The Aesthetic Theories of Kant, Hegel, and Schopenhauer

The Aesthetic Theories of Kant, Hegel, and Schopenhauer

The Aesthetic Theories of Kant, Hegel, and Schopenhauer

The Aesthetic Theories of Kant, Hegel, and Schopenhauer

Excerpt

This essay is concerned with the aesthetic theories of Kant, Hegel, and Schopenhauer, but approximately half the book is devoted to Kant. The author has long felt that Kant's Critique of Judgment and Tolstoy's What Is Art? are the most vital works in modern aesthetic. The significance of Kant's treatise lies in the fact that it contains a precise formulation of the metaphysical and dialectical problems involved in the analysis of art, beauty, and the aesthetic experience. The merit of Tolstoy's book dwells in the fact that it contains a lucid definition of the social and moral questions that may be asked regarding art and the effect of art upon man. To assert this does not imply acceptance of either Kant's or Tolstoy's views. It simply indicates the importance and the stimulating character of their contributions to modern aesthetic.

The present essay is concerned with the problems that Kant -- and Hegel and Schopenhauer -- raised, and with the analysis and criticism of their answers. Hegel and Schopenhauer -- like Kant -- are primarily preoccupied with the metaphysical aspect of aesthetic. It has, therefore, seemed advisable to consider the theories of the three philosophers, and, for purposes of unity, to exclude from this small book the doctrines of other thinkers.

The writer has attempted to treat his theme in the light of contemporary social and philosophical thought. It is this interest in contemporary cultural issues that has prompted him to extend some of the notes into brief papers. The notes are printed at the end of the book, and the reader is advised to refer to them upon finishing a chapter or upon conclusion of the volume.

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