The Aesthetics of Meaning
Keywords:Art; Ethics; General Aesthetic; Historicization; Morals; Normative Science; Process Metaphysics; Theoretical Aesthetics.
Following C. S. Peirce’s claim that aesthetics precedes ethics and logic, I argue for reconceiving aesthetics as a normative science. The deteriorated relations between these links in the ‘modern mythology’ is associated with art’s decline and apparent indistinguishability from the ‘general aesthetic’ (aided by ‘aesthetics as theory’). ‘Naturalizing’ art, according to F. W. Schelling’s system, is proposed to ameliorate this. Bringing together Peircian semiotics with Schelling’s ‘process metaphysics’ suggests how to restore the historicized split between Art ‘as principle’ and the Person (two ‘perfect signs’) by attending to the ‘ethical phenomenology’ of artworks. An argument is then made for how modern ethics and ‘morals’ may be reconnected.
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