Form and History: Hegel’s Philosophy of Art Today


  • Daniel Martin Feige Freie Universität Berlin



Form and content, Hegel


In this article, I discuss the philosophical position that marks the end of the Age of Aesthetics: Hegel's philosophy of art. I demonstrate how it has passed the test of time, and will further defend its systematic outlines. I reconstruct Hegel's philosophy of art in a way that relies less on Hegel’s own conceptual terminology, but, rather, attempts to shed light on the insights it can afford with regard to some more recent discussions: on the one hand, discussions about how to read Hegel of contemporary debates in postanalytical and continental philosophy, and on the other hand, in light of the post-Hegelian philosophy of art.

I reconstruct Hegel’s philosophy of art in the light of two key concepts: form and unity. Overall, my article has two parts. The first one deals with Hegel’s concept of form, the second deals with his concept of unity. In the background of my argument stands Hegel’s thought that art is a particular form of the development of the concept.

Hegel’s theory allows for an immanent reconstruction of art and thus a thinking of the autonomy of art. We should describe art as a particular form of experience for which a specific unityis characteristic – a kind of unity that entails that the form of experience cannot be understood in a formalist way, but must rather be understood as something that develops in and through history.

Author Biography

Daniel Martin Feige, Freie Universität Berlin

Lecturer and Research Assistant at the Collaborative

Research Centre 626, “Aesthetic Experience and the
Dissolution of Artistic Limits”