Talk:Observations on the Feeling of the Beautiful and Sublime

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This book contains Kant's personal, subjective generalizations. He arrived at his opinions by reading foreign authors and by having limited acquaintance with foreigners in Königsberg. This was typical of Kant's method, in which he depended on experience as little as possible and tried to fit general conclusions into presupposed forms. He is concerned with reports of an observing subject's judgments regarding the feelings of the beautiful and sublime. Lestrade 16:58, 28 November 2005 (UTC)Lestrade

The title indicates that the book contains Kant's own observations. He describes his own or other people's feelings. Kant was concerned with the subjective. Mental events interested him. External objects were only of interest as prompts for the internal activity in a mind. In his later books he would explore the relationship of subjective, mental ideas and judgments to a world that is experienced as consisting of external objects. In those later books, he would not use the radically inductive method of this earlier book, in which he lists personal observations and then tries to generalize from them. Lestrade 14:46, 29 November 2005 (UTC)Lestrade


Kant's interest in the subjective is evidenced in the very first sentence of the book. "The various feelings of enjoyment or of displeasure rest not so much upon the nature of the external things that arouse them as upon each person's own disposition to be moved by these to pleasure or pain." This prepares the reader for Kant's description of the activities of the mind. The external world that is known through the mind is of less concern to Kant.Lestrade 18:50, 29 November 2005 (UTC)Lestrade

Sublime Feeling of True Virtue[edit]

Kant's claim that true virtue accompanies the sublime feeling of humanity's beauty and dignity is in marked contrast to a few other thinkers. Hobbes saw humanity as a bellum omnium contra omnes (war of everyone against everyone else). Humans, to his experienced eye, were naturally solitary, poor, nasty, and brutish creatures. Similarly, Schopenhauer asserted that man is a wolf to man.Lestrade 19:00, 1 December 2005 (UTC)Lestrade

Acting according to a principle[edit]

A quarter of a century before his Categorical Imperative, Kant praised true virtue as being the result of establishing one's feelings of the beautiful and sublime as a principle. The principle is that humans have beauty and dignity. Anyone who could regulate their behavior in accordance with that principle has achieved true virtue, according to Kant. Because this affection and esteem of humans is universal, it would also include the virtuous person himself. In case anyone might interpret this as being selfish or egotistical, Kant explains that the virtuous person would love and value himself "only so far as he is one of all those over whom his broadened and noble feeling is spread." Otherwise, the virtuous person would not love and prize himself. It is a logical, rational affection and esteem, the result of the individual being conceived as a part of a whole. Lestrade 17:52, 2 December 2005 (UTC)Lestrade

The Sexes[edit]

Kant's observations are in opposition to today's society. His description of women and their dominant feelings leaves no room for Margaret Thatchers, Susan Sontags, Ruth Bader Ginsburgs, Hillary Clintons, Sandra Day O'Connors, Angela Merkels, Condoleezza Rices, and Indira Gandhis. It must have seemed to him to be a confirmation of his judgments when he learned that Queen Christina of Sweden had abdicated and went to Paris to enjoy the frivolities that were available there.Lestrade 19:21, 4 December 2005 (UTC)Lestrade

This is not the case. His interpretation of the sexes allows for variation. It is merely the case that some women, as he says it, might as well have beards as it relates to their characters. (talk) 05:05, 4 October 2012 (UTC)

The Ideal Mate[edit]

Kant observed that persons of very refined tastes sometimes do not marry because no one can match their ideal. "...[S]uch an inclination usually misses the great goal of nature. As it demands or expects more than nature usually offers ...." I am reminded of Christina Rossetti, the poetess, and her decision to renounce marriage and devote herself to her ideal spouse, Christ. Kant observed that a person of this disposition "...becomes oversubtle, because actually it is attracted to none. It is occupied only with an object that the enamored inclination creates in thought, and ornaments with all the noble and beautiful qualities that nature seldom unites in one human being...." (Section Three)Lestrade 18:32, 5 December 2005 (UTC)Lestrade

Politically Incorrect[edit]

I doubt if this book is recommended in any American school. As politically incorrect as the passages are regarding the female mind, Kant's comments on the Negroes of Africa are totally unsuitable to contemporary thought. He refers to David Hume and writes:"Mr. Hume challenges anyone to cite a single example in which a Negro has shown talents, and asserts that among the hundreds of thousands of blacks who are transported elsewhere from their countries, although many of them have even been set free, still not a single one was ever found who presented anything great in art or science or any other paiseworthy quality...." In one instance, Kant, the great logician, states what can only be described as an ignorant non sequitur. In dismissing a comment that was made by a Negro carpenter regarded the indulgent treatment of women by whites, Kant wrote: "...this fellow was quite black from head to foot, a clear proof that what he said was stupid." (Section Four)Lestrade 18:31, 5 December 2005 (UTC)Lestrade

