18th Century French Aesthetics

Details
Title 18th Century French Aesthetics
Url http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/aesthetics-18th-french
Image 18th Century French Aesthetics
Description A new kind of discourse on art, beauty, and human sensibilities emerged in the 18th Century, for which Baumgarten, in Germany, coined the term ‘aesthetics’. The discourse was influenced by the general philosophical problems discussed during the Enlightenment, with its ideals of liberty, democracy, and scientific inquiry. The present entry examines the French contribution to this new field. Britain, and especially Scotland, led the way, not only in the work of its empiricists such as Hutcheson and Hume but also in the work of Reid, who resisted the empiricist tradition. These philosophers raised issues and put forward ideas that influenced thinkers in Europe with an interest in art and our relationship to nature. A discussion of the British contribution to aesthetics in the 18th century can be found in the entry 18th Century British Aesthetics. By contrast, Germany's achievement is to be found in an enduring program to systematize a new domain of knowledge, and this can be found in work starting with Baumgarten and culminating in Kant. A discussion of the German contribution to aesthetics in the 18th century can be found in the entry 18th Century German Aesthetics.

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