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Kant
Andrew Bowie

1 Modern philosophy and the emergence of aesthetic theory: Kant Self-consciousness, knowledge and freedom The importance attributed to aesthetic questions in recent philosophy becomes easier to grasp if one considers the reasons for the emergence of modern aesthetic theory. Kant’s main work on aesthetics, the ‘third Critique’, the Critique of Judgement (CJ) (1790), forms part of his response to unresolved questions which emerge from his Critique of Pure Reason (CPR) (1781) and Critique of Practical Reason (1787).1 In order to understand the significance of the CJ

in Aesthetics and subjectivity
From Kant to Nietzsche
Author: Andrew Bowie

In 1796 a German politico-philosophical manifesto proclaims the 'highest act of reason' as an 'aesthetic act'. The ways in which this transformation relates to the development of some of the major directions in modern philosophy is the focus of this book. The book focuses on the main accounts of the human subject and on the conceptions of art and language which emerge within the Kantian and post-Kantian history of aesthetics. Immanuel Kant's main work on aesthetics, the 'third Critique', the Critique of Judgement, forms part of his response to unresolved questions which emerge from his Critique of Pure Reason and Critique of Practical Reason. The early Romantics, who, after all, themselves established the term, can be characterized in a way which distinguishes them from later German Romanticism. The 'Oldest System Programme of German Idealism', is a manifesto for a new philosophy and exemplifies the spirit of early Idealism, not least with regard to mythology. The crucial question posed by the Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling of the System of Transcendental Idealism (STI) is how art relates to philosophy, a question which has recently reappeared in post-structuralism and in aspects of pragmatism. Despite his undoubted insights, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel's insufficiency in relation to music is part of his more general problem with adequately theorising self-consciousness, and thus with his aesthetic theory. Friedrich Schleiermacher argues in the hermeneutics that interpretation of the meaning of Kunst is itself also an 'art'. The book concludes with a discussion on music, language, and Romantic thought.

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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
Open Access (free)
Between Adorno and Heidegger
Joanna Hodge

13 Joanna Hodge Aesthetics and politics: between Adorno and Heidegger Antinomies of reason The alignments of T. W. Adorno to the protracted, difficult process of coming to terms with a broken Marxist inheritance and of Martin Heidegger to the Nazi politics of rethinking the human might seem to leave them at opposite non-communicating poles of political difference.1 Their views on aesthetics seem similarly starkly opposed, in terms both of judgements and of the place of aesthetics within the philosophical pantheon. Aesthetic theory for Adorno marks out a domain of

in The new aestheticism
Open Access (free)
Andrew Bowie

some of her audience. Kafka’s story plays with various versions of aesthetic theory, linking Josefine’s apparent highlighting of the ordinary to make it extraordinary, for example, to what sounds like Russian formalism’s concept of ostranenie. The narrator is never convinced by what Josefine does, but is also never finally prepared to write it off. Given that the story was written by someone who had painfully devoted his life to ‘literature’, and who knew he was dying, the question as to whether he might just have been writing texts like everybody else, and thus doing

in The new aestheticism
Open Access (free)
Andrew Bowie

nothing to do with its usefulness or its exchange value. Even though artworks clearly do become commodities, neither their use-value nor their value as commodities can constitute them as works of art. The potency of aesthetic theory lies not least in its attempts to explore the implications of this special status. Schelling states in 1800 that demanding usefulness from art ‘is only possible in an age which locates the highest efforts of the human spirit in economic discoveries’. Given his admiration for the early Schelling, it is therefore no coincidence that many of

in Aesthetics and subjectivity
Open Access (free)
An introduction
John J. Joughin and Simon Malpas

’s willingness to dispense with traditional aesthetic categories forecloses on the possibility of a more rigorous engagement with the historical processes by which such categories continue to be ‘critiqued and renewed’. In contrast, and in his ‘defence of autonomous art as socially critical’, Adorno’s aesthetic theory interrogates the extent to which cultural forms and the materials and techniques by which they are transfigured are already riven by ‘the history sedimented within them’.16 In this respect of course, as Adorno himself reminds us, the situation of the new in art

in The new aestheticism
Feminist aesthetics, negativity and semblance
Ewa Plonowska Ziarek

claim, neglects not only the aesthetic process of production but also the changing historical forms of mimesis. Contextualising aesthetics all too frequently occurs, therefore, at the price of a disavowal of the historicity of aesthetic categories. In order to elaborate an alternative approach to a feminist aesthetic theory, it is necessary to address the political implications of modern aesthetics without either sublating art by politics or making abstract claims about the ‘subversiveness’ of experimental form. By thinking through the contradiction between aesthetic

in The new aestheticism
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Aesthetics, fragmentation and community
Simon Malpas

this, it isn’t art. It doesn’t matter whether the work exists as part of a canon or recognised collection; art is what touches upon the differences between us that form the basis of community, and reminds us of the necessity of being in common. In the surprise fragmentation of sense elicited by the work there is the possibility of touching on the sense of a plural community. Notes 1 J.-L. Nancy, The Sense of the World, trans. J. S. Librett (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1997), p. 133. 2 T. W. Adorno, Aesthetic Theory, trans. R. Hullot-Kentor (London

in The new aestheticism
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Art as the ‘organ of philosophy’
Andrew Bowie

. Seen in this light, Schelling’s philosophy can be linked to Adorno’s attempt to trace the pathologies of modernity via reflection upon the subject’s relationship to internal and external nature, in which reflection upon art also plays a major role. Schelling’s history of the development of consciousness, then, contains the seeds of a questioning of aspects of modern science that will be vital to subsequent aesthetic theory. Let us now look in more detail at the STI. Intuition and concept The main terminological difficulty in understanding the STI lies in its frequent use

in Aesthetics and subjectivity