[OPE] Kant's Observations on the Feeling of the Beautiful and Sublime

From: Jurriaan Bendien <adsl675281@telfort.nl>
Date: Fri Oct 30 2009 - 04:26:50 EDT

The influence of Immanuel Kant on Marx was mainly in his youth when he
studied the philosophy of law. Sporadic references to Kant occur in Marx's
writings of the 1840s, when he gradually transcended his philosophical
occupations, the main description occurring in the book The German
Ideology, part 2 where Kant is regarded as reflecting the interests and
preoccupations of the German petit-bourgeoisie and Kant's philosophical
thought as a response to the underdevelopment of German society vis-a-vis
the overdevelopment of the German state. Marx increasingly insisted that the
forms of philosophical preoccupations could only be understood with
reference to the societal context which gave rise to them.

The central quote occurs in Marx's Preface to the Critique of Hegel's
Philosophy of Law (1843):

"The criticism of religion ends with the teaching that the human being is
the supreme being for human beings - hence, with the categorical imperative
to overthrow all relations in which man is a debased, enslaved, abandoned,
despicable being, relations which cannot be better described than by the cry
of a Frenchman when it was planned to introduce a tax on dogs: Poor dogs!
They want to treat you as human beings!"

This referred explicitly to a Kantian "categorical imperative".

You cannot really understand Hegel's philosophy without understanding Kant,
because Hegelianism was in many ways directly a theoretical response and
criticism of Kant's epistemology, ontology and ethics, which seeks to
overcome Kant's counterposition of the mind and the world and his rather
"axiomatic" approach.

Because Lenin, though educated in law, was very dismissive of Kantianism (in
the context of the demoralization of the Russian Left), Kant got a very bad
press in Marxist-Leninist regurgative ideology. That is regrettable since
Kant clearly articulated many of the elements of a rational ethics.

I am not very familiar with Kant's aesthetics though, at the time I pondered
it as a student, it seemed somehow very alien from real life. You are best
off in this sense to consult Gyorgy Lukacs's Aesthetics which is available
in German though hard to get.


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Received on Fri Oct 30 04:29:19 2009

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