On the "Naturalist" Critique of Clement Greenberg Vide Kant

A Mistaken & Handed-Down Critique


  • Ekin Erkan


Immanuel Kant, Free Beauty, Third Critique, Adherent Beauty, Judgements of Beauty


According to commentators like Rosalind Krauss, Briony Fer, Caroline Jones, and Michael Fried, Clement Greenberg’s formalist/positivist device of “medium-specificity” debars errant affective aesthetic experiences that are embodied; despite significant differences in how these theorists arrive at this conclusion, one shared point of emphasis is Greenberg’s inheriting Kant’s disinterested conception of pleasure in reflective judgments of beauty. Offering a textualist review of Kant’s Analytic of the Beautiful, I seek to demonstrate that neither Greenberg, nor Greenberg’s critics, are correct in their account of Kant’s judgments of beauty. Specifically, I argue that Greenberg conflates Kant’s conception of judgments of free beauty (pulchritudo vaga) with merely adherent beauty (pulchritudo adhaerens). In formulating a rejoinder to Greenberg and the misplacement of Greenberg as a Kantian, and following Diarmuid Costello, I hope to save a path for a Kantian aesthetics of the present, much in the spirit of other broadly Kantian art historians and philosophers of art/aesthetics (e.g., Thierry de Duve, Paul Guyer, Ido Geiger, etc.).

Author Biography

Ekin Erkan

Ekin Erkan is a Turkish writer in science, technology and philosophy living in New York City, notable for researching with and developing Reza Negarestani's research on artificial general intelligence. Erkan's work originally concerned Bernard Stiegler's work on psychopolitics as well as secondary literature on François Laruelle's non-standard philosophy but has more recently (given their analytic return) been working on Catarina Dutilh Novaes' concept of de-semantification and Robert Brandom's inferentialism. Background Erkan's work examines the collective closure between neural networks, predictive processing, and perceptual faculties as they relate to machine intelligence and algorithmic governmentality. Erkan has a background in both analytic and continental philosophy, supplemented by graduate research in medialogy, media archaeology and film philosophy. Despite originally working within the continental tradition of philosophy of art, aesthetics and media, Erkan's more recent work has been associated with the post-continental school of thinkers, influenced by philosophers such as Carl Sachs, Ray Brassier, Reza Negarestani and Thomas Moynihan. Erkan is currently pursuing post-graduate study in Critical Philosophy at The New Centre for Research & Practice, researching under the tutelage of Iranian theory fiction pioneer Reza Negarestani while working on Bayesian neuro-inference and AGI. Erkan also is a columnist and critic at the art and literature journal AEQAI, publishing monthly contributions on contemporary art and intermedia. In addition to Erkan's work on Stiegler and Rouvroy, Erkan has published writing on Andy Clark and David Chalmers' ''extended mind'', Ned Block's ''non-iconic memory'' and ''phenomenology of perception and mental paint'', François Laruelle's ''non-ethics'' and ''non-aesthetics'', Robert Brandom's inferentialism, Negarestani's neo-rationalist turn, Catherine Malabou's "neuroplasticity" and "creative non-calculation," and post-Deleuzian film philosophy in publications including Radical Philosophy, Theory & Event, Identities: Journal for Politics, Gender and Culture, Cosmos & History, Alphaville, Cultural Studies, New Review of Film and Television Studies, Chiasma, Rhizomes, Labyrinth, Cultural Logic: A Journal of Marxist Theory & Practice, Media Theory, Philosophy East and West, and The Cincinnati Romance Review.




How to Cite

Erkan, E. (2023). On the "Naturalist" Critique of Clement Greenberg Vide Kant: A Mistaken & Handed-Down Critique . Cosmos and History: The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy, 19(2), 52–72. Retrieved from https://cosmosandhistory.org/index.php/journal/article/view/1029