Andrea Esser (Jena)

Symbolizing perpetual deliberation. Kant’s formal conditions of the aesthetic judgment, their intercultural dimension and their limits

Kant’s formal conditions of the aesthetic judgment do not limit aesthetic reflexion to certain aesthetic traditions and cultures. Moreover they open the application of the aesthetic reflexion for different approaches. Under this perspective Kants formal aesthetics might be a useful groundwork for intercultural communication in the field of aesthetics and communication of arts. But I am certain that it has its limits especially because it does neglect the bodily dimension of aesthetic experience. It will be these two questions the paper will be concerned with.

Hans Feger (FU Berlin)

Aesthetics and Life-World – Kant’s Concept

Since the Critique of Judgment, the aesthetic reflective judgment, in its denotative orientation, is opposed to cognitive judgment. With aesthetic reflective judgment it is a matter of how the subject, when faced with an object is himself or herself, through the inner image of that object, affected, in case the object is beautiful or moved, in case the object is sublime. Precisely because of the reflective orientation of the attributions of meaning, the beauty and sublime in arts requires interpreters who for their part transfer discourse images into insights. With the emergence of aesthetic as insight into the knowledge bases the interpreters become professionalized in the new-arising caste of the philo­logists. Philology is the way out of the dilemma of philosophy about being able to reflect about aesthetics only insofar as philosophy positions it in opposition to itself, that is, it explains aesthetics as something unavailable.

Yvonne Förster (Lüneburg)

Art and Technology: Exploring aisthetic dimensions of the lifeworld

Visions of smart environments, everyday objects being highly connected with each other, an unprecendented mass of data gathered in digital flows and humans turned into responsive parts of a sense culture: These visions currently discussed in Media Science, Philosophy, Informatics or Posthumanism picture scenarios, in which human life will be deeply influenced by technology. Theorists like Kathrin Hayles or Mark Hansen speak of a technological unconscious or a technogenesis of consciousness. These accounts hold that our cognitive abilities coevolve with and are deeply influenced by technology and digital media. This process unfolds hidden from our perception within temporal microscales (Hansen). The digitalization of the lifeworld is a global phenomenon, which regardless of local cultures unfolds. Theories on this development tend to stress the non-experiential character of technology’s influence on human cognition and social organization. It is art, which seeks to explore the experiential aspects and potentialities of technological shaped lifeworlds. In my talk I will present examples of artworks, which focus on the possibility of aesthetic experiences with new technologies and getting in touch with the so-called technological unconscious. The aim of this talk is to elaborate on the potential of art to unfold experiential aspects of human rapports with technology and thereby develop aisthetic practices for understanding the cultural and political dimensions of digitalized lifeworlds.

Saulius Geniusas (CUHK, HongKong)

Productive Imagination and the Historicity of the Life-World

According to my central thesis, productive imagination is one of the fundamental powers that transforms our surrounding world and renders it genuinely historical. Here I will understand productive imagination not just as the power to constitute non-existent objects (ficta), but also, and much more importantly, as the capacity to augment and transfigure the life-world. Here I understand the concept of the life-world in line with the fundamental principles of Husserlian phenomenology, i.e., personalistically, and not naturalistically. While the naturalistic standpoint reduces the world to pure nature, devoid of everything that is subject-dependent, from the personalistic standpoint the world is given as filled with perceived, affective and practical properties.
To defend the outlined thesis, I will build an account which relies on Paul Rioeur’s writings on pro-ductive imagination, and especially on his so-far unpublished Lectures on Imagination, delivered at the University of Chicago in 1975. Building on these lectures, I will develop a sketch of a phenome-nology of painting, which – so I will argue – clarifies how imagination modifies the life-world. With references to Picasso’s works from the Blue Period as well as to his reflections on his own artworks, I will show how art transforms our intentional relation to the surrounding world and modifies our situatedness in the lifeworld. Further reflections on Baudelaire’s critique of photography will reinforce such a view. The approach I will here develop will enable one to interpret the plurality of cultural worlds as diverse configurations of meaning, which are the constitutive accomplishments of productive imagination.

