Kant on Aesthetic Autonomy and Common SenseSkip other details (including permanent urls, DOI, citation information)
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Recently, Kant’s account of aesthetic autonomy has received attention from those interested in a range of issues in aesthetics, including the subjectivity of aesthetic judgment, quasi-realism, aesthetic testimony, and aesthetic normativity. Although these discussions have shed much light on the implications of Kant’s account of aesthetic autonomy, the phenomenon of aesthetic autonomy itself tends to be under-described. Commentators often focus on the negative aspect of this phenomenon, i.e., the sense in which an aesthetic judgment cannot be grounded on the testimony of others. However, on Kant’s view, autonomy is a positive phenomenon, something that involves self-determination and self-legislation. My aim in this paper is to clarify this positive aspect of Kantian aesthetic autonomy. In order to defend my interpretation of aesthetic autonomy, I appeal to another key concept in Kant’s aesthetics, viz., ‘common sense’. I claim that, for Kant, aesthetic common sense, which we acquire through aesthetic education, is what makes aesthetic self-determination and self-legislation, hence aesthetic autonomy, possible.