So what...people still read the greeks even though they were pederasts. Get over it you stupid fool...stop showing your own hang ups

Dear Anonymous, your comment may well be very true, but you are a very impolite person.Lestrade 00:22, 14 March 2006 (UTC)Lestrade
Dear Lestrade, I agree there is no recourse to call you stupid but I do feel there is no real need for your comment on PC Kant.
I took the liberty of fixing your post so that it can be read. My comment about the logician Kant was merely that his conclusion is false. His premises were: (1.)This carpenter has black skin; (2.)(Unspoken) All people who have black skin make stupid comments; therefore, (3.) This carpenter made a stupid comment. Formally, his logic is valid, but his unspoken premise, Number 2, is false, that is, not true of the actual world of experience . This argument of Kant's makes one wonder just how smart he really was.Lestrade 13:59, 17 March 2006 (UTC)Lestrade

Dear Lestrade, one exception does not prove a rule, one swallow does not a summer make. In strict terms his deductions are valid based on the rule, overarching yes but valid also. So to call it an ignorant non sequiter is unfair. Kant was not a racist and I do not see why you seem to think imposing modern day racism onto Kant makes him any less valid. He may have said a seemingly racist thing BUT thats no proof, Kant was a famous oddball in any case.

My primary question is why are you so keen to bring into the debate a historical baggage which plays little role on "how smart he really is".

Anyway life is short

Dear Mr. or Ms. Anonymous, The falsity of the unexpressed universal premise in Kant's enthymeme is as follows. It is impossible to know if all people who have black skin make stupid comments. Kant would have had to examine the spoken words of every such person on the planet, past and present. You must agree that this would be an impossible task. Was Kant smart enough to know this?Lestrade 17:21, 22 March 2006 (UTC)Lestrade.

Immanuel Kant almost certainly knew of the Ghanaian philosopher Anton Wilhelm Amo who taught in the German universities of Halle and Jena, so his remarks concerning blacks were especially foolish, since here was an example of a black man from Africa who achieved intellectual distinction in Europe and who was almost contemporaneous with Kant. (talk) 11:44, 29 October 2009 (UTC)

Multiple Issues[edit]

In March, 2012, the article was claimed to be "written like a personal reflection or essay rather than an encyclopedic description of the subject." It was also claimed that the "article may contain original research." Can anyone specifically indicate where, in the article, it is written like a personal reflection or essay and where it seems to contain original research? If the person who made these claims has actually read the book, it should be easy for that person to provide instances of the alleged transgressions. If the claimer has not read the book, then I expect no response to my request.Lestrade (talk) 12:50, 20 July 2012 (UTC)Lestrade

Kant's book has the word "Observations" in the title because it contains Kant's observations or subjective, personal reflections and Kant's original research. The Wikipedia article merely lists Kant's personal observations. The Wikipedia article does not contain the Wikipedia author's personal reflections and original research. Anyone who has read Kant's book would know this. The topic of mere personal reflections is of the highest importance because Kant, in his subsequent critiques, thoroughly investigated the difference between the subjective and the objective, that is, the ideal and the real. You might even say that Kant's major concern was with the difference between what is inside a knower's brain and what can be known to exist outside of that brain. This book of personal observations regarding individual, nonobjective judgments of artistic taste was his last subjective publication. All of his following books were attempts at being completely objective.Lestrade (talk) 15:37, 20 July 2012 (UTC)Lestrade

I just came upon the following statement in the Wikipedia article: "This notion reminds us of Ayatollah Khomeyni’s famous statement that 'men ascend to the heavens from a woman’s lap.'" I would have to agree that such comments are not related to Kant and are unencyclopedic. If there are more statements of this kind, then the article truly needs to be severely edited.Lestrade (talk) 19:44, 20 July 2012 (UTC)Lestrade

Ignoring the terrible formatting, there is a lot of casual language in this article that generally detracts from its usefulness. Further, the authors occasionally interpret the absence of certain arguments or topics to mean something about Kant's state of mind or his argument. These interpretations are done without citing any work in the field. All this amounts to value judgment and interpretation of the work. Ultimately, this article is a stream of consciousness report. (talk) 05:10, 4 October 2012 (UTC)

Write a better article if you think that the present one is so bad. If you read the book, you will see that the present article gives an exact abstract or epitome. Lestrade (talk) 02:34, 17 January 2014 (UTC)Lestrade