BAUMGARTEN’S AESTHETICA. MARY J. GREGOR. Although the content of Alexander Gottlieb Baumgarten’s. Aesthetica1 seems to be familiar in German. The theory of aesthetics started controversies over its legitimate existence as a fully developed science. Alexander Baumgarten was the first who used the word . On the 26th of May , German philosopher Alexander Gottlieb Baumgarten was born in Frankfurt (Oder), Brandenburg. He famously.

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But he will argue that the exercise of various of our powers, indeed as we are about to see bodily as well as mental powers, is itself a perfection that we enjoy, so this might at least point toward the idea that the source of pleasure in beauty is the free play of the those powers. The second step argues that just as Lessing’s division of the arts into painting and poetry is incomplete, the distinction between space and time on which the former division is based is also incomplete.

You are commenting using your WordPress. Kant will subsequently reject the assumption that we must have a conception of the purpose of an object in order to make a pure judgment of beauty about it. Here Lessing at least tacitly invokes the new theory that the play of our mental powers rather than the representation of some form of truth is the fundamental aim of art, or at least visual art. So taste is the ability to judge perfections and imperfections sensibly rather than intellectually.

Alexander Gottlieb Baumgarten

Sulzer’s morality is a Wolffian form of utilitarianism, according to which the goal of the moral life is happiness. One must assume certain experiences, explain their ground through an hypothesis, then test this hypothesis against experiences from a quite different species, and only assume those hypotheses to be general principles which have thus held their ground; one must finally seek to explain these principles in the theory of nature through the nature of bodies and motion, but in aesthetics through the nature of the lower powers of our soul.

His topic is thus in the first instance the imitation of ancient art, not imitation in ancient art. Wolff next defines clarity and distinctness and indistinctness in cognition. And what are the rules in accordance with which judgments of taste are tacitly made? Sulzer employs a trifold division of things that please us that is not dissimilar to Kant’s subsequent distinction between the agreeable, the good, and the beautiful. The former suggestion is also misleading because, while Herder will go on to argue that painting in particular strives after beauty, he also links beauty to mere appearance Indeed, he connects beauty with illusion.


For an attempt to combine an aesthetics of truth with an aesthetics of play that is in some ways shallower than Herder’s thought but in other ways an important innovation in German aesthetics, let us now take a look at the work of Johann Georg Sulzer — Although Baumgarten makes some broad claims for the new science, this is not where the novelty of the Aesthetica lies, for at least in the extant part of the work Baumgarten never actually develops this theme.

Baumgarten has not yet introduced the idea that aesthetic pleasure comes from the free play of our mental powers, but he has relaxed the grip of the assumption that aesthetic response is a straightforward case of cognition.

When we view such a painting [or sculpture] with due attention, our senses are baumgartsn at once inspired, all the abilities of our soul suddenly enlivened, and the imagination can from the present infer the past and reliably anticipate the future. In the first conversation he argued that the contemplation of natural beauty has a calming and moderating influence on our passions.

It might seem a stretch to read him as also suggesting that it is the play of the mind back and forth between its perception of the parts and its grasp of the whole that is pleasant. Any text you add should be original, not copied from other sources.

Please try again later. As a student at Halle, Baumgarten was strongly influenced by the works of G. Help us improve this article!

So how does he fit all of these ideas together into his own distinctive theory? Sulzer’s earliest works in aesthetics concerned nature rather than art, but already demonstrated his lifelong concern for the moral significance of aesthetic experience.

Thus those who desire happiness for themselves naturally desire it for others as well, and those who desire happiness in the form of the pleasure of aesthetic experience for themselves will naturally desire it for others as well. The scream had to be softened to a sigh, not because screaming betrays an ignoble soul, but because it distorts the features in a disgusting manner. The allexander aesthetic pleasure comes naturally from a combination of imaginative input and intuitive perception of an object.


Alexander Gottlieb Baumgarten | German philosopher |

But his basic point remains: However, and in this regard most unlike the German aestheticians of the next several generations who are so strongly influenced by him in other regards, he has nothing to say about the arts that are typically paradigmatic for those who ground their aesthetics on the notion of truth rather than that of play, namely literature, especially poetry and drama.

Meanwhile, Meier had been publishing profusely in Halle since the early s, with works in or relevant to aesthetics including a Theoretical Doctrine of the Emotions ina twenty-five part Evaluation of Gottsched’s Poetics collected in book form ina three-volume Foundations of the Beautiful Sciences from —, and a condensation of the latter, the Extract from the Foundations of the Beautiful Arts and Sciences in Everything capable of being represented to the senses as a perfection could also present an object of beauty.

It was bound to be different because while all these things changed, Shakespeare was committed to the same underlying principle of truthfully representing his own world that his drama, unlike that of the misguided French classicists, had to look and sound different.

In addition to various theological polemics, he also published his Education of the Human Race the year before his death. vaumgarten

A History of Philosophyvol. Ruchi Mishra rated it it was ok Sep 25, The real object of pleasure then becomes the activity of one’s own representational state, manifested in the form of sentiment, that is caused by the perfection of the beautiful object. Theories of Art and Society,