Circular Art of Life

Idealistic Studies 38 (3):193-207 (2008)
Abstract
Kant’s Critique of Judgment and Schiller’s Letters on the Aesthetic Education of Man are generally recognized as crucial documents in the development of modern aesthetics away from rule-based conceptions of objectivity. This paper claims that they are also, in crucial ways, circular. In both Kant and Schiller, aesthetic taste turns out to be grounded in the realm of the social in a way that challenges the idealist notion that aesthetic evaluation and education would—or should—occur against the backdrop of humanity in general, rather than of concrete communities. The threat of conceptual circularity, I claim, is thus directly tied to the ineradicable significance of social circles for the articulation of Kant’s and Schiller’s aesthetics
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