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.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

The Dai­ly Habits of High­ly Pro­duc­tive Philoso­phers: Niet­zsche, Marx & Immanuel Kant

Alain de Botton’s School of Life Presents Ani­mat­ed Intro­duc­tions to Hei­deg­ger, The Sto­ics & Epi­cu­rus

How Mar­tin Luther King, Jr. Used Hegel, Kant & Niet­zsche to Over­turn Seg­re­ga­tion in Amer­i­ca


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