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Subject: Re: Why Spinoza Had No Aesthetics
From: Don <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Don <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Tue, 22 Nov 2016 06:22:32 -0700
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WHAT THE F**K???????????????

On Mon, Nov 21, 2016 at 10:02 PM, Genevieve Castle Room <
[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> James Morrison wrote:
>
>
> >"The reasons for Spinoza's lack of interest in aesthetics are not solely
> or primarily due to a merely personal indifference to art and beauty. Nor
> does he openly express his reasons for his indifference or hostility to art
> and beauty. Rather, his reasons are philosophical and must be inferred from
> what he explicitly says. The general character of Spinoza's philosophy, as
> well as some of his central doctrines, not only provide no adequate
> philosophical basis for an aesthetics but lead to the neglect of aesthetics
> altogether. That is, I shall argue that Spinoza's philosophy represents a
> certain type of philosophy and "cast of mind" which is fundamentally alien
> to, even hostile towards, art and beauty. For Spinoza, works of art do not
> constitute a special domain of beings. He regards them merely as physical
> objects with physical predicates. Art and beauty belong to the life of
> imagination, sense, and passion. If the goal is to free ourselves from
> bondage and misery we must turn away from art and beauty, which are
> inseparable from them. Nevertheless, Spinoza allows that art and beauty do
> have a limited 'medicinal' value."
>
> [....]
>
> >"The problem is not just that Spinoza's philosophy offers a 'barren soil'
> for cultivating an aesthetics. Rather, the ground it supplies is too hard
> and intractable to motivate anyone from even attempting to sow it. In other
> words, Spinoza's basic philosophical position, especially what I have
> called his naturalism and rationalism, together with their reductionist
> implications, provide no motivation for taking art and beauty seriously as
> themes of philosophical aesthetics. Naturalism means that works of art have
> no special metaphysical status (i.e., are not irreducible to physical
> objects) and that beauty is not a real (objective and absolute) quality of
> things. Rationalism means that only by thought (not the imagination or
> senses) can we know the true nature of things. Now it can be objected that
> none of these doctrines *logically implies* that art and beauty cannot be
> the subject-matter of a philosophical aesthetics. I am willing to grant
> this. But I maintain that when these metaphysical and epistemological
> doctrines are *combined* with *moral rationalism* the implications for
> aesthetics become more evident. For, as we have seen above, Spinoza's moral
> rationalism means that the emotions, which are linked to the imagination
> and senses, are the source of unfreedom, vice, and unhappiness. This
> implies that the good life is possible only if the passions are mastered;
> and this, Spinoza holds, can only be done by reason and the intellect.
> Herein lies, I believe, the ultimate basis of Spinoza's philosophical
> neglect of aesthetics. For once the good life is *identified* with the life
> of reason, and reason is *opposed* to emotion, imagination, and sense.....
> art and beauty become suspect. They are regarded as either irrelevant or
> hostile to man's highest and deepest interests."
>
> RTWT here:
>
> https://www.jstor.org/stable/431135?...n_tab_contents
> <https://www.jstor.org/stable/431135?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents>
>
> ---------------
>
> I see Spinoza's rationalism and materialism favorably and I like his
> abstract, non-religious views of God.... But this intellectual appreciation
> for his positions does not include subscribing to the impact that taking
> rationalism to an extreme has on aesthetics because I'm more on the
> Epicurean side, obviously!!
>
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