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Aesthetic disinterestedness: art, experience, and the self
 9781138905009, 9781315696089, 1138905003

Table of contents :
Introduction1. Introducing Disinterestedness2. Defending Disinterestedness3. Explicating Disinterestedness4. Generating DisinterestednessConclusion

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Aesthetic Disinterestedness

Hilgers’s book is a major new contribution to a topic that is often too quickly dismissed in current debates about the nature of aesthetic experience, namely the historical and contemporary importance of the concept of disinterestedness. —Jane Kneller, Colorado State University, USA

The notion of disinterestedness is often conceived of as antiquated or ideological. In spite of this, Hilgers argues that one cannot reject it if one wishes to understand the nature of art. He claims that an artwork typically asks a person to adopt a disinterested attitude towards what it shows, and that the effect of such an adoption is that it makes the person temporarily lose the sense of herself, while enabling her to gain a sense of the other. Due to an artwork’s particular wealth, multiperspectivity, and dialecticity, the engagement with it cannot culminate in the construction of world-views, but must initiate a process of self-critical thinking, which is a precondition of real selfdetermination. Ultimately, then, the aesthetic experience of art consists of a dynamic process of losing the sense of oneself, while gaining a sense of the other, and of achieving selfhood. In his book, Hilgers spells out the nature of this process by means of rethinking Kant’s and Schopenhauer’s aesthetic theories in light of more recent developments in philosophy—specifically in hermeneutics, critical theory, and analytic philosophy—and within the arts themselves—specifically within film and performance art. Thomas Hilgers finished his doctoral dissertation in philosophy at the University of Pennsylvania in 2010. Afterwards, he was a research associate at the Free University Berlin, the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, and Columbia University. Currently, he is a lecturer in philosophy at the Humboldt University Berlin.

Routledge Studies in Contemporary Philosophy For a full list of titles in this series, please visit www.routledge.com

79 A Social Theory of Freedom Mariam Thalos 80 The Cognitive Basis of Aesthetics Cassirer, Crowther, and the Future Elena Fell and Ioanna Kopsiafti 81 Interactive Justice A Proceduralist Approach to Value Conflict in Politics By Emanuela Ceva 82 The Epistemological Skyhook Determinism, Naturalism, and Self-Defeat Jim Slagle 83 Time and the Philosophy of Action Edited by Roman Altshuler and Michael J. Sigrist  84 McTaggart’s Paradox R. D. Ingthorsson 85 Perspectives on Ignorance from Moral and Social Philosophy Edited by Rik Peels 86 Self-Reflection for the Opaque Mind An Essay in Neo-Sellarsian Philosophy T. Parent 87 Facts and Values The Ethics and Metaphysics of Normativity Edited by Giancarlo Marchetti and Sarin Marchetti 88 Aesthetic Disinterestedness Art, Experience, and the Self Thomas Hilgers

Aesthetic Disinterestedness Art, Experience, and the Self Thomas Hilgers

First published 2017 by Routledge 711 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10017 and by Routledge 2 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon OX14 4RN Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business © 2017 Taylor & Francis The right of Thomas Hilgers to be identified as author of this work has been asserted by him in accordance with sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilised in any form or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publishers. Trademark notice: Product or corporate names may be trademarks or registered trademarks, and are used only for identification and explanation without intent to infringe. Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data Names: Hilgers, Thomas W., 1943– author. Title: Aesthetic disinterestedness : art, experience, and the self / by Thomas Hilgers. Description: New York : Routledge, [2016] | Series: Routledge studies in contemporary philosophy ; 88 | Includes bibliographical references and index. Identifiers: LCCN 2016036039 | ISBN 9781138905009 (hardback : alk. paper) Subjects: LCSH: Aesthetics. | Experience. | Art criticism. | Objectivity. | Self (Philosophy) Classification: LCC BH301.E8 H55 2016 | DDC 111/.85—dc23 LC record available at https://lccn.loc.gov/2016036039 ISBN: 978-1-138-90500-9 (hbk) ISBN: 978-1-315-69608-9 (ebk) Typeset in Sabon by Apex CoVantage, LLC

To my parents, Monika and Karl-Heinz Hilgers

Contents

Acknowledgmentsix Introduction1 1 Introducing Disinterestedness

12

I. Kant  12 §1 Interested Pleasure  15 §2 Disinterested Pleasure  17 §3 Disinterested Experience  21 §4 Disinterested Attitude  22 §5 Art and the Aesthetic  24 II. Schopenhauer  39 §1 The Self as Will and Cognition  39 §2 Lost in Contemplation  44 §3 Distance and Self-Loss  48 2 Defending Disinterestedness

60

I. Dickie’s False Mythology  60 §1 The Question of Vacuity  61 §2 The Question of Illusion  68 II. Disinterestedness without Formalism  70 §1 Concepts, Contents, and Interests  70 §2 Emotions, Affects, and Bodies  75 III. Self-Loss and Self-Determination  81 §1 Prejudices and Concrete Selves  82 §2 The Question of Judgment  86 3 Explicating Disinterestedness I. Two Introductory Comments  95 II. Practical Self-Consciousness  97 III. The Social Conditions of Practical Self-Consciousness  107

94

viii Contents 4 Generating Disinterestedness I. The Invisible Spectator  121 §1 Film  121 §2 Other Visual Arts  133 §3 Literature  141 II. The Visible Spectator  143 §1 Theater  144 §2 Other Performing Arts  148 §3 Participation and Autonomy  152 III. Art, History, and Culture  156

118

Conclusion

169

Bibliography Index

173 183

Acknowledgments

This book is based on my doctoral dissertation, which I began in September of 2008. I am most grateful to my advisors from the University of Pennsylvania, Paul Guyer and Elisabeth Camp, who contributed a great deal to the realization of my project. During my time as a research associate at the Collaborative Research Center 626 (Free University Berlin) and the Priority Program 1688 (Kunstakademie Düsseldorf) from January 2011 until August 2015, I worked continuously on this project. This work culminated in a complete revision of my thesis—a revision that often had the character of writing an entirely new book. A one-year fellowship from the Italian Academy for Advanced Studies in North America (Columbia University) allowed me finally to finish my project on aesthetic disinterestedness. I cannot thank in name all my teachers, friends, and colleagues from the University of Pennsylvania, the Free University Berlin, the Kunstakademie, Columbia University, and other institutions who helped me in the preparation of this book. Nevertheless, I want to mention a few people who played an exceptionally important role. I would like to thank Kathleen Harbin, who proofread and commented on the penultimate manuscript in its entirety. I would also like to thank, in their order of appearance within the story of writing this book, Daniel Rothe, Stefan Klusemann, Noël Carroll, Uygar Abaci, Jakob Scherer, Veronica Muriel, Gunnar Hindrichs, Gertrud Koch, Georg W. Bertram, Daniel Martin Feige, Dorothea von Hantelmann, Benjamin Wihstutz, Johannes Lang, Ludger Schwarte, David Freedberg, Lydia Goehr, Emanuele Coccia, Gundula Kreuzer, Christine Jeanneret, Emmanuel Alloa, and Martin Seel.

Introduction

Having aesthetic experiences is an important aspect of leading a human life. We have such experiences when we feel stimulated by the sights and sounds of some neighborhood or natural environment, when feeling drawn to the scent of one person or repelled by the scent of another, when enjoying some food, disliking some drink, appreciating the screening of some film, hating the look of some painting, and so on. At times, we go far out of our way in order to have, or to avoid having, a particular kind of aesthetic experience. Some of us, for instance, spend significant amounts of money on buying certain culinary or lifestyle products, including foods, clothes, jewelry, furniture, various electronic devices, and cars. Others travel significant distances in order to enjoy a certain landscape, urban space, cultural event, dance party, or artwork. If a person lacks the means to do anything of this kind, she will be rather frustrated. This indicates that we not only have aesthetic experiences, but also value having, at least, some of them. Clearly, then, the aesthetic dimension of our lives matters to us.1 Of course, aesthetic experiences can be very different in kind. The examples mentioned above indicate this. Every aesthetic experience, however, must involve the participation of one’s sensuous capacities. From the very beginning of the history of modern aesthetics—that is, since the early eighteenth century—philosophers mostly discussed the nature of an aesthetic experience or judgment by explicating it either in terms of a special kind of sensuous cognition or in terms of an affective state that essentially involves some participation of one’s sensuous capacities. According to the founding figures of aesthetics, then, no aesthetic experience or judgment can be reduced to a mere articulation of one’s conceptual capacities. And, indeed, whenever we talk about the object of such an experience or judgment, we refer to something that we can immediately see, hear, smell, or feel, or that we can sensorially experience via the imagination. So, the idea of an aesthetic experience or judgment that does not essentially involve some participation of our sensuous capacities makes little sense.2 Following Kant and his empiricist predecessors, I further take it that aesthetic experiences always include feelings of sensuous pleasure or pain. Consequently, we express aesthetic judgments by using predicates or making

2 Introduction gestures that indicate that we either like or dislike seeing, hearing, smelling, touching, or imagining something. Given that aesthetic experiences can be different in kind, it seems plausible to assume that the same holds true for feelings of sensuous pleasure or pain. Kant made a famous distinction here between interested and disinterested pleasure. Feelings of interested, sensuous pleasure ground “aesthetic judgments of sense,” which make one call something “agreeable.” Feelings of disinterested, sensuous pleasure ground “aesthetic judgments of reflection,” or rather “judgments of taste,” which make one call something “beautiful.” The first kind of feeling depends on something special to a given subject, and therefore cannot ground universally valid judgments. The second kind, on the other hand, depends on something shared by all subjects, and therefore may ground judgments that are universally valid. Since, for Kant, an artwork is a specific kind of beauty, a person must relate to it as something beautiful when relating to it as a work of art, and this requires her aesthetic engagement with it to make her feel disinterested pleasure. The notion of disinterestedness, then, is crucial for Kant’s account of the aesthetic experience of natural and artistic beauty. Kant, though, was neither the first nor the last to introduce an account of disinterestedness. Since the beginning of modern aesthetics, it often has been argued that the experience of beauty is disinterested and that one, therefore, has to understand the nature of disinterestedness in order to understand the nature and value of this experience.3 During the twentieth century, though, notions of disinterestedness have faced a barrage of criticism. In Continental philosophy, especially Heidegger and Gadamer rejected all aesthetic conceptions of art and consequently ascribed little plausibility to the claim that works of art ask one to engage with them in an aesthetic, disinterested manner. According to Gadamer, one necessarily relates to an artwork according to one’s own prejudices, which seems to leave little space for the adoption of a disinterested attitude. In Anglo-American philosophy, George Dickie’s work was largely responsible for giving notions of disinterestedness a bad name. According to Dickie, the claim that the aesthetic attitude or experience must be disinterested is either wrong, empty, or trivial. In fact, he rejected the overall notion of an aesthetic attitude. In addition to facing such philosophical criticisms, Kantian-style aesthetics and accounts of disinterestedness faced objections from sociologists, cultural theorists, literary scholars, and others who argued that the whole idea of a disinterested recipient who legitimately expects universal agreement with her judgments is nothing but an ideological construction. In particular, Pierre Bourdieu’s work supported such a position. Finally, many avant-garde artists since the early twentieth century have created works that seem explicitly to call for a personally engaged and participating recipient rather than a disinterested and distanced one. For instance, the request for active participation on the side of the recipient, or rather the request for a dissolution of the traditional difference between producing artists and contemplating recipients, seems to be essential for many celebrated

Introduction  3 works of so-called performance art. Recent developments within the art world, then, have furthered doubts as to whether we can better understand what it means to engage with a work of art by introducing a notion of aesthetic disinterestedness. As a matter of fact, all such notions nowadays are often conceived of as antiquated or ideological paradigms that are of little explanatory value. In spite of all this, I claim that one cannot reject all these notions if one wishes to understand the nature and value of our engagements with artworks, including works of modernist and postmodernist art. In this book, then, I introduce and defend a new and sophisticated account of disinterestedness, thereby also supporting a specific version of an aesthetic conception of art. I specifically claim that an artwork asks a person to engage with it in an aesthetic, disinterested manner, the major effect of which is that the person temporarily loses the sense of herself. So, even though I do not deny the existence and importance of other kinds of aesthetic experiences, and do not deny that some of these may be disinterested as well, this book focuses on the aesthetic experience of art, an experience that both leads to a disinterested state and enables a person to reflect on, and possibly to transform, herself.4 Overall, my aesthetic conception of art is very Kantian. So, I take it that an artwork asks a person to engage with it in such a way that her sensuous, affective, and conceptual capacities enter a play-like state of interaction. This state affects a person in three related ways: it makes her temporarily lose the sense of herself, it makes her gain a sense of the other, and ultimately, it makes her achieve selfhood. The aesthetic engagement with an artwork does the first, because it includes the adoption of a disinterested attitude. That is, while aesthetically relating to what an artwork shows, we disengage ourselves from our practical and interested involvements with the world, and forget about our own past and future, about our own needs and ends. When adopting such an attitude, though, we not only lose our sense of self, but also become fully involved with the presence of what a work shows. In other words, we become immersed in its presentation, absorbed by its appearance, and we adopt perspectives on it different from our own. An artwork, then, typically asks us to disengage ourselves from our own specific perspectives, in order to adopt alternative perspectives on what it shows, namely the perspectives that the work itself unfolds. Every work of art is about something, as Arthur Danto put it. That is, it shows or presents something from particular perspectives, asking us to share them, at least temporarily. An artwork thereby allows us to acquire different ways of perceiving things. When dealing with a genuine work of art, though, the adoption of such alternative perspectives cannot culminate in the construction of a closed world-view. Due to an artwork’s wealth, multiperspectivity, and dialecticity, the engagement with it must remain an open-ended process of re-articulating and creative synthesizings. Rather than culminating in final conceptualizations or the construction of world-views, it instead culminates in a self-reflective process in which our own specific perspectives become a

4 Introduction topic of concern for us. Ultimately, then, our engagements with an artwork must reveal, challenge, and enrich our own ways of thinking, perceiving, and feeling. In contrast to works of entertainment or communication, artworks do not have clear messages and are not meant to arouse only certain very particular affects. Rather, they leave us ample space for relating freely to what they present; they allow our capacities to play with what they show, and motivate a kind of awakening process of thinking and self-reflecting. This process is a necessary condition of a truly rich and substantial form of self-determination, which I wish to call “achieving selfhood.”5 Of course, the concept of art is one of the most highly debated concepts in the humanities and in the art world itself. The way that I conceive of the nature of art will become clearer in the following pages. It is important to note right from the start, though, that my notion of art is a normative one. So, I am not speaking of art as something that includes all forms of painting, sculpture, dance, poetry, music, and so on. There surely is a linguistic practice that leads us to use the term “art” as a broad, descriptive category. This practice goes all the way back to the final establishment of the “modern system of the fine arts” during the eighteenth century.6 The practice of using “art” as a normative category, however, has a long history as well, and this creates confusion. In order to avoid this confusion, I prefer using terms such as “artistic artifact” or “presentational work” instead of using the term “artwork” as a broad, descriptive category. When speaking of art in this book, then, I am always speaking of it in a normative manner. This is not to say that I assume the existence of some set of rules by means of which works of art can be identified. Following Kant, I take it that we do not call something “an artwork” because it can be subsumed under specific rules, but because we feel its power to make our sensuous, affective, and conceptual capacities enter into an open-ended, yet pleasurable, state of free play. This play further depends on the adoption of a disinterested attitude, includes the taking of alternative perspectives, and motivates an awakening process of thinking and self-reflecting. In other words, the free play constitutive of an aesthetic experience of art is inherently connected to the threefold nesting that I have described. Most paintings, films, novels, and so on do not have the power to bring forth this play. Most of them, therefore, do not fall under the category of art, but rather under that of entertainment, propaganda, communication, or decoration. Since the concept work of art is an “honorific predicate”7— that is, since it picks out something that we praise for specific reasons—it also makes no sense to speak of bad art. One may speak of bad paintings or bad videos, but calling something “a work of art” is already to praise it. Some will object that I have re-introduced the supposedly old-fashioned distinction between high art and low art, apparently having missed the postmodern “democratization of cultural studies that has allowed critics to pay as much attention to, and place as much value in, popular entertainment as it does [to] the old masters.”8 By no means, however, do I deny the existence of great, aesthetically rich entertainment or communication, and I do not

Introduction  5 ask critics to pay attention mainly to some old masters. Our responses to artistic images, literary texts, and musical or theatrical performances are rich and diverse, and our study of them should not be narrowed by some exclusive focus on our aesthetic experiences of art. In other words, the category of art should not impose any tyranny “on us in our thinking about response.”9 What is more, there may be vast, gray areas between objects or events that clearly fall under a category such as art, entertainment, propaganda, communication, decoration, sacral artifact, ritual object, and so on. The fields that such categories determine are also not closed off from each other. Rather, aesthetic strategies and techniques often get transferred from one field to another. Finally, there may be artifacts that once fell under one category, but fall under a different one today. A work of art, for instance, may lose its power to stimulate the kind of aesthetic experience described above. Such complexities and historical developments, though, do not render categorical distinctions superfluous. The specific power and value of art is lost if we no longer distinguish between art, entertainment, decoration, and so on. In this sense, the continuing existence of art depends not only on contemporary artists’ creativity and courage, but also on contemporary philosophers’ and critics’ willingness to resist an opportunist attitude of general laissez-faire. In any case, given my aesthetic conception of art, it is clear that one cannot understand the nature of art without understanding what it means to relate aesthetically to an artwork. In the following, I set out to make some important steps toward reaching such an understanding. In particular, I will focus on the first moment of the threefold nesting constituting the aesthetic engagement with an artwork. However, since losing the sense of oneself, gaining a sense of the other, and achieving selfhood are not sharply separated stages, but rather are interrelated moments of the aesthetic experience, I must touch on all three of them. Consequently, this book gives an outline of my overall account of our aesthetic engagements with works of art.10 Before briefly explaining how I proceed, one final issue needs to be addressed. I often write things such as “we have aesthetic experiences when doing this or that,” “we lose our sense of self, when adopting a disinterested attitude,” or “we care about works of art.“ Whom exactly am I writing about here? Who are we? Following Bourdieu, one might suspect that this must be the rather small community of professional philosophers who adhere to Kant’s “typically professorial aesthetic[s]” or rather to the Kantian ideology that “regards taste in legitimate culture as a gift of nature.”11 Accordingly, one might argue that it makes no sense to speak of the aesthetic experience. Rather, one must discuss an aesthetic experience, “where it exists at all, with an eye towards political, social, economic factors that shape the very notion of aesthetics in a culture at a time.”12 Needless to say, I have a broader community than the group of professional aestheticians in mind when using terms such as “us” or “we.” Indeed, I believe that all human beings share certain capacities that generally enable them to have

6 Introduction experiences and make judgments of the same kind, and that allow them, under certain circumstances, to expect agreement with what they have to say. This is no controversial claim in light of the history of modern philosophy. From Descartes to Kant and beyond, philosophers have argued that there is something such as a shared subjectivity or humanity, despite all historical, cultural, social, political, ethnic, or gender differences. Even a historically minded philosopher like Heidegger described, at least in his early work, ontological structures that he took all human beings to display. These structures manifest themselves differently depending on the specific historical and cultural circumstances, but they remain the same structures. Saying all this is not to deny that we must pay close attention to the differences among the various ages, cultures, societies, genders, and so on. The specificity of a given subject, or rather the plurality of subjects, must be acknowledged. This acknowledgment, though, must not make us reject the idea of a shared subjectivity or humanity. All human beings share those capacities among which the play-like state of interaction constituting the aesthetic experience of art takes place and, therefore, are, in principle, capable of entering such a state. This is not to deny that the existence of art depends on the existence of specific institutions and that what counts as art in a specific culture or at a specific time depends on specific traditions and ideas. It is also not to deny that we may be incapable of appreciating a work from another culture or another time due to our ignorance of the relevant traditions and ideas. We must be able, though, to identify common structures underlying all contexts in which we take people to relate to objects or events as works of art. Moreover, it must be possible to appreciate artworks from different cultures and times due to these common structures, and due to capacities that human beings generally share. In Chapter One and Three, I will have more to say on these capacities. However, it also will become clear that the experiences, activities, and practices that I write about in this book are intimately connected to certain ideals of self-criticism and autonomy that one often associates with a modern, European civilization, or rather with the Enlightenment. In other words, an artwork’s power is related to ideals that might have some specific historical and cultural conditions and, therefore, hardly could be felt by all human beings. At the end of Chapter Two and Four, I discuss this issue in detail, showing how one still can make sense of Kant’s claim that the aesthetic judgment about a work of art, or rather about a case of artistic beauty, may legitimately include a claim of universal validity. Overall, then, this book is an effort to rethink Kant’s transcendental approach towards art and the aesthetic experience, in light of some more recent developments in philosophy—specifically in hermeneutics, critical theory, analytic philosophy, and, to a lesser degree, post-structuralism—and in light of some more recent developments within the arts themselves.13 This book has four chapters. In the first chapter, I introduce my account of disinterestedness by discussing Kant’s and Schopenhauer’s accounts of it. Within the history of aesthetics, their accounts have been most influential.

