Visions of Political Form: Kantian Free Play and Urban Space

Visions of Political Form: Kantian Free Play and Urban Space

Ryan Wittingslow


A number of commentators have examined Kantian beauty in regards to its political promise. According to these readings, the free play inherent to beauty is a precondition for realizing political forms that are both pluralistic and non-coercive. But what does this mean for the design of urban spaces where pluralistic and non-coercive politics are supposed to take place? In this paper I offer a reading of urban beauty via a Kantian lens. I argue that any assessment of urban beauty is, in part, an assessment of that space’s capacity to encourage the free play necessary for non-coercive politics and a rich public life. Under this formulation, Kantian free play is not only a necessary feature of any experience of beauty but also a design ethos that can meaningfully inform urban form.

Key Words
beauty; Kant; play; politics; urban design


1. Introduction

Immanuel Kant argued that the experience of beauty is premised upon the capacity of the viewing subject to engage in the free play of the imagination. In this free play, imagination is unconstrained by specific concepts while still adhering to the general conditions or laws under which concepts can be applied.[1] A robust political literature has emerged from this formulation, and a number of commentators, including Friedrich Schiller, Herbert Marcuse, Hannah Arendt, and Tobin Siebers, have examined Kant’s beautiful in terms of its political promise. The free play inherent to the beautiful “inspires a vision of political form.”[2] Under these views, beauty offers a space wherein imagination can function unconstrained by determinate concepts. As a consequence, beauty can promote a pluralistic politics that is unmarred by coercive powers and institutions.

However, taking this approach invites further questions. Are there certain material conditions, for instance, that must exist in order for beauty to manifest? Invoking Paul Guyer’s work on Kant’s philosophy of architecture, I explore the possibility that assessing both successful utility and the successful expression of aesthetic ideas can be tied to the relationships between Kantian beauty and politics.[3] In pursuit of this claim, I argue that Kantian aesthetics of architecture can be applied to urban spaces, in that both architecture and urban spaces are beautiful in the same adherent manner. I then argue that an assessment of urban beauty is, in part, an assessment of that space’s capacity to encourage the free play necessary for non-coercive politics and a rich public life. Elaborating upon this position, I conclude by defending the notion that assessing urban beauty is, in part, an assessment of a space’s capacity to encourage political free play. Under this formulation, Kantian free play is both a condition for the experience of beauty and a design ethos that can meaningfully inform architectural and urban form.

2. Arbitrary ends

In The Critique of Judgment, Kant seeks to analyze the notion of aesthetic judgment. In so doing, he outlines a set of features that differentiate judgments of beauty from judgments of mere taste or judgments of moral goodness. There are, he claims, four dimensions to judgments of beauty: what he calls “moments.” I will briefly enumerate them.

First, judgments of beauty are based upon a species of disinterested pleasure.[4] Unlike other kinds of liking—say, the complex gratification one might take in a good glass of pinotage, the hedonic joy of a mosh pit, or the moral satisfaction one might take in the good works of another—the pleasure associated with the beautiful does not depend on or correspond with either the subject’s having a desire for that object or the subject’s approval of that object, whether moral or otherwise. In this manner, it is distinguished from both judgments of the agreeable and judgments of the good.

Second, judgments of beauty aspire to universal validity.[5] Moreover, this aspiration to universal validity is not premised upon the subsumption of the object under a given concept. In this manner, judgments of beauty are unlike judgments of the agreeable or judgments of the good because there are no rules by which a subject must consider an object beautiful. They exhibit “lawfulness without a law.” As Kant writes, “The beautiful is that which, apart from a concept, pleases universally.”[6]

Third, judgments of beauty are not premised upon the extent to which an object is fit for a given purpose.[7] Nonetheless, objects that appear beautiful possess a nebulous feature that Kant calls “purposiveness.” Commentators disagree on precisely what Kant intends by this distinction, but I take him to mean that ascriptions of purposiveness make two claims.[8] First, that the object in question is the product of a rationally guided process; and second, that the object in question was created with no specific purpose in mind; it is unconstrained by determinate concepts. This apparent tension, between purposiveness and lack of purpose, along with the afore-mentioned “lawfulness without a law,” stimulates in the subject what Kant calls the “free play” of the faculties. When experiencing free play, imagination is unconstrained by specific concepts of purpose while still adhering to the general conditions or laws under which those concepts can be applied: “The cognitive powers brought into play by this representation are here engaged in a free play, since no determinate concept restricts them to a particular rule of cognition.”[9]

Finally, judgments of beauty have a necessity relation with the stimulating object.[10] In making a judgment of beauty about a given object, the subject is making a normative claim: that all who perceive the object ought also judge the object beautiful. This is, of course, not to say that all who perceive the object will find the given object beautiful, only that they should.

