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Can Kant’s theory of fine art serve as a theory of modern art? It all depends on what ‘modern’ means. The word can mean current or contemporary, indexed to the time of use, and in that sense the answer is yes: Kant’s theory of genius implies that successful art is always to some extent novel, so there should always be something that counts as contemporary art on his theory. But ‘modern’ can also be used adjectively, perhaps more properly as ‘modernist’, to refer to art of a particular moment, in some cases superseded by postmodern art. Kant’s theory is not a theory of modernist art in at least one prominent form, the formalism of Clement Greenberg. But other theories, such as those of George Dickie and Arthur Danto, although triggered by particular works of modernist art and meant to accommodate them, were meant to be theories of what art was always doing, and Kant’s is too. In that sense it can be considered a modern theory of art but not a theory of modern art.
This chapter shows how Vitruvius developed his three fundamental categories within a naturalistic and empiricist conception of human life and perception. In the Renaissance, Leon Battista Alberti and Andrea Palladio, inspired by Neo-Platonism, took a more rationalistic, mathematical approach to beauty in their theories and their buildings. In the eighteenth century, the Scottish philosopher Lord Kames returned to Vitruvius's empiricist approach, while the French theorist Marc-Antoine Laugier, inspired by the aesthetic theory of Charles Batteux, identified beauty with the imitation of nature, but specifically with the identification of beauty with structural functionality.
This chapter considers linguistic and phenomenological approaches in recent architectural theory. It argues that the analogy of architectural language is imperfect, and any plausible use of it has to include semantic and pragmatic as well as syntactic dimensions. The phenomenological approach to architecture pioneered by Rasmussen and recently developed by Steven Holl in both his writings and his work has to take account of function and construction as well as the aesthetics of the experience of architecture.
This chapter argues both from the words and works of three twentieth-century masters, Frank Lloyd Wright, Adolf Loos, and Mies van der Rohe, that the Vitruvian values remained central to their architecture, for all the radical differences in style, materials, and technologies among their works and between their architecture and that of the Greco-Roman tradition. It also argues that for all the differences among these architects, the idea of freedom was central to their conceptions of the aesthetic appeal to architecture.
The Introduction uses the examples of two weekend retreats built four centuries apart by Andrea Palladio and Steven Holl to argue that for all their differences, both structures aim at good construction, functionality, and aesthetic appeal. The argument is amplified by consideration of a very different structure, a recycling plant designed by the contemporary architect Annabelle Selldorf. The cast of characters for the rest of the book are then introduced.
From Kant's "aesthetic ideas" to Ruskin's seven "lamps" of architecture, the Vitruvian conception of aesthetic appeal was expanded to include a range of intellectual and emotional content. Gottfried Semper shifted the discussion to the fundamental components of architecture – hearth, mound, roof, and walls – but what is done with these elements remains subject to the general goals of good construction, functionality, and aesthetic appeal.
This chapter considers the challenges facing contemporary architecture from factors including the economy, climate change, and social justice within the practice of architecture as well as within wider society. It discusses ways in which architects are meeting these challenges through adaptive reuse, sustainable construction, and innovations in planning and housing.
What should our buildings look like? Or is their usability more important than their appearance? Paul Guyer argues that the fundamental goals of architecture first identified by the Roman architect Marcus Pollio Vitruvius - good construction, functionality, and aesthetic appeal - have remained valid despite constant changes in human activities, building materials and technologies, as well as in artistic styles and cultures. Guyer discusses philosophers and architects throughout history, including Alberti, Kant, Ruskin, Wright, and Loos, and surveys the ways in which their ideas are brought to life in buildings across the world. He also considers the works and words of contemporary architects including Annabelle Selldorf, Herzog and de Meuron, and Steven Holl, and shows that - despite changing times and fashions - good architecture continues to be something worth striving for. This new series offers short and personal perspectives by expert thinkers on topics that we all encounter in our everyday lives.
This Element surveys the place of the Critique of Pure Reason in Kant's overall philosophical project and describes and analyzes the main arguments of the work. It also surveys the developments in Kant's thought that led to the first critique, and provides an account of the genesis of the book during the 'silent decade' of its composition in the 1770s based on Kant's handwritten notes from the period.
The 1786 review of Kant's Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals by Hermann Andreas Pistorius raised the objection that Kant's categorical imperative is an "empty formalism" that needs an antecedent conception of the good long before Hegel made the same charge in 1802. Kant's explicit response to Pistorius in the Critique of Practical Reason is just to double-down on the priority of the right over the good. However, I suggest that Kant's characterization of humanity as an end in itself as the "ground of a possible categorical imperative" in the Groundwork, on the one hand, and his account of the highest good as the complete object of morality in the second Critique, on the other, together provide a much fuller and satisfactory response to the "empty formalism" objection.
Neurophysiological patterns may distinguish which youth are at risk for the well-documented increase in internalizing symptoms during adolescence. Adolescents with internalizing problems exhibit altered resting-state functional connectivity (RSFC) of brain regions involved in socio-affective processing. Whether connectivity-based biotypes differentiate adolescents’ levels of internalizing problems remains unknown.
Sixty-eight adolescents (37 females) reported on their internalizing problems at ages 14, 16, and 18 years. A resting-state functional neuroimaging scan was collected at age 16. Time-series data of 15 internalizing-relevant brain regions were entered into the Subgroup-Group Iterative Multi-Model Estimation program to identify subgroups based on RSFC maps. Associations between internalizing problems and connectivity-based biotypes were tested with regression analyses.
Two connectivity-based biotypes were found: a Diffusely-connected biotype (N = 46), with long-range fronto-parietal paths, and a Hyper-connected biotype (N = 22), with paths between subcortical and medial frontal areas (e.g. affective and default-mode network regions). Higher levels of past (age 14) internalizing problems predicted a greater likelihood of belonging to the Hyper-connected biotype at age 16. The Hyper-connected biotype showed higher levels of concurrent problems (age 16) and future (age 18) internalizing problems.
Differential patterns of RSFC among socio-affective brain regions were predicted by earlier internalizing problems and predicted future internalizing problems in adolescence. Measuring connectivity-based biotypes in adolescence may offer insight into which youth face an elevated risk for internalizing disorders during this critical developmental period.
Marcus Willaschek’s new book Kant on the Sources of Metaphysics: The Dialectic of Pure Reason (Cambridge University Press, 2018) is a penetrating analysis of the Transcendental Dialectic of Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason. In his comments, the author first raises some questions concerning the structure of the Transcendental Dialectic (and Willaschek’s reconstruction of it) and then proposes that looking at the second Critique and continuing on into the third Critique will reveal more roles for the idea of God in Kant’s reconstruction of traditional metaphysics than Willaschek’s treatment suggests.
Kant claims that the fundamental principle of morality is given by pure reason itself. Many have interpreted Kant to derive this principle from a conception of pure practical reason (as opposed to merely prudential reasoning about the most effective means to empirically given ends). But Kant maintained that there is only one faculty of reason, although with both theoretical and practical applications. This Element shows how Kant attempted to derive the fundamental principle and goal of morality from the general principles of reason as such, defined by the principles of non-contradiction and sufficient reason and the ideal of systematicity.
Luigi Caranti seeks to find a foundation for a contemporary theory of human rights in Kant, as well as contemporary relevance for his project of perpetual peace and his teleology of political progress. I agree with much of what he says, but provide a different account of Kant’s foundations for morality in general and human rights in particular, and defend my critique of Kant’s conception of a guarantee of progress from Caranti’s defence of Kant.