What is the significance of Plato's aesthetics

Before approaching this term, it is advisable to draw some distinctions between aesthesis and the term aesthetics. It is not only in everyday language that both seem to be viewed and used in a privileged relationship to one another. Objects. The thought that aesthetics itself relates to perception and not just to works, objects and facts, the thought that aesthetics is actually a perception that is becoming aesthetic, seems to have found little resonance. Some at least go so far as to mean the art of society as a gigantic projection of the child's ontogeny, even if only in loose associations, if it is true that in childish ontogeny, perception experiences the decisive development in attribution to communication that informs (Information through performance, i.e. through presence; see P. Fuchs 1998: p164).

The terms aesthetics resp. To approach aesthesis is to mention different sorts of distinctions. The conceptual circumferential volume of aesthetics depends on

  • whether you understand it as an idealistic or materialistic philosophy of art, i.e. as a pure theoretical reflection,
  • takes it in a more colloquial sense, or
  • rather in the sense of a possible or impossible theory of sensual perception, physical attention and temporal awareness.
In addition, it is important to distinguish from which institutional-textual level one can see 'the' aesthetics:
  1. One can start from the "classic" rational statements about aesthetics, which they still located in the triumvirate of philosophy, ethics and aesthetics (the true, the good, the beautiful) - both rationally disparaging as with Kant or Leibnitz (lower cognitive faculty) or rationally upgrading as with Baumgarten and Goethe (perfecting reason, "felix aestheticus");
  2. one can pursue the different fixtures of aesthetics in the pairs beautiful / true (Kant), beautiful / useful (Heidegger) and beautiful / good (Nietzsche), i.e. the aesthetics of Judgment, of Doing and des Life, and follow how aesthetics continues to expand from a discourse form of the rationality of judgmental behavior to beautiful / non-beautiful objects to an aesthetic that includes previously unconsidered social, cultural, living "objects" in the aesthetic discursivation ;
  3. From this transgression of the aesthetic to the aesthetic one can follow the further theoretical discussion of the concept and the change in the concept (Adorno, Benjamin, Lukács, Welsch);
  4. one can start from statements about aesthetics by artists who have incorporated theories about aesthetics into their artistic practice (especially Marxist artists such as Eisenstein, Nono, Müller);
  5. furthermore, one can localize utterances about aesthetics if they arose out of a so-called academic aesthetic (e.g. Haug, Jameson, Bürger); as well as aesthetic "discourses" that no longer want to be aesthetic discourses (Dadaism, Fluxus, trash culture).
Further distinctions that can be applied to the term are:
  • Aesthetics understood as work vs. aesthetics understood as reception vs. aesthetics understood as performance;
  • Aesthetics as a representative of perception within the distinction between perception and communication (represented by "computer science");
  • Aesthetics as sensual cognition (Aistheta) versus logic as rational cognition (Noeta).
  • Aesthetics as a reconciliation of the divided spirit (Schelling) vs. Aesthetics as a reconciled representation of irreconcilability (Adorno).
All these efforts to differentiate the terms aesthetics / aesthesis from the side of aesthetics in terms of conceptual history, conceptual logic and sociological aspects are 'washed down' by three double questions, namely: Is aesthetics a discipline of philosophy or is aesthesis / perception a function of consciousness ?; Aesthetics has privileged access to the arts, for example to literature, music, painting, film, i.e. to cult or has the aesthesis a privileged access to the reality of the (not of) world, thus both to the cult and to cura?; and, thirdly: Is aesthetics an effect of form or experience or is aesthesis something that the body does or that only marks "mental states"?

