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)
: In this essay, Miriam argues for a phenomenological-hermeneutic approach to the radical feminist theory of sex-right and compulsory heterosexuality. Against critics of radical feminism, she argues that when understood from a phenomenological-hermeneutic perspective, such theory does not foreclose female sexual agency. On the contrary, men's right of sexual access to women and girls is part of our background understanding of heteronormativity, and thus integral to the lived experience of female sexual agency.
In this essay, Miriam argues for a phenomenological-hermeneutic approach to the radical feminist theory of sex-right and compulsory heterosexuality. Against critics of radical feminism, she argues that when understood from a phenomenological’ hermeneutic perspective, such theory does not foreclose female sexual agency. On the contrary, men's right of sexual access to women and girls is part of our background understanding of heteronormativity, and thus integral to the lived experience of female sexual agency.
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)
This paper takes a new look at an old question: what is the human self? It offers a proposal for theorizing the self from an enactive perspective as an autonomous system that is constituted through interpersonal relations. It addresses a prevalent issue in the philosophy of cognitive science: the body-social problem. Embodied and social approaches to cognitive identity are in mutual tension. On the one hand, embodied cognitive science risks a new form of methodological individualism, implying a dichotomy not between (...) the outside world of objects and the brain-bound individual but rather between body-bound individuals and the outside social world. On the other hand, approaches that emphasize the constitutive relevance of social interaction processes for cognitive identity run the risk of losing the individual in the interaction dynamics and of downplaying the role of embodiment. This paper adopts a middle way and outlines an enactive approach to individuation that is neither individualistic nor disembodied but integrates both approaches. Elaborating on Jonas’ notion of needful freedom it outlines an enactive proposal to understanding the self as co-generated in interactions and relations with others. I argue that the human self is a social existence that is organized in terms of a back and forth between social distinction and participation processes. On this view, the body, rather than being identical with the social self, becomes its mediator. (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)
Since more than 50 years Kant scholars debate the question whether the Law of Right as introduced in the Metaphysics of Morals by Kant can be justified by the Categorical Imperative. On the one hand we have those who think that Kant's theory of right depends from the Categorical Imperative, on the other hand we find a growing group of scholars who deny this. However, the debate has been flawed by confusion and misunderstanding of the crucial terms and principles. Therefore, (...) my first task will be to clarify these terms and principles by introducing distinctions that have been neglected too often. After this I try to show a) that the Law of Right can in fact be justified by using the testing method the Categorical Imperative prescribes and b) that there is no other way to justify it. Doing this I criticize in detail the new arguments adherents of the independence thesis have recently put forward. (shrink)
‘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 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.
Es gibt zwei Versionen von Naturalismus in der Ethik: Der erste (Praktischer Naturalismus I) behauptet, daß jeder praktische Satz (der eine Norm oder ein Werturteil ausdrückt) äquivalent zu einem deskriptiven Satz ist. Der zweite (Praktischer Naturalismus II) sagt, daß die Gültigkeit von praktischen Sätzen ausschließlich von kontingenten empirischen Tatsachen abhängt. Um scharf zwischen diesen beiden Versionen zu unterscheiden, wird der Begriff der praktischen Gültigkeit eingeführt und in einer Form definiert, die sich radikal von Tarskis Konvention T unterscheidet. Die erste Version (...) des Naturalismus wird generell als durch die Argumente von Moore und Hare widerlegt angesehen. Die zweite Spielart wurde bislang nicht widerlegt. Es wird versucht zu zeigen, daß der Praktische Naturalismus II, wenn er als radikaler Naturalismus formuliert wird, einen circulus vitiosus oder infiniten Regreß impliziert. Der einzige Weg, dies zu verhindern ist, zumindest ein praktisches Prinzip zuzulassen, dessen GüUigkeit nicht von kontingenten Tatsachen abhängt. Auf diese Weise hängt der Naturalismus in der Ethik von wenigstens einem transzendenten Prinzip ab. (shrink)
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 this paper I argue that while Noë’s actionist approach offers an excellent elaboration of classical approaches to conceptual understanding, it risks underestimating the role of social interactions and relations. Noë’s approach entails a form of body-based individualism according to which understanding is something the mind does all by itself. I propose that we adopt a stronger perspective on the role of sociality and consider the human mind in terms of socially enacted autonomy. On this view, the mind depends constitutively (...) on engaging with and relating to others. As a consequence, conceptual understanding must be seen as a co-achievement. It is a fragile endeavour precisely because it depends not only on the individual but also on the continuous contribution of other subjects. (shrink)
As an introduction to the plenary session “Metaphysics and Aesthetics” in my article I try to describe the state of philosophy of art today and give an outlook to its future development. In the last century analytical philosophy of art has been occupied with the following four questions: What is the essence of art? What is the ontological status of works of art? What are aesthetic qualities and how do we come to know them? Have aesthetic value judgments objective validity? (...) In the first step I explain why analytical philosophy of art failed to answer these questions and what this failure has to do with the end of art. In the second step I attempt to give a definition of art myself which allows to show that this failure and the end of art were inevitable. Finally I try—as a consequence—to define the general features of the art of the future. (shrink)
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)
Es gibt zwei Versionen von Naturalismus in der Ethik: Der erste behauptet, daß jeder praktische Satz äquivalent zu einem deskriptiven Satz ist. Der zweite sagt, daß die Gültigkeit von praktischen Sätzen ausschließlich von kontingenten empirischen Tatsachen abhängt. Um scharf zwischen diesen beiden Versionen zu unterscheiden, wird der Begriff der praktischen Gültigkeit eingeführt und in einer Form definiert, die sich radikal von Tarskis Konvention T unterscheidet. Die erste Version des Naturalismus wird generell als durch die Argumente von Moore und Hare widerlegt (...) angesehen. Die zweite Spielart wurde bislang nicht widerlegt. Es wird versucht zu zeigen, daß der Praktische Naturalismus II, wenn er als radikaler Naturalismus formuliert wird, einen circulus vitiosus oder infiniten Regreß impliziert. Der einzige Weg, dies zu verhindern ist, zumindest ein praktisches Prinzip zuzulassen, dessen GüUigkeit nicht von kontingenten Tatsachen abhängt. Auf diese Weise hängt der Naturalismus in der Ethik von wenigstens einem transzendenten Prinzip ab. (shrink)
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)
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.