Aesthetic Disinterestedness

Aesthetic Disinterestedness : Art, Experience, and the Self

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The concept of disinterestedness is often conceived of as an antiquated or even ideological paradigm. In spite of this, I claim that one cannot fully reject it if one wishes to understand the nature of art. Therefore, I defend a new and sophisticated account of disinterestedness, thereby also supporting an aesthetic conception of art. I specifically claim that an artwork asks a person to adopt a disinterested attitude towards what it shows, and that the effect of such an adoption is that it makes the person lose the sense of herself, while enabling her to gain a sense of the other. Due to an artwork's wealth, multiperspectivity, and dialecticity, the engagement with it cannot culminate in the construction of world-views, but must initiate a process of self-critical thinking, which is a precondition of real self-determination. Ultimately, then, I explicate the experience of art as a dynamic and dialectic process of losing the sense of oneself, while gaining a sense of the other, and of achieving selfhood.
Overall, this book is also an effort to rethink Kant's approach towards art and the aesthetic, in light of more recent developments in philosophy-specifically in hermeneutics, critical theory, analytic philosophy, and to a lesser degree in post-structuralism-and in light of more recent developments within the arts themselves-specifically in performance art and film.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 216 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 12.7mm | 439.98g
  • Taylor & Francis Ltd
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1138905003
  • 9781138905009
  • 1,295,928

Review quote

"Hilgers' book is a major new contribution to a topic that is often too quickly dismissed in current debates about the nature of aesthetic experience, namely the historical and contemporary importance of the concept of disinterestedness." -Jane Kneller, Colorado State University, USA
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About Thomas Hilgers

Thomas Hilgers finished his dissertation in philosophy at the University of Pennsylvania in 2010. He was a research associate at the Free University Berlin for almost four years, and he currently is a research associate at the Academy of Arts Dusseldorf. Thomas Hilgers will be a research fellow at the Italian Academy at Columbia University in 2015/2016.
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Table of contents

Introduction 1. Introducing Disinterestedness 2. Defending Disinterestedness 3. Explicating Disinterestedness 4. Generating Disinterestedness Conclusion
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