Winner of the 8th Annual AIA International Architecture Book Award for CriticismCanarchitecture help us find our place and way in today's complex world? Can it return individuals to awhole, to a world, to a community? Developing Giedion¹s claim that contemporary architecture's maintask is to interpret a way of life valid for our time, philosopher Karsten Harries answers thatarchitecture should serve a common ethos. But if architecture is to meet that task, it first has tofree itself from the dominant formalist approach, (...) and get beyond the notion that its purpose is toproduce endless variations of the decorated shed.In a series of cogent and balanced arguments,Harries questions the premises on which architects and theorists have long relied -- premises whichhave contributed to architecture's current identity crisis and marginalization. He first criticizesthe aesthetic approach, focusing on the problems of decoration and ornament. He then turns to thelanguage of architecture. If the main task of architecture is indeed interpretation, in just whatsense can it be said to speak, and what should it be speaking about? Expanding upon suggestions madeby Martin Heidegger, Harries also considers the relationship of building to the idea and meaning ofdwelling.Architecture, Harries observes, has a responsibility to community; but its ethical functionis inevitably also political, He concludes by examining these seemingly paradoxicalfunctions. (shrink)
TRANSLATED WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY KARSTEN HARRIES THE following is a translation of Martin Heidegger, Die Selbstbehauptung der deutschen Universität. Rede, gehalten bei der feierlichen Übernahme des Rektorats der Universität Freiburg i. Br. am 27. 5. 1933 and Das Rektorat 1933/34. Tatsachen und Gedanken. The former was first published by Korn Verlag, Breslau, in 1933. It was republished in 1983, together with Heidegger's later remarks on his rectorate, by Vittorio Klostermann in Frankfurt am Main.
MANY, PERHAPS MOST OF US, tend to connect art with the past. Faced with the art of our own time we become unsure: everything important seems to have been done, the vocabulary of art exhausted, and attempts to develop new vocabularies more interesting than convincing. Ours tends to be an autumnal view of art. The association of art and museum has come to replace such older associations as art and church, or art and palace. As we know it, the museum (...) is a comparatively recent institution, emerging only in the first half of the nineteenth century, thus lagging somewhat behind such related phenomena, as e.g., archeology, art-history, and neo-gothic architecture, all expressions of a museal [[sic]] attitude extending far beyond art to religion and even to nature. Consider the significance of setting aside a certain part of nature as a national monument. Monuments serve to commemorate, most often the dead. What do such natural monuments commemorate? Perhaps nature herself? But does nature need commemorating? Does it, too, lie behind us? Will future generations know nature only in the form of natural monuments? We do indeed live in an age which increasingly forces us to question whether nature still has a place in the modern world, whether it is not rather a relic from the past. By trying to preserve nature in specially created parks or monuments we show that this loss, although perhaps inevitable, is nevertheless felt to be serious. (shrink)
ASKED WHETHER, in the light of recent attempts to use philosophy to change our goals and to help transform society, he saw a social mission for his philosophy, Heidegger gave a negative reply: "If one wants to answer this question, one has to ask first: what is society? and consider that society today is only the absolutization of modern subjectivity and that from this perspective a philosophy which has overcome the stand-point of subjectivity is not even permitted to participate in (...) the discussion." What rules out such participation is the fact that Heidegger’s thinking, as he himself interprets it for us, has pushed beyond his own time in such a way that given all that the age considers important it must seem beside the point. The work of the later Heidegger is an extended untimely meditation. This untimeliness helps to explain the apolitical character of this work. (shrink)
Ever since Aristotle, metaphor has been placed in the context of a mimetic theory of language and of art. Metaphors are in some sense about reality. The poet uses metaphor to help reveal what is. He, too, serves the truth, even if his service is essentially lacking in that "Metaphor consists in giving the thing a name that belongs to something else."1 Thus it is an improper naming. This impropriety invites a movement of interpretation that can come to rest only (...) when metaphorical has been replaced with a more proper speech. This is not to say, however, that such replacement is possible nor that interpretation can ever come to rest. What metaphor names may transcend human understanding so that our language cannot capture it. In that case, proper speech would be denied to man. But regardless of whether we seek proper speech with man, for example, with the philosopher, or locate it beyond man with God, or think it only an idea that cannot find adequate realization, as long as we understand metaphor as an improper naming, we place its telos beyond poetry. · 1. Aristotle Poetics 21. 1457b. 6-7. Karsten Harries, chairman of the department of philosophy at Yale University, is the author of several works on aesthetics, including The Meaning of Modern Art: A Philosophical Interpretation. He is currently writing a book on the Bavarian rococo church. See also: "On Thinking about Aristotle's 'Thought'" by James E. Ford in Vol. 4, No. 3. (shrink)
