Download e-book for kindle: Figures of Simplicity: Sensation and Thinking in Kleist and by Birgit Mara Kaiser

By Birgit Mara Kaiser

A interesting 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 substitute conceptions of aesthetics and dimensions of considering misplaced within the disciplinary narration of aesthetics after Kant. this is often performed essentially by means of tracing a number of “simpletons” that populate the writings of Kleist and Melville. those figures will not be fullyyt ignorant, or silly, yet easy. Their simplicity is a manner of pondering; one who writer Birgit Mara Kaiser the following indicates is affective considering. Kaiser avers that Kleist and Melville are experimenting of their texts with an affective mode of pondering, and thereby proceed, she argues, a key line inside of eighteenth-century aesthetics: the relation of rationality and sensibility. via her analyses, she deals an overview of what pondering can appear like if we take affectivity into account.

Birgit Mara Kaiser is Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature at Utrecht college within the Netherlands.

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Additional info for Figures of Simplicity: Sensation and Thinking in Kleist and Melville (SUNY series, Intersections: Philosophy and Critical Theory)

Example text

Such is the reason behind his claim that ‘prophecy’ and understanding the past as necessary ‘are altogether identical’. e. according to necessary laws). Moreover, and this is the crucial point, Climacus employs the same line of reasoning on the past: we cannot understand the past as necessary, for the past is merely one out of many equally possible pasts that could occur. Therefore, we are now able to take a step back to reflect on Climacus’ argument so far. This argument, we have seen, constitutes an answer to the ontological question of history: the nature of history is to be conceived exclusively as the history of human beings and so must be directly connected with ‘freedom’.

Past and present are human actualities while human future is human possibility. And so to redefine the present in the light of the past and the future is the distinguishing mark of a properly human freedom. Howland makes a similar point in regard to Climacus’ argument in the ‘Interlude’: ‘[O]nly human beings are self-consciously historical, continually redefining themselves in terms of their actual pasts and possible futures. ’22 However, missing from Howland’s account are the following elements: (a) human freedom is mainly oriented towards future decisions and (b) human freedom is a matter of human will (and so of human ability to make decisions).

For example, Robert C. ’3 Jacob Howland argues that ‘[C]limacus’s general aim is clear: he wants to safeguard faith from the tyranny of philosophical reason ... 5 What all these commentators share, despite all their ultimately divergent interpretations, is the contention that the ‘Interlude’ contains Kierkegaard’s concept of history in nuce. Kierkegaard’s Concept of History 29 However, this is where agreement ends, for each of these commentators diverge considerably both in what they understand Kierkegaard’s concept of history to be and in their evaluation of how cogent Kierkegaard’s argument is.

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