In the following, a decision will be made: what will be heard is primarily the aesthesis, understood in the conceptual-historical meaning rather buried than perceiving, becoming aware, "was-nemen", and less the aesthetics as the reflection theory of the arts or the theory of knowledge and truth (see M Franz 1990): Within the four basic positions identified by Franz in the relationship between aesthetics and truth, namely the controversy of truth (Plato), renunciation of truth (Nietzsche), doubling of truth (Prodikos) and search for truth (Aristotle), no position could come into question for the aesthetic term favored here , since he is neither concerned with arguing the truth nor renouncing the truth, and certainly not with duplicating it and searching for it. Rather, perception is understood as arbitration, as an interface between sensation and meaning, a kind of skin of the cognitive apparatus, which prevents experience from being completely displaced from the form and thus prevents human nature from becoming a monster. Aesthetic perception would be the translation of individual human experience into media of sensual visualization (Franz 1990: p420), but without thereby helping to build up the creative freedom of the thought possible, without discovering or respectively discovering any general information in detail / particular. to perform without mediation of the individual and the general; thus without all the markings that justified Aristotle's claim to validity of a truth of aesthetics (coherence of artistic truth).

The formulation of perception in the sense of "material" for sciences that analyze experience (and not action) and increasingly naturalize perception (for example in perceptual psychology, in neurophysiology, in the 'cognitive sciences') does not correspond to the one pursued here Line of a perception that is more likely to be placed in the "realm" / "flesh" of the conditions for making reflection, analysis and synthesis possible and impossible, namely as a 'believable impossibility' (Aristotle), namely neither of the sensual can still be attributed to rational cognition (Aistheta and Noeta). - This version of the aesthesis favored here and to be worked out in the future was preceded by other versions in terms of conceptual history, versions that connected perception with taste, with truth and truthfulness, with subordinated sensuality, but also versions of the aesthesis that are based on the etymological "ground" of Trying to recite perception, and now in a nutshell should be marked (extensive and starting with Kant see the two-volume work Gerhard Plumpes 1993, which does not even include the term perception in the register; for the term aesthetics see Ritter [Hg.] 1971: Sp. 555-580).

Aisthesis, as a teaching of sensual, physical perception and sensation through Aristotle and Plato literally theorized, found at Parmenides Probably for the first time the relation that has been formative to this day by contrasting it with cognitive, incorporeal, higher knowledge. Since for him perceiving and thinking can only grasp the world on the basis of the physical states warm / cold, Parmenides seems to start from a physical or corporeal world view that is underpinned to both modes, which logos and aesthesis make possible in the first place. This architecture shows similarities with Heideggers Concept of the phenomenon, which is identified by this within a truth-philosophical context and equipped with the 'apophantic' logic as something that shows itself in itself, against which the appearance is already in the future. Heidegger brings showing oneself closer to the Greek aesthesis and the Greek Noein; Both make it possible to see what is showing itself, which precedes the judgment form true / false. In order for this seeing to be made possible in turn, certain types of becoming accessible are required, such as that of phenomenology. Depending on the type of access, beings can show themselves from within, with wrong access, false appearances can arise. But the type of access is not the necessary condition of the possibility for beings, according to Heidegger (Ströker / Janssen 1989: p215). - The way in which beings become accessible, i.e. the specific mode of world contact and world reception, also refer, now again under the spell of perception, with different concepts Empedocles, Plato and Parmenides on the one hand and Heraclitus as Anaxagoras On the other hand: While some assume that perception as an outflow from things only succeeds if the similarity of the elements of the outside world with the elements in the perceiving subject is guaranteed, the other side sees sense perception through the opposite of the perceived object Material guaranteed in the perceiving subject (Ritter [Hg.] 1971: p119); for Anaxagoras one more reason to doubt the ability to perceive truth. At Protagoras These doubts disappear because he conceives of perception as a kind of collision between an external movement of the perceived object and the internal movement of the perceiving subject; instead of has no identity of what is perceived and what is perceived, but here the identification of what is perceived is sufficient by (not with) the inner movement of the perceiver in order to conceive true knowledge within the limits of aesthesis (knowledge relativism). Plato's concept of recognizable, true ideas on the one hand and perceivable body things on the other ultimately cement ex negativo perception as that multiversal faculty that best does justice to the complexity of the world by reserving sensory perception exclusively for capturing the constantly fluctuating body world, which is determined not by being and not by non-being, but by becoming, is characterized by non-identity and at most enables probability of determination, but not truth of knowledge. The body, as an instance of perception, becomes in this version an instrument to be operated by the soul, as something that only communicates and shares the world in a heteronomous manner, but does not inform the world (essence = form). While Plato makes a sharp distinction between perception (body) and knowledge (soul), Aristotle introduces a kind of succession of the perception objects becoming immaterial in the act of perception: the intrinsically unequal object is perceived, causes a change in the perception act itself, which leads to an alignment of the is really perceived and directed to the real perception. This alignment takes place under the condition of abstraction: the Materiality of the object, which per se is not accessible to the perceiver, has to be lost and at the same time has to be compensated by the perceiving reception of the shape of the object (see on Aristotle's "creation" of the formal logic Krämer 1988: p73ff.) In perception, a kind of creation of proto-knowledge happens for Aristotle, a kind of dry run of knowledge, which is characterized by it, completely detached from the to bring the specifically general to the concept of the temporal peculiarity of the perceptual horizon. Unlike Aristotle, who still equips the soul with susceptibility and movement, as long as it comes into view as being in connection with the body Plotinus from a fundamental incapacity of the soul to experience and suffer. Plotinus conveys the poles of perception and cognition in a more complex way by conceiving perception itself as a kind of spiritual act of the soul, which in turn only registers the already spiritual forms of the sensory objects. The sensory perception did not correspond to any kind of "short circuit" of object and subject, but was played out solely between the already mentally modeled forms of the sensory data and these forms of the soul 'becoming aware'. The sphere of the senses only has a transmission function here, is a kind of messenger of information between the sensory things and the soul, which is itself radically separated from all physical sensuality (this is found, modified, again in the topos of the indifferent coding of the brain; see e.g. Roth 1987: p229-255).

