It is easy to conclude that Immanuel Kant's account of aesthetic judgement underestimates the extent to which the disharmonious plays a role in our experience. In twentieth-century contemporary art, it would be fair to say that the disharmonious holds priority over the harmonious. This raises questions about the continuing relevance not only of Kant's aesthetics, but also of his theory of knowledge. For if aesthetic judgement presents an exemplary exhibition of cognition in general, then it might appear that Kant's account of the cognitive relation between mind and world suggests much too unproblematic a ‘fit’ between the subject and the object. The importance of this is that were Kant's position to amount to the view that the mind and world simply stand in harmony with one another, he would be in severe danger of falling back into something approaching a ‘pre-established harmony’. Our capacity for moral reason allows us to go beyond the finite world of objects in thought. Kant's formal idealism has emerged as comprising a series of stages of determination.
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