7 (2004), Nr.3/September


Aesthetica. 1. Abstract of „Das Metaxy der Aisthesis. Aristoteles' ‘De anima’ als eine Ästhetik mit Bezug zu den Medien“, published in: Wiener Jahrbuch für Philosophie XXXV (2003), pp.25-58. 2002 Characters.


The paper claims that elements of philosophical aesthetics and of philosophy of the media can be found in Aristotle's ‘De anima’ and that these findings give further rise to pursue a theory of the aesthetic of the media. This aesthetics, under the premise of aesthetics in the modern latin sense, is entertained by the stunning vicinity of the De anima’s passages concerning media theory and its passages concerning aesthetics respectively. For arriving there the paper first attempts to make a case of Aristotle’s remarks in DA concerning aesthetic affects, art, music, proportion, aesthetic objects, and aesthetic well-being. These aspects of aisthesis tyed together provide evidence for DA’s not intended revolving round a philosophy of the beautiful in nature and the arts and the sensing appropriate to it. Secondly are traced Aristotle’s notions or usage (of the words) of metaxù, méson/mesótes and diaphanés, all of them signifying an in-between between object and perception (air, water) as is indispensible for the process of (aesthetic) aísthesis and the understanding of it. The paper’s two claims rest on indications since it does not dispose of systematic interpretation (yet?) including the metaphysical framework of Aristotle. It does not contribute to a full theory of material/technical media – it is because of ancient téchne that Aristotle practically and theoretically could not have thought of media as perceptual in the modern physical sense, not to speak of art media in the modern aesthetic sense. In focusing on a minute reading of De anima as well as studying the literature on Aristotle and aesthetics since the 19th century the paper concludes in the recommendation of examining today’s technologically refined physical/perceptual media within an aesthetic perspective as provided by what Aristotle delivers with the margins of DA’s main business. This examination could well enhance a theory of an aesthetic medium proper and thereby additionally give insight into the materiality of (aesthetic) communication. Inspired by a title of Philippe Quéau the paper draws more than encouragement from various sources like the RomeyerDerbey/Viano-Reader (Sur le De Anima d'Aristote, 1996), Aristotle indices (Bonitz, Hicks) and current research in the philosophy of the media done by Paul Virilio, Sybille Krämer, Jean-Luc Nancy, and others.


Peter Mahr © 2004



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