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.
The interest in aesthetics in philosophy, literary and cultural studies is growing rapidly. This book contains exemplary essays by key practitioners in these fields which demonstrate the importance of this area of enquiry. New aestheticism remains a troubled term and in current parlance it already comes loaded with the baggage of the 'philistine controversy' which first emerged in an exchange that originally that took place in the New Left Review during the mid-1990s. A serious aesthetic education is necessary for resisting the advance of 'philistinism'. Contemporary aesthetic production may be decentred and belonging to the past, but that is not a reason to underestimate what great works do that nothing else can. Despite well-established feminist work in literary criticism, film theory and art history, feminist aesthetics 'is a relatively young discipline, dating from the early 1990s'. The book focuses on the critical interrogation of the historical status of mimesis in the context of a gendered and racial politics of modernity. Throughout the history of literary and art criticism the focus has fallen on the creation or reception of works and texts. The book also identifies a fragmentary Romantic residue in contemporary aesthetics. The Alexandrian aesthetic underlies the experience of the 'allegorical'. 'Cultural poetics' makes clear the expansion of 'poetics' into a domain that is no longer strictly associated with 'poetry'. The book also presents an account of a Kantian aesthetic criticism, discussing Critique of Pure Reason, Critique of Aesthetic Judgement and Critique of Judgement.
Limiting human agency in the name of negative liberty
-contractual, positive ties which bind
citizens in political communities. Moreover, in the history of political
thought, and especially with Kant, legality appears to be closely wedded to
an idealist and deeply individualist notion of human subjectivity which,
despite Kant’s critique of metaphysics in the CritiqueofPureReason , is still too metaphysically reified and static to do justice to
the plural and transient dimensions of existence
Modern philosophy and
the emergence of aesthetic theory:
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 CritiqueofPureReason (CPR) (1781) and Critique of
Practical Reason (1787).1 In order to understand the signiﬁcance of the CJ
Kant.13 In her philosophical writings, Piper reveals how Kant’s work is valuable
for making it clear that rationality is indispensable for ‘ordinary personal
concerns’ and ‘guid[ing]’ ‘personal behavior.’14 Writing on Kant’s CritiqueofPureReason (1781, 1787), which maps out the conditions of human knowledge
and experience, Piper focuses on his ‘conception of the self as a rationally
unified consciousness.’15 This self is ‘unified’ and ‘integrated’ because it is
hardwired with fundamental categories for recognising and organising the
sensory data of the world. She
Extending the reach of Baylean (and Forstian) toleration
22 Forst, ‘Tolerance as a Virtue of Justice’, 194–5.
23 Ibid. , 194–5.
28 Ibid. , 196.
29 One is tempted to add: Toleration has passed on. It is no more. It has ceased to be. It’s expired and gone to meet its maker. It’s a stiff! Bereft of life, it rests in peace. Its metabolic processes are now history. It’s off the twig! It’s kicked the bucket, it’s shuffled off its mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the choir invisible. It is an EX-CONCEPT.
30 I. Kant , The CritiqueofPureReason , trans. N
passages in Kant’s 1781 work CritiqueofPureReason to develop his line of thought. Consider, for example, Kant’s description of Plato and the idea, and its relationship to reason:
Plato made use of the expression idea in such a way that we can readily see that he understood by it something that not only could never be borrowed from the senses, but that even goes far beyond the concepts of the understanding, since nothing encountered in experience could ever be congruent to it. Ideas for him are archetypes of things themselves, and not, like the categories
something termed ‘aesthetics’. I will here briefly revisit the three distinct senses given
to the term ‘aesthetic’ in Kant’s three critiques, suggesting thereby an agenda for an
expansion of the term beyond the restricted notion which presently is the major one
Kant’s CritiqueofPureReason opens with a section entitled the ‘transcendental aesthetic’. In this part of the work Kant treats of the contribution to knowledge provided
by sensibility. The use of the term ‘aesthetic’ to describe the notion of sensibility was
relationship between bodies and places. She concluded by writing that ‘we have no choice but to attack [borders]’ (Rogoff, 2000 : 143). The ambiguity of the second part of the sentence leaves open the question of the political impact of such works. When art is placed at the border, is it there to express a geopolitical situation and, where appropriate, call out its injustice or to actively contribute to developing political awareness and agency?
We can rework Kant's statement in the CritiqueofPureReason that ‘[t]houghts without content are empty
one most desires to purge. In his 1959 lectures on
the CritiqueofPureReason, Adorno mischievously refers to the ‘emotional
thrust’ of Kant’s work, a provocative description given the Königsberg philosopher’s resolute attempts to disqualify feeling from the moral universe.
Defending the use of such a seemingly incongruous turn of phrase, Adorno
draws his students’ attention to the fact that identical theses, when differently
expressed and cathected, can convey divergent meanings.14 It is not the case
that affect simply follows on from, or is subjectively appended