Tonino Griffero (Rom)

Pathic Aesthetics: Atmospheres and Lifeworld

Through an approach primarily inspired by the Aisthetik (Gernot Böhme) and the Neue Phänomenologie (Hermann Schmitz) I try to define the atmospheric perception as first pathic impression, to investigate the relationship between this kind of (amodal, even synaesthetic) perception and the expressive qualities of the surrounding space.
As a general theory of perception, my pathic aesthetics ceases therefore to be a theory of privileged objects like the works of arts and considers man as a being emotionally and felt-bodily touched by feelings (atmospheres) widespread in his (lived) space but also, as affordances, ontologically rooted in things and quasi-things of our lifeworld. By exploring how he exposes himself to what happens, man turns out to be not as “subject of something” but rather as a “subject to something”: a “sovereign” man free from the claim of autonomy imposed by the Western Modernity.
Moving from a (new)phenomenological theory of the lived body (Leib), I then outline its constitutive (pre-reflective) role in human experience but especialy in pathic-aesthetic perception. Against every reductionist and introjectionist objectification of the lived experience, every explanatory hypothesis of associationist and projectivist type, a pathic aesthetics ‒ that emphasizes the affective involvement that the perceiver feels unable to critically react to or mitigate the intrusiveness of ‒ seems to be an adequate investigation of the felt body as sounding board of outside atmospheres and Stimmungen.
But the atmospheres are not all equal. An atmosphere can overwhelm us, it can find us in tune with it, it can be recognised without being really felt, it can elicit a resistance that pushes us to change it, it may for various reasons be perceived differently in the course of time, it can even be entirely dependent on the perceptual-subjective form. An so on. However, atmospheres, at least the prototypic ones (objective, external and unintentional), have undoubtedly authority. They possess and exercise an authoritarian or authoritative influence even in the absence of physical coercion, are able to inhibit any critical distance in the perceiver. But the risk of being seriously manipulated by atmospheres decreases significantly when our acquiring a better atmospheric “competence” (both in producing and understanding atmospheric feelings) makes it possible that, in the unintentional experience of our lifeworld, an initial and immersive phase is followed by a partly reflective phase of emersion. And it is just what my atmospherological project tries to make possible.

Helmut Heit (Shanghai, Tongji U)

The Dao of Tightrope-Dancing. Coping with Acceleration East and West

This paper investigates Nietzsche’s contribution to a modern understanding of self-cultivation and aesthetic justification of life under the condition of secular and developed societies. Nietzsche al-ready observed a certain social, cultural and technological dynamic in modern societies, which was recently described to some detail by Hartmut Rosa in his critical theory of acceleration. Rosa’s diag-nosis of accelerating economic, technological, architectural, and cultural transformation not only fits Western societies from Nietzsche’s times onwards, but very much so contemporary China, too. Life-worlds are changing at a rapid pace and confront individuals as much as societies with fundamental questions regarding the meaning, direction and advantage of such change. These conditions also pose new obstacles for traditional conceptions of self-cultivation such as Daoism, which are summarized in Nietzsche’s notion of the ‘death of god’. His story of the tightrope-dancer in Thus Spoke Zarathustra could serve as an exemplification of virtuous performance of life under the conditions of a nihilistic and technological age of acceleration. I take Nietzsche as a point of departure to comprehend the experience of increasingly fast changing life-worlds in East and West and to investigate the opportunities of revised and secularized Daoism for an aesthetic conception of cultivation and good life.

Lore Hühn (Freiburg i. Br.)

