While Kant describes the experience of the former as sublime , p. Since one cannot perceptually distinguish the disorder of nature from the disorder of war, then their distinct aesthetic value must be due to the fact that one carries with it the concept of a purpose, while the other does not. On the other hand, there are some art works that express rational ideas without the preceding experience of a perceptual failure.
According to some writers, such works of art deserve to be called sublime. As Robert Clewis , p.
I will not leave here unless you bring back all of the gold, silver, slaves and clothing you have stolen. Soy vencedor. If you were imprisoned and your people the ones defeated, it was because you came with such a great army against us, though we had begged you to come in peace. Dios es uno y trino, dice el padre Valverde. Langacker b.
We can become explicitly aware of these ideas in response to art. A similar argument against artistic sublimity has been given by Abaci He argues that if one must. At best, they can leave open the possibility of impure judgments of the artistic sublime. According to my position, however, the restriction of the concept of the purpose precludes even the possibility of impure judgments of the sublime.
If there is no perceptual and imaginative failure, then one cannot have an experience of both pure and impure sublimity. It is true that an object does not need to cause perceptual failure in order to express rational ideas. However, there is a substantive difference between the expression of rational ideas and being aware of such rational components in ourselves.
That is, an object can express rational ideas, such as an idea of the king of heaven, but without necessarily eliciting in us the awareness of such heavenly component in ourselves. It is the latter, not the former that makes an experience sublime. Consider for example how Kant describes the experience of the supersensible in the following two passages:. The sublime is an awareness of our rational and moral superiority over the physical and sensible nature within and outside us. A work of art might indeed express such an idea, but such communication does not necessarily result in eliciting the awareness of such superiority in us.
Consider for example a movie Caffe De Flore , by Jean Marc Vallee which tells two different love stories taking place in a different time and place. One is a story of a young single mother with a disabled son taking place in in Paris, and the other is a story of a recently divorced man in a present day Montreal.
The two stories are connected together through the idea of reincarnation and the existence of past lives. The movie is a beautiful and touching expression of a rational idea of the immortality of. To conclude, in order to experience the sublime, one must first experience the feeling of displeasure due to the perceptual and imaginative failure, because only this failure can reveal the presence of our rational faculty of the mind and its supersensible ideas. An art work can express these ideas, that is, it can sensibly present how these ideas might look like, but it cannot betray their existence.
The sublime is intimately connected with the faculty of reason and its ideas freedom, god, immortality , and as such is particularly suggestive for the expression of ideas that celebrate the rational and moral side of our being, such as the life-affirming ideas of compassions, peace, virtue, gentleness, courage, altruism, etc. Thus, the concept of the sublime cannot be applied to such works of art. But if such works of art cannot be subsumed under the notion of aesthetic of the sublime, then how can the concurrence of displeasure and pleasure, distinctive for such works of art, be explained?
In short, Kant explains an aesthetic idea as a sensible representation of two kinds of indeterminate concepts. On one hand, invisible beings, hell, eternity, god, freedom, mortality, etc. What is distinctive for them is that they can be thought, but not empirically encountered. For example, while one can think of the idea of heaven or hell, one cannot sensibly intuit such ideas.
On the other hand, love, fame, envy, death, etc. For example, one can experience an emotion of jealousy, but one does not know how this emotion itself looks like. In other words, one does not have a determinate schema for such an idea in comparison to the schema of, say, a table. What is distinctive for both kinds of concepts is that their sensible representation, that is, an aesthetic idea, cannot be governed by any determinate rules.
In other words, an aesthetic idea exhibits free harmony between imagination and understanding i. Because aesthetic ideas are sensible representations of concepts that cannot be directly represented there is no image of the idea of hell or of a heavenly being , they can be merely symbolic or metaphorical representations.
Kant calls such metaphorical representations aesthetic attributes and describes them as. The image of a Jupiter's eagle is not a logical attribute of the king of heaven, that is, it is not part of the concept of the king of heaven. When we think of the idea of king of heaven, we do not have in mind an image of an eagle. Rather, the image of a Jupiter's eagle only expresses certain associations connected with the idea we have of the king of heaven in terms of representing power, strength, freedom, being above the material world, etc. It is the collection of such aesthetic attributes set of associations or thoughts that constitute an aesthetic idea.
But if an art work can be aesthetically valuable because of the aesthetic idea it communicates to the audience, then this suggests that one and the same object can have both perceptual beauty or ugliness and beauty or ugliness of an aesthetic idea. Recall that an aesthetic idea is a combination of aesthetic attributes i.
