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"The Beautiful Is the Symbol of the Morally-Good": Kant's Philosophical Basis of Proof for the Idea of the Morally-Good
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"The Beautiful Is the Symbol of the Morally-Good":
Kant's Philosophical Basis of Proof for the Idea of the Morally-Good
G. Felicitas Munzel
University of Notre Dame


References throughout follow the Academy edition, with an abbreviation and the page number of the relevant volume being cited; for the Critique of Pure Reason the standard practice of citing A / B for the 1781 and 1787 editions is followed. Unless otherwise noted (e.g., "The Dohna-Wundlacken Logic"), translations of quoted passages are my own.

AL Nachricht von der Einrichtung seiner Vorlesungen in dem Winterhalbenjahre von 1765-1766 (Announcement of Lectures for the Winter Semester of 1765-1766) AA II
APV Anthropologie in pragmatischer Hinsicht, 1798 (Anthropology from a Pragmatic Point of View) AA VII
CF Der Streit der Fakultäten, 1798 (Conflict of the Faculties) AA VII
CJ Kritik der Urteilskraft, 1790 (Critique of Judgment) AA V
CPR Kritik der reinen Vernunft, 1781/87 (Critique of Pure Reason) AA III, IV
CPrR Kritik der praktischen Vernunft, 1788 (Critique of Practical Reason) AA V
DSS Träume eines Geistersehers, erläutert durch Träume der Metaphysik, 1766 (Dreams of a Spirit-Seer, Elucidated by the Dreams of Metaphysics) AAII
GMM Grundlegung zur Metaphysik der Sitten, 1785 (Groundwork for a Metaphysics of Morals) AA IV
LL Lectures on Logic in The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Immanuel Kant. Trans, and ed., J. Michael Young. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992.
L Logik, 1800 (Jäsche Logic) AA IX
LMP Vorlesungen über Moralphilosophie, 1756-57 to 1788-89 (Lectures on Moral Philosophie) AA XXVII.2.2
MM Die Metaphysik der Sitten, 1797 (Metaphysics of Morals) AA VI
MSI De Mundi sensibilis atque intelligibilis forma et principiis (On the Form and Principles of the Sensible and Intelligible World) AA II
PEG Der einzig mögliche Beweisgrund zu einer Demonstration des Daseins Gottes, 1763 (The Only Possible Basis of Proof for Demonstrating the Existence of God) AA II.
OBS Beobachtungen über das Gefühl des Schönen und Erhabenen, 1764 (Observations on the Feeling of the Beautiful and Sublime) AA II
PRO Prolegomena zu einer jeden künftigen Metaphysik, die als Wissenschaft wird auftreten können, 1783 (Prolegomena) AA IV
PTM Untersuchung über die Deutlichkeit der Grundsätze der natüralichen Theologie und der Moral, 1764 (Inquiry into the Perspicuity of the Principles of Natural Theology and Morality) AA II
RLR Die Religion innerhalb der Grenzen der bloβen Vernunft, 1793 (Religion within the Limits of Reason Alone) AA VI
UHH Allgemeine Naturgeschichte und Theorie des Himmels, 1755 (Universal Natural History and Theory of the Heavens) AA I


1. Four such recent works focusing on the Critique of Judgment, or the primacy of practical reason, or on both, are: Paul Guyer's Kant and the Experience of Freedom: Essays on Aesthetics and Morality (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993); Rudolf A. Makkreel's Imagination and Interpretation in Kant: The Hermeneutical Import of the "Critique of Judgment" (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1990); Richard L. Velkley's Freedom and the End of Reason: On the Moral Foundations of Kant's Critical Philosophy (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1989); John H. Zammito's The Genesis of Kant's "Critique of Judgment" (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1992).

2. Paul Guyer's most recent work interprets this connection as a relation in which aesthetic theory serves the purpose of satisfying the "need for access to the ideas of pure practical reason through natural human feeling" (19, 42, 18, 21).

3. Thus the starting point for this inquiry coincides with the conclusion which Zammito draws in his discussion of "Beauty as the Symbol of Morality": "The philosophical significance of beauty, then, is that it symbolizes morality. Kant's whole discourse regarding aesthetics culminates in the primacy of practical reason" (291). Whereas Zammito makes a case that for Kant it is such a philosophical issue, that metaphysics must be secured (288), in this paper I am exploring just how far one can get by applying Kant's account of philosophical (or metaphysical) cognition to his statement.

4. The main pre-critical references to Analogie(n) (not including 'analogical,' etc.) are found on the following pages...