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.



















inspection, the process Kant describes is neither solipsistic nor autosuggestive. There is something toward which this process is directed, and accordingly one cannot rule out the possibility that Kant’s conception of the aesthetic connects to experience and knowledge. It merely depends on what experience and knowledge are in this case. Perhaps Kant’s inconsistent or maybe only alleged internalism of the aesthetic first offers the possibility of adequately grasping aesthetic experience and

that makes something a phenomenon, but the fact that it is there “in itself.” Yet Heidegger limits this “in-itself ” by binding it to the necessity of exhibition [Aufweisung]. According to Heidegger, phenomena only have to become thematic for phenomenology because they require “explicit exhibition.” This, in turn, only applies to that which “initially and for the most part precisely does not show itself, which is concealed over against that which initially and usually shows itself ” (47).

music, only exists in sounding. The forms of art are inscribed into the materiality or substantiality of works; they only show themselves, they only show as forms by belonging in the material or substance. One can only inquire into this belonging, however, once one has determined the forms of art. Without the forms of art, the material or substantial aspect of artworks would not be showing. Accordingly, it could not show itself in its belonging to the phenomenal essence of artworks. 96

elucidating how one is to determine this order. The order of play must be described as the order of movement. In this respect, Valéry is more precise. There are many insightful observations about order in his essay “Philosophie de la danse.” [One such observation is that] it is easy to notice that all automatic movements corresponding to the state of a living being—and not to an imagined or localized aim—would take on a periodic order.37 What Valéry wishes to describe here is the origin of dance.

essence of the artwork. They are certainly not arbitrary, but they are generally only introduced for pragmatic reasons. Thus, the distinction between architecture and sculpture has more to do 134 Aesthetics as Phenomenology with the difference in artistic competence than with some essential difference between the works. There are buildings that are distinctly recognizable as sculptures,96 and there are sculptures—as those of Per Kirkeby—that look like buildings.97 The sculpture and tea bowl

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