The Ethos of Gelassenheit in Martin Heidegger and Schelling

Gelassenheit (“releasement” or “composure”) is the term for a theoretical attitude toward the modern age that removes itself from the temporal dynamic and temporal constraints that belong to that very age. It is Martin Heidegger who, like no other philosopher of his time, renews the ethos of Gelassenheit that is deeply anchored in the western, and especially German, philosophical tradition.
Heidegger reintroduces this notion in order, on the one hand, to criticize and offer an alternative to modern technology and its own dynamic of accelerated experience of time and, on the other, to impose self-restraint on western rationality.
Country Path Conversations (1944/1945) occupies a position somewhere in the middle of Heidegger’s widely conducted discourse on Gelassenheit. This work was composed in closest proximity to the Contributions to Philosophy (Of the Event) (1936-1938) and exhibits significant parallels to the teachings of Laozi and other Far Eastern texts. At the same time this work develops the ethos of Gelassenheit as the hermeneutic key to a theory of the “new beginning” that is supposed to leave behind the first beginning in the history of being. Heidegger’s vision of this new start is supported by a theory of Gelassenheit that he works out in continual conversation with Schelling. Heidegger is one of the first readers of Schelling’s fragments of the “Ages of the World” (1811), and he pursued more closely than anyone Schelling’s theory of Gelassenheit through a fundamental reflection on what a “true beginning” of western history is.

Hilge Landweer (FU Berlin)

The Sense of Appropriateness in Ethics and Aesthetics

We usually act and behave governed by a sense of appropriateness which is foundational for our social world. In this paper, I would like to outline some aspects of how the sense of appropriateness relates to emotions and to discuss whether emotions are part of this sense. I begin by introducing my thesis and important terms. In the second section, I present several examples of the sense of appropriateness and mention key traditional approaches and points of departure. I conclude by making some remarks on the role of the sense of appropriateness in ethics and aesthetics.

Li Shuangzhi (Shanghai, Fudan U)

Living dreams as a aesthetic form of Dasein in the early works of Hugo von Hofmannsthal

In the historical discourse-frame of dream-theories of Nietzsche and Freud, Hugo von Hofmannsthal developed in his early works a notable dream-narrative, connecting the psychological exploration of the desire and fear with the philosophical reflections about the life-death -relationships. I will examine the different facets of his lyric and epic representations of the living dreams and outline the aesthetic conception of dreamed life as Dasein-design.

Liu Yuedi (CASS)

Aesthetics of Everyday Life and Chinese Living Aesthetics

As a new trend in aesthetics appearing concurrently in the West and the East in the last ten years, the aesthetics of everyday life points to a growing diversification among existing methodologies for pursuing aesthetics, alongside the shift from art-based aesthetics. The cultural diversity manifest in global aesthetics offers common ground for the collaborative efforts of aesthetics in both the West and the East.  In this paper, I trace the shift in contemporary aesthetics from its recent grounding in post-analytic philosophy, with an emphasis on examining aesthetics in the context of an art world, to a renewed interest in exploring everyday life aesthetics as seen from a Chinese perspective (I called it Living Aesthetics). In the embracing of the aesthetics of everyday life including environmental aesthetics, contemporary scholars find new interest in the impact of globalization and the “natural aesthetics” of particular environments, such as the search for a new understanding of being Chinese in the contemporary arts and culture as seen by Chinese and global aesthetics. To conclude, living aesthetics is one of the main trends in global aesthetics. But living aesthetics is not particular to Chinese aesthetics, or any other single philosophical tradition; rather, it involves the world aesthetics. Anyway, with the boundary between art and everyday life being dismissed, and the environment turning to the human environment, contemporary philosophy of art and environment aesthetics have been fusing into living aesthetics. The reason for this historical trend is simply that the aesthetic must be the “profound standard” for the quality of human life, and the development of the environment and the world.

