Praxis Seminar: Research Colloquium in Practical Philosophy 2020/21, Session 18

Ruth Sonderegger

Academy of Fine Arts Vienna

On the emergence of philosophical aesthetics and its colonial entanglements

1 June 2021, 18h00 (Lisbon Time – GMT+1)

Online Seminar – Via Zoom (Link here)



My talk engages with the emergence of the then new philosophical sub-discipline of aesthetics in the 18th century. My hypothesis is that this new sub-discipline should not be conceived of as a spectacular invention. Much rather it should be seen as a re-action to global societal changes and, more specifically, that it has everything to do with the racial form of capitalism that prevailed when aesthetics was ‘invented’. To substantiate my hypothesis as to the colonial entanglements of philosophical aesthetics I will propose a close reading of Kant’s Critique of Judgement, particularly its sections on the sensus communis. In the final parts of my talk, I will engage with alternatives to Kant’s aesthetic. I will first discuss the poems of a contemporary of Kant and, finally, a few openings that have been brought forward by contemporary aesthetic theories.