This book proposes that aesthetics begin not with concepts of being or semblance, but with a concept of appearing. Appearing bespeaks of the reality that all aesthetic objects share, however different they may otherwise be. For Martin Seel, appearing plays its part everywhere in the aesthetic realm, in all aesthetic activity. In his book, Seel examines the existential and cultural meaning of aesthetic experience. In doing so, he brings aesthetics and philosophy of art together again, which in continental as well (...) as analytical thinking have been more and more separated in the recent decades. Within Seel’s framework, to apprehend things and events with respect to how they appear momentarily and simultaneously to our senses represents a genuine way for human beings to encounter the world. The consciousness that emerges here is an anthropologically central faculty. In perceiving the unfathomable particularity of a sensuously given we gain insight into the indeterminable of our lives. Attentiveness to what is appearing is therefore at the same time attentiveness to ourselves. This is also the case when works of art imagine past or future, probable or improbable presences. Artworks develop their transgressive energy from their presence as sense-catching forms. They bring about a special presence in which a presentation of close or distant presences comes about. (shrink)
Die vier Studien dieses Bandes behandeln alle das Problem, wie sich ein gutes Leben zu einem moralisch guten Leben verhält. Jede untersucht dieses Verhältnis von einer anderen Seite her; jede führt auf ihre Weise zu dem Schluß, daß der Zusammenhang zwischen dem Guten und dem moralisch Guten weder als letztendliche Identität noch als begriffliche Priorität einer der beiden Komponenten verstanden werden darf. Zusammen bilden sie den Entwurf einer praktischen Philosophie, die die Begriffe des individuellen Guten und des moralisch Richtigen als (...) interdependente Grundbegriffe versteht. (shrink)
This essay begins with some observations concerning the interaction between nature and art. Relying on these reflections, in the second part experience of landscape will be interpreted as a model for the human stance within the natural as well as the historical world. In the third part some consequences for an ethics and politics of saving the conditions for individual as well as social well-being will be drawn.
‘Being with oneself in the other’ is a well-known formula that Hegel uses to characterize the basic relation of subjective freedom. This phrase points to the fact that subjects can only come to themselves if they remain capable of going beyond themselves. This motif also plays a significant role in Hegel’s philosophy of art. The article further develops this motif by exploring the extent to which this polarity of selfhood and otherhood is also characteristic of states of aesthetic freedom. It (...) does not offer an exegesis of Hegel’s writings, but attempts to remain as close as possible to the spirit of Hegel’s philosophy – with some help from Kant and Adorno. The argument begins with some key terms on the general state of subjective freedom in order to distinguish it from the particular role of aesthetic freedom and then, finally, drawing again on Hegel, works out the sense in which aesthetic freedom represents an important variant of freedom. (shrink)
This essay argues that film as a medium breaks through the clearly delineated boundaries between realism and anti-realism that have been established by film theory. Film itself is basically indifferent to each. As an alternative to both, I put forward a thesis of indeterminism, which argues that films engender a unique event of sight and sound that does not have to be perceived to be a real event or an illusion of such an event.
This paper argues that there is an ethics of contemplation that is internal to Adorno's critique of modern functionalised and administered societies. It is argued here that 'contemplation' is Adorno's name for a praxis by which one is open to the other, and yet can let the other be. Adorno sees a kernel of experience in such contemplative practices, which, although increasingly being stripped bare by the modern world, is the basis for its possible critique.
In his latest book about art Arthur Danto claims that aesthetic appearance-visuality in the visual arts-has become more and more irrelevant for most of contemporary art. This essay first immanently critiques the distinction between the aesthetic and artistic properties underlying this claim. Danto's claim about the irrelevance of the aesthetic is not compatible with the spirit of his own writings: what Danto denies in After the End of Art has been a cornerstone of his theoretical work since The Transfiguration of (...) the Commonplace, namely, that the aesthetic is indeed both an elementary and a defining property of art. Examples ranging from Duchamp's Fountain to a recent installation by the Art & Language group are discussed to support this critique. Second, the essay defends Danto's contention that developing a "definition of art" is a sensible enterprise. But it turns out that Danto's "essentialism" concerning art has no essentialist implications in any specific sense. (shrink)
El objetivo del artículo es reflexionar sobre el concepto de revuelta popular para precisar su valor heurístico en relación con la comunidad política. Para ello se realiza un recorrido teórico de la idea de revuelta popular en algunos textos de Arendt, Rancière, Blanchot, Nancy, Agamben y Esposito. Propongo que la revuelta debe ser entendida en el marco de una ontología de la comunidad. Se concluye que la revuelta popular supone el rechazo de un orden de desigualdad sostenido en un desacuerdo (...) y la exigencia de no perder la comunidad entendida como el lugar mismo de nuestra existencia. The aim of this paper is to reflect on the concept of popular revolt in order to clarify its heuristic value in relation to political community. The essay traces a theoretical trajectory of the idea of popular revolt in some texts of Arendt, Rancière, Blanchot, Nancy, Agamben and Esposito. I propose that popular revolt must be understood in the context of an ontology of the community. I conclude that popular revolt presumes the rejection of an order on inequality sustained by a disagreement and the requirement of not to lose the community understood as the very place of our existence. (shrink)
This paper argues that time, not space, is the highlight of aesthetic and especially artistic form. Spatial relations must be translated into temporal relations and experienced as such if they are to be experienced as aesthetic form. The reverse is not the case, for aesthetic and artistic forms are not generally there to create spaces, at least not in a literal sense, but to give time in a very literal sense. The meaning of form is time.
