Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Kantian Rainbow

Kant is often regarded as a fairly dry philosopher, but I find that this is not usually so, if you can endure the endless academic jargon. One example is the passage in the Critique of Judgment in which he talks about how the charms of nature suggest moral qualities to us (e.g., as the songs of bird suggest joy and contentment), and even goes so far as to assign to each color of the rainbow the moral quality it suggests:

White: innocence

Red: sublimity
Orange: intrepidity
Yellow: candor
Green: friendliness
Blue: modesty
Indigo: constancy
Violet: tenderness

For those with the German, the actual words are "zur Idee der Erhabenheit, der Kühnheit, der Freimütigkeit, der Freundlichkeit, der Bescheidenheit, der Standhaftigkeit, und der Zärtlichkeit."

All this reminds me, indirectly, that I've been wanting for some time to have a post on Kant's guidelines for having the best dinner parties, which, if I have time, I'll get to at some point later in the week.

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