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Art and EmbodimentFrom Aesthetics to Self-Consciousness$
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Paul Crowther

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780199244973

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199244973.001.0001

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Fundamental Ontology and Transcendent Beauty

Fundamental Ontology and Transcendent Beauty

An Approach to Kant’s Aesthetics

(p.62) (p.63) 4 Fundamental Ontology and Transcendent Beauty
Art and Embodiment

Paul Crowther

Oxford University Press

This chapter seeks to bring about a ‘fusion of horizons’ between the path from fundamental ontology to art and the aesthetics of Kant, to see if it can lead us to a better understanding of both. Section I considers Heidegger's attempt to link fundamental ontology with Kant's doctrines of ‘transcendental imagination’ and ‘free beauty’, and argues that it is unsuccessful. Section II considers the relation between ‘dependent beauty’ and fine art, and Kant's theory that leads to a notion of ‘transcendent beauty’ founded not upon a mere harmony of the faculties of cognition, but rather upon a delight at the ontological integrity and uniqueness of particular objects. This species of beauty finds its fullest embodiment in the harmonious reciprocity of artist and subject-matter, achieved through the structure of the artwork. Section III argues that this notion of ‘transcendent beauty’ is significantly anticipated in an aspect of Kant's aesthetics that Heidegger overlooks — namely the doctrine of ‘aesthetic ideas’.

Keywords:   Kant, Heidegger, art, aesthetics, fundamental ontology, transcendental imagination, transcendent beauty, aesthetic ideas

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