Somaesthetics in Baumgarten? The Founding of Aesthetics and the Body

Estetika: The European Journal of Aesthetics 59 (2):103-118 (forthcoming)
  Copy   BIBTEX


In the presentation of his project about ‘somaesthetics’, Richard Shusterman claimed that the recurring neglect of the body in aesthetics was disastrously introduced by Alexander Gottlieb Baumgarten (1714–1762) in his first formulation of aesthetics as a discipline in the mid-eighteenth century. In the present essay I aim to call this thesis into question, investigating for the first time the role of the body in Baumgarten’s thought and focusing on its significance for the founding of aesthetics. First, I consider Baumgarten’s doctrine of the body in general and of the human body in particular, in its relationship with the soul. I then turn to discuss Baumgarten’s resumption of the scholastic discipline of ‘somatology’ as a philosophical investigation of the body in both its theoretical and practical – namely, dietetical, side. On these bases, I deal with two examples of dietetic embellishment of the body, one presented by Baumgarten himself (cosmetics) and the other put forward by his pupil and co-founder of disciplinary aesthetics Georg Friedrich Meier (physical exercise and somatic fine arts). Subsequently, I explore the ways in which Meier and Baumgarten use dietetics to foster beautiful thinking. Finally, I conclude that nascent aesthetics is concerned with the aesthetic care of the body both insofar as the body can be a stage of aesthetic value and insofar as the body is a necessary presupposition for beautiful thinking.



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 76,479

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Baumgarten‘s foundation of modern aesthetics.Nebojsa Grubor - 2015 - Filozofija I Društvo 26 (3):599-616.
Somaesthetics and the care of the body.Shaun Gallagher - 2011 - Metaphilosophy 42 (3):305-313.
Somaesthetics and yoga.Jiyun Bae - 2020 - Journal of the Philosophy of Sport 47 (2):217-231.
Body.Sherri Irvin - 2014 - In Michael Kelly (ed.), Encyclopedia of Aesthetics, 2nd ed., Vol. 1. Oxford University Press. pp. 410-414.
Baumgarten on Sensible Perfection.J. Colin McQuillan - 2014 - Philosophica -- Revista Do Departamento de Filosofia da Faculdade de Letras de Lisboa 44.
Somaesthetics and Dance.Curtis L. Carter - 2015 - Contemporary Pragmatism 12 (1):100-115.
Somaesthetics and the Fine Art of Eating.Richard Shusterman - 2016 - In Sherri Irvin (ed.), Body Aesthetics. Oxford University Press. pp. 261-280.


Added to PP

6 (#1,106,014)

6 months
6 (#134,213)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Alessandro Nannini
University of Bucharest

Citations of this work

No citations found.

Add more citations

References found in this work

No references found.

Add more references