The Emergence of Modern Aesthetic Theory

Religion and Morality in Enlightenment Germany and Scotland

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Simon Grote
Ideas in Context
  • Cambridge, England: 
    Cambridge University Press
    , November
     308 pages.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.


***We have this title in eBook format ONLY***

Broad in its geographic scope and yet grounded in original archival research, this book situates the inception of modern aesthetic theory – the philosophical analysis of art and beauty - in theological contexts that are crucial to explaining why it arose. Simon Grote presents seminal aesthetic theories of the German and Scottish Enlightenments as outgrowths of a quintessentially Enlightenment project: the search for a natural 'foundation of morality' and a means of helping naturally self-interested human beings transcend their own self-interest. This conclusion represents an important alternative to the standard history of aesthetics as a series of preludes to the achievements of Immanuel Kant, as well as a reinterpretation of several canonical figures in the German and Scottish Enlightenments. It also offers a foundation for a transnational history of the Enlightenment without the French philosophes at its centre, while solidly endorsing historians' growing reluctance to call the Enlightenment a secularising movement.

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 

Simon Grote is currently the Wellesley Faculty Assistant Professor of History at Wellesley College, Massachusetts, where he has taught since 2013.


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