Quora answer: Would E. Husserl be a better judge of a good painting than I. Kant?

What I like about this question is that it brings out the key differences in Kant and Husserl that are worth discussing.
Husserl is basically building on Kantian transcendentalism when he creates his Phenonomenology. But he is trying to eliminate the problem that Kant had which was he was dealing with a lot of transcendentals that no one could see. But Kant had his critique of Judgement as an integral part of his philosophy and he made a major contribution by defining the role of the Sublime. Husserl on the other hand never talks about Aesthetics. However, his followers like Merleau-Ponty did. 

What is good about Kant is the role of a priori synthesis. Kant would consider the painting a synthesis that is shaped by our projection of a priori syntheses that have structures like he gives in his categories. The romantics (beautiful souls to Hegel) can be seen as those who are interested in the source of that synthesis, that Kant calls the Transcendental Subject who understands the coherence of the transcendental object (noumena) via the connection behind the scenes between them by God who keeps them in sync thus creating the world we live in. For the artist the coherence comes out of the transcendental subject, and for the viewer it comes out of the transcendental object.

Husserl on the other hand would be interested not in the transcendental scaffolding that we cannot see but rather in what is actually going on in our consciousness when we look at the formed hyle of the painting. Husserl only has the observers view and not that of the artist in mind. So Kant’s picture is more robust than that of Husserl because Kant leaves room for talking about the Artist and the creative process that become such an important part of romanticism with its idolization of the genius. So I would say that Kant would have a deeper appreciation because his viewpoint is broader. But Hegel would have a more detailed description of the actual process of observing the painting in consciousness. Both Kant and Husserl wrote on Judgement, but for Husserl it is Logical judgement that is important, while Kant considered aesthetic judgement just as important as other forms of judgement. So we have a basis for understanding Kant’s aesthetic while we have to infer Husserl’s aesthetic inclinations or go to Merleau-Ponty or Heidegger if we want to get a good idea about the phenomenological approach to the painting. I would like to recommend Heidegger’s essay “The Origin of the Work of Art”



Posted February 1, 2011 by kentpalmer in Uncategorized

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