Diotima's Children: German Aesthetic Rationalism from by Frederick C. Beiser

By Frederick C. Beiser

Diotima's young children is a re-evaluation of the rationalist culture of aesthetics which prevailed in Germany within the past due 17th and eighteenth century. it truly is in part an old survey of the vital figures and issues of this custom however it can also be a philosophical protection of a few of its prime principles, viz., that attractiveness performs an crucial function in existence, that aesthetic excitement is the notion of perfection, that aesthetic ideas are inevitable and priceless. It exhibits that the criticisms of Kant and Nietzsche of this practice are principally unfounded. The rationalist culture merits re-assessment since it is of significant old value, marking the start of contemporary aesthetics, paintings feedback, and artwork historical past.

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Additional resources for Diotima's Children: German Aesthetic Rationalism from Leibniz to Lessing, Edition: First Edition

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All clear ideas, Leibniz adds, are either confused or distinct. An idea is confused if it is not possible to enumerate one by one all the marks or properties that distinguish it from other things; it is distinct, however, if I can so enumerate them. A distinct idea, he writes, is like a chemist’s idea of gold; from its malleability and solvability in aqua regia he distinguishes it from all other metals. All distinct ideas, Leibniz further explains, are either adequate or inadequate. They are adequate when it is possible to enumerate what is involved in each of their characteristics, inadequate when this is not possible.

But ¹⁹ L 109. ²⁰ Principes de la Nature et de la Grace, §17; G VI, 605. ²¹ Letter to Sophie Charlotte, G, VI, 499–500. 38 leibniz and the roots of aesthetic rationalism we cannot recognize any sense quality simply by means of marks or signs alone; we have to actually sense the quality before we understand what we are talking about. If we want to know what blue is, for example, we have to see it directly. By means of signs alone we are no better off than a blind man. ²² According to his classification, all knowledge is either obscure or clear.

What troubles Gadamer about the concept of an aesthetic rule—the constraint upon inquiry and inspiration—is perhaps legitimate; but it scarcely warrants throwing out the concept of an aesthetic rule entirely. The indispensability of rules to the creation and criticism of art raises questions, though, about Gadamer’s sharp distinction between aesthetic and scientific truth. It is the great merit of Gadamer’s revival of aesthetic truth that he returns to its classical sources in Plato. It is really the spirit of Plato’s dialectic that inspires Gadamer’s hermeneutics and philosophy of art.

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