Introduction  7 Based on my critical discussion of them, I claim that the adoption of a disinterested attitude makes a person disengage herself from her own specific perspective, makes her relate to something in a non-practical way, and therefore makes her temporarily lose the sense of herself. The aesthetic engagement with an artwork essentially includes the adoption of such an attitude. In Chapter One, I explain in detail how to conceive of a perspective and of the free play constituting the engagement with an artwork. Moreover, I spell out my aesthetic conception of art, which draws on Kant’s aesthetic theory, but also on the more recent accounts of other philosophers and scholars, such as Adorno. In order to clear the way for a fresh look at the notion of disinterestedness, I address the most serious objections against the coherence and fruitfulness of this notion in Chapter Two. Against Dickie, I first prove that such a notion is neither vacuous nor illusionary. Then, I show that it does not imply a formalist conception of art. Many philosophers take it that a disinterested state must be a passive state, which excludes all physiological, affective, and interested responses. However, I claim that the adoption of such a state makes us disengage ourselves only from our specific interests, and makes us no longer relate practically to the world according to any interest. Contrary to the suggestions of Schopenhauer, adopting such an attitude may include the experience of somatic states, the application of concepts rich in content, the feeling of affects, the pursuit of goals, and even the cultivation of new interests. In the last part of the chapter, I respond to Gadamer’s claim that one must engage with an artwork according to one’s own prejudices and to Adorno’s claim that the experience of art always involves a concrete, historically situated person. Both of these claims seem to raise serious objections to my position, which I answer by spelling out the dynamic relation between losing the sense of oneself, gaining a sense of the other, and achieving selfhood. Finally, I focus on the question of judgment, or rather on the question of universal validity. What exactly, though, do I mean to say by claiming that we temporarily lose our sense of self when adopting a disinterested attitude? What does it mean to lose the sense of oneself? What does it actually mean to have such a sense, and what are the conditions of having it? In Chapter Three, I address all of these questions. So, even though this is primarily a work in aesthetics, it is also meant to be a contribution to issues in the philosophy of mind. My specific conception of having a sense of oneself, though, differs from standard conceptions. For the most part, it is derived from Ernst Tugendhat’s notion of practical self-consciousness, which he arrives at through an interpretation of Heidegger’s existential analytic of Dasein. Following Tugendhat, I take it that whenever a person acts in a practical way, or whenever she wants or decides to act one way rather than another, she stands in a voluntative relation to her own life by affirming a certain way to be or not to be. Moreover, a person often stands in an affective relation to her life when she experiences certain moods or emotions, because she then evaluates how

8 Introduction things respond to her existential affirmations. Tugendhat calls all these ways of relating to one’s own life “relating to oneself in a practical way.” When I say of a person that she has a sense of herself at some given moment, I primarily mean to say that she relates practically to herself at that moment. More precisely, I mean to say that, at that moment, she either stands in a voluntative or an affective relation to her life. Again following Tugendhat, yet also drawing on the work of George Herbert Mead, I claim that one can develop into a person who is able to stand in such practical relations to herself only by means of interacting with others who can acknowledge one as the specific person one is, and who can ask one practical questions. Selfdetermination, finally, relies upon a reflective and critical attention towards one’s own decisions and towards the factors influencing them. In Chapter Three, I discuss all these issues in detail in order to spell out my notion of having a sense of oneself, and in order to prepare the grounds for my central argument in the last chapter. Throughout this book, I stress the opposition between disinterested and practical attitudes. Due to its non-practical nature, a disinterested attitude does not allow one to relate to oneself in a practical way, and consequently makes one temporarily lose the sense of oneself. Is it really the case, though, that we relate to what an artwork shows in a non-practical way? Why should one assume that our engagements with works of art are different from our ordinary, practical behavior? In the last chapter, I prove that, due to special conditions of reception, differently established by the various arts, one typically cannot relate to what an artwork shows in a practical way, and therefore cannot feel an immediate urge or obligation to make practical decisions, or to evaluate how things respond to one’s own interests and intentions. The conditions of reception holding in the case of engaging with an artwork, then, guarantee the non-practical nature of this engagement and, therefore, conflict with the conditions of having a sense of oneself. In other words, every art has its own ways of establishing aesthetic spheres and unfolding fictional worlds that a recipient must feel barred from. One is invisible to these worlds, and being an invisible spectator is a condition of being a disinterested one. In order to prove this, I first and foremost discuss the circumstances of reception holding in the case of watching a film. This discussion is the basis for my further analyses of our responses to other kinds of images, sculptures, installations, buildings, literary texts, and performances. Of course, some artworks, specifically some performances, happenings, installations, artistic spaces, and buildings, force a recipient to participate in a practical manner, thereby making it impossible for her to adopt a disinterested attitude in a straightforward sense. However, I argue that such works do not erase the opposition between art and praxis, that they still rely on the paradigms of autonomy and disinterestedness by turning against them, and that they may even allow for a disinterested experience of a different kind. Besides, the paradigms of aesthetic autonomy and disinterestedness do not imply that artworks must lack all practical and

Introduction  9 political consequences, as some have suggested. Such consequences, though, can never be immediate. Following Kant, Schopenhauer, Adorno, and Marcuse, I claim that there is an essential opposition not only between art and praxis, but also between art and politics. This opposition, though, allows for a form of criticism that may ultimately have political value, if only indirectly. In the last part of Chapter Four, I finally discuss the historical and cultural conditions of my aesthetic conception of art. Against Heidegger and others, I claim that everything people tend to call “a work of art” has some aesthetic purpose, even if it also has some other (possibly primary) purposes as well. The normative conception of art that I defend in this book, though, depends on ideals of self-criticism and autonomy that seem to depend on a specific historical, cultural, and institutional context. Therefore, it seems that instead of defending a conception of art per se, I defend a conception relative to a particular time and culture. According to my position, though, no artwork really existed before a socio-cultural context was in place that made the ideals of critique and autonomy broadly available, and no artwork exists today outside of such a context. So, the (normative) notion of art, and consequently the existence of genuine artworks, depends on ideals that may have been formulated only within a specific socio-cultural context. This, however, does not prove that these ideals are not universal forms related to human dignity and freedom in general. I conclude by exploring some striking similarities between mystical and aesthetic experiences. In contrast to Schopenhauer, I do not conceive of an aesthetic experience as a kind of escapism, which liberates us only temporarily from our pain and suffering. The engagement with an artwork pleases us because it activates and extends our sensuous, affective, and conceptual capacities. It disengages us from our daily labors and allows our capacities to play freely with each other. As paradoxical as it may sound, the aesthetic experience of art can make us live a better life by means of temporarily disengaging us from that life. The disinterestedness of this experience counteracts our inherent egocentrism, and the free play of trying out radically different perspectives and of synthesizing some higher form of unity, which cannot be fixed by a determinate concept, encourages us to think beyond the established and given, and to reflect critically on our own specific perspectives. The power of art, then, consists in an artwork’s potential to make us enter a dynamic and dialectic state of losing our sense of self, gaining a sense of the other, and achieving selfhood.

Notes 1 Regarding the ubiquitousness of the aesthetic within the context of our lives see Martin Seel, Aesthetics of Appearing, trans. John Farrell (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2004). 2 The term “aesthetic,” or rather its ancient Greek origin “aisthesis,” already suggests this. The history of the word “aisthesis” is complicated. Ancient authors, however, mostly seemed to use it, or etymologically related words, in order to

10 Introduction discuss some kind of perception or sensuous state. Regarding the history of this term and the origins of aesthetics, see Paul Oskar Kristeller and David Summers, “Origins of Aesthetics,” in Encyclopedia of Aesthetics, vol. 3, ed. Michael Kelly (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998), 416–432; and Paul Guyer, A History of Modern Aesthetics, vol. 1 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014), 1–30. 3 For Jerome Stolnitz, the history of aesthetic theories dealing with disinterestedness began with the publication of Shaftesbury’s Characteristics of Men, Manners, Opinions, and Times in 1711. Regarding such historical issues, see Jerome Stolnitz, “On the Origins of ‘Aesthetic Disinterestedness’,” The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 20, no. 1 (1961), 131–143; Paul Guyer, “The Dialectic of Disinterestedness I: Eighteenth-Century Aesthetics,” in Kant and the Experience of Freedom: Essays on Aesthetics and Morality (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993), 94–130; and Jane Kneller, “Disinterestedness,” in Encyclopedia of Aesthetics, vol. 2, ed. Michael Kelly (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998), 59–64. 4 For Heidegger’s and Gadamer’s objections against modern aesthetics see Martin Heidegger, “The Origin of the Work of Art,” in Off the Beaten Track, ed. and trans. Julian Young and Kenneth Haynes (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002), 1–56; and Hans-Georg Gadamer, Truth and Method, trans. J. Weinsheimer and D. G. Marshall (New York: Continuum, 2004). Bourdieu challenged Kantian style aesthetics in his Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgment of Taste, trans. Richard Nice (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1984); and Dickie presented his attack on the notion of disinterestedness especially in his “The Myth of the Aesthetic Attitude,” American Philosophical Quarterly 1, no. 1 (1964), 56–65. Many analytic philosophers endorse Dickie’s criticism and take the notion of a disinterested experience to be mistaken. For instance, see Noël Carroll, “Four Concepts of Aesthetic Experience,” in Beyond Aesthetics: Philosophical Essays (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001), 41–62; and Berys Gaut, Art, Emotion, and Ethics (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007), 26–33. Monroe Beardsley, however, wrote: “[T]he aesthetic attitude is often characterized as involving ‘disinterested attention’ and ‘psychical distance’–both of which have been severely and effectively criticized, though perhaps not totally destroyed, by Dickie. I think distance or detachment–withdrawal from practical engagement–in some form, although hard to describe accurately and safely, is a factor in the aesthetic character.” Monroe Beardsley, Aesthetics: Problems in the Philosophy of Criticism, 2nd ed. (Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 1981), lxii. In this book, I will present the accurate description of disinterestedness that Beardsley (implicitly) asked for. 5 Specifically, Stanley Cavell’s work inspired me to speak of one’s goal of achieving selfhood in the context of one’s engagement with an artwork. In his The World Viewed, Cavell argues that apart “from the wish for selfhood (hence the always simultaneous granting of otherness as well); I do not understand the value of art. Apart from this wish and its achievement, art is exhibition.” Stanley Cavell, The World Viewed: Reflections on the Ontology of Film, 2nd ed. (New York: Viking Press, 1971), 22. For Danto’s account of aboutness, see his The Transfiguration of the Commonplace: A Philosophy of Art (Cambridge and London: Harvard University Press, 1981), 85. When arguing in favor of an aesthetic account of art, I follow philosophers such as Frank Sibley, Peter F. Strawson, Monroe Beardsely, and Martin Seel. See Frank Sibley, “Arts or the Aesthetic–Which Comes First?” in Approach to Aesthetics: Collected Papers on Philosophical Aesthetics (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006), 135–141; Peter F. Strawson, “Aesthetic Appraisal and Works of Art,” in Freedom and Resentment and Other Essays (London and New York: Routledge, 2008), 196–207; Beardsley, Aesthetics, xix and 53; and Seel, Aesthetics of Appearing, 176–180.

Introduction  11 6 Paul Oskar Kristeller, “The Modern System of the Arts: A Study in the History of Aesthetics,” in Essays on the History of Aesthetics, ed. Peter Kivy (Rochester: University of Rochester Press, 1992), 61. 7 Danto, The Transfiguration of the Commonplace, 31. 8 Simon Malpas, The Postmodern (London and New York: Routledge, 2005), 7. 9 David Freedberg, The Power of Images: Studies in the History and Theory of Response (Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 1989), xxii. 10 Influential arguments for distinguishing between art with a capital “a,” on the one hand, and entertainment, kitsch, pop, or “the culture industry,” on the other, can be found in Max Horkheimer and Theodor W. Adorno, Dialectic of Enlightenment: Philosophical Fragments (1947), ed. G. S. Noerr, trans. E. Jephcottpp (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2002), 94–136; and Clement Greenberg, “Avant-Garde and Kitsch,” in Art and Culture: Critical Essays (Boston: Beacon Press, 1961), 5–12. In contemporary aesthetics, especially Christoph Menke speaks of the power of art and of its potential to make us think, while distinguishing art from entertainment, decoration, or political intervention. My account is deeply influenced by Menke’s. In contrast to him, though, I do not assume that an artwork has the potential to initiate a play among a person’s presubjective and unconscious powers, thereby leading to a (temporary) rupture between her as a human being and her as a subject. See Christoph Menke, Kraft: Ein Grundbegriff ästhetischer Anthropologie (Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp Verlag, 2008), 46–66; and Christoph Menke, Die Kraft der Kunst (Berlin: Suhrkamp Verlag, 2013), 11–14. As stimulating as I find Menke’s theory, I ultimately share neither his account of the aesthetic play nor his anthropological picture. Following Kant, I conceive of the aesthetic play as an interaction among a person’s capacities. Moreover, I should note that Georg Bertram’s account of art also influenced me when claiming that the aesthetic engagement with an artwork culminates in a self-reflective and critical process. See Georg W. Bertram, Kunst: Eine philosophische Einführung (Stuttgart: Reclam, 2005); and Georg W. Bertram, Kunst als menschliche Praxis: Eine Ästhetik (Berlin: Suhrkamp Verlag, 2014). Finally, Elisabeth Camp’s account of a perspective and Richard Rorty’s discussion of human contingency have been most important for the development of my arguments in this book. See Elisabeth Camp, “Perspectives in Imaginative Engagement with Fiction,” unpublished, accessed on April 1st, 2016, http:// www.sas.upenn.edu/~campe/; and Richard Rorty, Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989). 11 Bourdieu, Distinction, 493 and 1. 12 Kneller, “Disinterestedness,” 63. 13 I thereby follow a path that Rüdiger Bubner already started building. See Rüdiger Bubner, Ästhetische Erfahrung (Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp Verlag, 1989), 9–69. Recently, some philosophers have defended universal conceptions of art and the aesthetic experience from a Darwinian perspective. Even though I may share some motivations with these philosophers, my understanding of art and my philosophical approach are very different. For a prominent example of a Darwinian account of art, see Denis Dutton, The Art Instinct: Beauty, Pleasure, and Human Evolution (New York, Berlin, and London: Bloomsbury Press, 2009).

1 Introducing Disinterestedness

I. Kant In his Critique of the Power of Judgment, Kant focuses on the nature of the “judgment of taste” (CPJ, §1, 5:204), the kind of judgment we make when calling something “beautiful.”1 According to Kant, we do not make such a judgment on the basis of applying a determinate concept to the representation of an object, as we do when making a cognitive judgment. We make it on the basis of feeling a specific kind of pleasure or delight (§1, 5:204). What Kant takes to be unique about this kind of delight is not a particular phenomenal quality, but an independence from all interests: “One can say that among all . . . kinds of delights only the one of taste for the beautiful is a disinterested and free delight; for no interest, neither that of the senses nor that of reason, extorts approval” (§5, 5:210). Disinterestedness, then, is the defining feature of the kind of delight that serves as the determining ground for making judgments of taste. Even though Kant officially explicates disinterestedness as such, and never explicitly speaks of a disinterested attitude, I will argue that Kant takes the adoption of such an attitude to be constitutive for making judgments of taste. Such a reading has been contested by some commentators. Nick Zangwill, for instance, writes: “The example on which I shall spend most time is the bad twentieth-century notion of disinterested attention or of a disinterested attitude. Aestheticians who have discussed this idea are concerned with whether or not there are interests operative in the activity of contemplation. . . . [T]he notion of disinterest in play is quite unKantian.”2 Against Zangwill, I will show that the notion of a disinterested attitude is a good eighteenth-century notion and, indeed, quite Kantian. In general, I take an attitude or a perspective to be that which makes a person organize her intentional and propositional relations to the world and to herself. A person essentially is an intentional agent, possessing sensuous, affective, and, most notably, conceptual capacities that allow her to relate to the world and to herself via a great variety of intentional and propositional states, such as desires, intentions, judgments, perceptions, emotions, actions, and so on. As such an intentional agent, a person also must be a

Introducing Disinterestedness  13 rational agent, attempting to unify all of her propositional states into one coherent whole, because it is part of a propositional state’s nature to be rationally related to other such states. If a person adopts a particular attitude or perspective, her propositional states will take on a particular form and direction. In fact, the adoption of some attitude is necessary in order to relate to anything. Without it there can be no organized relation, but only blindness. The adoption of a perspective, then, is not an obstacle to gaining knowledge, but rather is one of its conditions.3 Moreover, every person must possess some attitude that fundamentally and continuously structures her relations to the world and to herself. While the causal history of her own body secures her quantitative identity as a particular embodied being, this fundamental perspective secures her qualitative identity. It cannot be totally idiosyncratic, however. As a rational agent and as a subject of cognition—that is, as an entity capable of having propositional states that qualify as true or false—a person must share certain concepts and interests with other people, because justified judgments, objective experience, and cognition all rely on the observance of shared, universal norms. More precisely, a person must share certain categories, principles, and interests—such as the interest in unifying all of her states into one coherent whole—with all other rational agents in order for her to share a world with them, and in order to possess some knowledge of this world. A person could hardly relate to objects and share a world with other people if her conceptual capacities always expressed themselves in an idiosyncratic manner. As a human being, which not every person must be, she further has some particular receptive and somatic features, and as the member of specific historical, cultural, and social groups, she has some more fine-grained categories, principles, and interests determining her perspective. Finally, there are her own personal interests that greatly influence how the world appears to her. So, our fundamental perspectives include many things, some of which we share with all other rational agents, all other human beings, or all other members of our own particular groups.4 From a postmodernist point of view, my claim that a person is a rational and synthesizing agent whose qualitative identity is secured by a fundamental attitude may seem antiquated. That is, one may object that I ignore the postmodernist insight that none of us is a rationally unified agent, but rather is some assemblage of dynamic, fragmentary, and contradictory structures or processes.5 However, I do not deny that a person’s fundamental perspective may radically change over time, and may also manifest internal contradictions. Moreover, a person’s goal of unifying all of her states into one coherent whole may never be fully realized. In order to qualify as a person, though, one must strive for such unification. One cannot relate to the world and to oneself via propositional states—specifically not via cognitive ones— unless one attempts to integrate them rationally, which cannot be achieved independently of one’s observance of universal norms. Nor can one continue relating to the world and to oneself as the same person unless some

14  Introducing Disinterestedness aspects of one’s fundamental perspective remain the same. So, if we conceive of ourselves merely as assemblages of dynamic, fragmentary, and contradictory structures, which lack any kind of unity, we no longer can conceive of ourselves as persons, subjects, or individuals. The adoption of a fundamental perspective surely is the product of a social process, but this process is not so much a “form of power which makes individuals subjects,”6 as it is a form of empowerment that allows one to be an individual, a subject, or a person in the first place. Without the adoption of such a perspective, which structures one’s propositional relations to the world and to oneself, there only is animal existence, and possibly not even that. This is not to say that it makes no sense to challenge perspectives and thereby to “promote new forms of subjectivity through the refusal of this kind of individuality which has been imposed on us for several centuries.”7 According to my view, works of art serve exactly this purpose.8 Of course, aside from her fundamental perspective, a person frequently adopts more fine-grained perspectives. So, depending on the specific situation, she organizes her propositional states by means of different concepts, principles, interests, or goals. Like her fundamental perspective, however, these more particular perspectives or attitudes make her relate to the world and act in it according to her own specific interests—or as Jerome Stolnitz put it: “We usually see the things in our world in terms of their usefulness for promoting or hindering our purposes. If ever we put into words our ordinary attitude toward an object, it would take the form of the question, ‘What can I do with it, and what can it do to me?’ I see the pen as something I can write with, I see the oncoming automobile as something to avoid;. . . .”9 This passage appears as if it was influenced by Heidegger, who famously claimed that we primarily relate to objects as things that are “at hand”10 to us. That is, we do not first look at objects and then ascribe practical purposes to them. Rather, we already ascribe such purposes while first perceiving them in the context of our daily lives. Stolnitz as well as Heidegger, then, took it that we usually relate to the world according to practical interests. Indeed, our attitudes towards the world rely heavily on them. The question now is whether we can still relate to the world while disengaging from such practical interests and from the non-universal features of our perspectives. This is the question I am aiming towards when I ask whether a person can adopt a disinterested attitude. I take it that Kant assumed the adoption of such an attitude to be not only possible, but necessary in the experience of beauty. In order to support my interpretation, and in order to begin introducing my own particular notion of disinterestedness, I first examine Kant’s account of interested pleasure. Then, I discuss his distinction between feelings of pleasure combined with interests and feelings of pleasure free of all interests. Moreover, I show that this distinction not only implies the notion of a disinterested attitude, but also anticipates Schopenhauer’s claim that the aesthetic experience of beauty makes a person lose the sense of herself.