This, of course, is not the whole story. Of the design arts, only architecture warrants a mention in the Third Critique and, even in that case, only a small number of times. Kant first mentions architecture in §16, drawing a distinction between the “free” and/or “self-subsisting” beauty of the four moments described in the introduction and the merely “adherent” or “conditioned” beauty of those objects that exceed the initial analysis. He writes: “But the beauty […] of a building […] presupposes a concept of the end that defines what the thing has to be, and consequently a concept of its perfection; and is therefore merely adherent beauty.”[11] Kant raises architecture again in §51, contrasting it with that other “plastic” art, sculpture. Not having lived to see non-figurative sculpture, Kant argues that sculpture is inherently an art form that “presents concepts of things corporeally, as they might exist in nature.”[12] A successful sculpture is one that successfully imitates natural forms, even if the sculpture itself is depicting a mythical or fictional figure. For example, the power and sensuousness of Laocoön and His Sons is premised not upon its formal similarities to the suffering of Laocoön and his sons Antiphantes and Thymbraeus. Instead, it is successful because it might be similar; even though it is not the case, it could be.

Architecture is not bound to the world in the same way. Instead of imitating things that might be the case, architecture is “the art of presenting concepts of things which are possible only through art, and the determining ground of whose form is not nature but an arbitrary end—and of presenting them both with a view to this purpose and yet, at the same time, with aesthetic purposiveness.”[13] So, while architecture is not bound by the strictures of imitation, it is bound by intended use and, as a consequence, bound by concomitant success and failure criteria.

However, while the adherent beauty of architecture may not have the conceptual purity of free beauty, to use Kant’s nomenclature, it still preserves the most important feature of the beautiful, that of free play. As Paul Guyer notes, objects exhibiting adherent beauty are “characterized precisely by the fact that they do presuppose a ‘concept of what the object ought to be …and the perfection of the object in accordance with it’ […] although apparently without the opportunity for free ‘play’ disappearing altogether, since Kant does after all call adherent beauty a kind of beauty.”[14] This capacity to express beauty exists by virtue of the fact that all fine art, of which architecture is an example, can serve as a vehicle for “aesthetic ideas.[15] It is in §49 that Kant gives a gloss of this notion: “by an aesthetic idea I mean that representation of the imagination which evokes much thought, yet without the possibility of any definite thought whatever, i.e. concept, being adequate to it, and which language, consequently, can never quite fully capture or render completely intelligible.”[16] Although Kant is not explicit, I take him to mean that aesthetic ideas serve as the causal triggers for the experience of free play. In not possessing the “possibility of any definite thought,” they push the imagination into motion; their very open-endedness provides the grounds under which free play can be stimulated in the subject.

With that formulation in mind, Guyer argues that in Kant, judgments of architectural beauty  have two complementary aspects: assessments of the extent to which the building in question fulfills its function and assessment of the extent to which it successfully expresses aesthetic ideas.[17] A richly conceptual building that is not fit for purpose, because it is absent doors, for instance, or the lavatory is installed into the ceiling, cannot be architecture, and thus cannot instantiate architectural beauty, on the grounds that, in Kant’s words, “adaptation of the product to a particular use is the essential element in a work of architecture.”[18] However, the presentation of aesthetic ideas is also integral to architectural beauty. A building otherwise adapted to its particular use that does not express aesthetic ideas simply cannot be beautiful. A house, for instance, may well l a given need, in that it successfully provides shelter for its occupants, without us having to assume that it also expresses aesthetic ideas. Both criteria must be fulfilled in order for a building to be considered beautiful. So far, so good! Unfortunately, it is here that we run into two problems.

