provided with any fuller explanation than that when all is taken into account there remains nothing else to think, and that there remains nothing else to think for the reason that the response of delight that the beautiful object calls forth is one that is entirely proper to it, given that it has the material and intellectual constitution which it does and that it is presented to us in the social and cultural setting in which it is. In particular cases, good critics will have much to say that is interesting and illuminating about what makes this or that particular object one to which the response of delight is apt and requisite, but to attempt to offer anything specific and informative in the critical manner as a matter of purely general theory would be quite absurd.

Does this give a satisfactory reading of the claim that here we have the unique key to the riddle of the capacity of taste, but one which cannot be rendered more intelligible? Notwithstanding the notably positive and elevated tone of the Antinomy sections, there is some reason to think that it does. The capacity that presents Kant with the riddle of taste is just the capacity to make judgments which are true and yet indeterminate, and it rests in the end on our finding that we are bound in certain circumstances to respond in certain ways to certain objects, where this being bound cannot be explained discursively and without residue from inside -- since to do that only provides additional factors that bear on our being bound and which will themselves need explanation -- yet cannot be explained from the outside either. The trouble comes when we yield to the temptation to think that Kant is suggesting a further positive explanation of the force of the necessity; but we do not have to think of him as doing that. The more generous way of taking his allusions to the supersensible is as a reminder of just where our questions must stop. In the context of his philosophical ruminations, that serves as a closure to a discussion which leaves us with a fully naturalistic account of taste, and one that smoothly integrates our aesthetic and critical perceptions into the rest of our earthly vision of things.

This is because it is a necessary truth that judgments of taste are not liable to dispute. Hence the falsity of the thought that they are open to argument, which one would derive by reductio, would entail that, there, each man does have his own taste. Given the unavailability of


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Kantian Aesthetics Pursued


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