Introducing Disinterestedness  15 Finally, I explicate the account of an aesthetic experience and the account of art that I will rely upon throughout this book.11 §1 Interested Pleasure Kant takes a feeling of pleasure or pain to be an intentional state by means of which a subject relates to the way that a representation affects her. A feeling of pleasure or pain, then, does not allow a subject to relate to some objective feature of the world. Rather, it allows that the “subject feels itself as it is affected by the representation” (§1, 5:204). That is, when feeling pleasure or pain, one realizes how some thought or experience affects oneself. When Kant discusses feelings of delight (Wohlgefallen) in the third Critique, I take him to be discussing feelings of pleasure (Lust). “Delight,” then, is just another word for pleasure.12 In his Anthropology from a Pragmatic Point of View, Kant distinguishes between feelings of “sensuous pleasure” and feelings of “intellectual pleasure” (APPV, 7:230).13 In contrast to the former, the latter are always combined with interests, which brings us to the main question of this section: how does Kant conceive of an interest? In the third Critique, he defines it as a kind of delight “that we combine with the representation of the existence of an object” (CPJ, §2, 5:204). So, according to Kant, if we are interested in something, we will take pleasure not only in the way that it appears to us, but also in conceiving of it as something that exists. One might wonder what it means to feel delight in the idea that an object exists in contrast to feeling delight in the representation of that object. One might further wonder how the notion of an interest can help us to distinguish between different types of pleasure if the notion itself refers to such a type. Kant’s more nuanced account of an interest as presented in his mature works on moral philosophy ultimately offers the most promising answers to these questions. In the Groundwork to the Metaphysics of Morals, Kant calls an interest “the dependence of a contingently determinable will on principles of reason” (G, 4:414) and states that an “interest is that by which reason becomes practical, i.e., becomes a cause determining the will” (G, 4:460).14 In the Critique of Practical Reason, he further characterizes an interest as “an incentive of the will insofar as it is represented by reason” (CPracR, 5:79).15 In his works on moral philosophy, then, Kant does not explicate an interest as a particular type of pleasure, but rather explicates it as an incentive to do something that reason asks one to do. For Kant, reason can ask a person to do something in two different ways: on the one hand, it can order her to follow pure practical principles, with the effect that she has the incentive to act only in accordance with them (G, 4:414). When being determined as such, she may, for instance, have the incentive never to kill under any circumstances. That is, she may have the “pure interest of reason” never to become a killer (G, 4:414). On the other hand, reason may ask her to follow certain rules in order to reach a personal goal (G, 4:414). When being so determined, she may, for instance,

16  Introducing Disinterestedness have the incentive to give as many talks as possible in order to become famous. That is, she may have the “empirical” or “pathological interest” to give a lot of presentations (G, 4:414). In his mature works on moral philosophy, then, Kant defines an interest as an incentive to do something that reason makes one conceive of as an end. This definition is in line with Kant’s discussion of intellectual pleasure in the third Critique. Here, he calls feelings of such pleasure “feelings of delight in the good” (CPJ, §4, 5:207). The good is that “which pleases by means of reason alone, through the mere concept” (§4, 5:207). The “mere concept” Kant is thinking of here is, specifically, the concept of an end. He further distinguishes between two different kinds of ends and, consequently, between two different ways in which something can be good. On the one hand, we can take something to be an end in itself, which will make us judge it to be absolutely good. On the other hand, we can assume it to be useful for achieving some further end, which will make us judge it to be conditionally good. Of course, this distinction relates back to the distinction between pure interests of reason and empirical ones. Both kinds of goods have in common that we ascribe some value to them. Since something can unfold its full value only if it is real, we further desire that something exist in reality if we judge it to be good. The following relationship, then, holds between feelings of pleasure in the good, interests, and representations of things as existing: when a person feels pleasure in something good, she must already have a conception of it as of something that is either absolutely or conditionally good. When having such a conception of it, reason orders her to do or produce it in reality, and she therefore has an incentive to do or produce it. The feeling of pleasure in the good makes a person aware of this determination of her will. It is combined with interest in the sense that it is combined with an incentive to do or produce something that reason makes one conceive of as an end.16 We have not yet arrived at a truly general definition of an interest, however, for Kant takes it that there also are feelings of sensuous pleasure combined with interests, yet holds that only a feeling of intellectual pleasure in the good is related to an “object of the will (i.e. of a faculty of desire that is determined by reason)” (§4, 5:209). So, we must look more closely at the kind of sensuous pleasure that Kant assumes to be combined with interest. Overall, Kant distinguishes between feelings of sensuous pleasure in the agreeable and feelings of sensuous pleasure in the beautiful (APPV, 7:230). The former ground “aesthetic judgment[s] of sense,” while the latter ground judgments of taste, which instead of being judgments of sense are “aesthetic judgment[s] of reflection” (CPJ, 20:224).17 If a person feels pleasure in something agreeable or pain in something disagreeable, she experiences one of her sensations as a state that she either wants to maintain or to leave: “One can also explain these feelings by means of the effect that the sensation produces on our state of mind. What directly (through sense) urges me to leave my state (to go out of it) is disagreeable to me—it causes me pain;

Introducing Disinterestedness  17 just as what drives me to maintain my state (to remain in it) is agreeable to me—I enjoy it” (APPV, 7:231). I take it to be a characteristic of all feelings of pleasure that they make us relate to one of our states as to a state that we want to maintain. For Kant, the agreeable is that “which pleases the senses in sensation” (CPJ, §3, 5:206), and which therefore either gives or promises sensuous pleasure. Something that gives or promises sensuous pleasure often makes us desire to engage with it in a way that goes beyond merely perceiving it. So, for instance, upon perceiving a bottle of fine wine, we may want to consume or possess it. Such relations depend on the full-blown existence of an object. Kant might have this in mind when writing: “But to want something and to feel a delight in its existence, i.e., to take an interest in it, are identical” (§4, 5:209). The feeling of pleasure in the agreeable, however, does not depend on the conception of it as of something good. This feeling is not triggered by the determination of a person’s will, but rather by one of her sensuous states. It may always go hand in hand with a desire for consuming or possessing the agreeable object, but hardly goes hand in hand with the conception of it as of an end. This is not the whole story, though. Kant suggests that this feeling is directed not only at the sensuous relation to some particular object, “but through sensation it excites a desire for objects of the same kind” (§3, 5:207). When feeling pleasure in the agreeable, then, a person relates to something in a sensuous way, wants to maintain this relation to it, most likely desires to relate to it in some further way, and develops an incentive to relate to things of the same kind. This incentive presupposes a conception of the relevant thing. For instance, I cannot find some cake agreeable without forming a general concept of it (“cheesecake,” “my grandmother’s cake,” “a cake sold at the Hungarian Pastry Shop”), and developing an incentive to continue eating things that fall under this concept. We, therefore, may conclude that an interest is an incentive that makes us seek, do, or produce something according to a conception of it. Following Paul Guyer, we may also say that an interest is a “conception of an object which serves as an incentive for its realization, either because its existence promises pleasure or because willing its existence is in accord with moral laws, in which case the act of willing itself has a feeling of pleasure as its consequence.”18 Feelings of pleasure in the good and in the agreeable are always combined with such conceptions that serve as incentives, or rather are combined with incentives that make us seek, do, or produce something in reality in accordance with a conception of that thing. §2 Disinterested Pleasure When feeling pleasure in the beautiful, a person also relates to one of her states and wants to maintain it. Kant assumes, though, that in contrast to other feelings of pleasure, this feeling is free of all interests. For when feeling pleasure in a beautiful object, a person does not think of it as of something

18  Introducing Disinterestedness that exists, does not desire it in any way, does not ascribe an end to it, and does not even subsume its representation under a determinate concept. For Kant, then, a person cannot relate to an object according to an interest if she feels the kind of pleasure in its representation that makes her call it “beautiful.” In The Metaphysics of Morals, Kant calls this pleasure “contemplative” and distinguishes it from “feelings of practical pleasure”: That pleasure which is necessarily connected with desire . . . can be called practical pleasure, whether it is the cause or the effect of the desire. On the other hand, that pleasure which is not necessarily connected with desire for an object, and so is not at bottom a pleasure in the existence of the object of a representation but is attached only to the representation by itself, can be called merely contemplative pleasure or inactive pleasure. We call the feeling of the latter kind of pleasure taste. (MM, 6:213)19 But why does Kant assume that being interested in an object and feeling the kind of delight that makes one call it “beautiful” are mutually exclusive? Is this claim merely a product of his own introspection? Surely not. Kant takes it that every (correct) judgment of taste is impartial and universally valid. Therefore, it must be related to something shared by all subjects. An interest, however, is usually not the kind of thing that everyone shares. Different people tend to have different interests. This must be one of the reasons why Kant assumes that a delight combined with interest cannot serve as the ground for a universally valid judgment of taste: “Everyone must admit that the judgment of beauty, in which there is mixed the least interest, is very partial and no pure judgment of taste. One must not be in the least biased in favor of the existence of the thing, but be entirely indifferent in this respect in order to play the judge in matters of taste” (CPJ, §2, 5:205). One might object that there are pure interests of reason that all of us, at least, ought to share. Thus, it seems that there is a kind of universal interest that could be combined with the pleasure grounding judgments of taste. Kant, however, denies this. For even though a pure interest of reason must be universal, having such an interest always includes applying the concept of an end to the object one is interested in. According to Kant, though, the pleasure in the beautiful cannot be combined with the application of a determinate concept. If it were, a concept or a rule would serve as the basis for one’s demand that others agree with one’s judgments of taste. Yet we never attempt to convince others and never allow others to convince us that something is beautiful by pointing out that it falls under a concept: If one judges objects merely in accordance with concepts, then all representation of beauty is lost. Thus there can be no rule in accordance with which someone could be compelled to acknowledge something as beautiful. Whether a garment, a house, a flower is beautiful: no one

Introducing Disinterestedness  19 allows himself to be talked into his judgment about that by means of any grounds or fundamental principles. One wants to submit the object to his own eyes, just as if his delight depended on sensation; and yet, if one then calls the object beautiful, one believes oneself to have a universal voice, and lays claim to the consent of everyone. (§8, 5:216) Kant makes two important claims in this passage: (a) there are certain aesthetic judgments, i.e., judgments of taste, that entail a claim of intersubjective validity, (b) one cannot convince others of their correctness by referring to abstract principles. I support both of these claims. Especially with respect to artworks, we often make judgments that we expect others to share. These judgments will not always make us call something “beautiful,” but they will possess the characteristics that Kant here identifies. For instance, when calling a film such as Rocco e i suoi fratelli “great,” “powerful,” “thought-provoking,” or “moving,” I do not take myself to express a personal judgment. I am instead ready to defend my judgment and argue for it, which indicates that I take it rightfully to entail a claim of intersubjective validity. When arguing for it, though, I will not refer to principles, but will attempt to make others see this film in such a way that they come to agree with me. This may require me to describe and explain the film on various levels. Ultimately, however, my interlocutors must see and feel it for themselves. The goal of all aesthetic argumentation, then, is shared aesthetic experience.20 Since we cannot find something beautiful because a determinate concept applies to it, and since interests are incentives related to particular conceptions of things, it seems clear that we cannot have a feeling of pleasure in the beautiful because some interest has been satisfied. Kant, however, also denies that this feeling may lead to an interest (§2, 5:205). The reasoning behind this denial must be that we cannot subsume a beautiful object under a determinate concept, and therefore cannot develop an incentive that makes us seek, do, or produce objects of the same kind. Even though I agree that our pleasure in a beautiful object cannot be grounded in the application of a determinate concept, I do not agree that a beautiful object cannot be subsumed under such a concept. As I will show in what follows, even a beautiful object must be subsumed under some determinate concept. Due to its generality, though, no such concept allows one to think of something as promising feelings of contemplative, disinterested pleasure. Even a feeling of such pleasure, though, must have some motivational dimension. At the very least, it must be combined with an incentive to remain in the pleasurable state of contemplation. Kant himself calls this state a state that “strengthens and reproduces itself” (§12, 5:222). Moreover, this feeling can be combined with some additional incentives. Why should my pleasure in watching Rocco e i suoi fratelli, for instance, not lead to the incentive to watch “this film” again? “This film” is not a general concept, such as “cheesecake,”

20  Introducing Disinterestedness and surely is not a concept whose application grounds my original pleasure in the film. It is a deictic expression that allows me to think of the film as of something that I wish to contemplate again, and therefore allows me to express an incentive that I developed on the basis of my original pleasure in watching this film. Feelings of pleasure in the beautiful, then, apparently can lead to interests, if we take interests to be incentives related to general or deictic denominations. On my view, any other account of an interest would be artificially narrow. These last steps of my discussion, though, threaten to collapse the crucial distinction between feelings of pleasure in the beautiful and feelings of pleasure in the agreeable. Does Kant suggest any other way of making this distinction?21 I believe that he does: according to him, the main difference between these two feelings is that in contrast to our feelings of pleasure in the agreeable, we rightfully expect our feelings of pleasure in the beautiful to be shared by everyone (§7, 5:212). This difference presupposes that feelings of pleasure in the beautiful arise from something universal. Of course, Kant suggests that a feeling of disinterested pleasure does not make one desire an object or think of its existence. What ultimately, though, defines this feeling are the following three negative characteristics: (a) one does not have it because a determinate concept or rule applies, (b) one does not have it because of something related to one’s own specific subjectivity, and (c) one does not develop any incentive or desire because of it. Since the last characteristic is problematic for reasons already mentioned, the plausibility of Kant’s basis for the distinction must rest upon the first two characteristics. The second is surely surprising, since it implies that our interests include all states connected to our own specific subjectivity. Neither Kant’s explications of an interest nor our intuitive understanding of it makes this stipulation look plausible. In the third Critique, though, Kant draws a connection between the notion of an interest and the notion of privacy, which I take to be identical with the notion of idiosyncrasy (§6, 5:211). At times, he even argues that we can be sure that our pleasure is free of all idiosyncratic conditions if we recognize it to be free of all interests: With respect to that, about which someone is aware that the delight in it is without all interest in his own case, he cannot judge it in any other way except that it must contain a ground of delight for everyone. For since it is not grounded in any inclination of the subject (nor in any other underlying interest), but rather the person making the judgment feels himself completely free with regard to the delight that he devotes to the object, he cannot discover as grounds of the delight any private conditions, pertaining to his subject alone, and must therefore regard it as grounded in those that he can also presuppose in everyone else; consequently he must believe himself to have grounds for expecting a similar pleasure of everyone. (§6, 5:211)

Introducing Disinterestedness  21 Whether or not we find Kant’s extension of the notion of an interest convincing, he clearly seems to believe that we put aside all of our idiosyncratic conditions when putting aside all of our interests. Thus, when claiming that the delight in the beautiful is free of all interests, he primarily means to claim that it is not related to the application of a determinate concept or to a state connected to someone’s non-universal features. When recognizing that some feeling of pleasure satisfies these conditions, we know that we can expect agreement: “[T]here must be attached to the judgment of taste, with the consciousness of an abstraction in it from all interest, a claim to validity for everyone . . .” (§6, 5:212). The notion of disinterestedness at play here is a notion that I embrace to a large extent and that I will spell out in what follows. So far, however, we have only a negative account of the sort of state that relates to a feeling of disinterested pleasure. How exactly shall we conceive of this state? Can it truly exist? Kant must give answers to these questions in order to prove that there can be universally valid judgments grounded in feelings of sensuous pleasure.22 §3 Disinterested Experience According to Kant, the judgment of taste is grounded in a disinterested feeling of pleasure. I take this to mean two things: (a) when articulating a judgment of taste, we express such a feeling; (b) the correctness of the judgment depends on the nature of the expressed feeling. As we have seen, a feeling of disinterested pleasure makes a person aware of a state that she wants to maintain, yet not because a determinate concept or rule applies, and not because of something related to her specific subjectivity. Since every judgment of taste entails a claim of universal validity, this state cannot even be related to an aspect of a person’s specific culture or society. Rather, it must involve her only on the level of her universal subjectivity and must also possess some feature that makes it comprehensible why a person as a subject in general should wish to maintain it and, therefore, could legitimately expect others to share this wish. In this sense, the relevant state must be “universally communicable” (§9, 5:217). For Kant, every cognitive state is communicable in this sense. A feeling of disinterested delight, though, cannot be directed at a cognitive state, since such a state includes the application of a determinate concept, and feelings of pleasure in the beautiful do not make us aware of the fact that such a concept applies. Kant, however, assumes that in order for the relevant state to be universally communicable, it must have something to do with cognition. Ultimately, he explicates it as a state in which our imagination has not yet synthesized a given manifold of intuition according to a determinate concept, yet has proceeded in such a way that we come to recognize that the subjective conditions of conceptual synthesis are satisfied. So, when experiencing beauty, we are in a state that satisfies the subjective conditions of cognition, without a specific (objective) cognition thereby having been reached. We can be aware of this state only via a

22  Introducing Disinterestedness feeling of pleasure. That is, we feel that a given manifold is purposive with respect to our most general cognitive goals, because it initiates a harmonious interaction among our cognitive capacities (§11, 5:221). Moreover, we feel that our imagination acts in an exceptionally free manner, because its synthesizings are not restricted by a determinate concept (§9, 5:217). In the end, then, Kant famously describes the relevant state as a free and harmonious play among our understanding and imagination (§9, 5:219). Disinterested pleasure is the awareness of this play: “Pleasure itself is the awareness that the merely formal purposiveness of the play among a subject’s cognitive powers is given” (§12, 5:222). This awareness, however, is different from knowledge. While one feels that one’s cognitive faculties play with each other, one does not know this and cannot verbally articulate it. What is articulable is the feeling’s negative side, namely that it is not related to one’s specific identity, not related to something that one may conceptually determine in a precise manner, and not related to any practical desires or considerations. Of course, one always can go wrong here. Effective idiosyncrasies can remain unnoticed, and the agreeable can be mistaken for the beautiful (§8, 5:216). Consequently, Kant argues that we cannot, strictly speaking, demand that others agree with our judgments of taste, but can only “ascribe” (ansinnen) such agreement to them (§8, 5:216). Ultimately, growing agreement is the only indication that no mistakes were made, and such agreement manifests itself in terms of shared aesthetic experiences.23 On my interpretation, then, the process of making a judgment of taste has four moments: (a) we relate to an object in a sensuous manner, (b) a state of free and harmonious play between our cognitive capacities is elicited by this relation, (c) a feeling of disinterested pleasure makes us aware of this play as of a state that we wish to maintain, and (d) we express this feeling and affirm a complex thought by calling the object “beautiful.” This complex thought includes the thoughts that we feel disinterested pleasure in view of some object and that we therefore may expect others to share this feeling if they approach the object as impartially as we do. Implicitly, it even states something with respect to the object itself, namely that it has the power to elicit a special relation between our faculties. No judgment of taste has been made before one affirms a complex thought of this kind. However, I believe that there is a process that comes to an end after the first three moments. Even though Kant never explicitly speaks of a special experience, I take this process to be something that one may legitimately call “an aesthetic experience.” According to Kant’s account, then, the aesthetic experience of beauty qualifies as a disinterested one, because a feeling of disinterested pleasure is part of it. It is appropriate to say that the adoption of a disinterested attitude is part of the experience as well, which brings us to our key issue.24 §4 Disinterested Attitude “Whether or not there are desires operative in the activity of our perceptual attention”25 is most decisive for determining whether this attention can

Introducing Disinterestedness  23 ground a feeling of disinterested pleasure. According to Kant, this feeling cannot be related to any idiosyncratic state, for as long as we relate to a given object according to our peculiarities, including our own desires or interests, we cannot enter into the universally communicable state constitutive of the relevant feeling. So, in order to make a judgment of taste, and in order to have an aesthetic experience of beauty, we cannot focus on those aspects of an object that only matter to us. Rather, we must remain detached from personal interests while perceptually attending to this object. What else shall we call the latter but the adoption of a disinterested attitude? For Kant, then, the adoption of such an attitude is a condition for having an aesthetic experience of beauty.26 One might wonder what all of this has to do with losing the sense of one’s own specific self. Kant never states that a feeling of disinterested pleasure makes a subject lose the sense of herself. Indeed, as we have seen, this feeling is directed at a state of free and harmonious play between a subject’s capacities. In order for this play to qualify as a subject’s mental state, it must be part of her transcendental unity of apperception, and must therefore be connected to the formal representation of her “I think.” A subject’s feeling of disinterested pleasure, then, is linked to her synthesizings, and consequently to her awareness of herself as “pure spontaneity” or “pure combining power” (CPR, B 157–158).27 Kant also explicitly argues that every feeling of pleasure includes that a “subject feels itself as it is affected by the representation” (CPJ, §1, 5:204). He further takes all feelings of pleasure or pain to be “ultimately corporeal,” and therefore to be feelings of “the promotion or inhibition of the powers of life” (CPJ, 5:277–278). Since life is the “consciousness of one’s existence” (5:278), a subject must relate to herself whenever she feels something. When feeling sensuous pleasure, she specifically relates to a state that includes activity of her sensuous capacities. When this state qualifies as a free play between her sensuous and conceptual capacities, she further experiences it as a state that satisfies her universal cognitive aims and that makes her aware of a “tendency of talents in . . . [her] which are elevated above animality” (CPrR, 5:160). Kant must be thinking here particularly of her talents for free activity. When experiencing beauty, then, “the mind feels its freedom in the play of images . . .” (APPV, 7:241). Consequently, Kant takes beauty to symbolize morality: ”[I]t is the very independence of aesthetic response from direct determination by concepts, including moral concepts, thus its disinterestedness, that makes the experience of beauty an experience of freedom that can in turn symbolize moral freedom.”28 However, the (aesthetic) awareness of one’s freedom and of the satisfaction of one’s universal cognitive aims is not knowledge. When experiencing beauty, the subject does not know and cannot conceptually grasp that she is free and that her most general cognitive aims are satisfied. She can feel this only by noticing a rise in her synthesizing activities and a widening of those activities’ scope. When making a judgment of taste, a subject finally refers to her feeling as to one that she assumes to be unrelated to her own individuality and that she therefore expects others to share as

