Aesthetics as phenomenology : the appearance of things by Figal, Gnter, Veith, Jerome

By Figal, Gnter, Veith, Jerome

Connecting aesthetic adventure with our adventure of nature or with different cultural artifacts, Aesthetics as Phenomenology makes a speciality of what artwork capability for cognition, attractiveness, and affect―how paintings adjustments our daily disposition or habit. Günter Figal engages in a penetrating research of the instant at which, in our contemplation of a piece of artwork, response and notion confront one another. For these educated within the visible arts and for extra informal audience, Figal unmasks artwork as a decentering event that opens extra percentages for realizing our lives and our world.

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Something appears in its decentered order—for instance that which a picture shows, or that which a novel narrates. This something is shown, but only in such a way that an artwork itself shows itself. Artworks do not point to something that exists beyond them and that would be intended by the works themselves. What they show is rather only in them and with them, in the way that they show it. It belongs to the self-showing of artworks that they are recognizable as artworks. One generally sees a picture that is a work of art as a picture; one does not take a novel to be a report of an actual course of events; an aria is not the expression of actually perceived joy or actually perceived pain.

It is as if, despite everything one already knows, one did not know the most important aspect about the work and needed to explore the work in an entirely new manner. But this ignorance—the suspension of all supposedly secure prior knowledge—is in turn rescinded by the work itself; it reveals, and does so anew each time. Art is insight. It is a relation to the states of affairs and things of the world, and aims to make these accessible in a way that is different from the manner that we are accustomed to: it makes them accessible in the work alone.

Yet the fact that they are artworks is demonstrated, above all, in the possibility of the aesthetic attitude. In order to grasp the essence of art more precisely, and with it the essence of the aesthetic attitude, one need merely reflect on the fundamental conception of philosophical aesthetics. ” Correspondingly, that which one now matter-of-factly calls “art”—as if there were no such thing as the art of healing or the art of speaking—is to be grasped as fine art [schöne Kunst]. The term may sound dated, like the eighteenth century from which it stems.

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