New SEP entry: Heidegger’s Aesthetics

The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy has just published a new entry on “Heidegger’s Aesthetics,” written by Iain Thomson (Philosophy, University of New Mexico). To access the entry, please click here. Below is the introduction, followed by links to the various sections of the entry.

Vincent Van Gogh, A Pair of Shoes (1886)

Heidegger’s Aesthetics

Heidegger is against the modern tradition of philosophical “aesthetics” because he is for the true “work of art” which, he argues, the aesthetic approach to art eclipses. Heidegger’s critique of aesthetics and his advocacy of art thus form a complimentary whole. Section 1 orients the reader by providing a brief overview of Heidegger’s philosophical stand against aesthetics, for art. Section 2 explains Heidegger’s philosophical critique of aesthetics, showing why he thinks aesthetics follows from modern “subjectivism” and leads to late-modern “enframing,” historical worldviews Heidegger seeks to transcend from within—in part by way of his phenomenological interpretations of art. Section 3 clarifies this attempt to transcend modern aesthetics from within, focusing on the way Heidegger seeks to build a phenomenological bridge from a particular (“ontic”) work of art by Vincent van Gogh to the ontological truth of art in general. In this way, as we will see, Heidegger seeks to show how art can help lead us into a genuinely meaningful postmodern age. Section 4 concludes by explaining how this understanding of Heidegger’s project allows us to resolve the longstanding controversy surrounding his interpretation of Van Gogh.

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