Aesthetic as Science of Expression and General Linguistic

By Benedetto Croce; Douglas Ainslie | Go to book overview

XIX
HISTORICAL SKETCHES OF SOME PARTICULAR DOCTRINES

WE have reached the end of our history. Having passed in review the travail and doubt through which the discovery of the æsthetic concept was achieved, the vicissitudes first of neglect, then of revival and rediscovery to which it was exposed, the various oscillations and failures in its exact determination, the resurrection, triumphant and overwhelming, of ancient errors supposed to be dead and buried; we may now conclude, without appearing to assert anything unproven, that of Æsthetic in the proper sense of the word we have seen very little, even including the last two centuries' active research. Exceptional intellects have hit the mark and have supported their views with energy, with logic, and with consciousness of what they were doing. It would no doubt be possible to extract many true affirmations leading to the same point of view from the works of non-philosophical writers, art-critics and artists, from commonly received opinions and proverbial sayings; such a collection would show that this handful of philosophers does not stand alone, but is surrounded by a throng of supporters and is in perfect agreement with the general mind and universal common sense. But if Schiller was right in saying that the rhythm of philosophy is to diverge from common opinion in order to return with redoubled vigour, it is evident that such divergence is necessary, and constitutes the growth of science, which is science itself. During this tedious process Æsthetic made mistakes which were


Result of the history of Æsthetic.

-420-

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