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History, Metaphors, FablesA Hans Blumenberg Reader$
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Hans Blumenberg

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781501732829

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501732829.001.0001

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The Essential Ambiguity of the Aesthetic Object

The Essential Ambiguity of the Aesthetic Object


(p.441) 16 The Essential Ambiguity of the Aesthetic Object
History, Metaphors, Fables

Hans Blumenberg

Cornell University Press

This chapter evaluates Hans Blumenberg's “The Essential Ambiguity of the Aesthetic Object” (1966). The predicament of any theory of art is captured in the truism that there is no accounting for taste. But why not? Because it is always assumed that a dispute over definite — that is, definable — objects can only be meaningful when its outcome can take the form of that object's univocal determination. Aesthetics, therefore, always seeks to escape its dilemma by setting theoretical objectivation as a model — a model that, even if unreachable, may still be approximated. This is what Kant did when he saw the subjective universality of aesthetic judgment as the only way to save the reference to the aesthetic object from becoming a completely nonbinding relation of absolute individuality. Every philosophy of art must share this basic intention; the question is only whether Kant's is the only possible way.

Keywords:   Hans Blumenberg, aesthetic object, art, aesthetics, theoretical objectivation, Immanuel Kant, aesthetic judgment, absolute individuality, philosophy of art, philosophy

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