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Subject: Re: Why Spinoza Had No Aesthetics
From: robert levine <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:robert levine <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Tue, 22 Nov 2016 08:28:40 -0500
Content-Type:text/plain
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text/plain (138 lines)


I agree with Don.

On Tue, Nov 22, 2016 at 8:22 AM, Don <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> 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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