The Starry Sky above Koenigsberg and the Moral Law. H.G. Gadamer’s Debate with I. Kant Concering the Experience of Beauty and Its Relatedness to Ethics (in Polish)

Paweł Dybel

About author

Paweł Dybel, professor
Institute of Philosophy and Sociology UP
ul. Podchorążych 2
PL 30-084 Kraków



In the article, I engage with H.G.Gadamer’s reading of Kant’s aesthetic theory. Gadamer accused Kant of subjectivizing the aesthetic experience so that it would be reduced to the free play of the cognitive faculties of the subject. Consequently, the ethical dimension of aesthetic experience that played such an important role in the preceding tradition of European humanism has been lost. Yet, this charge of Gadamer is not quite right. The connection between the experience of beauty and ethics has been maintained by Kant, but it has assumed a different form. The free, disinterested beauty of the objects of nature, on his account, harmonizes with the disinterested experience of the moral law. Similarly, the dependent beauty of the work of art appeals to the ethical dimension of the human being. As a result of this, the connection between aesthetics and ethics not only has not been severed by Kant, but it has also assumed an entirely new, radical form.

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