24  Introducing Disinterestedness long as they also abstract away from their peculiarities while attending to the given object.29 Obviously, then, Kant takes judgments of taste and feelings of disinterested pleasure to include various self-relations. Nevertheless, these pleasurable feelings do not make a subject relate to herself as to the particular individual she is. Rather, they make her relate to herself as to an agent who possesses some universal cognitive goals and talents for free activity. When having an experience of beauty, a subject, therefore, no longer attends to the world as the specific empirical subject she is, but attends to it as a subject in general. If she abstracts away from all states specific to her, nothing that constitutes her as the particular empirical subject she is can become the object of what Kant calls her “inner sense” or “empirical apperception” (CPR, A 107). So, even though when feeling disinterested pleasure a subject relates to herself as to a free and cognitively successful agent, she simultaneously abstracts away from herself as the specific empirical subject she is. Already for Kant, then, adopting a disinterested attitude makes a person lose the sense of her own specific self. At least, I take it that Kant would not have protested against the following passage from Hume’s “Of the Standards of Taste”—a text preceding the third Critique only by a few years: In like manner, when any work is addressed to the public, though I should have a friendship or enmity with the author, I must depart from this situation; and considering myself as a man in general, forget, if possible, my individual being and my peculiar circumstances. A person influenced by prejudice, complies not with this condition . . . his sentiments are perverted; nor have the same beauties and blemishes the same influence upon him, as if he had imposed a proper violence to his imagination, and had forgotten himself for a moment.30 Schopenhauer later emphasizes this negative side of disinterestedness. That is, he emphasizes that a subject must forget her “individual being” in order to have an aesthetic experience of beauty. Like Kant, though, he contends that, when having this experience, a subject still is conscious of herself in some way. As we will see in the next part of this chapter, even Schopenhauer, then, does not argue that our experiences of beauty make us lose all sense of self. Before turning to Schopenhauer, though, I need to further explain my understanding of the free and harmonious play between our capacities and my own aesthetic conception of art. §5 Art and the Aesthetic Kant’s account of the free play is promising only if one interprets it along the lines of Paul Guyer’s “meta-cognitive interpretation.”31 So, even though Kant often suggests the opposite, the free play cannot be a pre-cognitive state, which occurs independently of any conceptual synthesis, because

Introducing Disinterestedness  25 when experiencing a beautiful object, we usually identify it conceptually. For instance, we identify it as a beautiful flower or a beautiful building. The free play, then, does not precede or replace cognition, but rather transcends it. If, moreover, all of a subject’s mental or conscious states must be part of her transcendental unity of apperception, and if a state is only part of this unity by means of being conceptually synthesized, the free play cannot qualify as a subject’s mental or conscious state, unless it includes the application of a concept. This all speaks in favor of defining the free play not as a state detached from all conceptual subsumption, but rather as a state transcending the conceptually fixed cognition of an ordinary object. When our faculties are in a state of free and harmonious play, then, our demands for cognitive unity and free activity are satisfied to an unusual degree, which cannot be expressed by the application of a determinate concept.32 One may object that Kant repeatedly denies that a judgment of taste is related to the application of a concept. As Guyer pointed out, though, Kant, strictly speaking, only denies that such an application grounds the feeling of pleasure in the beautiful. That is, he does not deny that in order to experience a beautiful object, a subject must apply concepts to its sensuous presentation—in order first to identify it—and then experience some special state between her capacities that transcends the application of determinate concepts, and that a feeling of disinterested pleasure makes her aware of as a state that she wants to maintain. Consequently, beautiful objects must be very special objects. Due to their particular makeup, they allow our capacities to enter into a special state, thereby satisfying our desires for unity and free activity to an unusual degree. According to this interpretation, Kant does not disregard the aesthetic object in favor of some subjective aesthetic experience, but rather conceives of one’s pleasure in the beautiful as of a “pleasure in a mental act keyed to the particularity of a compelling object or performance.”33 So far, I have discussed how Kant conceives of our experiences of beauty, without paying attention to his theory of fine art. For Kant, works of fine art are special cases of beauty. In contrast to cases of natural beauty, they are human products, having the end of representing something. Works of fine art, then, not only manifest some higher-order form, but also have some content. Neither the former nor the latter can be grasped by a determinate concept, though. So, an artwork presents a “representation of the imagination, that occasions much thinking without it being possible for any determinate thought, i.e., concept, to be adequate to it, which, consequently, no language fully attains or can make intelligible” (§49, 5:314). Like Kant, I take it that artworks are produced in order to show or present something. Works of communication or entertainment, however, share this quality. Whether a film, for instance, qualifies as a work of art, entertainment, or communication, it is always produced in order to show something; that is, it always is what I call “a presentational work.” As such a work, it may present concrete objects, abstract forms, figures, relations, and

26  Introducing Disinterestedness so on. Whatever it shows, though, it always shows it as something. More precisely, a presentational work always uses rhetorical strategies in order to make its recipients identify what it presents as something specific. It always gives its recipients directions, or, at least, makes suggestions how to characterize what it presents, and how to look at it. A film, for instance, is made up of single shots. Due to its framing and mis-en-scène, every shot contains an intentional attitude towards a film’s fictional or diegetic world. Its framing and mis-en-scène decide what of this diegetic world we get to see, and how it appears to us. Due to its grain, contrast, and colors, every shot, moreover, has an affective and evaluative dimension. If a world, for instance, is shown in warm colors instead of cold ones, we will affectively relate to it in a different way. Camera panings, zooms, and rack focuses further highlight details within a film’s given world, marking them as more or less central and prominent. Of course, the montage of a film has perhaps the greatest influence on a recipient’s overall experience. The context of a shot—that is, its preceding and following shots—significantly determine what the shot shows. Nobody proved this as plainly as Sergei Eisenstein. During the 1920s, he introduced complex techniques of montage, in order to suggest continuities, similarities, and oppositions between individual shots. He thereby introduced political metaphors and analogies in his films, hugely expanding cinema’s existing techniques for realizing its expressive potential. Finally, a film’s music and acoustic effects affect not only our auditory experiences of it, but also our visual ones. Even in the age of silent films, watching a film typically was a multi-sensuous experience. What we see in a film, then, and how we see it, is also determined by what we are made to hear, just as what we hear in it is determined by what we are made to see.34 Of course, a presentational work, such as a film, unfolds many attitudes or perspectives on its diegetic world. Every new shot basically adds another one. However, there is typically a meta-perspective that unifies the work as a whole and that determines which categories, principles, schemata, and interests are meant to structure fundamentally and continuously a recipient’s experience. A classical western, for instance, always points out who the main characters are and what the main conflict in its diegetic world is. It always asks us to organize this world by applying categories such as “good,” “bad,” “ugly,” “victim,” or “hero,” and by calling on certain ideas of justice or freedom. The dominant and continuous quality of its images and sounds adds an additional expressive character to the world that a western shows. We may see this world as a colorful and adventurous one, as a dreary and melancholic one, or as a dark and brutal one, depending upon which sort of quality is employed. Such global appearances are the result of a film’s meta-perspective. This is not necessarily the producer’s perspective. It is the perspective of a fictional subject that the recipient must construct on the basis of what the work shows. Following Wayne Booth, I call this subject “the implicit producer.”35 This is not to say that what the actual producer wanted and did is completely irrelevant. The construction of an

Introducing Disinterestedness  27 implicit producer, or rather of her meta-perspective, must be carried out on the basis of what the work actually presents, and this partially depends upon what the actual producer most likely knew, wanted, and did. At times, an artist intentionally unfolds a certain perspective on her work’s diegetic world. Often, though, she does this unconsciously, and this indicates that a producer is far from having total control over what her work shows.36 If a recipient does not adopt the perspectives that a presentational work asks her to adopt, then she, in a sense, misses this work, because relating to a work as to the work that it is relies on adopting the perspectives that it unfolds. If a recipient does not adopt them, she either rejects them or makes a mistake. Of course, there can be many reasons for rejecting a perspective. For instance, one may find it unproductive, repulsive, even evil. In any case, the result of such an “imaginative resistance” towards the perspectives that a work unfolds is that one does not engage with this work in the way that it asks to be engaged with.37 In contrast to a work of entertainment or communication, a work of art must make us see its diegetic world, and ultimately our own world, in a unique and revealing manner. As Kant already pointed out, originality and productivity are defining features when it comes to art. And as he further pointed out, artworks grant their recipients an unusual degree of freedom. So, they do not ask them to adopt perspectives in the same determinate manner that other presentational works ask them to do this. In the context of our aesthetic engagements with artworks, the taking of perspectives must be part of the free and harmonious play among our cognitive capacities. How exactly, though, shall we conceive of this play when the relevant object is a work of art that asks its recipients to adopt perspectives towards what it shows? Following Kant, I claim that we pursue no instrumental goal when aesthetically engaging with an artwork. This engagement is an open-ended process, for there always remains some “aesthetically felt excess,”38 motivating our capacities to continue their activities. If it ends, it does so not due to the work’s exhaustibility, but due to one’s own “contingent exhaustion.”39 So, an artwork confronts us with an incredible wealth of sensuous material and conceptual relations. Instead of resembling some kind of confusing chaos, though, this wealth strikes us as possessing meaningful form. Consequently, we continue to look for further details, relations, aspects, characterizations, and interpretations, assuming that the work’s elements are not randomly put together, but rather reveal some unity. An artwork’s unity or meaningful form, however, remains a projection. We take there to be such a unity, but we can never fully identify or conceptually grasp it. As long as an artwork retains its power, it confronts us with new elements and questions, and thereby forces us to keep thinking and reflecting on it.40 When aesthetically engaging with an artwork, we are, moreover, highly active. As every other presentational work, an artwork has a rhetorical structure: it always makes suggestions on how to approach it, and thereby

28  Introducing Disinterestedness gives our experiences of it some direction. How exactly we follow these suggestions, though, must be left to us. If we feel pushed only to apply some specific concepts, to notice some specific aspects, and to feel some specific emotions, having an aesthetic experience in the strong, Kantian sense is impossible. Even though this experience has an immersive side, and allows us to linger disinterestedly in view of a given presentation, it excludes being dictated to behave in only certain specific ways. An artwork’s wealth must allow us to follow different paths while relating to it. These different paths may then stimulate debates among the various recipients. When there is no reason for debate, when everything is determinate and clear, no aesthetic experience of art has taken place. Such experience essentially relies on a recipient’s creative and free realization of her powers. As long as it motivates us to look for new relations, aspects, and characterizations, and as long as we cannot pinpoint its meaningful form, a work has the power to elicit a free and harmonious play among our cognitive capacities. Its meta-perspective must therefore remain a projection, which we never succeed in constructing fully. We assume that there is a perspective that unifies the work as a whole, but we constantly jump back and forth between recognizing new, individual aspects and constructing some meta-perspective. In fact, I take an artwork’s meta-perspective just to be its meaningful form. If it seems possible to grasp clearly this perspective or form—that is, if no more questions, disturbances, and puzzles remain—we are no longer dealing with an artwork, but rather with a work of entertainment or communication. By no means, then, can we subsume a work of art under any specific message or world-view. One may object that my explication of the aesthetic engagement with an artwork ultimately is not really Kantian, since I argue that this engagement relies on an object or event that has a very particular nature. Many philosophers, though, such as Adorno, for instance, took it that Kant’s aesthetic theory is a subjectivist account, and therefore fatally disregards an artwork’s objectivity. This characterization is inaccurate. I will prove this by showing that Kant’s account is in line with many aspects of an objectivist account, such as Adorno’s.41 Adorno first of all affirms Kant’s notion of a “concept-free synthesis” and argues that one can ultimately grasp an artwork’s objective form only via one’s own “synthesizing power”: An artwork’s individual moments as such remain detached from each other, and you can only perceive as much of a work as a spiritual unity (a unity of meaning or a structure) as much as you activate your own synthesizing power with respect to the given work—that is, as much as you are prepared . . . to re-articulate in yourself, as a recipient, the process that is present in a clotted form and as a potential within the work itself. (Ästhetik, 295)

Introducing Disinterestedness  29 When Adorno here speaks of a potential that is present “within the work itself,” he is referring to an artwork’s “objective unity of meaning” or the “formal law” that holds together all of its individual moments according to its own particular logic (Ästhetik, 193). Moreover, he takes there to be an interdependency between an artwork’s individual moments and the work as a whole: that is, the whole is given its meaning by all the individual moments, whereas the latter are given their meanings by the work as a whole, or rather by the necessary relation in which they stand towards each other. We, therefore, can understand a work only if we perceive each moment against the background of the necessary relation in which it stands towards all other moments and towards the work as a whole. In other words, we understand a work of art only if we perceive its individual moments within their specific context, and if we recognize the particular logic that holds all of them together. Adorno calls a work’s objective unity of meaning, or rather its formal law, its “spiritual content” (Ästhetik, 222).42 He also emphasizes that an artwork relies on a recipient’s synthesizing power in order to unfold its full potential when describing it as a “dynamic field of power” that “becomes alive under the eyes” (Ästhetik, 168). Following Gadamer, we may further elucidate an artwork’s dynamic nature by pointing out that every work stands in a relation to a historically changing world. This change is nothing extrinsic, but touches the work itself. Because of a work’s historical transformation, which includes its progressing history of reception, new relations and meanings constantly show up. This temporal dynamic supports a work’s openness and is, therefore, also responsible for the open-endedness of our aesthetic engagements with it.43 I take it that Adorno’s account of an objective unity of meaning may, to a certain extent, go hand in hand with a Kantian account of the aesthetic experience. In order for an artwork to have the power to make our capacities enter into a free and harmonious play, it must possess some special form. Following Adorno, we may conceive of this form as of an objective unity of meaning. Kant’s point is not to deny that a work possesses such a unity, but to insist that this unity must rely on a subject’s capacities in order to show up, and must resist conceptual fixation. Adorno makes the same claims, and his notion of an “active passivity” introduces another interesting elucidation of my Kantian account (Ästhetik, 190). For Adorno, we must give ourselves to an artwork and “actively-passively reproduce the syntheses that the relations among the artwork’s individual sensuous moments pre-determined in a certain sense, but that only become alive . . . if reproduced” by us (Ästhetik 301). When discussing the notion of disinterested delight, Adorno makes the further suggestion that the engagement with an artwork is related to one’s freedom, and explicitly refers to Kant as having already pointed this out.44 In contrast to many other twentieth-century aestheticians, he actually shows great sympathy for the notion of disinterestedness and takes it to be of great importance for our attempts to understand the nature of art: “Only once it is done with tasteful savoring does artistic experience become autonomous.

30  Introducing Disinterestedness The route to aesthetic autonomy proceeds by way of disinterestedness; the emancipation of art from cuisine and of pornography is irrevocable.”45 However, there is a difference in the way that Kant and Adorno conceive of a recipient’s freedom in the context of her engagement with an artwork. Adorno describes the aesthetic relation to an artwork as a kind of re-articulation, reconstruction, or reproduction of a form that is prefigured within the work or predetermined by it. The free play, however, seems to go beyond this, and to include acts that not only reproduce but also create. Of course, everything depends here on how we understand terms such as “prefigured within the work” or “predetermined by it.” Besides, if a person’s aesthetic engagement with an artwork includes the performance of creative acts, the latter cannot be arbitrary and idiosyncratic, but must still relate to the work, and must be universally communicable in the sense that others find these acts comprehensible and justified. Nevertheless, I take it to be an essential aspect of one’s aesthetic engagement with an artwork that it includes creative and amplifying moments. My discussion of the similarities between Kant’s and Adorno’s accounts is meant to show that a Kantian conception of art is consistent with the claim that a work of art has some unity of meaning or meaningful form. One might object, though, that all this emphasis on unity, meaning, and form may perhaps still be justified with respect to modernist artworks, yet hardly is justified with respect to postmodernist ones. In fact, it seems quite appropriate regarding modernism. In his comment on the second post-impressionist exhibition of 1912, Roger Fry already stressed the importance that the creation of form had for the new artists of his time, that is, for those artists that we today call “modernists”: They do not seek to imitate form, but to create form; not to imitate life, but to find an equivalent for life. By that I mean that they wish to make images which by the clearness of their logical structure, and by their closely-knit unity of texture, shall appeal to our disinterested and contemplative imagination with something of the same vividness as the things of actual life appeal to our practical activities.46 A couple of years later, Clive Bell picked up on this observation and introduced his account of significant form. Bell, however, carried it a bit too far, defending a kind of formalism that, in the next chapter, I will criticize and distinguish from my account of disinterestedness. Fry and Bell, though, were right to stress the modernists’ or the historical avant-gardists’ commitment to the creation of form. Artists such as Matisse, Braque, Picasso, Mondrian, Schönberg, and Joyce experimented with new formal orderings, thereby challenging the standards of art through their aggressive departure from the established. Their works were, and to a certain extent still are, not really accessible; they do not provide easy pleasure, but rather challenge, provoke, and subvert expectations. In contrast to works of entertainment, they

Introducing Disinterestedness  31 require time, effort, sensitivity, and even a certain knowledge or training. Their formal arrangements, then, are not created according to formulae, and therefore are not easily identified. In fact, they often remain projections in the sense that, due to their complexity, the relevant works of art never allow us to synthesize them completely. Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’Avignon or Duchamp’s Fountain, which both are quintessential works of modernism or the historical avant-garde, still challenge us today, keeping us wondering what exactly they show, and how we are supposed to see and interpret them. What, for instance, is Fountain about? Is it simply asking us to see it as an artwork? What would this actually entail—seeing it as an artwork? Are we meant to see it as a kind of fountain or as a sculpture? Is it pointing to the beauty of industrial designs? Is it a comment on the art world? Obviously, we are far from being done with it.47 Of course, some modernist works turned against logical structure and rational unity. In his Surrealist manifesto of 1924, André Breton explicitly asked for such a revolt. If we look at works by so-called surrealist artists, such as Dali, Buñuel, or Oppenheim, we, indeed, may have some trouble identifying logical or rational structures. Their works are ambivalent in what they show and full of allusions. Nevertheless, they still show something as something. More precisely, they show it as many things, inviting us to constantly change our perspective: “And so Oppenheim’s Ma Gouvernante . . . combines, literally and metaphorically, shoes, lamb chops, foot fetishism, bondage, the suggestiveness of the prone shoes with legs (heels) up, vaginal imagery, and so on.”48 Because Oppenheim’s Ma Gouvernante motivates us to see what it presents as many different things, arousing many associations and raising many issues, while always leaving it open what the correct way to see and interpret it ultimately is, this work brilliantly proves the often made point about an artwork’s essential openness. Moreover, it proves that a work of art essentially asks for a recipient’s free activity—that is, for a free play among her capacities. Like other surrealist works, though, it does not confront us with some contingent chaos. By recognizing its (apparent) objectives, such as challenging the authorities of logic and rationality, disclosing unconscious convictions, desires, and drives, and revealing the mechanisms of social and sexual suppression, we project some form even onto a surrealist work, and assume that there is some meta-perspective that provides it with a unification of its own kind. Of course, it remains impossible to pinpoint this unity, form, or meta-perspective, just as it is the case with works from other modernist movements. However, this openness and inaccessibility is not wholly special to modernist works, even though they may have made it more explicit than older artworks. Aside from its revolutionary spirit and subversion, there are strong continuities between modernist art and its predecessor: Certain factors we used to think essential to the making and experiencing of art are shown not to be so by the fact that Modernist painting has

32  Introducing Disinterestedness been able to dispense with them and yet continue to offer the experience of art in all its essentials. The further fact that this demonstration has left most of our old value judgments intact only makes it the more conclusive. . . . it has not lowered thereby the standing of Leonardo, Raphael, Titian, Rubens, Rembrandt, or Watteau. What Modernism has shown is that, though the past did appreciate these masters justly, it often gave wrong reasons for doing so. . . . Art is—among other things—continuity, and unthinkable without it.49 What about postmodernist art, though? Many celebrated artworks created since (roughly) the mid-1960s have been called “postmodernist,” and it has been argued that formlessness, fragmentation, indeterminacy, dissolution, and fluidity are the defining characteristics of postmodernist art. Postmodernist works supposedly reject unity and form and often do not belong to a single medium, such as painting, video, or literature. Aside from that, some have argued that in postmodernity, performativity has become an essential feature in the sense that artists typically create happenings or performances instead of “traditional works.”50 Indeed, many artworks created since the mid-1960s have manifested some of these features; performativity and intermediality have undoubtedly been important tendencies within recent art. If we look at works by Beuys, Paik, Abramovic, Kentridge, Weiwei, or Heiner Goebbels, we can observe these tendencies, although showing up quite differently. A work created after the mid-1960s, though, does not need to be intermedial or performative in order to qualify as an artwork. Gerhard Richter’s Betty, for instance, may engage with photography in various ways, yet it remains a painting. Even though Richter has been working with different media and has often focused on intermedial relationships, some of his works primarily belong to a single medium, such as painting. Similarly, Lars von Trier’s Melancholia and Michael Haneke’s The White Ribbon remain films, just as Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom and Karl Ove Knausgaard’s Min kamp remain novels. Moreover, none of these works is a performance. They all may be based on performances of some kind, but unlike Beuys’s I Like America and America Likes Me, or a performance of MacBeth at a theater, they are not performative works. So, just as we should not defend a purist position, according to which a work must belong to a single medium and unfold the special possibilities of only this medium, we should not defend the opposite position, according to which a work of contemporary art must be intermedial or performative. In order to go beyond the given and the established, and in order to stimulate, challenge, and provoke a recipient’s understanding and imagination—that is, in order to keep us thinking—artworks need to explore and experiment with new techniques, styles, ideas, media, presentational arrangements, and so on. Their ways of doing so are endless. In recent years, the search for new media, new technologies, and new ways of mixing them has been particularly important, and has led to new artforms and genres,

