Volume V Number 1

Ottawa, Canada

Spring 1993

Message from the President

Francis Peddle


This instalment of ELEUTHERIA contains two pieces on aesthetics and the philosophy of art. Mozart and the Aesthetics of Absolute Music which was first given by me at the Learned Societies Conference at Queen’s University in May, 1991 and Peter McCormick’sCrimson Words, Pale Fires of Reason: Philosophy and Poetry at the End of the Kantian Era at the XIIth International Congress in Aesthetics in Madrid in September, 1992.

Speculative philosophy has traditionally comprehended art as the immediate appearance of absolute mind. The idea of beauty is a sense-world unity of subjectivity and objectivity.

The content of art is spiritual, its form is the embodiments of the individual arts. The concrete perfection of the ideal in art is the unity of spiritual content and material form. This ideality presents itself as the infinite, free and self-determined work of art bereft of all unnecessary externalities and contingencies.

The counter-absolutism of modernity has refracted our approach to art as much as it has philosophy and religion. In its lowest manifestation art is perceived as entertainment and amusement. In education it is manipulated for its social utility. Moreover, art no longer bridges imagination and sensibility – a necessary connection in the stabilization of subjectivity. Historically, embodiment and contingency have become prior to spiritual content. Form is simply abstraction, a nonembodied reaction to oversubjectivized art.

As the first appearance of absolute mind art is primarily self-determining and this is the basic difference between it and mind as anthropology, phenomenology and psychology or as an institutional or social ethics. Art is a self-determining immediacy in which a shifting emphasis between content and form results in the particular arts and in art history as such. This issue of ELEUTHERIA explores this shifting emphasis and the immediacy of speculative thought in musical and poetic aesthetics.

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The Institute now has available for purchase at $5.00 per copy Volume One in itsMONOGRAPH SERIES. The monograph, entitled, Speculative Philosophy and Practical Life, is by James Lowry, and originally appeared in the Fall, 1990 issue of ELEUTHERIA. Each volume in the MONOGRAPH SERIES contains a Concordance and Line Numberingfor easy reference.