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From Kant to Nietzsche

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.

7 Music, language and literature Language and music The divergent interpretations of the relationship between music and language in modernity are inseparable from the main divergences between philosophical conceptions of language. The attempt to explain language in representational terms in the empiricist tradition that eventually leads to analytical philosophy, and the understanding of language as a form of social action and as constitutive of the world we inhabit in the hermeneutic tradition give rise to very different conceptions of music. One paradigmatic

in Aesthetics and subjectivity
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Art as the ‘organ of philosophy’

: the Gods ‘do not mean it, they are it’ (I/5 p. 401). A gap between concrete image and what it represents does not exist in such a culture. (The concern here is not, one should add, with the historical or philosophical validity of this view, but rather with its implications for conceptions of language in the early modern period in Germany.) According to the PA there is no need, with regard to this sort of myth, for philosophical reflection, because what we have come to see in terms of the idea and its objective embodiment are already united. The stories are ‘of ’ the

in Aesthetics and subjectivity
The origins of the concept in Enlightenment intellectual culture

? Elsewhere, I have traced the concept of oral tradition to theological debates between Catholics and Protestants concerning the authority of customary or ‘unwritten’ practices and doctrines.3 In this chapter, I will argue that the emergence of this concept in the Enlightenment was linked to a much wider revolution of ideas about language, history and culture. Increasingly, scholars began to recognize the predominant and, in some respects, damaging influence of writing over their conceptions of language and society. They began to recognize more clearly the special powers of

in The spoken word
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Art and interpretation

Schleiermacher, and Davidson, is precisely that a conception of language as essentially rule-bound is not defensible, for the reasons already seen by Kant in his claims about judgement. Rules alone lead to a regress and thus to the impossibility of a language ever functioning as a means of communication at all. As Frank has shown (Frank 1988), it is impossible even to claim there is a disagreement if there is complete incommensurability. In order to realise that the assumptions of one participant in a dialogue are incommensurable with those of another, an intuitive

in Aesthetics and subjectivity
Kant

, as Kant claims, our cognitive activity actually constitutes objects as objects in judgements, it cannot be said to imitate something that is already there. The move in conceptions of language away from the idea of representation involves a two-way process. The development, by Herder, Hamann and others, of the view of language as primarily ‘disclosive’ or ‘constitutive’, rather than representational, means that forms of articulation, like music, which are not understood as being linguistic if language is conceived of in representational terms, can be considered as

in Aesthetics and subjectivity

can, for example, be read in this perspective as revealing how such stories may not even be separable from the ideas at all: the metaphors on which philosophy lives are not a dispensable extra. As Hamann’s conception of language as inseparable sensuous sign and intelligible meaning already suggested, the very idea of a boundary between the sensuous and the intelligible can be questioned, and Derrida’s concern with deconstructing such oppositions is in this sense part of the Romantic tradition. Analogous ideas to Derrida’s are, of course, legion in post

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science and technology, the key manifestations of ‘metaphysics’.3 The changing role of music from the period of the Pantheism controversy onwards also begins to raise questions about the primacy of representational thinking and representational conceptions of language which have become part of mainstream contemporary philosophy in the form of ideas about language as social practice and as the basis of the world’s intelligibility. What is really at issue here, and was in many respects already at issue for Kant and his successors, are the kinds of philosophical response

in Aesthetics and subjectivity
Fichte, Hölderlin and Novalis

‘rien’): ‘I is basically nothing – Everything has to be given to it – But it is to it alone that something can be given and the given only becomes something via the I’ (p. 185). Novalis then relates the image to the linguistic sign via the notion of the schema – ‘Every comprehensible sign . . . must stand in a schematic relation to the signified’ (p. 14) – and he links this to the problem of how different subjects can understand the same signs used by others (see Frank 1997 pp. 804–6 for the influence on this of Fichte’s conception of language). The schema, as Kant

in Aesthetics and subjectivity

the realm both of aesthetics and of hermeneutics’ (Gadamer 1986 p. 111). If Nietzsche’s texts are themselves regarded as literary works, and their rhetoric is therefore a part of their aesthetic status, their argument-based, truth-claiming aspect need only be one of their aspects, and may not be the most significant. What a novelist may argue to be true in a novel, for example, might not be what makes their work significant, because the arguments are only presented by one voice in a polyphony of different voices with different rhetorical effects. Such a conception of

in Aesthetics and subjectivity