Figures of Simplicity: Sensation and Thinking in Kleist and Melville (Intersections: Philosophy and Critical Theory)

By Birgit Mara Kaiser

A attention-grabbing comparability of the paintings of Heinrich von Kleist and Herman Melville.

Figures of Simplicity explores a different constellation of figures from philosophy and literature—Heinrich von Kleist, Herman Melville, G. W. Leibniz, and Alexander Baumgarten—in an try and recuperate replacement conceptions of aesthetics and dimensions of pondering misplaced within the disciplinary narration of aesthetics after Kant. this can be performed basically via tracing various “simpletons” that populate the writings of Kleist and Melville. those figures usually are not solely ignorant, or silly, yet basic. Their simplicity is a fashion of considering, one who Birgit Mara Kaiser indicates is affective considering. Kaiser avers that Kleist and Melville are experimenting of their texts with an affective mode of considering, and thereby proceed a key line inside eighteenth-century aesthetics: the relation of rationality and sensibility. via her analyses, she bargains an summary of what pondering can seem like if we take affectivity into consideration.

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In that experience, their texts are thought of the following as a chain of études on awareness, wisdom construction, and considering. inside a post-Kantian epistemological framework, absolutely declaring contingency and epistemological uncertainty as sleek stipulations, Kleist and Melville ask after the relation among affectivity and considering and implicitly reply to the classy debates we thought of within the final bankruptcy at the relation among affectivity and rationality. what's particular to their positions inside those debates is that their texts reveal the epistemological operations of affectivity, instead of in basic terms divulge the instabilities of rationally obtained figuring out.

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12 despite the fact that, Baumgarten's knowing of aesthetics used to be principally overturned via Kantian transcendental philosophy and aesthetics. What grew to become often called aesthetics with and after Kant considerably rephrased the relation among sensibility and considering, pushed aside Baumgarten's alternative of sensate considering, and foreclosed the choice of viewing affectivity as having any half in strategies of knowing. Kant's intervention into the debates calls for particular cognizance in our context, simply because Kleist and Melville reacted such a lot instantly to the Kantian shifts within the relation of sensibility and cause.

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