Art and the Absolute: A Study of Hegel's Aesthetics

By William Desmond | Go to book overview

Chapter Two
Art, Philosophy and
Concreteness

The Tension of Image and Concept

It is a philosophical commonplace to juxtapose logic and imagination, reason and sensibility, the concept and intuition, philosophy itself and art. Frequently these pairs are thought of as opposites, one mediated through abstract reflection, the other a more intimate participant in the given of concrete existence. Philosophy does not always come off uncriticized in this opposition. Its reflective, analytical impulse is often thought to abstract us, remove us from the concretely real. Art, by contrast, it is said, serves to keep us closer to the particularities and richness of the concrete, and so to be justified in the greater immediacy of its appeal. Such an opposition is as old as the ancient quarrel of poetry and philosophy, renewed in Plato's exiling of the poets, renewed again but this time reversed in Nietzsche's dictum: Homer versus Plato, this is life's basic antagonism. 1 Hegel too fought in this war. And we might expect, given the common view of Hegel as the rationalist philosopher par excellence, that Hegel struggled on one side alone, that of philosophy. Lovers of art have sometimes found it hard to forgive Hegel's disputed imputation that, within his system, art must finally rest in a position subordinate to philosophy. We must now ask, however, whether Hegel fought this struggle in the terms laid down by the old opposition. 2 Hegel, we must admit, knew something of both sides of the opposition, as indeed did

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Art and the Absolute: A Study of Hegel's Aesthetics
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface vii
  • Introduction xi
  • Chapter One - Art, Imitation and Creation 1
  • Chapter Two - Art, Philosophy and Concreteness 15
  • Chapter Three - Art, Religion and Absoluteness 35
  • Chapter Four - Art, History, and the Question of an End 57
  • Chapter Five - Dialectic, Deconstruction and Art's Wholeness 77
  • Chapter Six - Beauty and the Aesthetic Dilemma of Modernity 103
  • Notes 167
  • Bibliography 205
  • Index 217
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