A History of Modern Aesthetics narrates the history of philosophical aesthetics from the beginning of the eighteenth century through the twentieth century. Aesthetics began with Aristotle's defense of the cognitive value of tragedy in response to Plato's famous attack on the arts in The Republic, and cognitivist accounts of aesthetic experience have been central to the field ever since. But in the eighteenth century, two new ideas were introduced: that aesthetic experience is important because of emotional impact - precisely what Plato criticized - and because it is a pleasurable free play of many or all of our mental powers. This book tells how these ideas have been synthesized or separated by aestheticians of modern times. This first volume recounts how philosophers in Britain, France, and Germany developed these new approaches and searched for ways to combine them with the cognitivism of traditional aesthetics.
The most comprehensive history of aesthetics in more than half a century, and the first focusing on the modern period
Offers both biographical information and extensive interpretation not only of the best-known figures in the field but also of many now less well-known but fascinating thinkers
Illustrates its discussion with ample quotation, often providing the first English translation of passages from important works in aesthetics in German, Latin, and French
Paul Guyer is the inaugural Jonathan Nelson Professor of Humanities and Philosophy at Brown University, Rode Island. He is author of nine books, and editor of six collections on the philosophy of Immanuel Kant, including four focusing on Kant's aesthetics. He has been the recipient of numerous fellowships and prizes, including a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship and an Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Research Prize. A History of Modern Aesthetics was facilitated by a Laurance Rockefeller Fellowship at the Princeton University Center for Human Values. Professor Guyer is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and has been president of both the Eastern Division of the American Philosophical Association and the American Society for Aesthetics.
Part I. Aesthetics in Britain, 1725–1800:
2. Hutcheson to Hume
3. Hogarth, Burke, and Gerard
4. From Kames to Alison and Stewart
Part II. French Aesthetics in Mid-Century:
5. André to Rousseau
Part III. German Aesthetics between Wolff and Kant:
6. The first generation of Wolffian aesthetics
7. German aesthetics at mid-century
8. Coming closer to Kant
Part IV. Kant and After:
10. After Kant.