If the Enlightenment turned to reason to reoccupy the place left vacant by the death of God, the last two centuries have undermined such faith in reason. We cannot escape this history. The specter of nihilism haunts Either/Or. To exorcize it is Kierkegaard s most fundamental concern. But where are we to turn? To an aesthetic transfiguration of, or escape from reality? Does ethics promise an answer? Or is all that is left an irrational leap to religion? All such questions (...) are shadowed by the specter of Kitsch.What does it mean to be authentic in the modern world? ". (shrink)
This volume has its origins in the colloquium 'Art, Politics, Technology -- Martin Heidegger 1889-1989' held at Yale University in 1989. The centenary provided the obvious occasion: regardless of whether deplored or welcomed, the far-reaching influence of Heidegger today is beyond question, an influence underscored in that centenary year by the literally scores of conferences that took place all over the world.
This book treats practical and political reasoning as an active engagement with the world and other people; it cannot be understood as exclusively cognitive and this is seen as a virtue rather than a deficiency. Informal, emotional, characterological, aesthetic and interactional aspects of thought can be constituents of reasonable arguing. The work examines key capacities connected with argumentation, in a variety of fields from professional and medical ethics to work organization and the practice of art.
What need is there for an environmental aesthetics? The answer to that question is by no means obvious. To be sure, that we need to protect our environment has become a cliché that I am just a bit wary about repeating it here – the statement hardly bears much discussion any longer. Is it not obvious that we need to make sure that all those natural resources on which we depend for our survival will continue to be available, not just (...) to us, but to future generations? And when we think here of natural resources, we should consider them in the widest possible sense so that they include what the ancients thought of as the four elements, air, water, earth and fire. And here I invite you to think of them in their modern transformations. Even space has become an increasingly scarce resource. But if all this is indeed obvious, if the facts today speak loudly enough, it is not at all clear why we should be in need of an environmental aesthetics? What, if anything, does aesthetics have to contribute to our attempt to meet the environmental problems we face? (shrink)
Ten aanzien van Europa is de vraag aan de orde of de doelstellingen louter materieel en economisch zouden moeten zijn of ook ideëel. De auteur ervaart een geestelijke dimensie aan zijn plaats als Duitser in Europa en wil aan het verleden van Europa een plaats geven in zijn leven. Het is problematisch dat cultureel erfgoed grotendeels in musea wordt geplaatst, buiten het dagelijks leven. Het belang van een robuuste gemeenschapszin en van geestelijke waarden. Ethiek veronderstelt een beeld van de mensen (...) als stoffelijk en geestelijk. De menselijke rede is niet sterk genoeg om een juist gebruik van vrijheid te garanderen en vrijheid moet door verantwoordelijkheidsgevoel worden beteugeld. Iets vergelijkbaars geldt voor het denken over schoonheid. 'Ik ben ervan overtuigd dat we de kunst nodig hebben om dat gezonde verstand te voeden zonder welk geen enkele politieke constructie op lange termijn zal standhouden.' We hebben de kunst nodig om ons te helpen een ideaal van menselijkheid te behouden. (shrink)
"Do we stand sufficiently above traditions that we can manipulate them and make them from some detached point of view as if they were tools for other purposes", as modernists have claimed? Or are postmodernists right to criticize "the attempt to institutionalize an individual or social subject free from traditional restrictions"? But neither the modernist refusal of the authority of tradition nor postmodern play with historical contents takes history seriously enough. Kolb insists that we are more essentially placed in history, (...) even as he refuses to grant history such authority as would stifle our need and ability to change and adapt. (shrink)
Naar aanleiding van het vernielen van Barnett Newman's "Who is Afraid of Red, Yellow and Blue" in het Stedelijk Museum van Amsterdam in 1986 volgt een onderzoek naar soortgelijke destructieve agressie tegen kunstwerken in Europa en de Verenigde Staten. De vernielers van bepaalde kunstwerken beroepen zich vaak op filosofische kunstbeschouwingen, al zijn er ook vandalistische ego-trippers aan het werk, die publieke aandacht willen trekken.