While perceptual form, say of an image of an Jupiter's eagle is constituted by the image of an eagle, particular patches. The distinction between perceptual beauty and ugliness and beauty or ugliness of an aesthetic idea can explain how it is possible that we find an art work aesthetically displeasing, yet aesthetically valuable at the same time.
Namely, what we find displeasing in such an art work is its perceptual form, but what we find pleasing is the aesthetic idea that the work communicates. So while displeasure of perceptual form of an art work causes us to withdraw our attention from the work, the pleasure of aesthetic idea nevertheless holds our attention. We appreciate the communication of aesthetic ideas, because they give us an intimation of the world of ideas and state of affairs that lie beyond sensory experience.
An aesthetic idea gives us an opportunity to intuit and apprehend that which cannot ever be fully presented by sensory experience alone. He refers to empirical concepts which need to be connected to empirical intuition in order to make sense of experience. Without empirical intuition, empirical concepts are mere words, without any substantive meaning.
But the same can be said about indeterminate concepts, such as the concept of a heavenly being. Only by connecting indeterminate concepts with sensible intuition by the means of aesthetic attributes can we truly say that we understand what indeterminate concepts mean. The artist distorts the body to the extreme by pushing around the excess of flesh almost to the point of being unrecognizable. The flesh of the body is reduced to a mere.
Nonetheless, even though the artistic representation of the body is itself disordered and displeasing, it can still be expressive and thoughtful. The distorted image of a female body might symbolically represent the destruction of the female body as invented by the patriarchal discourses of Western society.
The expression of this idea is stimulating, thought- provoking and for this reason aesthetically significant, even though it is perceived with displeasure. There is an appealing side to ugliness, because it allows for the imagination to be highly effective and expressive of ideas that cannot be represented otherwise.
Its constitutive element is disorder and as such it is particularly suggestive for the expression of ideas that celebrate such disorder. It is related to ideas of alienation, estrangement, dehumanization, destruction, degeneration, disconcertion, absurdity, and with emotions evoking terror, horror, anxiety and fear, and which dominate the contemporary artistic production. Kant discusses this principle mainly in relation to its use in empirical concept acquisition, but in addition, he suggests that there is a connection between this principle and judgments of taste.
For example, in one of many passages supporting this connection, he writes:.
The idea seems to be that judgments of taste depend on the principle of purposiveness of nature, which represents nature as a system in which all phenomena are related to each other and therefore amenable to our cognitive abilities. This principle is necessary for cognition empirical concept acquisition but also for finding an object beautiful or ugly. Kuplen pp. Here I just want to point out how this connection can explain the association of ugliness with certain ideas. In short, Kant claims that the principle of purposiveness amounts to a certain way of seeing the world, that is, for preferring one way of organizing sensible manifold, to another.
This preference for organizing sensible manifold in a certain way, more particularly, in a way that represents nature as a system, is reflected in our cognition, but also occasionally in the feeling of pleasure in finding an object beautiful. For example, in preferring certain combinations such as the spiral structure of petals in a rose and disliking others such as the disorganized aftermath of a storm or tornado.
The principle is an idea about how the world is supposed to be, how we expect it to be, so that it allows our understanding to cognize it, and it is an idea that holds only for us, as cognitive beings. The principle determines us, and our need to see the world in a specific way:. According to this explanation, the feeling of pleasure is a result of the confirmation or satisfaction of the principle of purposiveness. We appreciate forms that are in accordance with the principle of purposiveness, and that reassures us that the world is indeed such as we expect it to be, namely, amenable to our cognitive abilities.
Accordingly, the experience of aesthetic pleasure beauty is a sign of the familiarity with the world, of feeling at home in the world. This explains why we experience beauty associated with positive feeling value ideas, such as innocence, joyfulness, virtue, hope, optimism, etc.
On the other hand, feeling of displeasure is a result of the dissatisfaction of our expectation that the world is amenable to our cognitive abilities. The inability to know the world occasions the state of estrangement between us, our mental structure, and the world. James Phillips , p. Ugliness can be a valuable experience, because it is the unique way through which these ideas and emotions themselves, for which there is no adequate sense intuition, can be sensibly represented.
To conclude, in spite of the feeling of displeasure it produces, artistic ugliness can be a valuable experience because it is a unique way through which certain ideas, concepts and emotions, for which we do not have a full empirical counterpart, can be expressed. Ugliness brings forth negative aesthetic ideas, which are uncomfortable, yet are part of our experience of the world and ourselves and therefore worthwhile attending to.
Even though perceived with displeasure, ugliness affords an unfamiliar and unexpected perspective on the phenomenal world and an intimation of the world of ideas. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press. Martins Pr.
London, pp. Derrida, Jacques , The Truth in Painting.