The first is a modest issue, easily resolved but nonetheless deserving of our attention: What are the limits of Kant’s picture of architectural beauty? Or, put differently, to what extent can Kant’s assessment of architectural beauty be extended to urban spaces, or even other designed things, more generally? This question can be answered, I think, reasonably straightforwardly. The kind of beauty that architecture is capable of possessing can also be possessed by other aspects of the built environment. A public square, for instance, is just as much a designed thing as an opera house, and the beauty that each might possess is adherent in the same way. They are both bound by a notion of intended use, while, at the same time, both are capable of serving as vehicles for aesthetic ideas. In this respect, while a building and a public square might differ in terms of degree, they do not differ by type. It is not a difference that makes a difference.

Our second and much more serious concern has to do with aesthetic ideas themselves. Unfortunately, Kant neither provides a definition nor gives examples of aesthetic ideas in practice, so it is very difficult to imagine how a given structure or space might instantiate these ideas. Guyer, to his credit, concludes his analysis with some reflections on what Kant might have intended, writing: “Kant’s position might seem to prepare the way for something closest to Hegel’s position, that architecture, like other arts, always aims at the expression of metaphysical ideas.”[19] Of course, given the conditions under which free play manifests, the difficulties involved in nailing down Kant’s intentions are unsurprising. Aesthetic ideas must gesture toward purposiveness and lawfulness without being either purposive or lawful. So, what does that tell us about beauty, and specifically the beauty of urban spaces? Or, more precisely, what does it mean for a given place to be purposive without purpose or have lawfulness without a law? Even though this tension between designed ends and free play seems to flirt with paradox, or incoherence, this matter can be resolved by appealing to literature dealing with the political dimension of Kantian aesthetics.

3. Political action

There is a robust literature examining the political dimension of Kantian aesthetics.[20] While I won’t provide a comprehensive survey, I will winnow out and make clear what I take to be the common threads that unite this literature by focusing on the work of Hannah Arendt, beginning with The Human Condition and ending with Between Past and Future.

Arendt, in The Human Condition and elsewhere, argues that the ideal politically active life is comprised of three constitutive conditions. The first condition, labor, “is an activity which corresponds to the biological processes of the body, […] the metabolism between man and nature.”[21] Labor is necessarily private and cyclical. Constituted from biological rhythms that are beyond the purview of public discourse, animal laborans produces consumables in order to further sustain labor. Moreover, the laboring human does not have the opportunity nor ability to apply this labor in such a way as to generate a meaningful surplus; the person who applies labor to hunt deer has no means by which to store it for later use. As Arendt notes: “After a brief stay in the world, [goods of labor] return into the natural process that yielded them either through absorption into the life process of the human animal or through decay; in their man-made shape they disappear more quickly than any other part of the world.”[22] Despite the cycle of consumption that allows for the subsistence of the laboring human, Arendt claims that the laboring human leaves no lasting impression upon the Real. As a consequence, the animal laborans is bound essentially to both its own body and to the environment in which its body labors.

The second condition, work, concerns the designed products of human intention. Arendt argues that technology and design are inherent to the human condition. In comparison to animals, which lack full-blown material culture, we qua homo faber use our objects—chairs, tables, houses, space stations—to moor us to nature, allowing us to find purchase in a world that is both indifferent and eternally moving.[23] Without these objects, we would have no means of navigating the world, and we cannot know the world without them. They provide us with both epistemic and ontological orientation. As a consequence, they are importantly world-constituting. Arendt writes:

[…] the things of the world have the function of stabilizing human life, and their objectivity lies in the fact that men, their ever-changing nature notwithstanding, can retrieve their identity by being related to the enduring sameness of objects, the same chair today and tomorrow, the same house formerly from birth to death. Against the subjectivity of men stands the objectivity of the man-made artifice, not the indifference of nature. Only because we have erected a world of objects from what nature gives us and have built this artificial environment into nature, thus protecting us from her, can we look upon nature as being ‘objective.’ Without a world between men and nature, there would be eternal movement, but no durability.[24]

Both labor and work are necessarily private activities. Labor is private in that it is the condition of natural cycles, of mere subsistence. Eating, sleeping, and defecating are not socially determined experiences, though they may be socially conditioned, nor do they result in meaningful surplus. Meanwhile, work is private because our collective capacity to render the world navigable and durable is not contingent upon forms of interpersonal engagement; by abrading against the Real, we acquire the capacity to conduct ourselves as the sole lords and masters of the whole earth.