One thing this book attempts to show is that Kant's antinomies open a way towards an overcoming of that nihilism that is a corollary of the understanding of reality that presides over our science and technology. But when Harries is speaking of the antinomy of Being he is not so much thinking of Kant, as of Heidegger. Not that Heidegger speaks of an antinomy of Being. But his thinking of Being leads him and will lead those who follow him on (...) his path of thinking into this antinomy. At bottom, however, the author is neither concerned with Heidegger’s nor Kant’s thought. He shows that our thinking inevitably leads us into some version of this antinomy whenever it attempts to grasp reality in toto, without loss. All such attempts will fall short of their goal. And that they do so, Harries claims, is not something to be grudgingly accepted, but embraced as a necessary condition of living a meaningful life. That is why the antinomy of Being matters and should concern us all. (shrink)
In deze beschouwing ordent Karsten Harries zijn gedachten over het fenomeen ‘kitsch’. Hij gaat daarbij uit van de vraag of kitsch eigenlijk wel zo afkeurenswaardig is. Of hoort ze bij de menselijke natuur en haar hang naar romantiek en nostalgie? We kwalificeren iets als kitsch als we denken dat het voortkomt uit onoprechtheid en getuigt van slechte smaak. Maar is de nostalgie, het dromerige of stichtelijke van kitsch niet beter dan postmoderne ironie of moedeloosheid? Daar staat tegenover dat kitsch onder (...) het mom van authenticiteit de werkelijkheid afbeeldt, maar deze feitelijk met zijn leugens aan het zicht onttrekt. Iets dergelijks geldt ook voor kitsch en religie: niet langer tracht het kunstwerk een werkelijkheid uit te beelden die ons voorstellingsvermogen te boven gaat, maar het wordt in de plaats van die werkelijkheid gesteld. In de politiek kan eenzelfde esthetisering de werkelijkheid een schijn van betekenis geven die mensen blind maakt voor de menselijkheid van hun medemensen. Niet kitsch, maar alleen het ‘aura’ van kunst kan en moet ons ontvankelijk maken voor deze werkelijkheid, die uitstijgt boven wat de rede kan bevatten. (shrink)
Since his death in 1942, Robert Musil has come to be recognized as one of the most significant novelists of this century. His masterpiece, the monumental and unfinished Der Mann ohne Eigenschaften, presents in its merciless mirror not only the decaying culture of the Austro-Hungarian Empire before the outbreak of the First World War, but also our own spiritual culture, perilously close to a far more complete destruction. One can only be grateful for this translation of the dissertation which the (...) young Musil, having left engineering for philosophy, wrote in Berlin, where he had become a student of the celebrated Carl Stumpf. A warning, however, is in order. Those expecting connections between the mature work of the novelist and this careful examination of the theories of Ernst Mach may well be disappointed. This is the rather academic work of a gifted, sober, and disciplined young philosopher, who is careful not to exceed the limits that he has set himself in this study: to provide an immanent critique of Mach's theories. (shrink)