Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Schelling's Philosophy of Art in a Nutshell

Or, the most recent draft of the cover copy of my book:

Schelling is often thought to be a protean thinker whose work is difficult to approach or interpret. In Freedom and Nature in Schelling’s Philosophy of Art, Devin Zane Shaw shows that the philosophy of art is the guiding thread to understanding the relationships between three of Schelling’s original contributions to philosophy as they are expressed in his work from 1795-1810: his idea of freedom, his philosophy of nature, and his philosophy of art. Schelling’s idea of freedom is developed through a critique of the formalism of Kant’s and Fichte’s practical philosophies, and his nature-philosophy is developed to show how subjectivity and objectivity emerge from a common source in nature. The philosophy of art plays a dual role in the system. First, Schelling argues that artistic activity produces through the artwork a sensible realization of the ideas of philosophy. Second, he argues that artistic production creates the possibility of a new mythology that can overcome the socio-political divisions that structure the relationships between individuals and society. Shaw’s careful analysis shows how art, for Schelling, is the highest expression of human freedom.


Any suggestions? I'm sending it off by the end of the week. The final draft, which differs somewhat from this version, is here. See my posts on Schelling here (part one and part two).

3 comments:

Ideas Man, Ph.D. said...

I don't know Schelling as well as the other German idealists, but it does seem to me that the fact that art was taken to bridge the sensible-supersensible divide is crucial in German Idealism and places metaphysics and aesthetics side-by-side without making them identical. I think one of the problems with the revival of G.I. i nthe 20th century is that it's over-emphasized morality at the cost of art. Now, there are some good reasons why 150 years of history made this perhaps necessary. Nonetheless, it misses something about the original project...

Devin Zane Shaw said...

Schelling would tell you that he's not doing aesthetics, which he says is a kind of shallow empiricism, or worse, and 'offspring' of Wolffian philosophy (because it was Baumgarten who coined the term).

He's interested, in that classic german idealist way, in what he calls the 'idea' of art. Nevertheless, he says, at least through 1807, that artistic production presents a superior idea of freedom that is not captured by Kantian or Fichtean formalism.

Ideas Man, Ph.D. said...

Yeah I think this is a pretty common move that Kant himself inaugurated. I've written about my reasons for thinking this is a bad move elsewhere, but it boils down to failing to give any critical edge to the idea of beauty (over-emphasizing genius at the expense of taste)