Private work and labor thereby provide the groundwork for public action by providing the material conditions for politics to occur. Action is the radically equal realm of the agora; a place where citizens operate “free from the inequality present in rulership and to move in a sphere where neither rule nor being ruled existed.”[25] This is significant because it is only in the domain of action that true newness can occur, unconstrained by hierarchies and other forms of institutional path dependence. Because actors involved in the business of action are fundamentally undetermined, Arendt writes that an actor cannot predict the result of an action, for the presence of other actors necessarily contravenes their ability to impose their predictive faculties upon the world: “the consequences of each deed are boundless, every action touches off not only a reaction but a chain reaction, every process is the cause of unpredictable new processes […] one deed, one gesture may suffice to change every constellation.”[26] This is action in action: a space in which novelty and newness can emerge. In so doing, action gives us the opportunity to throw off the path-dependence that shackles us to the past and encounter new ways of living: the narrow gate through which freedom might enter.

It is in Between Past and Future that Arendt explores the mechanisms that undergird the function of action, and it is here that she invokes Kant’s aesthetics. She writes that the Third Critique offers us a “different way of thinking,” composed of two prongs. First, and as established in our précis of the four moments in the previous section, judgments of beauty are normative claims to universal validity that are nonetheless unbound by laws or purpose. As a consequence, Arendt argues, a judgment of beauty is not a private fact or feeling; rather judgments are claims that only exist in the lush thickets of public debate. In this manner, Arendt claims, judgments of beauty are not, in essence, dissimilar from political judgments. In making claims about the way society should be, one is also rendering normative claims to universal validity: You insist that it is right that people agree with you, even if you cannot bind them to agree with you by invoking given laws. It is here that Arendt brings Kant’s aesthetics into the political realm: both judgments of beauty and political judgments are subsumed into aesthetic judgments.[27] Second, the power of judgment “rests on a potential agreement with others.” If we are to engage in debate about aesthetic judgments, whether regarding the beautiful, the political, or otherwise, we must adopt what Kant calls an “enlarged mentality.” We must learn to liberate ourselves from the tyranny of our own perspectives. The cultivation of judgment facilitates this common sense, providing citizens a point of ingress into the shared universe of the Arendtian public. She writes: “In aesthetic no less than in political judgments, a decision is made, and although this decision is always determined by a certain subjectivity, […] it also derives from the fact that the world itself is an objective datum, something common to all its inhabitants.”[28] The judgment of taste is the activity which allows us to share the world with other people.

Arendt’s analysis of the politics of Kantian beauty shares features with the analyses of other writers. Friedrich Schiller, by example, distinguishes between three different kinds of state: the dynamic state of rights, wherein the polis is ruled via force; the ethical state, where the polis curbs its behavior in observation of a common moral law; and the aesthetic state, wherein obligations are met out of voluntary inclinations and all parts of the polis act freely   and harmoniously. It is a state without coercive powers or norms, with individuals instead self-governed by their aesthetic nature. In so doing, the aesthetic state “consummates the will of the whole through the nature of the individual.”[29] Meanwhile, Herbert Marcuse, in Eros and Civilization, claims that the two key features of Kantian beauty, purposiveness without purpose and lawfulness without a law, “circumscribe, beyond the Kantian context, the essence of a truly non-repressive order.” He continues: “The first defines the structure of beauty, the second that of freedom; their common character is gratification in the free play of the released potentialities of man and nature.”[30] Finally, Tobin Siebers argues that Kantian beauty “inspires a vision of political form.”[31] The apparent autonomy of beautiful objects confronts us with the fact that there exist things beyond our control. This realization is a function of both lawfulness without a law and purposiveness without purpose: A beautiful thing evades our attempts to subsume it under a given concept. As a consequence, we encounter them as objects grounded in a profound otherness: equal yet ontologically distinct constituents in a pluralistic universe.[32] As Siebers writes:

Aesthetic judgment, then, provides the perfect analogy by which to imagine ideal forms of political judgment. It offers the experience of a free political space, a space of intersubjectivity, in which a multitude of thinking people are dedicated to an open discussion—unbound by previously existing prejudices—and committed to reaching an agreement acceptable to all.[33]

