Ideas from 'Lectures on Aesthetics' by Georg W.F.Hegel [1826], by Theme Structure

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3. Truth / A. Truth Problems / 2. Defining Truth
Genuine truth is the resolution of the highest contradiction
                        Full Idea: The highest truth, truth as such, is the resolution of the highest opposition and contradiction.
                        From: Georg W.F.Hegel (Lectures on Aesthetics [1826], I: 99), quoted by Stephen Houlgate - An Introduction to Hegel 09 'Art'
                        A reaction: Uneasy about the word 'highest', and the general Hegelian dream of 'resolving' contradictions, rather than just eliminating at least one component of them. No one else uses the word 'truth' like this. I suppose this Truth has a capital 'T'.
3. Truth / A. Truth Problems / 3. Value of Truth
What I hold true must also be part of my feelings and character
                        Full Idea: Whatever I hold as true, whatever ought to be valid for me, must also be in my feeling, must belong to my being and character.
                        From: Georg W.F.Hegel (Lectures on Aesthetics [1826], I: 97), quoted by Stephen Houlgate - An Introduction to Hegel 09 'Philosophy'
                        A reaction: I can see that truths do tend to become part of our character, but not that they ought to do so. I suppose I try to live my life enmeshed in the many truths which I have personally selected from the maelstrom of possibilities that engulf us.
21. Aesthetics / A. Aesthetic Experience / 1. Aesthetics
Nineteenth century aesthetics focused on art rather than nature (thanks to Hegel)
                        Full Idea: Only In the course of the nineteenth century, and in the wake of Hegel's posthumously published lectures on aesthetics, did the topic of art come to replace that of natural beauty as the core subject-matter of aesthetics.
                        From: Georg W.F.Hegel (Lectures on Aesthetics [1826], 5), quoted by Roger Scruton - Beauty: a very short introduction
21. Aesthetics / A. Aesthetic Experience / 2. Aesthetic Attitude
Hegel largely ignores aesthetic pleasure, taste and beauty, and focuses on the meaning of artworks
                        Full Idea: Unlike his predecessors (including Kant), Hegel does not focus on aesthetic pleasure, nor on good taste, nor even on the nature and criteria for beauty. Instead he focuses on the meaning of artworks and their role in forming mankind's self-consciousness.
                        From: report of Georg W.F.Hegel (Lectures on Aesthetics [1826]) by Terry Pinkard - German Philosophy 1760-1860 11
                        A reaction: Personally I dislike over-intellectualising art. The aim of a work of art is to give a certain experience, not to generate an ensuing sequence of theorising. I doubt whether Vermeer had any 'meaning' in mind in his obsessive work.
21. Aesthetics / A. Aesthetic Experience / 5. Natural Beauty
Natural beauty is unimportant, because it doesn't show human freedom
                        Full Idea: Hegel thinks that natural beauty is of no real significance since it cannot display our freedom to us; nature per se is meaningless.
                        From: report of Georg W.F.Hegel (Lectures on Aesthetics [1826]) by Terry Pinkard - German Philosophy 1760-1860 11
                        A reaction: Presumably freedom is in the creation, and so creativity is what matters in aesthetics. But what are the criteria of good creativity?
21. Aesthetics / B. Nature of Art / 6. Art as Institution
For Hegel the importance of art concerns the culture, not the individual
                        Full Idea: Hegel locates the significance of art in its role in cultural life in general, not in relation to the psychological needs of individuals.
                        From: report of Georg W.F.Hegel (Lectures on Aesthetics [1826]) by Richard Eldridge - G.W.F. Hegel (aesthetics) 1
                        A reaction: I'm beginning to see that art is a wonderful focus and test case for political attitudes. Roughly, liberalism focuses on individual responses, but more societal views (from right and left) see it in terms of role in the community. Which are you?
21. Aesthetics / C. Artistic Issues / 6. Value of Art
The purpose of art is to reveal to Spirit its own nature
                        Full Idea: According to Hegel, the goal of art was to serve as a phase in a process by which Spirit would come to understand its own nature.
                        From: report of Georg W.F.Hegel (Lectures on Aesthetics [1826]) by Stephen Davies - The Philosophy of Art (2nd ed) 2.7
                        A reaction: I try very hard to understand ideas like this. Really really hard. However, since I see little sign of 'Spirit' really understanding its own nature, I'm guessing that the project is not going well.
The main purpose of art is to express the unity of human life
                        Full Idea: Art's primary function, for Hegel, is to give expression to the unity and wholeness of life - especially human life - that the contingencies of everyday existence frequently conceal.
                        From: Georg W.F.Hegel (Lectures on Aesthetics [1826]), quoted by Stephen Houlgate - An Introduction to Hegel 09 'Beauty'
                        A reaction: I don't find the view that human life is 'unified' and 'whole' vary illuminating, and I have no objection to art which reflects the fragmentary and unstable aspects of life. I suspect Hegel would just prefer it if life were a unity.
Art forms a bridge between the sensuous world and the world of pure thought
                        Full Idea: Spirit generates out of itself works of fine art as the first reconciling middle term between pure thought and what is merely external, sensuous and transient - between finite natural reality and the infinite freedom of conceptual thinking.
                        From: Georg W.F.Hegel (Lectures on Aesthetics [1826], p.8), quoted by Richard Eldridge - G.W.F. Hegel (aesthetics)
                        A reaction: This apparently says that there is necessarily an intellectual and conceptual component in art. This means little to me. Does he include portraits? Dutch domestic scenes? Would photography qualify?