In German philosophy of the last 250 years, aesthetics has played a leading part. Any arbitrary list of great names contains mainly authors who either have written classical texts on aesthetics or are strongly influenced by aesthetic reflection, for instance, Kant, Hegel, Schelling, Schopenhauer, Marx, Nietzsche, Dilthey, Heidegger, Wittgenstein, Gadamer, and Adorno – the few exceptions being Husserl and Frege. It is not by chance that Frege is one of the founding fathers of modern Anglo-Saxon philosophy, where, generally speaking, aesthetics (...) has had only marginal influence. That is not an insignificant difference. The wildest dreams of one tradition were focused on logic, those of the other on aesthetics. (shrink)
In his book Theorien (Frankfurt am Main: S. Fischer, 2009) Martin Seel presents a philosophical and literary experiment in which he desists from introducing a single grand theory in favour of offering a number of smaller theories. In an aphoristic manner these personal and poetic observations are linked to rigorous reflections on the classical themes of human selfunderstanding: happiness and morality, failure and beauty, sickness and death, sense and understanding, knowledge and freedom, religion and music. Staying clear of disciplinary formations, (...) the author shuffles the cards of epistemology, ethics and aesthetics in order to address philosophy as a whole without extinguishing its fire within the confines of a systematic edifice. This collection of shortcuts can be read from beginning to end, or backwards, or starting in the middle; as a reflection on thinking; a play with the voices of passion; a variation on foundations and pitfalls of action; a defence of the indeterminate in all that is determinate; as a fragment of a prosaic confession. These heterogeneous gestures unfold an improvised text that tracks the uncertainties of life and of writing. This text is an excerpt from the book, published in Die Zeit no. 37, September, 2009. (shrink)
Il saggio intende recuperare un’idea di utopia realistica e priva di illusioni come nucleo propulsivo del pensiero politico. Questo tipo di utopia si distingue sia dall’immaginazione fantastica di stati di cose non realizzabili, sia dall’avvicinamento asintotico a qualcosa che in realtà non corrisponde ai desideri umani, com’è per l’idea regolativa di Kant. Tre condizioni rendono realistiche e sensate le utopie politiche: il poter essere pensato, il poter essere soddisfatto e il poter essere conseguito. L’idea di Rawls di una pace tra (...) i popoli, o quella di Margalit su istituzioni rispettose dell’individuo sono esempi di queste utopie realistiche. Richiamando possibilità remote, esse rendono visibili nuove possibilità per il presente, che possono poi venire tradotte in istanze normative di tipo politico-sociale. Ciò vale anche per le utopie private, che allargano le possibilità per l’esistenza. Rinunciare a queste nuove possibilità comporta un doppio tradimento di noi stessi, su scala collettiva e sul piano personale.The paper propose to rehabilitate an idea of realistic and undeceived utopy as propulsive centre of politic thought. This kind of utopy is different from fantastic immaginating of unrealizable state of things, and asyntotic approssimating to something that does’nt really correspond to human desires, as it is for Kant’s regulative idea. There are three conditions for making utopias realistic and senseful: the possibility of being thought, fulfilled and reached. Rawls’ idea of peoples’ peaceful living, or Margalit’s idea of institutions’ respect of individuums, are examples of this kind of realistic utopias. Through recalling far possibilities they let appear new possibilities for the present, that can be traducted in political-social normative instances. And this method applies for private utopias, too. To renounce those new possibilities means a double traison of ourselves, in a collective and personal sense. (shrink)