In all four stories told here, Kantian aesthetics is the foundation for new political forms, unmarred by coercive powers or institutions. By virtue of the liberties provided by lawfulness without a law and purposiveness without purpose, this political form is one undergirded by the notion of free play. As a consequence, a politics of Kantian beauty must be pluralist, non-coercive, and harmonious. The shared experience of affect forges a richly textured communal space wherein members of a public can speak and act, free of the vagaries of history, free of their own contingent features, and united in the collaborative process of self-legislation. Or, as Siebers writes: “Beauty is, in short, politics’ idea of utopia, and although it be utopian, a wonderful idea it sometimes is.”[34] But what kind of space best encourages Kantian political beauty? Although a politics of Kantian beauty does not enshrine a single good or set of goods, it facilitates the creation of a non-coercive, pluralistic, and intersubjective public life wherein all citizens are equal stakeholders and equally able to pursue their own ends.

4. Multistable design

I have already established the importance of the built environment in achieving Arendtian action. It is the processes of animal laborans and products of homo faber that ground us and orient us vis-à-vis the world. In this respect, action supervenes upon our material circumstances. While the A-facts of our material circumstances do not dictate the B-facts of our political life, it is certainly the case that they are a causal factor in the development and encouragement of that political life.[35] Consequently, and while Arendt is not clear on this point, it strikes me as entirely plausible that action can only supervene upon the right kinds or arrangements of objects. While the mere having of a roof and a bed may provide phenomenological anchoring by virtue of providing one with a place of permanent abode, there is nothing in the roof and the bed that inherently fosters a rich public life. Instead, there need be a concatenation of roofs and beds arranged in the right kind of way: not only an adequate density of persons and their spaces but also robust and thoughtful spaces in-between. It is only in these in-between spaces that public life can flourish and true political action can take place.

Furthermore, not just any in-between space will do. Instead, Arendtian political action requires the appropriate environment to flourish: undetermined spaces that facilitate and encourage innovation, novelty, liberty. It requires spaces that inspire free play. An example may be helpful. In 1933, the then-unknown sculptor Isamu Noguchi designed a park unlike any other. Somewhere between a playground and a sculptural installation, Noguchi’s Play Mountain was a massive, pyramidal, urban promontory; a joyous and otherworldly topographical experiment populated with abstract playground equipment. Armed with his blueprints, Noguchi managed to finagle a meeting with Robert Moses in 1934, the newly-appointed Commissioner of the New York City Parks Department. Conveniently for Noguchi and his playground, Moses had declared the construction of new parks a priority of his tenure. Less conveniently, it soon became clear that Moses’ rather prosaic intentions for new city parks—abandoned lots in-filled with dirt; slides, swings, seesaws, and sandboxes—didn’t cohere with Noguchi’s phantasmagorical vision, and the plan did not proceed further.[36]

Play Mountain defies easy categorization. The installations that dot the park do not welcome any specific use. There are no slides or swings or seesaws to be seen. Instead, using the space requires exploration and creative engagement: a kind of primal problem-solving where a child must make sense of the space before he or she is able to use it. Unburdened by existing preconceptions of use, children are expected to imagine new activities that these objects and spaces could be for. It is a “miniature universe in which children, under the most favorable circumstances, can begin their relationship with the world.”[37] Noguchi himself said of Play Mountain: “It’s their world, not a grown-up’s world. It’s a land in which a person three feet tall can run around. I want the child to discover something I created for him—and I want him to confront the earth as, perhaps, early man confronted it.”[38] It is for this reason that Noguchi did not design his playground with a specific end or set of ends in mind beyond creating a world for children to explore, discover, and confront. As a design, it is inherently multistable.

A term drawn from post-phenomenology, multistability refers to the structural ambiguity of technological artefacts, in that the uses of artefacts are not strictly determined.[39] Although an artefact may be designed with a given end or stability in mind—a flathead screwdriver, for instance, is designed to drive screws—that artefact can also be used for other tasks—that same flathead screwdriver can be used to open a tin of paint. Consequently, in this case, the screwdriver has multiple stabilities: it is multistable. Like the screwdriver, all objects are in some sense multistable; there is no artefact that is good for only one thing. Play Mountain, however, is unusual in that it is actively and intentionally multistable. It is not for anything at all, nor does it have a precise ontological character. It is simultaneously public space, playground, alien landscape, and sculptural installation. While Noguchi’s intention was to design a uniquely undetermined space for exploration and use by children, Play Mountain has something more general to say about public spaces. Play Mountain, it turns out, is exactly the kind of space necessary for Arendtian action to manifest, despite having been designed for children. Moreover, it is that kind of space because it is explicitly and intentionally multistable. Being for nothing, it could be for anything.