Introducing Disinterestedness  33 such as installation art, video art, internet art, or digital art. Performativity has been another important dimension of recent art, and so have strategies of fragmentation and dissolution. We must be careful, though, not to make swift over-generalizations, because it seems that recent and contemporary art “is too pluralistic in intention and realization to allow itself to be captured along a single dimension. . . .”51 Even a truly postmodernist work of art that essentially relies on strategies of fragmentation and dissolution cannot completely lack a meaningful form or meta-perspective. Lyotard defended the opposite claim, however. According to him, modernist and postmodernist art are both concerned with the sublime instead of the beautiful. In contrast to modernist works, though, postmodernist ones show “the unpresentable,” which forces them to reject all form: The postmodern would be that which, in the modern, puts forward the unpresentable in presentation itself; that which denies itself the solace of good forms, the consensus of a taste which would make it possible to share collectively the nostalgia for the unattainable; that which searches for new presentations, not in order to enjoy them but in order to impart a stronger sense of the unpresentable. A postmodern artist or writer is in the position of a philosopher: the text he writes, the work he produces are not in principle governed by preestablished rules, and they cannot be judged according to a determining judgment, by applying familiar categories to the text or to the work.52 Given my Kantian conception of art, it should be clear that I fully agree with Lyotard’s last claim, not only with respect to the postmodern artist but with respect to every artist. In contrast to Lyotard, however, I do not take Kant’s account of the sublime to be a more suitable explanatory framework for modernist and postmodernist art than his account of the beautiful.53 For Kant, the experience of the sublime is initially painful, because we feel the limitation of our sensuous nature or the vulnerability of our corporeal nature. Ultimately, though, it is pleasurable due to our recognition of the power of our own reason (the unpresentable). When Lyotard discusses pleasure and “the solace of good forms,” he seems to be thinking of something soothing. This, however, is not the way that I conceive of pleasure and form. Feelings of pleasure are not necessarily “warm and fuzzy.” When a person feels pleasure while engaging with an artwork, she simply wants to continue engaging with it. The work interests and attracts her, while simultaneously making her forget about her own being. Feeling pleasure in this sense does not exclude feeling surprised, challenged, and provoked. Rather, it presupposes some of these feelings. When aesthetically engaging with an artwork, though, we never seem to face meaningless chaos (“mathematical sublimity”) or an apparent threat to our corporeal existence (“dynamical sublimity”). Even when engaging with a painting by Newman or a happening by Beuys,

34  Introducing Disinterestedness we assume that it makes sense to ask what these works show, what they are about, and what they mean. Searching for accurate descriptions, characterizations, and interpretations, which ultimately unify a given work, is a constitutive part of our aesthetic engagements with artworks, and I do not see how there still could be such an engagement without it. This search is only rational, though, if we take the work to have some meaningful form or metaperspective that provides our questions with nonarbitrary answers. In fact, relating to something as to an artistic object or event already makes us think of it as manifesting some minimal form or coherence. How could we relate to something as to a work, object, or event if it truly were formless? Some may object that I now fall back into an antiquated celebration of unity and rationality. As already stated, though, I take there to be no sustainable selfconception—whether I think of myself as a subject, individual, or person— independent of notions such as unity, meaning, and reason. Moreover, there is no conception of a shared world or of a social practice independently of such notions. Acknowledging this has nothing to do with some “nostalgia of the whole and the one,”54 and is also not opposed to waging “a war on totality,”55 if one conceives of a totality as of a closed political or metaphysical system that prohibits criticism, plurality, and alternatives. Indeed, there may at present still be a need for some kind of fragmentation, but if the latter totally disengaged itself from all efforts of meaningful and rational unification, it would become dubious. In fact, it would be opposed to a transcendental condition of our very existence as rational and intentional agents, and therefore could not be carried out seriously. Lyotard, however, was not the first to argue that the art of his own time was somehow opposed to the “solace of good forms.” Adorno had already expressed similar thoughts with respect to what we nowadays call “modernist art.” Overall, Adorno rejected the aesthetic paradigm of harmony, and this may finally reveal a real disagreement between him and Kant. According to Adorno, a work’s individual moments stand in contradictory and antagonistic relations towards each other. He further argues that art or “beauty essentially includes suffering, pain, dissonance . . .” (Ästhetik, 148). In particular, dissonance introduces something that “has not yet been domesticized, but that is so-to-say fresh-fallen snow, thereby reminding us of that which would be different from the constantly re-producing processes of bourgeois society, in which we all are prisoners” (Ästhetik, 66 and 67). Adorno takes dissonance to be of great importance specifically in the context of modernist art. Due to its dissonant character, a modernist work actually has a “broken unity of meaning” (Ästhetik, 297). Adorno even calls this unity a “fiction,” because the individual moments of a modernist work cannot be synthesized in such a way that they form a unified whole (Ästhetik, 135). Obviously, Adorno conceives of a state of harmony in terms of closure, completeness, and stasis. To a certain extent, Kant also conceives of it along these lines, for when our cognitive capacities have reached a harmonious

Introducing Disinterestedness  35 state, something truly has been achieved. While I would not speak of a “fiction,” I follow Adorno in claiming that, in the context of our aesthetic engagements with works of art, harmony and reconciliation must remain something that we project and anticipate. The re-articulating and creative synthesizing of a meaningful form or of a unity of meaning is the serious impulse of one’s engagement with a work of art. Being a dynamic field of power, though, the work always asks for further syntheses, thereby keeping its essential “character of a mystery” (Ästhetik, 199). This does not exclude the possibility that these syntheses may eventually come to an end. If they do, however, and if the work, therefore, no longer mystifies and “injures, but . . . has completely integrated itself into the closed surface of experience, it has stopped . . . being a living artwork“ (Ästhetik, 271). Ultimately, though, not even Adorno completely rejects the paradigm of harmony. Rather, he takes it that a work always hints at a reconciliation of all contradictions, which, of course, has not yet been achieved in reality, but which exists as a utopian potential. In this context, he introduces the notion of homeostasis: “[E]verything that is individual in an artwork really is tension; but due to the configuration that positions the individual moments towards each other, the result of the whole shall after all be harmonious, reconciliation, loss of tension, just homeostasis . . .” (Ästhetik, 260). The question is whether homeostasis must be part of all art, and whether thereby “a harmonious and affirmative moment . . . is an indispensable part of the utopian and reconciliatory moment that all art is directed at . . .” (Ästhetik, 262). At the risk of aiming too high, my answer to this questions goes as follows: the aesthetic engagement with an artwork essentially includes an anticipated reconciliation of the work’s antagonistic moments. Without this anticipation the aesthetic relation to a work could not be pleasurable—that is, it could not be a relation that we want to maintain—and it could not be universally ascribed to others. A satisfaction of our most general aims must, at least, be anticipated in order for us to take pleasure in the experience of an artwork, and in order for us to expect others to share this pleasure. Moreover, the aesthetic relation to a work does not qualify as an “alignment to ruling conceptions,” as long as the relevant reconciliation remains something to be accomplished by means of our re-articulating and creative synthesizings. This second Adornian excursion finally allows me to formulate my full conception of art: in contrast to other presentational works, an artwork not only presents an incredible wealth of sensuous material and conceptual relations, but is rich in antagonistic moments that motivate us to keep looking for further aspects, relations, characterizations, and interpretations, which may allow us to unify the work after all. So, an artwork asks us to achieve various syntheses, but these cannot be achieved as automatically and smoothly as it is the case when we deal with a work of entertainment or communication. Rather, a particular (active-passive) effort and

36  Introducing Disinterestedness free activity is required on the side of the recipient. When dealing with a work of art, it is not clear which categories, principles, schemata, and objectives are supposed to determine our reception of the given work. Artworks ask us to try out radically new categorizations, characterizations, and interpretations with respect to what they show, but also with respect to our own reality, to which the artwork’s presentation always relates in one way or another.56 An artwork’s metaperspective further depends on the work’s individual aspects and local perspectives and vice versa. Therefore, we must constantly move back and forth between our understanding of its metaperspective and our understanding of its individual aspects. An artwork’s metaperspective also has its very own form. It must make us perceive the work’s presentation according to it own logic, and must situate the work’s individual moments within a necessary and original context. This is not to say that we can conceptually determine an artwork’s particular metaperspective. Its construction remains something to be accomplished. More precisely, as long as a work is a living field of power, its metaperspective has a broken and unfinished character, which nevertheless promises reconciliation. The aesthetic engagement with an artwork, then, is a free and disinterested play of our powers that aims to construct a meaningful metaperspective, but that, due to the work’s antagonistic multiperspectivity and dialectic structure, does not come to an end, but remains an open-ended, yet pleasurable, process of re-articulating and creative synthesizings. There may be moments of pain mixed into our feelings of pleasure, or following them, when we aesthetically relate to an artwork. These moments of pain, though, are primarily not related to a perceived threat towards our corporeal existence. In fact, there is a deeper threat and feeling of danger here, relating to our fundamental perspective and consequently to our qualitative identity. A work of art can challenge this perspective, and therefore can force us fundamentally to re-evaluate ourselves. This threat, though, can also be a promise of becoming a better person: it can be “a promise of happiness.” When aesthetically engaging with a work of art, then, we anticipate, on the one hand, a meaningful form or metaperspective that (almost messianically) unifies all antagonistic moments in a way that transcends abstract and conventional fixations, and we hope, on the other hand, that this experience helps us to become better people who live better lives. The awareness of our own powers acting in an unusually free manner, the anticipation of some unity that goes beyond conceptual fixations, and the hope for happiness make us want to maintain our relation to an artwork, and this is why it gives us pleasure.57 This is not to say that the feeling of a threat towards our corporeal existence can never be a moment of our aesthetic engagement with a work of art. A work such as Barnett Newman’s Broken Obelisk, for instance, may very well provoke such a feeling on side of the recipient. Given my claim

Introducing Disinterestedness  37 that the aesthetic engagement with an artwork always relies on the activity of one’s conceptual and sensuous capacities and always relies on a feeling of pleasure, it should be clear that I do not conceive of this engagement as of an abstract and disembodied relation. Of course, an activity of one’s sensuous capacities must always be in some way embodied. Further, it is obviously the case that some works of art specifically address their recipients’ corporeal existence and affective responsiveness. In Chapter Two, I will discuss in detail to what extent this may or may not contradict the requirements of aesthetic disinterestedness. In any case, artworks have the power to blast our perspectives open: they can liberate us from our routines, and can initiate a self-critical process which reveals our own contingency and the contingency of our social and political conditions; they can invite us to adopt a multi-perspectival approach towards the world and ourselves, reminding us of our freedom and therefore of our responsibility for the perspectives that we choose. All this is part of a rich form of self-determination that I call “achieving selfhood.” Adopting a disinterested attitude, and therefore temporarily losing the sense of oneself, is a condition of beginning to achieve it. In the next part of this chapter, I will focus on the notion of losing the sense of oneself by discussing Schopenhauer’s account of disinterestedness. First, I need to make three last comments on my aesthetic conception of art. Some may object that such a conception cannot do justice to works of conceptual art, which focus on the expression of ideas instead of the presentation of sensuous materials or forms.58 Even works of conceptual art, though, usually rely on the material specificity of their presentations. That is, in the context of such works, it matters how exactly some conceptual content is being presented, and the manner of this presentation surely has an aesthetic effect. Moreover, like works of literature, works of conceptual art rely not only on a recipient’s conceptual capacities, but also on her sensuous receptivity and imagination. When reading a novel such as The Idiot or The Trial, we not only grasp some abstract content, but also attend to its rhythm and sound, form various images, and engage in a playful process that involves our conceptual as well as our sensuous capacities. As pointed out earlier, perspectival shifts make us think and perceive differently in a holistic manner. It would, therefore, be a false reduction of our relations to works of literature and conceptual art to claim that they are only conceptual. The relation to an artwork always requires us to activate all of our cognitive capacities and to engage in a free play of re-articulating and creative synthesizings.59 Another potential objection to my conception of an artwork is that the work of an artist does not always culminate in the production of a material artifact, text, or score that persists over time. I do not deny that, when explicating my account, I primarily think of works that literally can be revisited, such as paintings, films, videos, installations, or novels. However, I do not conceive of a work as of something that needs to persist over time.

38  Introducing Disinterestedness A performance is also a presentational work, and our engagements with it can be just as open-ended as our engagements with a material artifact or text. Of course, we cannot literally revisit an artistic performance, because it is a unique event that can never be re-instantiated in exactly the same way. This does not imply, though, that our engagements with it must end at the moment when the performance itself ends. If the performance qualifies as an artwork, our engagements with it will continue, heavily relying on our memory and imagination.60 Finally, one may object that, just as every other essentialist account, an aesthetic account of art cannot accommodate the constant development of art. Therefore, it might be best to give up on all attempts to determine the nature of art and instead just try to determine how we identify an artwork. Noël Carroll has argued in favor of such an approach. According to him, we should conceive of art as of “a cultural practice that supplies its practitioners with strategies for identifying new objects as art . . . [and such new] objects are identified as artworks through histories of art, rather than theories of art.”61 If one, however, identifies artworks via “historical narratives,”62 one must rely on the stipulation of some uncontested cases of art. This stipulation would constitute the essential ground for the relevant narratives: This narrative procedure, of course, presupposes that we need to begin by presuming that we have knowledge that some objects are art, as well as knowledge of the salient features of those objects. However, once that rather reasonable assumption is granted, we can move forwards or backwards from a given point in the history of the practice to show its unity and coherence with past and future stages.63 But how exactly do we acquire the knowledge that some objects are art? And how do we acquire knowledge of their salient features? It seems that the question “what is art?” must come back into the picture here. Carroll, however, swiftly moves on, without giving answers to these questions. His approach thus ultimately faces a dilemma: either the historical narratives never come to an end, and every artwork is related to another work that supposedly explains its status as an artwork, or we stipulate some first works as points of reference for our historical narratives. Without having a theory of art at our disposal, the first alternative leaves us with a certain vacuity, whereas the second one leaves us with a certain arbitrariness. Moreover, I hope to have shown that my account does not negate artistic developments at all, but rather presupposes them. In order to blast our perspectives open, to provoke us, and make us think, artists must experiment with new techniques, media, presentational arrangements, and so on. It should also be clear that, according to my account, nothing is a work of art because it falls under a specific concept or rule. Rather, it qualifies as such a work because it has the power to make us have the kind of experience

Introducing Disinterestedness  39 I have described. Whether it has this power or not always is open for debate. In this sense, the status of art always remains fragile. And yet, one may still object that I have not proven that all artworks are aesthetic objects. That is, one may claim that the “connection between art and aesthetics is a matter of historical contingency, and not part of the essence of art.”64 In Chapter Four, I will return to this issue, and will discuss the historical relation between art and the aesthetic in more detail.

II. Schopenhauer In his The World as Will and Representation, Schopenhauer depicts our state of existence as rather pitiable. According to him, we live in a state of constant suffering, because we constantly experience desires, and therefore constantly experience deprivation. More precisely, Schopenhauer argues that the satisfaction of any given desire is either immediately followed by the experience of a new desire or by the experience of dull boredom, which is not much of an alternative. Thus, for Schopenhauer, we face a dilemma that prevents us from evading our unfortunate state of existence, or to put it in his own picturesque language: “[T]he subject of willing remains on the revolving wheel of Ixion, keeps drawing water from the sieve of the Danaids, is the eternally yearning Tantalus” (WWR I, §38, 220).65 Schopenhauer is not pessimistic enough, though, to leave it at that. Rather, he claims that a person may subvert the aforementioned dilemma if she disengages herself from all desires. According to him, a person temporarily achieves this when experiencing the beautiful or the sublime. Unlike Kant, Schopenhauer explicitly calls these experiences “aesthetic” and “disinterested” (WWR I, §36, 255). He further offers a metaphysical account that makes it plausible to identify the interests a person has with the states specific to her, and, most importantly, he claims that an aesthetic experience makes a person temporarily lose the sense of herself, due to the fact that it temporarily makes her abstract away from all interests. Schopenhauer, then, introduces the core of the notion of disinterestedness that I intend to defend. In order to explicate fully his account, I proceed in three steps: first, I discuss Schopenhauer’s main metaphysical assumptions. Then, I focus on his account of the aesthetic experience, and, finally, I spell out the relation between adopting a disinterested attitude, creating aesthetic distance, and temporarily losing the sense of oneself.66 §1 The Self as Will and Cognition For Schopenhauer, the world has two sides: there is the side of cognizability, on the one hand, and the side of “the will,” on the other (WWR I, §1, 25). The former consists of everything that a subject can cognitively relate to as an object. Whatever a subject can cognitively relate to as an object, though, Schopenhauer assumes to exist only in relation to the subject. He argues

40  Introducing Disinterestedness that it does not make sense to say that an object could exist independently of a subject, because saying this already makes the object the content of a subject’s thought. In fact, Schopenhauer claims that an object essentially is the representation of a subject, because it essentially is the possible or actual content of a subject’s thought: “[E]verything there is for cognition (i.e. the whole world) is only an object in relation to a subject, an intuition of a beholder, is, in a word, representation” (WWR I, §1, 24).67 Schopenhauer further argues that a subject never relates to an object in isolation from other objects; when relating to an object, a subject always situates it within a nexus of grounds. According to Schopenhauer, it is impossible even to conceive of an object independently of a ground that could explain why the object is the way it is. Thus, he regards the positioning of an object within a nexus of grounds to be a transcendental condition of all cognitive or intentional relations to it. A subject satisfies this condition by organizing her relations to the world, or rather her representations of it, according to “the principle of sufficient reason” (WWR I, §5, 45). The organization of our representations according to this principle can proceed in four different ways. In other words, there are four different kinds of reasons according to which one can explain why an object is the way it is. First, there are reasons of being, which explain an object’s characteristics by situating them within temporal successions or spatial relations. Second, there are reasons of becoming, which explain the characteristics of a spatiotemporal object by positioning them within causal relations. Third, there are reasons of cognition, which explain why a particular judgment is the way it is by situating it within an inferential framework. And, finally, there are motives, which explain the features of a human action by positioning it within a rational context. Every object that a subject relates to must have at least one of these grounds. The principle of sufficient reason, therefore, is an a priori form of all objective experiences. Just as Kant does, Schopenhauer contends that a subject imposes some specific structures upon the world of her experience (WWR I, §3, 27–28 and §7, 49–50). He further follows Kant in claiming that a subject has three cognitive faculties by means of which it imposes general structures upon reality: sensibility, understanding, and reason. Still echoing Kant, he argues that sensibility allows a subject to take in sensations, and to organize them according to spatio-temporal structures. In his account of the understanding, though, Schopenhauer deviates from Kant. For him, the understanding is not responsible for the application of concepts, but only the introduction of causal structures. In contrast to Kant, then, Schopenhauer takes it that a subject can experience objects causally connected to each other by means of unconceptualized representations, and thereby can arrive at a kind of “intuitive cognition” (WWR I, §8, 59). While Kant famously considered the application of concepts to be necessary for any kind of cognition, Schopenhauer considers it to be necessary only for arriving at more complex types of cognition, such as reflections or anticipations. In order to arrive

Introducing Disinterestedness  41 at such complex types, a subject needs to apply concepts by means of its conceptual faculty, which Schopenhauer assumes to be a subject’s reason (WWR I, §8, 62). In any case, a subject gives a representation its form by structuring it according to the principle of sufficient reason. Aside from its form, though, a representation also must have some content or matter, for there must be something about it to which form and structure can be applied. Schopenhauer claims that this content cannot arise from the subject’s faculties or from anything else within the cognizable world. Rather, it must come from something that transcends the world’s side of cognizability; it must come from the so-called thing in itself: Any content the form receives, every appearance that fills it contains something whose essence is no longer completely cognizable, and can no longer be explained entirely through something else, which is to say it contains something ungrounded . . . But what eludes investigation is precisely the thing in itself which, in its essence, is not a representation, not an object of cognition; rather it can only become cognized by assuming that form. (WWR I, §24, 146) Again, Schopenhauer first follows Kant, characterizing the thing in itself as something that gives content to our representations, yet never becomes an object of cognition, but then breaks with him, arguing that we, nevertheless, can determine what the thing in itself is. For Schopenhauer, not everything we are conscious of is given to us in terms of a representation. Rather, there is something that we are immediately conscious of, without applying the principle of sufficient reason, namely our will. Schopenhauer claims that we immediately experience our will whenever we immediately experience a bodily activity. More precisely, he argues that we can experience our bodily activities in two different ways: on the one hand, we can mediately experience them as empirical phenomena embedded within a nexus of grounds. On the other hand, we can immediately experience them as our volitional acts. For instance, if we slap another person in the face, we can either experience that slap as a physical phenomenon causing other physical phenomena, or as our desire to insult someone, or to defend ourselves. Schopenhauer takes it that every bodily activity can be experienced in such a twofold manner. That is, each of our bodily activities can be immediately experienced as one of our volitional acts, and when experienced as such, essentially is one of our volitional acts. Moreover, our bodily activities conceived of as empirical phenomena and our volitional acts never stand in causal relations to each other. Rather, they are two sides of the same coin: “An act of the will and an act of the body are not two different states cognized objectively, linked together in a causal chain, they do not stand in a relation of cause and effect; they are one and the same thing, only given in

