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Art and knowledge in kant's aesthetics

Author(s): Cazeaux, Clive

Journal: Working papers in Art & Design
ISSN 1466-4917

Volume: 2;
Date: 2002;
Original page

The growth of interest in art and design as subjects of academic research has led to questions regarding the status of art as knowledge, for example, whether art can be quantified as a form of knowledge or whether it should have to be quantified as such. In looking at how studio-based practice can be seen as a form of research, I take the view that studio practice is an activity that is not wholly removed from those other empirically- or theoretically-generated areas of research that are, so to speak, the "home" of the conventional Ph.D. In supporting this view, I am essentially challenging the two distinctions which have mapped the history of thought in the west from the pre-Socratics to the present. These are the distinctions between the mental and the physical, and between the subjective and the objective. The work to show that these binaries are not radical opposites but actually interwoven terms begins in the eighteenth century with Immanuel Kant. Kant’s philosophy helps us to establish aesthetic judgement as a form of knowledge because it shows how art and design are those aspects of human enquiry which invite us or motivate us to reassess the way we apply our categories to the world.In this paper, I outline the key arguments from Kant’s critical philosophy which allow him to orient aesthetics as a form of knowledge, and show how aesthetic judgements made by the artist-researcher about their work can contribute to the theoretical basis of their research and, therefore, to the epistemic status of their practice.
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