ABSTRACT

It is often argued that the Critique of Judgment is Kant’s work on the imagination par excellence. However, I argue that Kant downgrades the imagination to the issues of aesthetic creativity, communication and reception in this particular work. Kant constructs imaginative creativity as a problem of oscillation, dissonance and communicability between the two fertile faculties of reason and imagination. Oscillation and dissonance are central to Kant’s formulation of the sublime. However, the notion of the beautiful remains the centre of Kant’s aesthetics because it attains a systemic and methodological priority over the sublime. For Kant, the central topic of aesthetic judgement is one of harmony between the faculties, rather than creativity. The imagination has a precise function within the category of the beautiful. It is one of the indispensable, yet intricately linked dimensions through which the feeling of pleasure arises when we witness the form of nature, its purposiveness without purpose. Imagination and the understanding harmonise together in a free play that does not presuppose a determinate concept.