Die Kunst der zweiten Natur und die andere Natur der Kunst

Thomas Khurana
University of Essex
This contribution traces an aesthetic shift in the concept of second nature that occurs around 1800 and raises the question as to what role art might play in a culture that already conceives of itself in generally aesthetic terms. The paper recalls Kant’s rejection of habit as a proper realization of ethical life and shows that in his third critique, Kant proposes a second nature of a different kind. To realize ethical life as a “second nature”, we cannot confine ourselves to mere habituation but require a different type of second nature that is exemplified by the work of art. The paper asks what role art may adopt in an aestheticised culture arising from the success of such an aesthetic understanding in the wake of Kant, from Schiller through to Nietzsche. It argues that art redefines its role by taking not first nature but the second nature of ethical life as its main point of reference. Art thus reconceives itself as a self-reflection of our second nature. The paper discusses three models of such self-reflection: the aesthetic estrangement, the beautiful completion, and the dialectical renegotiation of our second nature.
Keywords Adorno  Hegel  Kant  Nietzsche  aestheticization  second nature
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DOI 10.1515/dzph-2018-0026
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