42  Introducing Disinterestedness two entirely different ways . . .” (WWR I, §19, 125). Schopenhauer goes on to claim that if each of our volitional acts is identical to one of our bodily activities, our will as a whole must be identical to our body as a whole. Our body, then, has two metaphysical sides: on the one hand, it is an empirical object, or rather a representation thereof; on the other hand, it is our own will: “[M]y body and my will are one;–or: what (as intuitive representation) I call my body, I call my will to the extent that I am aware of it in an entirely different and utterly incomparable manner;–or: my body is the objecthood of my will;–or: besides my representation, my body is also my will; etc” (WWR I, §18, 127). Schopenhauer claims that the immediate experience of our will opens up an epistemic path to the thing in itself. He further argues that not only does our body have a second metaphysical side, but, given that every representation of an object must have some content, every object must have such a second side as well. For Schopenhauer, this side must also be similar with respect to all objects, and since he already identified our will as the second side of our body, he concludes that the second side of every other object must be something will-like as well (WWR I, §23, 139–140). These claims are surely problematic and insufficiently supported. Schopenhauer introduces an even more problematic assumption when stating that all individual will-like phenomena, which give content to all individual representations, are nothing but the appearances or objectifications of the one and only will that underlies everything as the ultimate thing in itself. Thus, according to Schopenhauer, the content of all representations ultimately derives from one single, striving entity, which he calls “the will” (WWR I, §23, 144). Supposedly, we cannot say a lot about this entity, except that it wills and objectifies itself. We cannot say why the will does what it does, because we cannot apply the principle of sufficient reason to it. Schopenhauer contends that we can recognize the will’s objectifications as proceeding in two steps: in a first step, the will objectifies itself in terms of ideas. In a second step, it objectifies itself in terms of objects that fall under the principle of sufficient reason. The ideas relate to representations as Platonic forms relate to individual objects, and therefore they exist in a metaphysical realm between the will and the world as representation. Different ideas further objectify the will’s striving nature to different degrees. The clearest idea in this respect is the idea of a human being. If the will objectifies itself beyond the level of the ideas, the world as representation enters the stage. Every representation, then, is the immediate objectification of an idea and the mediate objectification of the will. For instance, a particular tree immediately objectifies the idea of a tree and, as every other object, mediately objectifies the will (WWR I, §25, 152). Schopenhauer’s metaphysics, then, implies three ways in which a person can conceive of herself: first, she can conceive of herself as a subject, or rather as an entity that cognitively relates to a world. Second, she can conceive of herself as an empirical body, or rather as an entity that one can cognitively relate to within a world. Finally, she can conceive of herself as

Introducing Disinterestedness  43 an individual will, or rather as an individual objectification of the will. All of these self-conceptions are apt, yet I take it that Schopenhauer regards the last one to be truly revealing of what a person is. In other words, it seems that for Schopenhauer, “ultimately, the self is will—will that manifests itself internally as particular acts of the will (Willensakte) and externally as particular bodily acts (Aktionen des Leibes).”68 The fact that Schopenhauer considers a person essentially to be her own will, or rather to be a particular objectification of the will, explains why he take her life to consist of an endless striving.69 If a person essentially is her will, then her volitional acts define who she is, and she therefore is truly conscious of herself only when she is conscious of one of them. Only by means of being conscious of my own volitional acts, then, am I “conscious of myself as—indeed, that I am—an individual.”70 Thus, we can already see why Schopenhauer contends that a person’s disengagement from her own volitional acts must entail a disengagement from the states that define her, and consequently must entail a temporary loss of her sense of self. What relationship, though, holds between a person conceived of as an individual will and a person conceived of as a cognizing subject? In general, Schopenhauer argues that cognition is a means for the higher objectifications of the will, that is, for animals and human beings, to preserve themselves and to satisfy their desires. The cognitive faculties constituting a person’s subjectivity, therefore, exist only in order to serve a person’s desires and strivings, or rather they only are “in the service of the will and determined by the accomplishments of its aim . . .” (WWR I, §27, 177). This implies that our cognitive attitudes to the world involve “a relation of the objects experienced to our purposes, uses, and values.”71 That is, when organizing representations according to the principle of sufficient reason, we structure them according to their possible values for us, and this is why we may find them interesting: Since it is the principle of sufficient reason that places the objects in this relationship to the body and thus to the will, the cognition that serves this principle will similarly only aim to come to know of objects just those connections posited by the principle of sufficient reason. This is because it is only through these that the object is of interest to the individual, i.e. that it has a connection to the will. (WWR I, §33, 199) At the beginning of this chapter, I argued that a person is an agent who relates to the world and to herself via intentional states that she organizes on the basis of a perspective which fundamentally defines who she is. Following Heidegger and Stolnitz, I further claimed that we primarily relate to objects as things that are “at hand” to us, and that we “usually see the things in our world in terms of their usefulness for promoting or hindering

44  Introducing Disinterestedness our purposes.”72 Schopenhauer’s metaphysics and epistemology anticipate much of this picture.73 Moreover, he emphasizes two points that I have neglected somewhat. First, he emphasizes that a person is an embodied agent, whose intentional and propositional states are always embodied. I have also stated that a person is an embodied agent, who essentially has sensuous capacities, and whose quantitative identity is determined by her body. I did not emphasize this point, though, which may have led to the false impression that I conceive of a person as of some Cartesian ego. This, however, is not my conception. I agree with Schopenhauer’s emphasis on the embodied nature of our existence. When trying to synthesize her states into a unified whole, a person, therefore, not only acts as a rational agent but, in order to achieve this unity, must act as an embodied, social agent, who relates to other agents within a shared world of meaning.74 Second, Schopenhauer rightly stresses a person’s striving and egocentric nature. Again, I have also stated that a person’s perspectives rely heavily on her own desires and interests, but Schopenhauer brings out this inherent egocentricity most clearly. I endorse his insistence that there is something deeply egocentric about the way that a person approaches the world. This claim will be important for my concluding argument in this book. Now, though, I turn to Schopenhauer’s account of the aesthetic experience and discuss why this experience supposedly alters our usual relationship to the world and to ourselves. §2 Lost in Contemplation What happens when we experience a beautiful object? According to Kant, we experience something whose representation elicits a free and harmonious play between our capacities. According to Schopenhauer, we experience something whose representation makes us perceive the idea that it manifests, due to the fact that it instantiates this idea in an extraordinarily vivid manner (WWR I, §39, 225). A beautiful flower, for instance, instantiates the idea of a flower in such a way that we truly perceive this idea. Schopenhauer, then, considers an intuitive cognition of ideas to be possible. Of course, though, ideas are not objects situated within a nexus of grounds. That is, when perceiving the idea that an object manifests, we do not experience the object according to the principle of sufficient reason, but rather experience it “unhooked” from the spatio-temporal, causal, inferential, or rational connections that it might have to other objects.75 If we intuit something independently of the principle of sufficient reason, though, our cognition must have disengaged itself from its service to our will. For our cognition serves our will only by means of structuring representations according to the principle of sufficient reason. Schopenhauer, therefore, concludes that our cognition must have shaken off its service to our will once we intuit the idea that an object manifests (WWR I, §34, 201).

Introducing Disinterestedness  45 He further takes it that we intuit an idea not only when experiencing the beautiful, but also when experiencing the sublime. In contrast to the beautiful, though, the sublime does not seduce our cognition to disengage itself from its service to our will by means of the unusual transparency of an underlying idea. Rather, the sublime overwhelms or threatens us, and therefore makes it necessary for our cognition violently to “break itself free” from our will in order to experience an idea (WWR I, §39, 226). Our intuition of an idea in the case of the sublime, then, has a different genesis than our intuition of an idea in the case of the beautiful. Both experiences, however, are alike in making us dwell on the contemplation of an object and in making us disengage ourselves from our will. Consequently, neither the beautiful nor the sublime interest us when we experience them; the experience of both includes, or rather presupposes, the adoption of “an attitude that is fully disinterested” (WWR I, §36, 210). For Schopenhauer, experiences of beauty and sublimity are aesthetic experiences. When having such experiences, we adopt a form of consciousness different from our ordinary one: we do not relate practically to objects according to our own will anymore but instead become unusually detached from what we experience: “This state [the aesthetic state] is conditioned from outside by our remaining wholly foreign to, and detached from, the scene to be contemplated, and not being at all actively involved in it” (WWR II, 30, 373). Schopenhauer goes on to argue that the adoption of a disinterested attitude amounts to the adoption of a state of pure objectivity. For when we look at the world disinterestedly, we see it independently of our will, and therefore independently of our own individuality. When claiming that every experience of beauty presupposes the adoption of a disinterested and non-practical attitude, Schopenhauer follows Kant. Contrastingly, though, he further argues that the adoption of such an attitude amounts to a state of pure objectivity. According to Schopenhauer, it is evident that we must arrive at a more objective grasp of reality if we abstract away from our particular strivings. Since this abstraction supposedly allows us to see ideas, and since they are supposedly more immediate objectifications of the ultimate thing in itself, Schopenhauer concludes that our disinterested experiences are more objective than the experiences that we usually have of empirical objects. He further notes that in proportion to this increase of objectivity, the consciousness of our will diminishes, or rather our ordinary self-consciousness recedes into the background: [O]ur consciousness has two sides; in part it is consciousness of one’s own selves, which is the will, and in part consciousness of other things, and as such primarily knowledge of the external world through perception . . . Now the more one side of the whole consciousness comes to the front, the more does the other withdraw. Accordingly, the consciousness of other things, or knowledge of perception, becomes the more perfect,

46  Introducing Disinterestedness in other words the more objective, the less conscious of ourselves we are during it. (WWR II, 30, 367) Every aesthetic experience of beauty or sublimity, then, has two sides. On the one side, it makes one experience an idea. On the other side, it makes one temporarily lose the sense of oneself (WWR I, §38, 220). Given his account of the relationship between a person’s self, her will, and her body, this implies that, according to Schopenhauer, a person cannot immediately experience her own body when having an aesthetic experience. So, the experience of beauty or sublimity must be a disembodied state of pure contemplation that temporarily makes a person lose the sense of her own specific self (WWR II, §30, 368). In fact, Schopenhauer goes as far as to argue that a person not only loses the sense of her own specific self when having an aesthetic experience but also adopts “an altogether different form of selfhood.”76 That is, her individuality dissolves, and she temporarily stops being the person that she is (WWR I, §30, 192 and §38, 221). More precisely, the subject of cognition disengages itself from the striving individual, thereby temporarily achieving an independent existence. When having an aesthetic experience, then, a person continues to exist only “as a pure subject, the clear mirror of the object” (WWR I, §34, 201). This pure subject is not identical to an individual anymore, but is a form of subjectivity that all individuals share.77 It is important to note that Schopenhauer does not conceive of the aesthetic experience as of a passive state. Rather, he takes one to be active when having an aesthetic experience, although active as a “pure subject of cognition” (WWR I, §38, 221). When having an aesthetic experience of beauty or sublimity, one is also conscious of oneself as such a pure subject: “We have discovered that there are two inseparable components of the aesthetic way of looking at things: cognition of the object, not as a particular thing but rather as a Platonic Idea . . . and then the self-consciousness of the one who has this cognition, not as an individual, but as pure, will-less subject of cognition” (WWR I, §38, 219). Like Kant, then, Schopenhauer does not believe that we lose all sense of self when having an aesthetic experience of beauty. Rather, he holds that we gain a specific form of self-consciousness in aesthetic experience. It remains unclear, though, what exactly this self-consciousness could consist in. In fact, it seems as if it could consist only in the experience of a particular idea, namely of the idea of a pure subject of cognition. Yet something more is required in order for such an experience to qualify as a form of selfconsciousness. Schopenhauer does not have a lot to say here. Thus, it remains doubtful whether any kind of self-consciousness could really be part of the state that Schopenhauer takes to be an experience of beauty.78 In any case, Schopenhauer claims that the aesthetic experience of beauty or sublimity allows a person temporarily to disengage herself from her

Introducing Disinterestedness  47 desires, and therefore also allows her temporarily to lose the sense of her own specific self. One of the reasons, then, why such an experience gives pleasure is that it temporarily liberates a person from her suffering (WWR I, §38, 220). Moreover, it provides her with epistemic pleasure, due to the fact that it allows her to see ideas. Schopenhauer, then, distinguishes between two kinds of aesthetic pleasure.79 Every object that manifests its idea exceptionally well can give us both kinds of pleasure. Schopenhauer, though, takes it that not all of us will feel these pleasures frequently. Rather, the ability to achieve a state of disinterested contemplation is often reserved for the genius: [T]he essence of genius consists simply in the prevalence of a capacity for such contemplation. Now since this calls for a complete forgetting of one’s own person and its relationships, genius is nothing other than the most perfect objectivity, . . . genius is the capacity to maintain oneself in a purely intuitive state, to lose oneself in intuition . . . i.e. temporarily to put one’s interests, willing and purposes entirely out of mind . . . . (WWR I, §36, 209) By means of creating works of art, a person with the capacity for genius may help those of us who lack such a capacity to achieve a state of disinterested contemplation. Works of art are artifacts that reveal Platonic ideas even more transparently and vividly than beautiful objects in nature. Thus, for Schopenhauer, an artist is someone who sees more than others, and who is trained to produce something that allows others to see what she originally saw (WWR I, §37, 264). Moreover, different arts reveal different ideas. Architecture, for instance, reveals the ideas that are manifested within the inanimate world, such as the idea of gravity or of resistance. Drama, on the other hand, reveals the idea that we manifest, i.e., the idea of a human being (WWR II, 37, 432). Music, however, reveals no ideas, but occupies a special place among the arts, due to the fact that it reveals the striving nature of the will itself (WWR I, 52, 294).80 Even though the various arts reveal different things to us, all of them share the quality of temporarily liberating us from suffering: all of them provide us with a kind of redemption. The conception of art as redemption relates back to the religious dimension that, at times, has been ascribed to art. That is, Schopenhauer positions art “against life, as an announcement of the redemption from the hard toil and suffering of the will for life. In Schopenhauer, the whole power of the art-religion returns, but now as an entirely atheistic art-metaphysics.”81 It is important to keep in mind that, according to Schopenhauer, the aesthetic experience does not grant us constant redemption. Rather, it grants us only “a brief hour of rest, of an exceptional, and in fact only momentary, release from the service of the will“ (WWR II, 29, 363). Long-term

48  Introducing Disinterestedness redemption supposedly can be found only in a state of constant self-denial and askesis. Moreover, the aesthetic experience cannot have any positive value for our usual human lives as striving agents, because these lives necessarily are full of pain and suffering. No temporary liberation from our desires and interests can change anything about this. There simply is no happiness to be found in this life; there is only redemption from it to be found. There are two important disagreements between Schopenhauer’s view and my own. First, I do not conceive of an aesthetic experience as of a disembodied state that, due to its disinterestedness, excludes all affective responses. An account of the aesthetic experience or of disinterestedness with such implications is doomed to failure. In the next chapter, I will show that a correct understanding of disinterestedness does not have these implications. Second, I do not agree with Schopenhauer’s conception of human life as constant suffering, nor do I hold that the aesthetic experience can have no value for this life. At the conclusion of my account, I will return to this issue in detail.82 §3 Distance and Self-Loss Both Kant and Schopenhauer describe the aesthetic experience of beauty as a state opposed to our practical engagements with objects. When having such an experience, we, so to say, take a step back and enter a state that “is conditioned from outside by our remaining wholly foreign to, and detached from, the scene to be contemplated, and not being at all actively involved in it” (WWR II, 30, 373). For Kant and Schopenhauer, then, having an aesthetic experience of beauty presupposes the creation of distance between ourselves and our practical relations to things, or rather presupposes a distancing of the practical and instrumental aspects of objects. My notion of disinterestedness entails this notion of aesthetic distance. So, when adopting a disinterested attitude, a person’s relation to things changes because she neither relates to them in a practical way nor relates to them according to her own specific perspective. This transformation makes her temporarily lose the sense of herself. Schopenhauer first explicitly pointed out the relation between disinterestedness, distance, and temporary self-loss. The nature of this relation was repeatedly addressed throughout the nineteenth and twentieth century. In Anglo-American aesthetics, Edward Bullough’s account of “psychical distance” stimulated a lot of discussion.83 For Bullough, practical consciousness includes a deeply egocentric point of view, because it “is formed by the instinctive conviction that the individual is the culminating point of the world and that everything else is there for his personal benefit or as a means to his existence.”84 This sounds a lot like Schopenhauer, who took it that a person tends to conceive of herself as of the world’s ultimate condition (WWR I, §61, 358–359). Bullough further has it that the object of an aesthetic experience “is temporarily severed from its relation to, and its bearing

Introducing Disinterestedness  49 upon, our practical self.”85 In order to have such an experience, we need to change from practical to aesthetic consciousness, with the effect that “our practical interest snaps like a wire,”86 and that we become “mere spectators.”87 Bullough’s notion of psychical distance refers to the specific state that the adoption of an aesthetic attitude results in. When describing the nature of this state, he again echoes Schopenhauer: “[T]he transformation of distance is produced in the first instance by putting the phenomenon, so to speak, out of gear with our practical, actual self; by allowing it to stand outside the context of our personal needs and ends. . . .”88 Finally, Bullough also suggests that a state of psychical distance makes a person temporarily lose the sense of herself: “[T]o be asked in the midst of an intense aesthetic impression ‘whether one likes it,’ is like a somnambulist being called by me: it is a recall to one’s concrete self, an awakening of practical consciousness which throws the whole aesthetic mechanism out of gear.”89 In twentieth-century Continental aesthetics, Adorno emphasized the importance of notions such as “disinterestedness” and “distance” for an adequate understanding of art. According to him, one has to abstract away from one’s usual thoughts, feelings, and aims when relating to what an artwork shows. The capacity or “power for aesthetic distance” is, therefore, a condition for truly engaging with a work of art (Ästhetik, 166).90 Like Schopenhauer, Adorno characterizes the aesthetic sphere that an artwork constitutes as a “detached, divested sphere, whose violation we actually consider to be the negation of art” (Ästhetik, 75). This sphere shares with the sacral or magical sphere that it shall not or cannot be touched (Ästhetik, 187). Again, though, Adorno introduces a moment of dialecticity into his discussion of aesthetic distance when arguing that the aesthetic sphere relies on a tension between desiring, on the one hand, and a ban on desiring, on the other. For Adorno, the object that makes us feel disinterested delight must be something that originally aroused our most immediate desires. Beauty, therefore, always relates to human desire as to something that is banned, the aesthetic sphere always has a precarious character, and our relation to an artwork always entails an awareness of this tension between desiring and its denial or ban (Ästhetik, 54–56 and 83).91 Adorno is right in claiming that artworks present something that originally may have been related to our most immediate desires. Works of art typically have a highly sensuous, and often even erotic, dimension, yet we cannot relate to this dimension in the same way that we relate to it in the context of practical life, precisely because of the constitutive demands of disinterestedness. Moreover, I take there to be a quasi-dialectic relation among the three moments that constitute the aesthetic engagement with a work of art, i.e., among the moments of losing the sense of oneself, gaining a sense of the other, and achieving selfhood. When engaging with an artwork, there is a constant back and forth between one’s (temporary) disappearance in what the work shows and one’s critical reflection on one’s own individual perspective, society, and life. In other words, there is constant reciprocal

50  Introducing Disinterestedness shifting between having lost the sense of oneself and adopted a work’s various perspectives, on the one hand, and feeling one’s own freedom and a promise of one’s own happiness, due to the anticipation of a more satisfying reconciliation and self-determination, on the other hand. In this sense, I take the aesthetic experience of art to consist in a dynamic and dialectic interplay among the constitutive moments of this experience. In the end, Adorno actually follows Schopenhauer in arguing that one has not understood the nature of art, or what a work of art is, if one has not had “this experience of forgetting oneself in face of the object” (Ästhetik, 46). For Adorno, then, the re-articulating synthesis of a work’s unity of meaning goes hand in hand with a disappearance of the synthesizing self within the aesthetic object. In fact, Adorno explicitly refers to Schopenhauer in this context: [T]hese moments, when . . . the artwork’s spirit or meaning articulates itself . . . moments of being overwhelmed, of forgetting oneself . . . actually are moments of a subject’s termination in a sense quite similar to the way that Schopenhauer . . . described an artwork’s effects in the third book of The World as Will and Representation. At these moments–one could call them “moments of crying”–, it seems as if the subject distressed collapses in itself. In fact, these are moments when it terminates itself, and when its happiness does not consist in something that is now given to it as to a subject, but rather consists in this very termination. (Ästhetik, 197)92 Adorno brilliantly describes here that particular power of transforming our relations to the world and to ourselves that artworks possess. However, I submit that by making a person lose the sense of herself, an artwork also gives her something. On the one hand, it allows her to see things in a truly different manner: that is, it allows her to gain a sense of the other. On the other hand, it liberates her, at least to a certain extent, from her egocentrism, and allows her to experience her freedom and to mobilize her critical, selfreflective powers: that is, it allows her to achieve selfhood. In what follows, I will continue to spell out the nature of this threefold nesting, which I consider to be constitutive of the aesthetic engagement with an artwork.93 In this chapter, I have discussed Kant’s and Schopenhauer’s aesthetic theories in order to introduce my account of disinterestedness. This account relies on the following picture: in general, a person relates practically to the world according to her fundamental perspective, constantly asking herself what a given object can do to her, what she can do to it, and what she ultimately wants to do with it. Her perspective, therefore, significantly relies on her own desires, interests, and goals, revealing an inherently egocentric tendency. When adopting a disinterested attitude, a person neither relates to things in a practical way nor relates to them according to her specific perspective. The adoption of this attitude goes hand in hand with a person

Introducing Disinterestedness  51 temporarily losing the sense of herself, yet does not go hand in hand with a passive or disembodied state. Finally, the aesthetic engagement with an artwork includes the adoption of a disinterested attitude, and therefore includes temporarily losing the sense of oneself. Of course, one might wonder what exactly it could mean to lose the sense of oneself, and why exactly works of art should lead to the adoption of a state of disinterestedness or distance. I have begun to suggest answers to these questions, but more needs to be done. In Chapter Three, I fully address the first question, and in Chapter Four, I address the second. However, before showing why the aesthetic experience of art makes one adopt a disinterested attitude, and before spelling out what exactly it means to lose the sense of oneself, I will discuss and reject some popular and (prima facie) reasonable objections against the notion of disinterestedness. Responding to these objections will also allow me further to specify my own account.

