Negative beauty: Ugliness in Kant's theory of taste
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Kant's theory of taste, as expounded in the Critique of Judgment, deals exhaustively with judgments of beauty. Rarely does Kant mention ugliness. This omission has led to a debate among commentators about how judgments of ugliness should be explained in a Kantian framework. I argue in this dissertation that the judgment of ugliness is best conceived as being a disinterested disliking that is universally valid without a concept, contrapurposive without the presentation of a purpose, and necessary. It originates in the disharmonious conflict between the faculties of imagination and understanding which occurs when the understanding finds that it cannot form any concept suitable to a representation as it is presented by the imagination. In explicating my interpretation, I rely on Kant's theory of negative magnitudes, which implies that beauty and ugliness are real opposites. I also locate Kant's theory of taste within the early modern view of judgment as a synthesis of representational elements.