edge of what can be grasped firmly. That is where Kant’s book is at its most thrilling.