Aesthetics as Phenomenology: The Appearance of Things (Studies in Continental Thought)

Aesthetics as Phenomenology: The Appearance of Things (Studies in Continental Thought)

Günter Figal

Language: English

Pages: 288

ISBN: 0253015588

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Connecting aesthetic experience with our experience of nature or with other cultural artifacts, Aesthetics as Phenomenology focuses on what art means for cognition, recognition, and affect―how art changes our everyday disposition or behavior. Günter Figal engages in a penetrating analysis of the moment at which, in our contemplation of a work of art, reaction and thought confront each other. For those trained in the visual arts and for more casual viewers, Figal unmasks art as a decentering experience that opens further possibilities for understanding our lives and our world.

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Objectivity: The Hermeneutical and Philosophy and published by the State University of New York Press in 2010). I have tried throughout the volume to retain the author’s tone and style and to maintain his clarity at all costs. This meant, in many instances, formulating terms and phrases that are perhaps not standard English usage but whose meaning is nevertheless immediately apparent. Thus, readers will encounter adjectival locutions like “decentered” and “imagistic,” as well as

[looks] like art” (B 179, 306). But this formulation is directed less at natural beauty than at a teleology of nature, in which natural products are viewed as if they had come into being “not through mere coincidence, but intentionally as it were, according to lawful ordering” (B 170, 301). But the beautiful in nature is not purposive in this sense; whoever judges something natural as beautiful does not consider its “natural purpose,” according to which some analogy could still be made to

situations, things, or motives one sees it as relating to; a patch of color in a painting evinces itself as different, or at least differently accentuated, according to the other surfaces with which one sees it in relation. On the basis of the framework in which they stand, the possibilities in an artwork cannot be viewed with respect to some invariant essence that would surface through them. What can be experienced as a unified matter in a novel or a play, for example love and marriage in

forth.” “The measure that was necessary for this, the maintenance of definite levels of tempo and energy, [forced] the soul of the listener into a constant moderation.” “The magic of that music” lay in the “back and forth between this cooler breath that arose from moderation and the crazed breath of musical enthusiasm.”46 The “older music” permits what Plato (to whom Nietzsche implicitly alludes here) calls εὐσχημοσύνη: “grace,” “elegance.”47 This goes together with moderation (σωφροσύνη), which

transgressing the boundary between the two and describing the natural in artistic terms: the certitude of execution, the necessity of inner origin—thus not an origin that stands in advance as an aim. The mutual connection of shape and material are not visible in a “most minute” of seashells; they are only visible in a work of art. Although Valéry, unlike Aristotle, avoids grasping the natural as structurally analogous to the producible, and although he, conversely, underscores the

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