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Art as the ‘organ of philosophy’
Andrew Bowie

4 Schelling: art as the ‘organ of philosophy’ Nature and philosophy One of the great issues which divides thinkers in modernity is the status of ‘nature’. If nature can no longer be said to have a theological basis, what determines how we are to understand what nature is? Kant’s ambivalence with regard to ‘nature’ suggest why this issue creates so much controversy. On the one hand, nature ‘in the formal sense’ is simply that which functions in terms of necessary laws, and is therefore the object of natural science; on the other, in the form of organisms and as

in Aesthetics and subjectivity
Kant
Andrew Bowie

beauty to natural teleology, the purposiveness of individual organisms and the possible purposiveness of nature as a whole. In doing so, however, it threatens to undermine essential tenets of the first two Critiques. The third Critique is not least significant because of the ways in which it informs subsequent attempts in German Idealism to integrate Kant’s philosophy into an overall system, some of which give a major role to aesthetics. The CJ has, furthermore, become increasingly important in contemporary discussions of Kant’s work, appealing on the one hand to those

in Aesthetics and subjectivity
The St Vincent and the Grenadines context
Philip Nanton

(embodying the ‘wild’: nature, chaos and that which needed to be tamed); the planters’ and intellectuals’ fear of the land returning to bush; and, in contrast, a growing lyricism in response to the beauty of the environment in its wild state. At a practical level, the colonial authorities in St Vincent were anxious to improve the society and protect it from contamination by wild

in Frontiers of the Caribbean
Andrew Bowie

. Concern with the possibility that philosophy has been the source of a repressive failure to engage with the radically ‘other’ is, of course, the reason for the extensive attention to the aesthetic in such thinkers. The question which is decisive for the present book, is, therefore, the relationship of aesthetics to rationality. The Idealist hopes for an integration of the subject into a new conception of nature that would harmonise what we know with what we should do give way later in the nineteenth century to a much more fraught view of the subject in relation to the

in Aesthetics and subjectivity
Open Access (free)
Andrew Bowie

contrast between ‘romanticism’ and ‘positivism’ are, of course, already sown in the period we have been considering. Fears about the nihilistic consequences of Spinozist determinism in the wake of the Pantheism controversy from the 1780s onwards (see Beiser 1987, Bowie 1997) are in many respects analogous to fears about the nihilistic consequences of contemporary scientism, and the aesthetic responses of Schelling and the Romantics to Spinozism are echoed in aspects of Heideggerian and post-structuralist views of art as the counter to the dominating nature of modern

in Aesthetics and subjectivity
Andrew Bowie

Szondi maintains of German Idealism that ‘One could say crudely that the philosophy of German Idealism tried to win back via the path of speculation what Kant’s criticism had to renounce: the unity of subject and object, of mind and nature’ (Szondi 1974 p. 221). ‘German Idealism’, which I shall generally refer to as ‘Idealism’ from now on, has little to do with the philosophical idealism represented by Berkeley’s claim that ‘being is perceiving’. Kant already objected to such idealism when he insisted upon the need in ‘transcendental idealism’ for intuitions given from

in Aesthetics and subjectivity
Andrew Bowie

different forms of articulation which did not require a wholesale split between verbal language and music; it also elucidated important differences between the way each can come to be employed and can affect its recipient. From this perspective the – hyperbolic – alternative of regarding music as ‘higher’ than verbal language for metaphysical reasons makes sense in relation to a specific historical situation, namely one in which the universalising nature of verbal language is felt to be inadequate to the individual experience of the modern subject. In this view the practice

in Aesthetics and subjectivity
Fichte, Hölderlin and Novalis
Andrew Bowie

3 Reflections on the subject: Fichte, Hölderlin and Novalis Self and Other One of the most striking examples of the new concern with the nature of subjectivity in the eighteenth century is Rousseau’s ‘Scène lyrique’, Pygmalion, in which the sculptor’s creation, Galathée, comes to life and touches her creator, saying ‘It’s me.’ Moving away, she touches a marble sculpture and says ‘It’s no longer me. . .’ Finally, touching Pygmalion again, she sighs: ‘Ah! Me once again . . .’, and he exclaims: ‘it is you, you alone, I give you all my being; I shall no longer live

in Aesthetics and subjectivity
Open Access (free)
Andrew Bowie

guarantees the order of the world. For Kant the only certainty philosophy can provide is grounded in ourselves, not in something outside ourselves. However, in order to establish more substantial links between the external world of nature and the internal world of self-consciousness, he subsequently becomes concerned with what makes us appreciate and create beauty. The reasons for Kant’s turn to aesthetics will form the main starting point of the present book. The new focus of philosophy on subjectivity established by Kant accompanies the complex and contradictory changes

in Aesthetics and subjectivity
Open Access (free)
The beginning of aesthetic theory and the end of art
Andrew Bowie

5 Hegel: the beginning of aesthetic theory and the end of art Which Hegel? Hegel’s work has come in recent years to exemplify many of the choices facing contemporary philosophy. The changed status of Hegel can, though, seem rather odd, given the labyrinthine nature of his texts, the huge divergences between his interpreters from his own time until today, and the fact that some of the philosophers who now invoke him come from an analytical tradition noted for its insistence on a clarity not always encountered in Hegel himself. Even contemporary interpreters range

in Aesthetics and subjectivity