The metaphysics of disinterestedness: the Chinese gardening style and Shaftesbury's new aesthetics1

The European Legacy 9 (2):195-212 (2004)

Abstract
Scholars of Shaftesbury generally consider his notion of disinterestedness as the beginning of modern aesthetics while connecting it questionably with a view of modernity as defined in terms of the segregation of truth, beauty, and goodness. To read Shaftesbury differently, it is necessary to look into the textual circumstances of his key aesthetic ideas. In particular, it is important to recognize his implicit use of Sir William Temple's discussion of the Chinese garden immediately before the few justly famous passages about the beauty of the ocean, the vale, and the fruit trees and about the free and spontaneous response of the human character which constitutes the aesthetic experience. As well as a useful illumination for his new understanding of disinterestedness, this unusual involvement of a radically different artistic and philosophical tradition may also be his momentary revelation and acknowledgement of an otherwise hidden metaphysical inspiration for his revolutionary aesthetics
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DOI 10.1080/10848770410001687602
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The Platonic Renaissance in England.Ernst Cassirer - 1953 - New York: Gordian Press.
The True Way or Method of Attaining to Divine Knowledge.John Smith - 1968 - In Gerald R. Cragg (ed.), The Cambridge Platonists. University Press of America. pp. 128--144.

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