Notes 1 All references to the Critique of the Power of Judgment are to Paul Guyer and Eric Matthew’s translation. My citations differ in only one respect from their translation, namely in respect of the term “Wohlgefallen,” which I translate not as “satisfaction” but rather as “delight.” All references follow the usual pagination of the Berlin-Brandenburg Edition, as provided by the Cambridge Edition. See Immanuel Kant, Critique of the Power of Judgment, trans. and ed. Paul Guyer and Eric Matthew (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000). 2 Nick Zangwill, “UnKantian Notions of Disinterest,” in Kant’s Critique of the Power of Judgment: Critical Essays, ed. Paul Guyer (Lanham: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, 2003), 64. 3 See Volker Gerhard, “Die Perspektive des Menschen,” in Perspektiven des Perspektivismus, ed. Volker Gerhard and Norbert Herold (Würzburg: Könighausen und Neumann, 1992), V, XIII, and XIV. 4 Obviously, I follow Kant when speaking of concepts, principles, and interests that organize our relations to the world, and make us integrate our states into one coherent whole. It is probably also obvious that I draw on Peter F. Strawson, Donald Davidson, and Robert Brandom. See Peter F. Strawson, Individuals: An Essay in Descriptive Metaphysics (London and New York: Routledge, 1959), 87–116; Donald Davidson, Subjective, Intersubjective, Objective (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001), 95–176; and Robert Brandom, Reasons in Philosophy: Animating Ideas (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2009), 27–51. I also discuss my account of a perspective in “Zum Verhältnis von Perspektivenübernahme und ästhetischer Erfahrung,” in Perspektive und Fiktion, ed. Thomas Hilgers and Gertrud Koch (Paderborn: Wilhelm Fink Verlag, 2017). This account relies a lot on Elisabeth Camp’s work. For Camp, a perspective is “a standing disposition to form certain sorts of characterizations of whatever particular entities one encounters–to notice certain sorts of explanations, and so to assign certain structures of centrality and evaluation; and to find certain combinations of features especially fitting.” Elisabeth Camp, “Perspectives in Imaginative Engagement with Fiction,” unpublished, accessed on April 1st, 2016, http://www.sas.upenn.edu/~campe/, 14. Also see her “Two Varieties of Literary Imagination: Metaphor, Fiction, and Thought Experiments,” in Midwest Studies in Philosophy: Poetry and Philosophy XXXIII, ed. Howard Wettstein (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2009), 107–130.

52  Introducing Disinterestedness 5 See Stuart Sim, ed., The Routledge Companion to Postmodernism, 3rd ed. (London and New York: Routledge, 2011), 312. 6 Michel Foucault, “The Subject and Power,” Critical Inquiry 8, no. 4 (1982): 781. 7 Ibid., 783. 8 In contemporary aesthetics, Christoph Menke endorses the Foucaultian claim that there is an intimate relation between subjectivation and disciplination. According to Menke, aesthetic experiences make a person break free from her subjectivity by initiating a play among her pre-subjective powers. Supposedly, this can lead to a specific kind of freedom. See Menke, Die Kraft der Kunst, 152–155. 9 Jerome Stolnitz, Aesthetics and the Philosophy of Art Criticism: A Critical Introduction (Cambridge: The Riverside Press, 1960), 33. Stolnitz is one of the socalled attitude-theorists. 10 Martin Heidegger, Being and Time, trans. Joan Stambaugh (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1996), 67. I changed Stambaugh’s translation of “zuhanden” from “handy” to “at hand.” 11 Following Heidegger, I take it that our thoughts and perceptions typically serve practical purposes, and therefore are part of our practical behavior. Brandom argues in a similar direction, for he claims that synthesizing a unity of apperception relies on actually doing something, namely on giving reasons within a social context. See Brandom, Reasons in Philosophy, 52–77. 12 Rachel Zuckert has convincingly argued that, at least in his third Critique, Kant takes feelings of pleasure to be intentional states. See her “A New Look at Kant’s Theory of Pleasure,” The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 60, no. 3 (2003): 239–252. For similar views see Henry Allison, Kant’s Theory of Taste: A Reading of the Critique of Aesthetic Judgment (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001), 51–54; and Jens Kulenkampff, Kants Logik des ästhetischen Urteils (Frankfurt am Main: Klostermann, 1994), 134 and 188. 13 All references to Kant’s Anthropology are to Robert B. Louden’s translation. See Immanuel Kant, “Anthropology from a Practical Point of View,” in Anthropology, History, and Education, ed. Günther Zöller and Robert B. Louden (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007), 227–429. 14 All references to Kant’s Groundwork to the Metaphysics of Morals are to Mary J. Gregor’s translation. See Immanuel Kant, “Groundwork to the Metaphysics of Morals,” in Practical Philosophy, trans. and ed. Mary J. Gregor (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996), 43–108. 15 All references to Kant’s Critique of Practical Reason are to Mary J. Gregor’s translation. See Immanuel Kant, “Critique of Practical Reason,” in Practical Philosophy, trans. and ed. Mary J. Gregor (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996), 137–271. 16 Throughout this section, I rely on Paul Guyer’s discussion of Kant’s account of an interest. See Paul Guyer, Kant and the Claims of Taste (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1979), 167–206. 17 The particular feeling of pleasure grounding judgments of taste is, strictly speaking, only partly sensuous, because it also relies on an activity of our (higher) cognitive faculties, and is (mediately) related to our morality. So, this feeling is also partly intellectual (APPV, 7:239). 18 Guyer, Kant and the Claims of Taste, 191. Rachel Zuckert argues in a similar direction when writing: “Sensory pleasures are, then, motivational or futuredirected, because they can figure in conceptually described intentions (as part of causal judgments) for future activity, i.e., to produce another instance of the ‘same’ state” (Zuckert, “A New Look at Kant’s Theory of Pleasure,” 247). 19 All references to The Metaphysics of Morals are to Mary J. Gregor’s translation. See Immanuel Kant, “The Metaphysics of Morals,” in Practical Philosophy,

Introducing Disinterestedness  53 trans. and ed. Mary J. Gregor (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996), 353–603. 20 Frank Sibley supported a similar account of the aesthetic judgment from the perspective of analytic aesthetics. See his Approach to Aesthetics: Collected Papers on Philosophical Aesthetics, ed. John Benson, Betty Redfern, and Jeremy Roxbee Cox (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2001), 1–51 and 104–118. Regarding my own account of the aesthetic judgment see Thomas Hilgers, “Was ist ein ästhetisches Urteil?” in Affekt und Urteil, ed. Thomas Hilgers et al. (Paderborn: Wilhelm Fink Verlag, 2015), 23–48. 21 In this paragraph, I again rely on Guyer’s discussion of the issue at stake. See Guyer, Kant and the Claims of Taste, 182–190. 22 See ibid., 132, 133, and 169. 23 In his Anthropology, Kant argues that we take an additional pleasure in the fact that we feel as everyone else does (APPV, 7:244). Aesthetic discourse, then, is not only based on pleasure but also pleasurable in itself. 24 Kant argues that some “(aesthetic) judging” must precede the feeling of pleasure in the beautiful (§9, 5:218). It is important to distinguish here between the judgment of taste, which is grounded in a feeling of disinterested pleasure, and the reflective judgment of the free play, which this feeling is directed at. In contrast to Jens Kulenkampff and Hannah Ginsborg, I distinguish between the free play, disinterested pleasure, and the judgment of taste. The first two always come together and come with an implicit awareness of one’s own condition, whereas only the full judgment of taste includes the explicit affirmation of some complex thought. For a more detailed discussion of my position see Hilgers, “Was ist ein ästhetisches Urteil?” 23–48. For Kulenkampff’s and Ginsborg’s accounts see Kulenkampff, Kants Logik des ästhetischen Urteils, 134; and Hannah Ginsborg, “Aesthetic Judging and the Intentionality of Pleasure,” Inquiry 46, no. 2 (2003), 172 and 173. 25 Zangwill, “UnKantian Notions of Disinterest,” 65. 26 In §41 and 42, Kant actually claims that taste may be combined with certain interests, namely with empirical interests in talking about beauty and with intellectual interests in the existence of beauty. However, he again stresses that no interest can be the determining ground of a judgment of taste: “That the judgment of taste, by which something is declared to be beautiful, must have no interest for its determining ground has been adequately demonstrated above. But from that it does not follow that after it has been given as a pure aesthetic judgment no interest can be combined with it” (§41, 5:296). So, we first must disengage from all interests in order to find an object beautiful, and in order then to develop some interest in its existence or in our response to it. Kant’s notion of an interest combined with the judgment of taste therefore does not conflict with my claim that Kant implicitly argues that we must adopt a disinterested attitude in order to have an experience of beauty. 27 All references to the Critique of Pure Reason are to Paul Guyer’s and Allen Wood’s translation. See Immanuel Kant, The Critique of Pure Reason, ed. Paul Guyer (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999). 28 Paul Guyer, Kant (London and New York: Routledge, 2006), 326. 29 Rüdiger Bubner aptly writes: “The self-encounter of subjectivity in the form of an aesthetic experience results from the will for cognition being immemorially outrun by the structures of reality.” Rüdiger Bubner, Ästhetische Erfahrung (Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp Verlag, 1989), 129. Towards the end of the Critique of the Aesthetic Power of Judgment, Kant argues that the experience of beauty makes a subject relate to her “supersensible substratum”: “In this faculty the power of judgment . . . sees itself . . . as related to something in the subject itself and outside of it, which is neither nature nor freedom, but which is connected with the ground of the latter, namely the supersensible, in which

54  Introducing Disinterestedness the theoretical faculty is combined with the practical, in a mutual and unknown way, to form a unity” (§57, 5:353). Of course, this is a metaphysically heavy and controversial claim, which I do not find particularly promising. Therefore, I will not consider it in my discussion here. For more detailed discussions of the selfrelations that feelings of disinterested pleasure and judgments of taste include see Kulenkampff, Kants Logik des ästhetischen Urteils, 63–68; and my article “Zur reflexiven Dimension des Geschmacksurteils,” in Die Sinnlichkeit der Künste, ed. Georg W. Bertram, Daniel Martin Feige and Frank Ruda (Berlin: Diaphanes, 2016), 155–177. 30 David Hume, “Of the Standards of Taste,” in David Hume, Essays: Moral, Political and Literary, revised edition, ed. Eugene F. Miller (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1987), 239–240. 31 See Paul Guyer, “The Harmony of the Faculties Revisited,” in Values of Beauty: Historical Essays in Aesthetics (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005), 98–109. 32 See Guyer, Kant and the Claims of Taste, 96; Guyer, Kant, 98–101; and Wolfgang Bartuschat, “Ästhetische Erfahrung bei Kant,” in Autonomie der Kunst? Zur Aktualität von Kants Ästhetik, ed. Andrea Esser (Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 1995), 60. I first discussed and defended Guyer’s interpretation in my “Was ist ein ästhetisches Urteil?” (40–42). 33 Joseph Canon, “The Intentionality of Judgments of Taste in Kant’s ‘Critique of Judgment,’” The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 66, no. 1 (2008): 54. Guyer’s interpretation especially conforms to Kant’s account of “adherent beauty” (§16, 5:229). In contrast to the experience of “free beauty,” the experience of adherent beauty is constrained by the concept of an end. This does not nullify the play, though, because “such constraints are not sufficient to determine what forms we will find beautiful in such an object. For that, we must still experience a free play of imagination and understanding . . . and thus we still have a genuine response to beauty and can make a genuine judgment of taste, although within the constraints imposed by the intended purpose of the object” (Paul Guyer, “Free and Adherent Beauty,” in Values of Beauty, 131). Of course, we do not apply the concept of an end to every object. However, I assume that even in the case of free beauty, some conceptual identification is needed in order to relate to the object at all. Therefore, I ultimately take the meta-cognitive interpretation to be the most promising interpretation with respect to all kinds of beauty. 34 Regarding my aesthetic account of art also see my articles “Was ist ein ästhetisches Urteil?” and “Zum Verhältnis von Perspektivenübernahme und ästhetischer Erfahrung.” My account relies a lot on the works of Arthur Danto and especially of Elisabeth Camp. See Danto, The Transfiguration of the Commonplace, 160–174; Camp, “Two Varieties of Literary Imagination,” 117–125; and Camp, “Perspectives in Imaginative Engagement with Fiction,” 23–31. Danto, however, took there to be “a threat of circularity in any definition of art in which some reference to aesthetic response was intended to play a defining role,” because he assumed that our aesthetic response to an object is different if we take it to be an artwork (Danto, The Transfiguration of the Commonplace, 91). In contrast to other objects that we may aesthetically appreciate, artworks ask for acts of interpretation on side of their recipients (ibid., 113 and 174). I agree, but this shows only that an artwork asks for an aesthetic response of a particular kind, namely for a free and harmonious engagement among one’s capacities that essentially includes acts of interpretation. It does not show that we can neglect the notion of an aesthetic response when attempting to explain what a work of art is.

Introducing Disinterestedness  55 35 Wayne Booth calls her “the implicit author.” See Wayne Booth, The Rhetoric of Fiction (Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press, 1961), 67–77. For a similar account, see Alexander Nehamas, “The Postulated Author: Critical Monism as a Regulative Ideal,” Critical Inquiry 8, no. 1 (1981): 133–149. 36 For a more detailed discussion of this issue see my “Künstlerische Intentionen und Ästhetische Relevanz,” in Konturen des Kunstwerks. Zur Frage von Relevanz und Kontingenz, ed. Frederic Döhl et al. (Paderborn: Wilhelm Fink Verlag, 2013), 31–50. 37 For further discussions of this issue see Tamar Szabo Gendler, “The Puzzle of Imaginative Resistance,” The Journal of Philosophy 97, no. 2 (2000): 55–81; and Camp, “Perspectives in Imaginative Engagement with Fiction,” 34–40. Already Hume touched on this issue when writing: “A person influenced by prejudice, complies not with this condition; but obstinately maintains his natural position, without placing himself in that point of view, which the performance supposes” (Hume, “Of the Standards of Taste,” 277). 38 Bubner, Ästhetische Erfahrung, 42. 39 Christiane Voss, Der Leihkörper: Ästhetik und Erkenntnis der Illusion (Paderborn: Wilhelm Fink Verlag, 2013), 157. 40 See Bubner, Ästhetische Erfahrung, 64 and 65. According to Bubner, an artwork’s unity cannot be conceived of as a “fixed point,” because this unity is a result of the open-ended process that the aesthetic experience itself constitutes. 41 See Theodor W. Adorno, Ästhetik (1958/59), posthumous writings, div. IV, vol. 3 (Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp Verlag, 2009), 12, 280, 291 and 293. 42 Regarding an artwork’s “objective unity of meaning” also see ibid., 181–184, and 330. Adorno’s discussion of our aesthetic relation to an artwork’s objective unity of meaning certainly resembles in some respects Gadamer’s discussion of the hermeneutic experience. See Gadamer, Truth and Method, 269 and 291–294. Also see Beardsley, Aesthetics, 528. 43 See Gadamer, Truth and Method, 295–298; and Bubner, Ästhetische Erfahrung, 60. 44 For a discussion of active passivity, see Martin Seel, Aktive Passivität: Über den Spielraum des Denkens, Handelns und anderer Künste (Frankfurt am Main: S. Fischer Verlag, 2014). 45 Theodor W. Adorno, Aesthetic Theory, ed. Gretel Adorno and Rolf Tiedemann, trans. Robert Hullot-Kentor (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1995), 12. For his position on disinterestedness, also see Adorno, Ästhetik, 13 and 514. In the next part of this chapter, I will return to this position, showing how it relates to Kant’s and Schopenhauer’s. 46 Roger Fry, “The French Group,” in Post-Impressionists in England: The Critical Reception, ed. J. B. Bullen (London and New York: Routledge, 1988), 353, cited at Christopher Butler, Modernism: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010), 18. 47 I follow Greenberg’s definition of the avant-garde. See his “Avant-Garde and Kitsch,” 5–12. See also Noël Carroll, A Philosophy of Mass Art (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1998), 186–192. 48 Butler, Modernism, 75. 49 Clement Greenberg, “Modernist Painting,” in The Collected Essays and Criticism, vol. 4, ed. John O’Brian (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1993), 92. 50 See Malpas, The Postmodern, 5–7; Erika Fischer-Lichte, The Transformative Power of Performance: A New Aesthetics, trans. Saskya Iris Jain (New York and London: Routledge, 2008), 11–23; and Juliane Rebentisch, Theorien der Gegenwartskunst (Hamburg: Junius, 2013), 25–105.

56  Introducing Disinterestedness 51 Arthur Danto, After the End of Art: Contemporary Art and the Pale of History (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1997), 17. I take it that Juliane Rebentisch defends the opposite position here, claiming that intermediality constitutes a necessary feature of all art today. See Rebentisch, Theorien der Gegenwartskunst, 95–105. 52 Jean-François Lyotard, “Answering the Question: What Is Postmodernism?” in The Lyotard Reader and Guide, ed. Keith Chrome and James Williams (New York: Columbia University Press, 2006), 131–132. Lyotad interestingly subverts the temporal relation between modernist and postmodernist art: “A work can become modern only if it is first postmodern. Postmodernism thus understood is not modernism at its end but in the nascent state, and this state is constant” (ibid., 139). 53 See Jean-François Lyotard, “The Sublime and the Avant-Garde,” Art Forum 22, no. 8 (1984): 36–43. 54 Ibid., 132. 55 Ibid., 132. 56 On this point, see Adorno, Ästhetik, 323, 331 and 338; and Bubner, Ästhetische Erfahrung, 124. 57 Regarding the claim that there always is something dangerous about a work of art see Adorno, Ästhetik, 162; and Camp, “Perspectives in Imaginative Engagement with Fiction,” 38–42. Stendhal’s famous explication of beauty as “only a promise of happiness” has more recently been discussed and defended by Alexander Nehamas, Only a Promise of Happiness: Beauty in a World of Art (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2007). 58 See Timothy Binkley, “Piece. Contra Aesthetics,” The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 35, no. 3 (1977): 265–277; and Noёl Carroll, On Criticism (New York and London: Routledge, 2009), 185. 59 For a discussion of our aesthetic relations to works of literature and works of conceptual art, see Seel, Aesthetics of Appearing, 87–133. 60 Of course, the notion of an artwork raises serious ontological questions. Take, for instance, the standard case of a performance by the Royal Shakespeare Company. When attending such a performance, we are confronted with one of Shakespeare’s plays, with a particular staging of that play by the RSC, and with a unique performance taking place on some particular night. Are the three entities (play, staging, performance) three individual works that come together on a particular night, and that we experience and judge separately, or is there only one work here that we are relating to? This question, of course, also arises in the context of many musical performances. For the most part, I will set aside such questions, assuming that our engagements with artworks are usually directed at something that we consider a single work. I also take it that we usually do not distinguish between different works while relating to a theatrical performance, although such distinctions may become relevant at later stages of our relations to it, specifically when we make judgments on what we have seen or heard. For instance, we often say things such as, “This is my favorite play by Shakespeare, and I really love their staging of it, but tonight’s performance was weak.” For a thorough discussion of the work-concept, specifically in relation to music, see Lydia Goehr, The Imaginary Museum of Musical Works: An Essay in the Philosophy of Music (Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1992). 61 Noël Carroll, “Art, Practice, and Narrative,” in Carroll, Beyond Aesthetics, 71. 62 Noël Carroll, “Identifying Art,” in Carroll, Beyond Aesthetics, 85. 63 Carroll, “Art, Practice, and Narrative,” 73. 64 Danto, After the End of Art, 25.