Stefan Majetschak (Kassel)

Aesthetic judgments and their Cultural Grounding. Considerations about the Problem of Ascribing Aesthetic Concepts to Works of Art

Until today, whether explicitly or not, the theoretical approaches of Baumgarten and Kant constitute the framework in which most discussions take place, when we ask what aesthetic judgments of art are and what they actually speak about. Unlike the eighteenth-century theorists, today we would probably no longer say that aesthetic judgments necessarily – not even primarily – attribute beauty to the objects being aesthetically judged, but as a rule make much more complex statements. Not only do we ascribe beauty to them but moreover attribute aesthetic qualities like ‘unified, balanced, integrated, lifeless, dynamic’ or ‘sentimental’ in judgements of the form 'X is a unified and balanced artwork', 'Y shows a lifeless composition' or 'Z seems dynamic, not at all sentimental'. But whatever we say about art, even today many theorists are tempted to trace back to particularities of the aesthetic object – like Baumgarten – or to specific moments of its aesthetic experience – like Kant.
As this lecture attemps to highlight, this alternative, in which art theories have been positioned since the 18th century, is, if not entirely wrong, then at least misleading, since it prevents us from seeing that the rules and conditions which govern our aesthetic judgments are more complex than the Kant-Baumgarten alternative suggests. For our ability to use aesthetic concepts is much more dependent on the cultural framework belonging to our way of living than on the qualities of the objects being judged or on particularities of our aesthetic experience. Indeed, not even the judgment that an object must be classified as an ‚artwork’ can be understood without reference to this framework.
With respect to Ludwig Wittgenstein, Frank Sibley and Arthur Danto the talk will show that the as-cription of aesthetic concepts to artworks is not merely governed by material, perceptible qualities of the objects or their way of appearing in our aesthetic experience, but is actually on a categorically different level: the level of a culturally determined practice of interpretation. This will be worked out by analyzing a famous interpretation, which Ernst Gombrich has given regarding Massacio’s fresco of the Holy Trinity located in the Dominican church of Santa Maria Novella in Florence.

Georg Stenger (Wien)

From “Cézanne’s Doubt” to Ài Wèiwèi’s Subversive Engagement – Art at the Edge of the Life-World –

With Paul Cézanne’s painting, not only does central perspective become fragile, it also calls the abil-ity of the artist into question. The life-world threatens to lose its sedimentary and habitualized ground, which unhinges both parties – the artist in his/her existence as well as the life-world in its familiarity. The “body as being-to-the-world” (Maurice Merleau-Ponty) experiences the implication of any sense in sensuality, where hand and eye, eye and mind emerge out of a “in statu nascendi” above all else. Ài Wèiwèi’s artistic practice of understanding reaches deep back into the roots of the Chinese life-world and historical eras, in order to emphasize both in paths to co-existential encoun-ters and discussions with Western understandings (of art) in new and different ways. The move from “living body” (Leib) to “psychical/political body” (Körper) proves itself to be highly controversial both artistically as well as politically, such that one could say that where knowledge and understanding are based on a calm and presupposed life-world, art, in its being set forth as it is by Paul Cézanne and Ài Wèiwèi, is to be understood at the same time as work on the life-world as well as on its conditions and border edges.

Wang Wen-sheng (Taipei)

Lifeworld, Techne, and Art in Husserl’s Phenomenology

Husserl connects the concept of “Lifeworld” with “techne,” instead of “Technology” in the sense of “mere technic.” Aristotle understands techne as a transition from technic, though spontaneity, to phusis. An example of him manifests that art just happens in the process of transition of techne. I try to expose such an aesthetic sense behind the “Lifeworld” in Husserl’s phenomenology in connection with “techne” in my highlighted sense.

