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.
of Donald Davidson and others towards holistic accounts of meaning, and the
orientation in post-structuralism towards the undecidable aspects of interpretation all involve structures of thought which developed as part of the history
of aesthetics. While some of these thinkers explicitly refer to the tradition to be
examined in the present book, others have been notably unconcerned about
many of their most signiﬁcant precursors. In order to help overcome this underestimation of the role of aesthetics the present book will focus on some of the
it in their own image.
Bruce King has argued that the ‘commonwealth writer in
exile’ has, in a sense, stolen a march on his postmodern metropolitan contemporaries in assimilating and creating literary
styles to represent the fissures of a ‘translated’, alienated
existence. He says of these writers:
They are deconstructionists, not out of the logic that led
others from structuralism to post-structuralism, but from
the experience of divided, uprooted, unassimilated lives;
but they are also reconstructionists in that for those
genuinely threatened by chaos the
model of ecowelfare and
explore the main points of creation and tension between its three principal components.
Recognition and care
For reasons that will become clear, I want to treat care not in isolation, but
in relation to the principle of recognition (cf. Daly, 2002: 263). Recognition
A model of ecowelfare
has become an important and controversial topic in recent years and may
represent the single most important contribution that postmodernism,
post-structuralism and the ‘cultural turn’ have made to radical politics
Recognition by other international actors as a
necessary component of actorness from a discourse perspective is not a
given. Neumann has argued that there is a difference between the role of
‘the other’ within constructivism and post-structuralism.
The ‘other’ in constructivism contributes to constituting
the ego by recognising ego. In post-structuralism the
Balance, malleability and anthropology: historical contexts
construction’ of race or gender in the past.
Why now? The return of biology
Having established that a strand of ‘postmodern’ or ‘post-structural’ thinking draws on insights from twentieth-century anthropology, we might ask whether it remains legitimate to project these twentieth-century insights back further into the past. I have answered this question in the negative elsewhere: I do not think it particularly good history to assume that selfhood in the past is the same as selfhood in the twentieth century. This is for the same reasons
techniques showcased in JFK and Natural
Born Killers among others were eschewed for a more pared-down
palate, visible in the cinéma vérité style of the Castro documentaries and the pedagogic techniques of presentation used in Untold
History. It added up to an auteurist instinct that was almost covering its artistic tracks.
Indeed, post-Sarris, post-structuralism and variants thereof, more
recent assessments of auteurism have given added emphasis to the
commercial aspects of a director’s brand. Undoubtedly, this has been
a strong dimension in Stone’s story too. By the
emerged. Music can, for
example, provide an occasion to consider the viability of some inﬂuential claims
The ‘presence’ of music
The extreme response to the consequences of a rejection of representationalism
is very apparent in Paul de Man’s essay on Derrida, ‘The Rhetoric of Blindness’.
De Man describes the ‘metaphysics of presence’ as ‘a tradition that deﬁnes
Western thought in its entirety: the conception of all negativity (non-being) as
absence and hence the possibility of an appropriation or a re-appropriation of
being (in the form of truth
theories which in a sense rationalized that situation, which said that this
was the way the cultural order worked, this was the way in which the
ideology distributed its roles and functions. The whole project was
then radically diverted by these new forms of idealist theory.10
(For Williams, structuralism’s problematic formalism and pessimism
recur in academic post-structuralism and postmodernism.) What I want
to ask is: how might Williams’s account assist our development and
understanding of new cultural studies in South Africa?
This leads me to question the
provides an important ‘discursive space
in which new and transformative meanings are constantly
being generated’ (Katzenstein et al. 2001: 269). Such social
movements provide a crucial element of renewal and cohesion, and the most promising prospects for enduring reform.
Finally, critiques of democratization have generated a
lively debate about the relevance of the process in South
Asia. Much as Marxist analysis provided a counterpoint to
modernization theory in the 1960s and 1970s, today an
equivalent intellectual space in South Asia is occupied by