Not all public spaces are multistable. One could imagine, for instance, an urban design ethos that is both deterministic and suffocating; one that, in spite of the existence of public space, puts the kibosh upon creative or playful re-imaginings of function and purpose.[40] While the objects inspired by this ethos might anchor us to the world just fine, that ethos would also actively compromise the possibility of meaningful political action. Indeed, we need to be open to the idea that the aesthetic experience of a given design can and does meaningfully interact with the political potential of that design.

Consider, for instance, what is euphemistically called “defensive design” or, less euphemistically, “hostile architecture.” Examples include bus stop benches designed in such a way as to make comfortable sleep impossible; landscaping features installed to hinder use by skateboarders; and high-pitched sirens intended to drive away young people. As Robert Rosenberger ably argues, these objects implicitly police, and subsequently redefine, the limits of appropriate behavior in public and other communal spaces by virtue of the conditions under which we experience them.[41] These objects change the tenor of our experiences of public space, consequently altering the politics of those spaces by dictating the terms under which those spaces can be used. They achieve this by actively collapsing multistabilities. A bench without arm dividers can be used as a seat or as a sleeping place, depending on the needs of the user. A park bench with arm dividers cannot be used in this manner. Sleep is impossible; a stability has been winked out of existence. These designs, as Rosenberger argues, have profound effects on the implicit politics of public spaces in that they tacitly enforce for whom and for what a given space is for. Of course, this is fundamentally incompatible with Arendt’s political reimagining of Kant, in that these objects are simply too coercive to permit, let alone properly facilitate, the unpredictable processes that typify political action. Action cannot supervene upon these material circumstances.

5. Conclusion

So, what does it mean for urban design to be beautiful, given a) the difficulty inherent in talking about beauty vis-à-vis Kant’s philosophy of architecture, and b) the relationship between Kantian aesthetics and Arendtian politics? We can resolve this question by arguing that that the facilitation and encouragement of the free play necessary for the ludic space that Arendt describes is the arbitrary end of beautiful urban design. After all, the political free play that Arendt describes is exactly the kind of aesthetic idea that Kant identifies, given that political action possesses both purposiveness without a purpose and lawfulness without a law. A beautiful space, then, or beautiful design more generally, must function in such a way as to express this aesthetic idea. This move permits us to do two things.

First, in rendering free play the arbitrary end of a structure, we can now dissolve the tension underpinning Kant’s philosophy of architecture: purposiveness without purpose and lawfulness without a law is cashed out in the formation of multistable and shared spaces free from coercion or external constraints. Second, it provides the groundwork for a design ethos premised upon a politics of Kantian beauty. According to this ethos, a beautiful space is beautiful because it succeeds in facilitating and encouraging the right kind of multistable common spaces: the in-between necessary for the existence of political action. These spaces must foster a non-coercive, pluralistic, and intersubjective public life wherein all citizens are equal stakeholders and are equally able to pursue their own ends. Thus, any assessment of beauty in urban design is, in part, an assessment of that structure’s or object’s capacity to encourage the free play necessary for non-coercive politics and a rich public life. Under this formulation, Kantian free play is not only a necessary feature of any experience of beauty; it is also a design ethos that can meaningfully inform architectural and urban form.


Ryan Wittingslow

Ryan Wittingslow is assistant professor of Philosophy of Art and Culture at the University of Groningen, and received his PhD from the University of Sydney in 2014. His research mainly sits at the intersection of aesthetics, philosophy of technology, and philosophy of design.

Published July 16, 2020.

Cite this article: Ryan Wittingslow, “Visions of Political Form: Kantian Free Play and Urban Space,” Contemporary Aesthetics, Special Volume 8 (2020) Urban Aesthetics, accessed date.



[1] Immanuel Kant, The Critique of Judgement, ed. Nicholas Walker, trans. James Creed Meredith (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007), §1–22.

