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By Sam Gould

Let us observe. You are confronted one cold bitter morning with no alternative route but a three-block walk in cold cobblestoned slush. What intuition, what a priori understanding is afforded that you don’t freeze? You put a coat on, a scarf, gloves, some warm slacks, maybe all of the above, with something to keep your head warm. Your intuition of this cold morning creates an attire conducive to your direct experience of prior cold mornings. Predicated on this intuition is that, because of A, dressing according to the weather, you have B, created an aesthetic quality in accordance with your intuitive understanding of that cold morning. This is not only stylistic, but a necessary (moral) decision for dressing in cold weather. You have made a direct moral judgment in accordance to the objective necessity of the conditions.

Style and fashion reflect a descriptive and synthetic ethics of society and culture. But is descriptive ethics, to reason the case of the physical, material world, what forces us to choose one style over another? Or similarly, absorb and liken one trend to another, of one’s experience?

Descriptive ethics- what is rather than what ought to be- is experience predicated of the physical material world. Adopting a style and fashion is a process associated to the physical material world, through explicating processes of synthetic reason. In society and culture, we reason through physical reality. From reason, the physical reality we experience reflects social and cultural sensibilities that seep and fluctuate in our attire, dress, and bodily collaboration of materials. Categorical implications of how we dress explicate what is rather than what ought to be in the physical, material world. But, is a synthetic as well as descriptive, understanding of one’s attire all that is afforded from the simple experience of exterior physical phenomenon? Can this decision become one that is due intuitively, from a normative (ought to be the case) understanding? Can one’s style and fashion be a direct moral judgment? 


A Categorical Imperative suggests that one type of action is an objective necessity. That it is a prior elicits something more than experience, of a basis other than direct experience. Similarly, intuition is immediate sensation. From these modes of understanding, style and fashion formulate an objective necessity, as well as an understanding of intuitive sensation.   

Enter spring: where re-growth, rejuvenation, and where dewy, puddle-filled pathways are your dog’s magnetic attraction pulling you ever along.  With ever wetter shoes- a sweater, corduroy pants, and tennis shoes are your objective. A synthetic idea, known through experience and response, tells you that winter has come and gone and your bones have survived the chill. Now trembling in the reality of summer’s approach, as if a fantasy too far-removed to be realized, you stroll liberated from your coat, scarf, gloves, and every winter accessory in lieu of a free mind. You discover in a sense, reinvention as your body lightens to a new and lighter thread. But familiar to you, as those wet puddles reminisce winter’s chill, and your intuition romances the stampeding run of your dog, latched behind, you suffocate in synthetic proposition.

Synthetic propositions, and a priori intuition, are compatible forms of reason. From morality, we may say then that our actions are of a sense, necessary actions. All acts of morality come a priori intuitively, as well as from synthetic experience; they are both necessary modes of reason for decisions of fashion, and then, formative style.   

When summer subsumes, your eyes reflect in scenes carried by the lenses covering your face. Long blazoned skirts frill in walkways and the cotton of your shirt grazes the peeling of your back. Your decisions reflect a synthetic response to the conditions afforded to you of fallen sand castles and checked and polka-dotted patterns. Intuition affords you the very reflectivity of those lenses, check and polka-dot becomes an essence of your mood, cascading in violet (and ultra-violet) rays manifesting across your blouse. You walk as if in cadence with the crashing waves around you. Reflection, that your intuition affords you a decision to portray a character mimicking that shoreline grazed in approbation. Evident too, from the strut of checked and polka-dots of the sun splayed across your shoreline of intuition. 

A summer solstice dissipates of mellow fruit and imminent melancholy- when you feel, from hot to cold, joy unto the maturing and mediating of a summer once gone. Where from synthetic experience that grazed and fruitful appetite reflects the falling and crunching of decayed foliage beneath your feet, the walkway you strolled now resembles but a poet’s reference point, and a graveyard of that which was once prosperous. You are afforded a polo, a cardigan, and perhaps a scarf lightly infringing your neck, inching closer as the months grow colder.

Through the seasons that grace time, you live a priori intuitively, and you have sought what ought to be, of a normative kind, a style appreciative to your character. A style eliciting the moral judgments afforded to your day.

Sam Gould, studied Philosophy and Art History at the University of California, Irvine. The New Zealand native, also writes his own philosophy blog,

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