The problematization of the status of perception initiated in Greek natural philosophy within the contexts of truth vs. opinion (Plato), essence / form vs. corporeality / senses, as well as within the poles of sensation on the one hand and empirical judgment, respectively. Imagination on the other side of the opened horizon flows into the frame with the modern age René Descartesthat cement a certain split in the concept of perception. The so-called source function of experience is split into a subjective-spiritual and an objective-material side. Depending on the epistemological direction, such as rationalism and empiricism or sensualism, the subjective or the objective side of the referential context perception appears to be deficient: since perceptions cannot be objectified, either more emphasis is placed on observation and experiment, around a truth independent of experience through extensive renunciation to guarantee per se deceptive perception, or one tries, by going back to the immediate sensory datum of perception, which is thought to be completely conceptual and unconceptual (empiricism), always under the theoretical premise that error, falsehood, deception etc. have no property the world resp. of perception, but rather the effect of reflection, judgment, the order of thought. The concept of perception, for its part, is now split up again into elements of sensation and conscious shapes; thus the "macrological" problem of the relationship between perception and consciousness is repeated micrologically and leads, among other things, to a change in the ascription of the active / passive attributes for perception. At the same time, the lack of empirically oriented (natural) science based on causality, which continues to this day, arises here: namely, being unable to offer reliable knowledge for all the world issues that are no longer perceptible to the senses. One consequence of this would be to think of knowledge completely without a sensually perceptible being as a reference (Luhmann 1990: p14). The consequence that Kant draws from his reconstruction of the concept of perception is diametrically different. He relies on "the" subject as the full formula of correct action, knowledge and experience and sees in this the guarantee for the intersubjective obligation of perception, which as "conscious perception" consists of both moments of active poiesis and receptive sensuality. In order to prevent this mixture of components from being understood as idiosyncratic within the perception and thus perception as an exclusive expression resp. Impression ability, Kant in his version of conscious perception relies on intersubjective validity of perceiving identifications and distinctions, whereby the "passive synthesis" in perception as well as the "sensual certainty" possible through perception ultimately again relate to perception alien, i.e. social resp. communicative-cognitive "legs" are placed: the subjective poiesis is already framed intersubjectively, as is the horizon of what is absolutely sensual.

