Readers, in my last post I took us through Edmund Burke’s definition of Beauty in his Philosophical Inquiry. I showed how he arrived at the notion that we find those things beautiful that appear as if they would “submit” to us. That his examples of beautiful “objects” over and over again include whole or parts of the female body, I argued, implicitly works against his stated intention of elucidating a “logic of taste” universally shared by all humans.
Readers, in my last post I began showing how examples in texts of aesthetic philosophy often betray universal human subjectivity to be limited to European white males. Last time I shared some examples from Kant. Today I’d like to go to one of Kant’s influences, Edmund Burke’s A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful from 1757. Should you ever be tasked with teaching aesthetics, I highly recommend this text. It will make your students irate and nothing is better for class discussion.