The Six Faces of Beauty. Baumgarten on the Perfections of Knowledge in the Context of the German Enlightenment

Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie 102 (3):477-512 (2020)
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In this essay, I investigate Baumgarten’s doctrine of the six perfections of knowledge, which is famously one of the most characteristic and enigmatic features of his philosophy. Recent scholarship has almost unanimously stressed the rhetorical background of the categories. Instead, I argue that Baumgarten elaborates his theory in close relationship with coeval philosophy. To support this claim, I examine the position of some Thomasian philosophers, such as Johann Liborius Zimmermann, who had indicated a list of criteria similar to that of Baumgarten. Moreover, I analyse the distinction between formal and material perfections, tracing it back to the Wolffian milieu. On these bases, I propose a new reconstruction of Baumgarten’s doctrine, with particular attention to its aesthetic application. Finally, I outline the reception of the six categories in the late German Enlightenment until Kant.



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Alessandro Nannini
University of Bucharest

Citations of this work

18th Century German Philosophy prior to Kant.Corey W. Dyck & Brigitte Sassen - forthcoming - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
18th century German philosophy prior to Kant.Brigitte Sassen - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

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