The areas of tension between more materialistic and idealistic conceptions of perception, between phylogenetic, historical-social and ontogenic approaches, between the explanatory volumes of sensations, ideas and perceptions, were to a certain extent relaxed at the beginning of the 20th century by the Gestalt theory. Her attempt to replace atomistic and elementary theories of perception with a holistic model of gestalt perception culminated in the idea that dynamic self-organization processes on the molecular, chemical, physical and neuronal level and self-organization processes on the level of perception / information processing within consciousness are similar to let; Both processes are subject to an orientation towards the reaching of a so-called final state (gestalt or autopoiesis), and both processes are to be characterized as teleonomic. With this narrowing of the concept of perception, albeit philosophically framed - starting with Wundts Elementarism of consciousness and continued in psychophysicalism Helmholtzens - On the relation between physics, neurology and psychology (exception: phenomenology) a depotentiation of certain questions to the term perception, of questions that address the philosophical, anthropological, social and existential dimensions of perception.

For the more philosophical, literary and aesthetic discourse of the 18th century, for the one from 1750 with the publication of Baumgarten The explicit 'aesthetic' discourse that begins with the work "Aesthetica", the meaning of perception and the senses still seems to be aptly reproduced in the following words of Kant from 1798 (Kant 1964: p449): "The sense of the face is, if the same not more indispensable than that of hearing, but the noblest; because among all it is most distant from that of touch, as the most restricted condition of perception, and not only contains the largest sphere of it in space, but also be Organ feels the least affected (because otherwise it would not be just seeing), so here is one pure intuition (the immediate imagination of the given object without added noticeable sensation) comes closer. "This hierarchization or literacy of the senses was also in aesthetic communication (although there with developed ambivalence, for example with Karl Philipp Moritz) under a dominant trait that consisted in it to interpret the senses only as metaphors in which the ratio celebrated itself as an instrument or as the transmodal center of the sensory tools (Utz 1990: p25). Established above all other sensory modalities, corresponded to a thing that had long been agreed upon, namely that knowledge cannot be a matter of perception, and if it is, then only in accordance with sensible instructions, rigid training and the effective use of their potentials that have yet to be coordinated Sense as the seat of supervision over the concours the senses guarantee both the educational process within the competing senses as well as the educational process of mediating the individual with the general: "common sense" becomes an individual as well as a social concept; open, intrinsically plural perception becomes something idiosyncratic which, as Norbert Elias has reported in detail, is not socially acceptable. The healing of the blind, according to Utz (1990: p31), becomes the primal scene of the Enlightenment, knowledge becomes a rather ahistorical holistic experience that only makes a detour via what has to be perfected: perfectibility can no longer be a goal that can be achieved by the underperforming senses is calculable. The perception, the sensual certainty grew, so to speak, in the course of the emerging modernization of society, the increased need to regulate, homogenize and standardize things, people, traffic and relationships, without having to add anything. It was not until Romanticism, understood as an excerpt from a reflected traditionalism, that the abstract ideal of an Enlightenment utopia of knowledge was battered, which, as Hegel correctly diagnosed, drove people out of hearing and seeing in modern society. The search was now for modes of contact with reality that did not bend to the powerful maxim that the world converges on man, on the subject, but rather tracked down or tracked down the unthinkable, the unconstructible, the "other" of the world and reality. put their importance in the foreground. For example, the concept of an inkling already gained popularity among the Jena philosopher during the Enlightenment period Hennings (1731-1815) at Kontur, and finally on Goethe, Schleiermacher and Novalis Holderlin in the form of a "mantic empiricism" to make a fundamental criticism of the rational construction of subject and object, in one with a criticism of the transcendental philosophical way of criticizing this very relationship. Building on Holderlin and Nietzsche and deviating slightly from the latter, finally tries Heidegger To get away from the 'traditional' constellation of the first beginning in the philosophical definition of the world (amazement at surprise effects in relation to the existing conceptual expectation; Hogrebe 1996: p96), and a "different beginning" of being in the world, of being in the world -To create being, a beginning that is filled by a premonition of being, because this measures and measures every temporality: the time-play-space of the Da "(Heidegger 1989: p22). Heidegger's alternative" thought sensitivity ", his conscious Deviating from the argumentative discourse practice of philosophy, his different thinking about the relationship between perception, body, world and time, generally the balancing of a different dosage of the terms body, perception, thinking and world, begins centrally Nietzsche. If there was a privileged relationship between essence and form in metaphysics, so that the informed world shared at least approximately something of the essence of the world, then for Nietzsche (1988: vol. 12, p249), who claims metaphysics, to bundle all world interpretations with only one "guiding code", fought: "The world is not so and so: and the living beings see it as it appears to them. Rather: the world consists of such living beings, and for everyone there is a small angle from which it measures, becomes aware, sees and does not see. The "essence" is missing [...]. " - For the active ability of aesthesis (and for the cognitive function of thinking) Nietzsche regards the body as the actual structure. Nietzsche understands the body as a multitude of living beings, interpreting in a variety of perspectives, whose unity and relative permanence is not due to a higher, unified consciousness (Beckerhoff 1998: p18). The intercourse of these multitudes is in turn regulated by a multitude of living intermediaries. "Body" means a composite plurality of combat resp. Interpretation events through which the environment and the object world of the body are constituted in the first place. Thus, these worlds per se can only be diverse. Consciousness cannot switch to another, homogeneous way of forming relationships with the environment and the object world because of this diversity of the inner and outer world, since no world is available "apart" from the bodily interpretation process (Beckerhoff 1998: p19). The central thrust beyond a blind subordination of the knowing being 'man' to the impulsiveness of vital liveliness in Nietzsche is that he describes the relational syndrome 'consciousness-world' as a derivative of the relational syndrome 'consciousness-body'. The intelligible world, understood as divisible in repetition, as structured, as unified, is thus not a condition of an aesthetic process of the body, but rather the result of a struggling event of bodily experience. It is not more real, not more real, not truer because of its capacity for standardization (in relation to the material of experience), but more a "falsification", the more uniformly it interprets the environment, its own and external world and increasingly also constructs it genuinely.

