A Racy Philosophy Lesson on Kant’s Aesthetics by Alain de Botton’s “School of Life”

For the past two decades, Alain de Botton has refined his knack for popularizing philosophical and literary ideas. In 1997, he published his bestseller, How Proust Can Change Your Life. Next came his six-part video series, A Guide to Happinesswhere de Botton showed how thinkers like Montaigne, Seneca and Schopenhauer can help you grapple with timeless questions — like dealing with anger, managing your love life, or maintaining your self-esteem. And, by 2008, we find Alain opening The School of Life, a London-based operation that has as its tagline “good ideas for everyday life.”

The School of Life offers classes, publishes books, makes films, and now produces YouTube videos, some of which we’ve featured here before. The School’s latest release won’t go unnoticed. A three minute lesson on Kant’s aesthetics, the video features an eroticized teacher talking quickly and authoritatively in German about difficult aspects relating to Kant’s philosophy. Things get meta pretty quickly, and soon the distracting camera work starts making Kant’s very point about the nature of the subjective. The charged imagery is not, in other words, entirely gratuitous — but it’s certainly pretty unconventional, and whether it’s effective, I guess that’s up for debate. Next, up Nietzsche, we’re told.

If you would like some deeper introductions to Kant’s philosophy, please see our list of 130 Free Online Philosophy Courses. Kant’s Critique of Judgment appears in our collection, 135 Free Philosophy eBooks.

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