Archive for November 7th, 2014

November 7, 2014


Critique of Judgment

In sociology, taste is an individual’s personal and cultural patterns of choice and preference. It is drawing qualitative distinctions between things such as styles, manners, consumer goods, and works of art. Aesthetic preferences and attendance to various cultural events are associated with education and social origin. Different socioeconomic groups are likely to have different tastes, and social class is one of the most prominent factors structuring taste. The concept of aesthetics has been the interest of philosophers such as Plato, Hume and Kant, who understood it as something pure and searched for the ‘essence of beauty,’ the ontology of taste. But it was not until the beginning the early 19th century that the question was problematized in its social context.

In his aesthetic philosophy, Kant denies any standard of a good taste, which would be the taste of the majority or any social group. For Kant, beauty is not a property of an object, but a judgement based on a subjective feeling. He claims that even if a universal, non-relativistic ‘good taste’ does exist, it can not be empirically identified, or found in any standards or generalizations, and the validity of a judgement is not the general view of the majority or some specific social group. Taste is both personal and beyond reasoning, and therefore disputes over matters of taste never reach a finite conclusion. Kant stresses that our preferences, even on generally liked things, do not justify our judgements.

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