Beauty, Universality, and Disinterestedness

  • Bernardo N. Caslib, Jr. Ateneo de Manila University


By analyzing key positions forwarded by the modern philosopher Immanuel Kant, this article will revisit the perennial conundrum on what beauty really amounts to and attempt a response to the constant issue hurled against the philosopher and his aesthetic theory. Kant’s solution to the competing notions of subjectivity and universality of beauty is the idea of subjective universality and the notion of contextual beauty In defense of the sophistication of Kant’s theory, I will underscore key Kantian concepts such as the reflecting power of judgment, free play, universality, and most importantly, disinterestedness. I will also take a closer look at Marcia Muelder Eaton’s disagreement with the Kantian position and respond to it by emphasizing that the notion of disinterestedness is the key to understanding Kant’s aesthetic theory.

Author Biography

Bernardo N. Caslib, Jr., Ateneo de Manila University
Bernardo N. Caslib, Jr. teaches full-time at the Department of Philosophy of Ateneo de Manila University. He was formerly an Assistant Professor of Philosophy in the Department of Philosophy of the University of the Philippines Diliman. He took his BA Philosophy with units in Psychology (magna cum laude) and MA Philosophy in UP Diliman, where he is also pursuing his PhD in Philosophy. A member of the Pi Gamma Mu International Honor Society and the Philosophical Association of the Philippines, Prof. Caslib specializes in Ethics, Applied Ethics, the History of Ideas, and Philosophy of Education. Email:


aesthetics, beauty, disinterestedness, Kant, universality