Kant on the Aesthetic Ideas of Beautiful Nature

Aviv Reiter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


For Kant the definitive end of art is the expression of aesthetic ideas that are sensible counterparts of rational ideas. But there is another type of aesthetic idea: 'Beauty (whether it be beauty of nature or of art) can in general be called the expression of aesthetic ideas: only in beautiful nature the mere reflection on a given intuition, without a concept of what the object ought to be, is sufficient for arousing and communicating the idea of which that object is considered as the expression.' What are these aesthetic ideas? I argue that Kant is drawing on the idealist conception of art, associated with Vasari, Bellori and Winckelmann, as presenting idealized spatial forms characteristic of natural kinds. He incorporates this conception into his analysis of the beauty of nature and adds that we have non-conceptual access to it. These idealized forms he names aesthetic normal ideas of natural species.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)403-419
Number of pages17
JournalBritish Journal of Aesthetics
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2021
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy


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