Tag Archives: disinterestedness

Kant’s disinterestedness

L’indifférent (1717) by Antoine Watteau

I’ve always been baffled by Kant’s notion of disinterestedness. And then I remembered that Nietzsche was just as baffled. Here is that passage from On the Genealogy of Morality:

Kant‘s famous definition of the beautiful. “That is beautiful,” says Kant, “which pleases without interesting.” Without interesting! Compare this definition with this other one [..] by Stendhal, who once called the beautiful une promesse de bonheur. Here, at any rate, the one point which Kant makes prominent in the aesthetic position is repudiated and eliminated—le désinteressement. Who is right, Kant or Stendhal?”