Critique of Judgment

1790 book by Immanuel Kant

The Critique of Judgment (German: Kritik der Urteilskraft, KdU), or in the new Cambridge translation Critique of the Power of Judgment, also known as the third Critique, is a 1790 philosophical work by Immanuel Kant.


  • The power of judgment’s concept of a purposiveness of nature still belongs among the concepts of nature, but only as a regulative principle of the faculty of cognition, although the aesthetic judgment on certain objects (of nature or of art) that occasions it is a constitutive principle with regard to the feeling of pleasure or displeasure.
    • Introduction, Section IX
    • translated by Paul Guyer and Eric Matthews
  • The judgment of taste is therefore not a cognitive judgment, hence not a logical one, but is rather aesthetic, by which is understood one whose determining ground cannot be other than subjective.
    • First Section: Analytic of the Aesthetic Power of Judgment. First Book: Analytic of the Beautiful. First Moment of the judgment of taste, concerning its quality. §1. The judgment of taste is aesthetic.
    • translated by Paul Guyer and Eric Matthews
  • For himself alone a human being abandoned on a desert island would not adorn either his hut or himself, nor seek out or still less plant flowers in order to decorate himself; rather, only in society does it occur to him to be not merely a human being but also, in his own way, a refined human being (the beginning of civilization): for this is how we judge someone who is inclined to communicate his pleasure to others and is skilled at it, and who is not content with an object if he cannot feel his satisfaction in it in community with others.
    • Critique of the Power of Judgment (Cambridge, 2000), translated by Paul Guyer and Eric Matthews, §41. On the empirical interest in the beautiful.

Quotes about Critique of Judgment

  • Kant had two conceptions of art, and his second theory of artworks cannot support his reasons for taking up judgments of beauty in the first place, namely the parallels they suggest with moral judgments, and their universality, which made beauty, he thought, the symbol of morality. Late in Critique of Judgment he introduces a new concept—the concept of spirit—which has little to do with taste, nor does it touch in any way the aesthetic of nature. Taste, he now writes, “is merely a judging and not a productive faculty.” When we speak of spirit, on the other hand, we are speaking of the creative power of the artist.
    • Arthur Danto, What Art Is (2013), Chap. 5 : Kant and the Work of Art
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