The German Aesthetic Tradition

The German Aesthetic Tradition

The German Aesthetic Tradition

The German Aesthetic Tradition

Synopsis

This is the only available systematic critical overview of German aesthetics from 1750 to the present. The book begins with the work of Baumgarten and covers all the major writers on German aesthetics that follow: Kant, Schiller, Schelling, Hegel, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Gadamer and Adorno. It offers a clear and non-technical exposition of ideas, placing these in a wider philosophical context where necessary. Interest in this book extends far beyond the discipline of philosophy to those of literary studies, fine art and music.

Excerpt

The questions regarding art and beauty are as old as philosophy itself, or older, considering that Homer, Hesiod, and Pindar already reflect on the role and particular gifts of the poet. Yet for the longest time, art and beauty have been treated separately for the most part. The two notions were generally discussed in the context of other philosophical issues in which art and beauty played only a subordinate role. Philosophically, beauty more often than not was treated in the context of metaphysics, be it for Plato, Plotinus, or Thomas Aquinas. The concept of art, on the other hand, underwent a long series of permutations that have by no means reached an end. The tendency was for the concept of art to become narrower and to exclude more and more activities and products. Crafts, trades, and skills were originally all included in the concept of art, understood as τέΧνη and ars; the equation of art with the fine arts was a very late development.

No art, whether as practical know-how or as a member of the fine arts family, was ever considered autonomous before Kant. Art was imbedded in a social, pedagogical, theological, or merely economic program that regulated its production. Not until the eighteenth century were the questions regarding art's epistemological and practical value, and about the nature of the work of art and of beauty, integrated into a systematic, independent philosophical discipline that then became known as aesthetics. Before this time, the term “aesthetics, ” derived from the Greek aisthesis, meaning perception, had referred to the philosophical theory of sense perception. Baumgarten and Kant both . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.