Maren Wehrle (Leuven, Belgium)

(Husserl’s) Home-World and Alien-World: The Lifeworld as Condition of Normal Perception

The concept of the lifeworld was introduced by Husserl in the Crisis of the European Sciences as foundation for scientific reasoning and
The concept of the lifeworld was introduced by Husserl in the Crisis of the European Sciences as foundation for scientific reasoning and philosophical reflection. Within this realm of pre-scientific and pre-philosophical life of practical sense and daily concerns, Husserl differentiates between a home-world and an alien-world. The home-world as a familiar and well-known environment operates in this regard as the ‘zero point of orientation’ of every perception and aesthetic evaluation. It therefore also determines what we experience as normal.
But within our life-worlds the horizon of the (cultural) Other and the Alien is always already included and therefore accessible for us: either as the possible extension of our home-world (normality) or the necessary limits of it.
The paper wants to investigate Husserl’s concepts of home- and alien-world with regard to our experience of normality or deviations from this experience. In doing this it aims to describe the possible horizons (extensions and openness) as well as the limits of normality. The paper will argue that the lifeworld is not only the motivational foundation for the scientific and philosophical attitude but also for a concordant and normal perception.

Mario Wenning (Macau, Gunagzhou)

The Rhythm of Natural Action

When is a modern agent in or out of tune with the social, historical and natural rhythms of her envi-ronment? In an attempt to answer this question, the paper develops a theory of rhythmically struc-tured action. It will draw on the phenomenology of music, the late work of Henri Lefebvre as well as motifs from classical Daoism to reveal the importance of rhythm for natural action under conditions of increasing acceleration.

Christian Helmut Wenzel (Taipei)

Aesthetic Education in Confucius, Kant, and Today

“Aesthetics” as a “theory of art and of beautiful thought” dates back to Baumgarten’s “Aesthetica” (1750/58). But the Latin term goes back to Greek “aisthanomai,” meaning: to feel, perceive, experi-ence, and understand. Soon after Baumgarten, Kant’s aesthetics, as part of his “Critique of Judg-ment” (1790), has been very influential. In China on the other hand, Confucius’ “Analects” has had a great impact until today, and Confucius is often compared with Kant, particularly regarding morality. Confucius did not write any theory of aesthetics, but when reading him, we soon feel that something like beauty is important to him as well. Hence I wish to read Confucius in the light of Kant’s aesthetic theory and try to make these two thinkers speak to each other. In particular, I am interested in aesthetic aspects regarding ritual, education, morality, human behavior, and what the relevance of these aspects might still be today.

Yu Mingfeng (Shanghai, Fudan U)

On Wandering: Nietzsche and Zhuangzi

In China, Nietzsche is often compared with Zhuangzi. Not only because that both have combined philosophy with literature, but also because that both have a view of the world and life beyond good and evil. Nietzsche has once described philosophy as “wandering in the forbidden”. This idea of wandering is essentially in connection with his understanding of “perspective” and “experiment”. Through an analysis of “wandering”(You,游), the crucial term in Zhuangzi, especially in the so called “inner chapters”, which consist of seven essays and are believed to contain the authentic thought of Zhuangzi himself, this paper discusses Zhuangzi´s understanding of the best way of life in comparison with the view of Nietzsche, and tries to show the inner tension between nature and customs in the thinking of both “travelers”. For both, thinking is itself wandering.

Günter Zöller (LMU München)

Aesthetic Cognition. Kant on the Productive Power of the Imagination

My contribution to our conference examines the mediating role of the power of the imagination (Einbildungskraft) in Kant's Kant's critical epistemology, as chiefly contained in the Critique of Pure Reason (1781; 1787) and revisited in the Critique of the Power of Judgment (1790). First the focus is on the relationship of the power of the imagination to the two main sources of (theoretical) cogni-tion in Kant, viz., sensibility and the understanding. Subsequently special attention will be devoted to the distinction between schema and symbol, as alternative products of the power of the imagination in the service of rendering discursive concepts intuitive – with schemata serving to make sensible the concepts of the understanding (Verstand) and symbols suited to provide intuitional counterparts to the concepts of reason (Vernunft). Finally the contribution will address the status and function of symbolism in Kant's thinking about civil society and the state by exploring the aesthetic representation of political concepts informed by analogies from the natural world.