[2] Tobin Siebers, “Kant and the Politics of Beauty,” Philosophy and Literature 22, no. 1 (1994): 44.

[3] Paul Guyer, “Kant and the Philosophy of Architecture,” The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 69, no. 1 (2011).

[4] Kant, The Critique of Judgement, §§1–5.

[5] Ibid., §§6–9.

[6] Ibid., 51.

[7] Ibid., §§10–17.

[8] For a small selection of the literature, please refer to Paul Guyer, Kant and the Claims of Taste (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1979): 213–218, Hannah Ginsborg, “Kant on Aesthetic and Biological Purposiveness,” in Reclaiming the History of Ethics: Essays for John Rawls, ed. Andrew Reath, Barbara Herman, and Christine Korsgaard (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997), Rachel Zuckert, “A New Look at Kant’s Theory of Pleasure,” The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 60, no. 3 (2002): 239–252, and Thomas Teufel, “Kant’s Non-Teleological Conception of Purposiveness,” Kant-Studien 102, no. 2 (2011): 232–252.

[9] Kant, The Critique of Judgement, 45.

[10] Ibid., §§18–22.

[11] Ibid., 61.

[12] Ibid., 151.

[13] Ibid.

[14] Guyer, “Kant and the Philosophy of Architecture,” 14.

[15] Kant, The Critique of Judgement, 149.

[16] Ibid., 142.

[17] Guyer, “Kant and the Philosophy of Architecture,” 16–17.

[18] Kant, The Critique of Judgement, 151.

[19] Guyer, “Kant and the Philosophy of Architecture,” 17.

[20] By means of a small and decidedly non-exhaustive survey, and in addition to Siebers, “Kant and the Politics of Beauty,” cited above: Friedrich Schiller, “Letters on the Aesthetic Education of Man,” in Essays, ed. Daniel O. Dahlstrom and Walter Hinderer, trans. Elizabeth M. Wilkinson and L. A. Willoughby (New York: Continuum, 1993), 86–178; Hannah Arendt, Between Past and Future: Six Exercises in Political Thought (New York: Viking Press, 1961); Hannah Arendt, Lectures on Kant’s Political Philosophy (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, December 2014); Jürgen Habermas, “On the German-Jewish Heritage,” Telos 44 (1980): 127–131; Jean-François Lyotard, The Differend: Phrases in Dispute, trans. Georges Van Den Abbeele (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1988); Jean-François Lyotard, The Inhuman, trans. Geoffrey Bennington and Rachel Bowlby (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1991); Herbert Marcuse, Eros and Civilization (Boston: Beacon Press, 1955); and Herbert Marcuse, The Aesthetic Dimension: Toward a Critique of Marxist Aesthetics (Boston: Beacon Press, 1978).

[21] Hannah Arendt, “Labor, Work, Action,” in The Portable Hannah Arendt, ed. Peter Baehr (London: Penguin, 2000), 170.

[22] Ibid., 171.

[23] Ibid.

[24] Ibid., 173–174.

[25] Hannah Arendt, The Human Condition (Chicago & London: Chicago University Press, 1998), 33.

[26] Arendt, “Labor, Work, Action,” 180.

[27] Arendt, Between Past and Future: Six Exercises in Political Thought, 220.

[28] Ibid., 222.

[29] Schiller, “Letters on the Aesthetic Education of Man,” 176.

[30] Marcuse, Eros and Civilization, 177.

[31] Siebers, “Kant and the Politics of Beauty,” 44.

[32] Ibid., 44–45.

[33] Ibid., 46.

[34] Ibid., 48.

[35] C.f. Ryan Wittingslow, “Bloody-Minded Metaphysics: Barry Allen vs. the World,” Contemporary Pragmatism 13, no. 2 (July 2016): 129–142.

[36] Martin Friedman, “Noguchi’s Imaginary Landscapes,” Design Quarterly, nos. 106/107 (1978): 39.

[37] Ibid.

[38] Ibid.

[39] Don Ihde, Technology and the Lifeworld (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1990), 144–151.

[40] Here, I have in mind not only cities like Pyongyang, Ashgabat, and Albert Speer’s Welthauptstadt Germania, but also private developments masquerading as public space, such as shopping malls or theme parks.

[41] Robert Rosenberger, Callous Objects: Designs Against the Homeless (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2017).