Merleau-Ponty has brought the idea of ​​a "fundamental" interlocking between aesthesis and corporeality as well as the idea of ​​an immensely greater dependence of the constructions of meaning and world on the corporeality of perception than was previously assumed in the philosophical tradition to perhaps the most pronounced climax. His "Phenomenology of Perception" (fr. 1945) sees itself at the same time as the phenomenology of the body. The body that is not in the room, but the body that resides in the room, means that external perception and perception of the body vary with one another, since they are "only two sides of one and the same act (Merleau-Ponty 1974: p241). And further (p242f. ): "The theory of the body schema is impicite already a theory of perception [...] since the body with which we perceive is, as it were, a natural I and itself the subject of perception. "In his book" The Visible and the Invisible "(1994: p191) Merleau focuses -Ponty the body on the concept of the flesh: "" The flesh of which we speak is not matter. It is the rolling of the visible into the seeing body, the tangible into the touching body, which is especially evident when the body sees itself and touches itself while it is just about to see and touch things, so that at the same time it descends to them as more tangible and dominates them all as touching and this relation as well as that double relation through the gaping or splitting of its own Draws mass out of itself ". - Merleau-Ponty's philosophical foundation of the no longer to be undercut insight into the 'immersion' of consciousness in sensuality, his phenomenological unfolding of our ignorance about what we body or what we are. Calling body has recently led to theoretical debates about aesthesis, which have in common the conscious avoidance of a purely philosophical-abstract discussion and the turn to an "aesthesis materialis" (see for example Dotzler / Müller [ed.] 1995). A type of investigation of fields of perception that is closely oriented to the material and specific case studies is spoken of, which both gives space to the historicity of perception and seeks to reopen the space in which aesthesis cannot be limited to the system of the arts.

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