Aesthetic as Science of Expression and General Linguistic

By Benedetto Croce; Douglas Ainslie | Go to book overview

XVI
ÆSTHETIC OF THE EPIGONI

WHEN the cry "Away with metaphysic!" was raised in Germany, and a furious reaction began against the kind of Walpurgis-night to which the later Hegelians had reduced the life of science and history, the disciples of Herbart came to the front and seemed to ask, with an insinuating air: "What is all this? a rebellion against Idealism and Metaphysic? why, it is exactly what Herbart wished and undertook all by himself half a century ago! Here we stand, his legitimate descendants, and we offer you our services as allies. We shall not find it hard to agree. Our Metaphysic accords with the atomic theory, our Psychology with mechanism, and our Ethics and Æsthetic with hedonism." Herbart himself (had he not died in 1841) would most likely have spurned these disciples of his who pandered to popularity, cheapened metaphysics and gave naturalistic interpretations to his reals, his representations, his ideas, and all his highest conceptions.


Revival of Herbartian Æsthetic.

With the school thus coming into fashion, the Herbartian Æsthetic too tried to put on flesh and acquire a pleasing plumpness so as not to cut too miserable a figure beside the well-nourished corpora of science launched upon the world by idealists. The feeding-up process was accomplished by Robert Zimmermann, professor of philosophy at Prague and later at Vienna, who, after years of laborious effort and an introductory sample in the shape of an ample history of Æsthetic ( 1858), at

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