Kantian Journal

2014 Issue №2(48)

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Aesthetics in the system of Paul Natorp’s philosophy



This article considers the key aspects of P. Natorp’s aesthetics in the system of his philosophy and identifies the legitimate position of aesthetics in the structure of philosophical disciplines: logic, ethics, and philosophy of religion. The author analyses the understanding of aesthetics and philosophyof arts and creative works in line with the Neo-Kantian tradition. The article focuses on the thinker’s contribution to the philosophy of the Marburg School and the justification of idealism. Philosophical aesthetics serves as a science and a link between the laws of nature and the moral world. The Neo-Kantian gives the lost connection to the sensible intuition back to aesthetics thus linking its significance to the field of the individual, inimitable, and singular manifestation of thecreative spirit. He sees the completion of Kant’s critical philosophy in the psychological bases of subjectivity of consciousness aimed at understanding the patterns of the scientific, moral, and artistic cognition. In the context of history of transcendentalism, art is perceived as a form of spiritualcreativity that is subject to its own generating laws of cultural creation. It is emphasised that, in P. Natorp’s system, the aesthetic has its own creative dynamics based on the feelings of the individual immediately connected with the aesthetic experience: it is only in the field of the aesthetic that individuality can assume its true significance. Aesthetics is interpreted by the German philosopher as a uniting and final element in the context of the teaching of being in general. The articlepresents two projects of constructing the system of P. Natorp’s philosophy that relate to the history of the development of his philosophical views. The early period is influenced by the teaching of consciousness developed by H. Cohen, the head of the Marburg School of Neo-Kantianism. The later period is interpreted as original, independent, and determined by the search for the fundamental of philosophical systematics. It is proposed that the subjective-objective disposition is replaced by the individual understanding of uninterrupted correlation between the being and the meaning generated by the act of philosophical questioning. P. Natorp sees the task of philosophical systematics in the opportunity of constitution of the contents of the meaning of being and the search for concrete fields of knowledge immediately related to philosophy. It is shown that, in the late work Philosophical systematics, he identifies autonomous fields of knowledge — those of theory and practice, language and poiesis, creative and artistic work. Each of these fields has its own direction of development,but the common ground between them is the world of expressing the creative and free within spiritual activities. In philosophical systematics, aesthetics is a “fundamental” of the law of philosophical reflection.


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