Introducing Disinterestedness  57 65 All references to the first volume of The World as Will and Representation are to Judith Norman’s, Alistair Welchman’s, and Christopher Janaway’s translation. See Arthur Schopenhauer, The World as Will and Representation, vol. 1, trans. and ed. Judith Norman, Alistair Welchman, and Christopher Janaway (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010). For Schopenhauer’s discussion of suffering and boredom, also see WWR I, §57, 340. 66 Schopenhauer mentions another possible way out of the relevant dilemma, although he does not discuss it as a serious alternative to the project of “abandoning the will to live.” This possible way out relates to the “game of constantly passing from desire to satisfaction and from this to a new desire, a game whose rapid course is called happiness and slow course is called suffering, . . .” (WWR I, §29, 30). In his Anthropology, Kant had already suggested that happiness consists of a rapid change between feelings of pleasure and feelings of pain. See Kant, Anthropology from a Practical Point of View, 7:231. 67 When arguing that an object cannot exist without a subject that may cognitively relate to it, Schopenhauer follows in Berkeley’s footsteps. He also makes the opposite claim, though, arguing that a subject cannot exist without an object that it may relate to (WWR I, §2, 26). 68 Günther Zöller, “Schopenhauer on the Self,” in The Cambridge Companion to Schopenhauer, ed. Christopher Janaway (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999), 28. 69 The following passage from the second volume of The World as Will and Representation supports this interpretation: “Our true self, the kernel of our inner nature, is that which is to be found behind this, and which really knows nothing but willing and not-willing, being contended and not contended, with all the modifications of the thing called feelings, emotions, and passions” (WWR II, XIX, 239). For Schopenhauer, everything ultimately is an objectification of the will, and all these objectifications constantly struggle with each other. A human being or a person, however, objectifies the will’s nature more vividly than anything else. All references to the second volume of The World as Will and Representation are to E.F.J. Payne’s translation. See Arthur Schopenhauer, The World as Will and Representation, vol. 2, trans. E.F.J. Payne (New York: Dover Publications, 1966). 70 Alex Neill, “Aesthetic Experience in Schopenhauer’s Metaphysics of the Will,” European Journal of Philosophy 16, no. 2 (2007): 180. 71 Christopher Janaway, Self and World in Schopenhauer’s Philosophy (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1989), 275. 72 Stolniz, Aesthetics and the Philosophy of Art Criticism, 33. 73 I am not the first to notice that there is an interesting relationship between Schopenhauer and Heidegger. See, for instance, Julian Young, “Schopenhauer, Heidegger, Art, and the Will,” in Schopenhauer, Philosophy, and the Arts, ed. Dale Jacquette (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996), 162–180. 74 For the social and practical—and, according to my view, therefore also corporeal— dimension of the transcendental unity of apperception, see Brandom, Reasons in Philosophy, 52–77. 75 Janaway, Self and World in Schopenhauer’s Philosophy, 267. 76 Zöller, “Schopenhauer on the Self,” 35. 77 See ibid., 36. 78 There is another sense in which this experience could include a form of selfconsciousness: if a person ultimately is a particular objectification of the will, and if an aesthetic experience brings her epistemically closer to the will by means of making her see its more immediate objectifications, then one could argue that such an experience brings her closer to grasping the real nature of the world, of herself, and of the connection between both. Schopenhauer hints in this direction

58  Introducing Disinterestedness when writing: “Now anyone who becomes so engrossed and lost in the intuition of nature that he continues to exist only as the pure, cognitive subject will thus be immediately aware that as such he is the condition, which is to say the bearer, of the world of all objective being, because this now presents itself as dependent on him. He thus draws nature into himself, so that he feels it only as an accident of his being” (WWR I, §34, 204). 79 See Paul Guyer, “Pleasure and Knowledge in Schopenhauer’s Aesthetics,” in Schopenhauer, Philosophy, and the Arts, ed. Dale Jacquette (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007), 109–132. 80 Obviously, there are huge differences between Schopenhauer’s and Kant’s aesthetics. Schopenhauer, however, follows Kant when arguing that we are satisfied by our relation to an artwork “only when it leaves behind something that, in spite of all our reflection on it, we cannot bring down to the directness of a concept” (WWR II, 34, 409), and when defining poetry as “the art of bringing into play the power of imagination through words” (WWR II, 37, 424). For Schopenhauer, the relation to beauty clearly is a sensuous one. Of course, when further explicating it as some kind of (intuitive) cognition, he sharply deviates from Kant. 81 Rüdiger Safranski, Schopenhauer und Die wilden Jahre der Philosophie (München and Wien: Carl Hanser Verlag, 1987), 389. 82 There is one obvious problem with Schopenhauer’s aesthetics that I have neglected so far, yet briefly want to address in this footnote. This problem relates to the question of how a person can liberate herself from her will if she essentially is nothing but her will. In other words, how can the subject of cognition liberate itself from the agent of willing if the former is only a device of the latter? In the literature, this problem has been called “the problem of the origin of contemplation.” See Guyer, “Pleasure and Knowledge in Schopenhauer’s Aesthetics,” 12; and Rudolf Malter, Arthur Schopenhauer: Transzendentalphilosophie und Metaphysik des Willens (Stuttgart: Friedrich Frohmann Verlag, 1991), 308 and 327. I believe that Alex Neill offers the best strategy for solving this problem. Neill argues that it can neither be an accident nor a “by-product” of a person’s makeup that her intellect sometimes liberates itself from her will (Neill, “Aesthetic Experience in Schopenhauer’s Metaphysics of the Will,” 187). Rather, this must happen in order for the will to attain its goal of “ever-greater visibility” (ibid., 191). For even though we do not know much about the will, we know that it objectifies itself and thereby makes itself visible. Since there is, strictly speaking, nothing but the will itself, it can only strive to make itself visible to itself. In order to achieve this, though, it must look at its objectifications, and this is what happens when a person’s intellect detaches itself from her will. So, through one of its particular objectifications (a human being or a person), the will looks at its immediate objectifications (the ideas) (ibid., 191). Neill recognizes that this interpretation makes Schopenhauer sound Hegelian. Of course, Schopenhauer would not have liked this association, yet I agree that this interpretation solves the problem best in accordance with Schopenhauer’s own metaphysics. There further are many passages in The World as Will and Representation that support Neill’s interpretation. See WWR I, §52, 294, §54, 301–305, and §55, 314. 83 Edward Bullough, “ ‘Psychical Distance’ as a Factor in Art and as an Aesthetic Principle,” in Aesthetics: A Critical Anthology, 2nd ed., ed. George Dickie, Richard Sclafani, and Ronald Roblin (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1989), 321. This article was originally published in 1912. 84 Edward Bullough, “The Modern Conception of Aesthetics,” in Aesthetics: Lectures and Essays, ed. Elizabeth M. Wilkinson (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1957), 69.

Introducing Disinterestedness  59 5 Ibid., 76 and 77. 8 86 Bullough, “Psychical Distance,” 321. 87 Ibid., 321. 88 Ibid., 321. 89 Ibid., 327. Of course, there are also differences between Schopenhauer and Bullough. Most importantly, the latter argues that our own emotions have a role to play in the context of our aesthetic experiences. For other Anglo-American discussions of the relationship between the adoption of a disinterested attitude, aesthetic distance, and temporary self-loss see especially Stolnitz, Aesthetics, 35 and 70; and Beardsley, Aesthetics, lxii and 553. 90 In another passage, Adorno actually argues that “synthesis is distance” (Ästhetik, 300). Regarding his further discussions of disinterestedness and distance see Ästhetik, 54 and 149. 91 Sibley argues that “the words which in current usage are primarily or exclusively aesthetic terms had earlier non-aesthetic uses and gained their present use by some kind of metaphorical shift” (Sibley, Approach to Aesthetics, 22 and 23). He further takes it that these non-aesthetic uses were typically connected to certain interests and desires. 92 Also see Adorno, Ästhetik, 332 and 341. 93 In Continental aesthetics, disinterestedness and aesthetic distance have sometimes also been discussed as modes of a particular temporal experience. That is, it has been argued that aesthetic contemplation makes one focus on the present or presence by distancing oneself from the past and future. For Michael Theunissen, this temporal refocus allows for a kind of freedom from time. See Michael Theunissen, “Freiheit von der Zeit: Ästhetisches Anschauen als Verweilen,” in Negative Dialektik der Zeit (Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp Verlag, 1991), 285–298. Also see Seel, Aesthetics of Appearing, 20 and 31–36. Seel argues that aesthetic contemplation includes a particular form of (temporal) self-awareness as well as a particular form of self-loss. See ibid., 145 and 146.

2 Defending Disinterestedness

In twentieth-century aesthetics, George Dickie’s criticism of the notion of disinterestedness has been most influential. It still is often assumed that Dickie successfully buried this notion entirely. In the first part of this chapter, I prove that his criticism is not as convincing as has often been assumed. In the second part, I show that my account does not imply formalism. Indeed, the adoption of a disinterested attitude excludes all practical or personal relations to an object, but it does not exclude the application of concepts or the interested attention to contents. Moreover, it does not exclude all somatic or affective experiences. In contemporary aesthetics, our relations to artworks are often studied as particular emotional or affective experiences, and the somatic dimension of these experiences has recently become an important topic as well. Hostility towards the notion of disinterestedness often arises from the assumption that the adoption of a disinterested attitude can lead neither to a somatic nor to an emotional or affective experience, but rather must lead to an abstract relation between a cold, disembodied recipient and some formalistic presentation. I show that this assumption is false. One might wonder, though, whether it is actually possible to disengage oneself from all practical and personal relations while relating to an object. In other words, one might wonder whether it is possible to disengage oneself from one’s own perspective in such a radical way. Even if this is possible, we face the further question of whether artworks really ask us to disengage in this way. Is it not the case that we must approach them from our own perspectives, and if so, how could we ever expect universal agreement with respect to our aesthetic judgments? In the last part of this chapter, I address these questions by discussing some arguments that Gadamer introduced.1

I. Dickie’s False Mythology Dickie makes two key objections: (a) the notion of a disinterested attitude conceived of as referring to a special kind of attention is a confused and vacuous concept, (b) instead of adopting a disinterested attitude while engaging with a work of art, we simply follow the rules of the relevant art games. In the following, I discuss both of these objections in detail.

Defending Disinterestedness  61 §1 The Question of Vacuity In his “The Myth of the Aesthetic Attitude,” Dickie claims that one cannot characterize a certain kind of attention as “disinterested,” but can characterize only a certain kind of motivation as such: In general, I conclude that “disinterestedness” or “intransitiveness” cannot properly be used to refer to a special kind of attention. “Disinterestedness” is a term which is used to make clear that an action has certain kinds of motives. Hence, we speak of disinterested findings (of boards of inquiry), disinterested verdicts (of judges and juries), and so on. Attending to an object, of course, has its motives but the attending itself is not interested or disinterested according to whether its motives are of the kind which motivate interested or disinterested action. . . .2 Dickie is wrong to suggest that the term “disinterestedness” is not typically used in order to characterize a special kind of attention, attitude, perception, or looking. Various philosophers have used the term exactly as such, and did so not only within an aesthetic context. John Stuart Mill, for instance, writes of utilitarianism that it requires of the moral agent “to be as strictly impartial as a disinterested and benevolent spectator.”3 Moreover, my own way of making the distinction between an interested and a disinterested attitude should be perfectly intelligible. At heart, it is the distinction between an attitude that makes one relate to the world while acting in it according to one’s own specific perspective—or while, at least, perceiving it according to this perspective—and an attitude that makes one nonpractically relate to the world while disengaging oneself from this perspective. Philosophers such as Kant and Schopenhauer held that it is necessary for us to adopt a disinterested attitude in order to have an experience of beauty, and in order to make a judgment of taste. Whether such an attitude really can be adopted, and whether works of art require its adoption remains to be seen, but nothing conceptual speaks against the notion of a disinterested attitude. Therefore, I see no problem with using the term “disinterestedness” in order to specify a particular kind of attitude or attention.4 Dickie, however, ultimately seems to reject the notion of a disinterested attitude not so much because he assumes that it is a confused concept, but because he takes it to be a vacuous one. According to him, drawing a distinction between disinterested and interested attention amounts to nothing else but an attempt to draw a distinction between attending to a work of art and not attending to it. So, Dickie assumes that the adherent of disinterestedness essentially claims that a person does not truly attend to a work unless she abstracts away from her interests. Supposedly, it is a mistake, though, to characterize a case of not attending to a work along such lines, for what keeps us from attending is not a state of being interested, but rather is a state of being distracted: I am challenging the sense of disinterested attention. As an example of personal satisfaction Urmson mentions the spectator whose daughter

62  Defending Disinterestedness is in the play. Intellectual satisfaction involves the solution of technical problems of plays and moral satisfaction the consideration of the effects of the play on the viewer’s conduct. All three of these candidates which the attitude-theorist would propose as cases of interested attention turn out to be just different ways of being distracted from the play and, hence, not cases of interested attention to the play.5 I agree that, at least, the first case Dickie mentions is a case where a spectator is distracted from the play. But what distracts her? Apparently, it is her daughter, or rather her interest in the latter’s performance. That is, she is distracted from the play because she attends to it according to one of her personal interests. Even the spectator, though, who focuses on her daughter when watching the play, still attends to it. She may not truly attend to it in the sense of aesthetically attending to it as to a work of art, but she certainly attends to it in the sense of looking at the stage and observing what is happening there. Moreover, what keeps her from aesthetically attending to the play as to a work of art may precisely be her failure to adopt a disinterested attitude towards it and to create aesthetic distance between herself and what she sees on stage. If, however, the distraction from a work that prevents us from attending to it often results from our inability to attend to the given work in a disinterested manner, one might think that the so-called disinterested attitude “is not really a different attitude or way of perceiving or paying attention, but a freedom from distraction by personal associations, fear, economic preoccupations, daydreams, and so on.”6 In other words, the notion of a disinterested attitude may stand for nothing else but a state in which one is not distracted by one’s own personal interests or beliefs. We frequently are in such a state whenever we successfully solve a math problem, discuss politics, play soccer, and so on. Thus, if the notion stands for nothing else, it seems to be trivial and seems not to tell us anything of significance regarding our aesthetic experiences of art.7 It should be clear, though, that my notion of a disinterested attitude stands for something more. When speaking of a person who adopts such an attitude, I speak of someone who attends to the world while not relating to it practically and while not relating to it according to her own specific perspective. Most cases of being free from distraction do not qualify as cases where such an attitude has been adopted. Take the case of playing soccer, for instance. Indeed, I will not successfully play soccer if I daydream or ruminate about my life while running across the field. In order to play a good soccer game, I need to focus on the game and cannot be distracted. When playing soccer, though, I will practically relate to my immediate environment according to some of my own specific interests, such as my interest in winning that particular game, my interest in keeping the other team’s left forward from scoring, my interest in playing better than last week, and so on. During the game, I will perform various actions in order to satisfy these interests.

Defending Disinterestedness  63 Moreover, I will interact with other agents on the field, some of whom will share certain goals that I have, others of whom will have opposing goals. The felt opposition to, as well as the felt alliance with, these other agents will give me a clear idea of my own position on the field. While playing soccer, then, I will practically relate to my immediate environment according to some specific interests or goals, and I definitely will not have lost the sense of my own specific self. Thus, saying that one needs to be free from distraction in order to play a good soccer game is not at all the same as saying that one needs to adopt a disinterested attitude in order to achieve this. One might object, though, that the interests I have when playing soccer do not really arise from my own individuality, but rather arise from the specific role that I temporarily adopt, such as the role of a defender, for instance. Therefore, it is wrong to say that I relate practically to the world according to my own interests when playing soccer, since I actually relate to it only according to interests that I temporarily have due to the role that I play for the time of the game. However, the interests that a person usually has, and according to which she relates practically to the world, rarely are wholly idiosyncratic. Of course, she has some interests that are connected to her own unique biography, yet the majority of her interests are rather related to her social roles. In this sense, the social and cultural dimension of a person’s fundamental perspective surely is more dominant than its personal dimension. For instance, a person might be a citizen of the United States, a Catholic, a college professor, a mother, a member of the Green Party, a fan of the New York Yankees, and so on. All these roles determine certain beliefs, interests, goals, and obligations that she has, organize her perspective on the world, and consequently structure her practical behavior. The interests that a person has due to her social roles constitute a significant part of her own interests, even though other people might share some of them due to their roles. I further take it that one cannot separate a person’s individuality from the social roles that she occupies, because the latter partially constitute her as the specific individual she is. For instance, if a person is an American citizen, a Catholic, a college professor, a mother, and so on, then this is all part of who she is. If she did not occupy all of these roles, she would be a different person. This is not say that a person is wholly identical to her roles. A given role can be interpreted in many different ways. For even though a social role brings with it certain beliefs, desires, interests, goals, obligations, and so on, it does not completely determine how to satisfy the relevant interests, and how to fulfill the relevant obligations. A person still has to make certain decisions about how to play the roles that she has adopted, and the specific way that she plays these roles also determines who she is. Consequently, there is no good reason to assume that a person adopts a disinterested attitude, or loses the sense of her own specific self, when she makes decisions on how to interpret her social roles, or when she acts according to the desires and interests that her social roles lead her to have.8

64  Defending Disinterestedness Of course, a person’s role as a defender during a soccer game hardly defines her in the same way that her role as a college professor or a mother does. When playing soccer, however, one relates to the world not only according to the interests that one has because of the specific role one occupies for the time of the game. Rather, there will be other interests that structure one’s actions, such as, for instance, the desire not to embarrass oneself again, or the goal to impress a certain player from the other team. Even if the role that one adopts while playing soccer is different from the social roles that constitute one’s qualitative identity, one still adopts the interests and goals connected to this role as one’s own for the time of the game. These interests, then, will structure a person’s practical relations to her immediate environment while playing soccer in the same way that her interests as a professor will structure her practical relations to her immediate environment while teaching a class. In both cases, a person will practically relate to the world according to certain interests. In the second case, these interests are simply more significant for her life as a whole, and are constitutive of her fundamental perspective on the world. Moreover, when playing soccer, a person still has to make decisions on how to satisfy the interests conferred by her role in the game, and on how to fulfill the obligations imposed by her role. That is, she remains a free agent who is responsible for what she does, and who, therefore, can be blamed or praised for it. As an individual participant, she further carries a certain responsibility for the game as a whole. What she, therefore, does during the game is not all that different from other activities she performs throughout her daily, practical life: she acts and physically participates in the game; she changes something about it and interacts with others in order to satisfy her goals; she stands in an instrumental relation to things, using them in order to satisfy her interests. As a result, she must keep a rather robust sense of her own specific self.9 Of course, all of this holds true with regard to many other cases in which freedom from distraction is required. Take a political debate as another example. Again, it is important to be free from distraction in order to do well. But if I participate in such a debate, I will still engage practically with my immediate environment according to my own specific interests and goals. In particular, I will talk to other people, try to convince them that I am right, and will definitely not have lost the sense of myself. Thus, achieving the relevant freedom from distraction in order to do well in such a debate is, once again, not identical with the adoption of a disinterested attitude. I do not deny that other kinds of experiences may also include the adoption of such an attitude. Its adoption surely is not sufficient in order to have an aesthetic experience of art. However, I take it to be an essential aspect of this kind of experience. Moreover, I claim that the class of disinterested experiences does not have the same extension as the class of experiences that are free from distraction. The notion of a disinterested attitude, then, is not at all a vacuous concept.

Defending Disinterestedness  65 Again, though, one might object that my discussion of a soccer game is not truly convincing. I argued that a person does not adopt a disinterested attitude, and consequently does not lose the sense of herself, when playing soccer. Are there not, though, these famous moments of ecstasy and intoxication during such a game, or during any other athletic event, when a participating person enters a flow-like state? And is it not the case that during such moments, a person plays great soccer, and therefore relates practically to the world and satisfies her interests, while having lost the sense of herself? According to the position that I summarized at the end of Chapter One, this combination should be impossible. The problem looks even more serious if we remind ourselves that some philosophers have considered states of ecstasy and intoxication to be closely related to certain types of aesthetic experiences. In his The Birth of Tragedy, Nietzsche, for instance, distinguishes between two artistic forces, and characterizes one of them as a force inducing an intoxication-like state: When we add to this horror the blissful rapture, which rises up from the innermost depths of man, even of nature, as a result of the very same collapse of the principium individuationis, we steal a glimpse into the essence of the Dionysian, with which we will become best acquainted through the analogy of intoxication. Either under the influence of the narcotic drink of which all original men and people sing in hymns, or in the approach of spring which forcefully and pleasurably courses through the whole of nature, those Dionysian impulses awaken, which in their heightened forms cause the subjective to dwindle to complete self-oblivion.10 According to Nietzsche, then, the Dionysian manifests itself in terms of certain activities that are accompanied by feelings of drunkenness and by a “mystical self-abandonment” (BT, 25). In antiquity, such activities were performed by all those who worshipped and celebrated the god Dionysus, and mostly consisted in acts of dancing, singing, and drinking. In a more sophisticated form, they were also performed by “the dithyrambic chorus,” which sang hymn-like songs in honor of Dionysus (BT, 50). Nietzsche, who assumes the dithyrambic chorus to have been the origin of ancient tragedy, characterizes this chorus as a group of “people who have been transformed, who have completely forgotten their past as citizens, their social position” (BT, 50). He further argues that composing music is also an activity that ideally manifests the Dionysian, and the same holds true for writing poetry, which Nietzsche takes to have originated from composing music. With respect to poetry, Nietzsche again emphasizes that those who act under the influence of the Dionysian have forgotten about their own specific identities. Thus, even if a poet refers to himself within his work, he never thereby refers to his own empirical self. Rather, he “may as the moving centre of that world say ‘I’: only this self is not the same as that of the empirically real

66  Defending Disinterestedness waking man, but rather the only I which truly exists, the eternal I, resting on the ground of things, the I by means of whose copies the lyrical genius sees through to the very ground of things” (BT, 36). This is one of the many passages in The Birth of Tragedy where Schopenhauer’s influence on Nietzsche is evident. Nietzsche follows Schopenhauer specifically in arguing that all of us are appearances of the same “primordial one” (BT, 86). Moreover, he takes it that the artistic force of the Dionysian allows us to experience our metaphysical unity and to get a glimpse of the primordial one: “[U]nder the mystical cry of exultation of Dionysus the spell of individuation is burst apart and the path to the Mothers of Being, to the innermost core of things, lies open” (BT, 86). Finally, Nietzsche claims that a person’s pleasure connected to the Dionysian stems from her recognition that she is the primordial one and will continue to live after her death as this “single living being” (BT, 91). The relevant pleasure, then, is a kind of consolation for her status as a fragile individual who must live according to the principium individuationis or, as Schopenhauer would put it, according to the principle of sufficient reason. For our purposes, the important thing to note is that Nietzsche’s account of the Dionysian describes an experience that supposedly qualifies as an aesthetic state and that makes one lose the sense of one’s own specific self, while essentially being correlated with activities, such as dancing. Even though Nietzsche is famous for his attack on the notion of a disinterested attitude—an attack that I will address in the last part of this chapter—his early account of the Dionysian would raise a problem for my position only if the relevant activities of dancing and singing qualified as practical behavior. They do not qualify as such behavior, though, for the Dionysian clearly disengages a person from all kinds of goal-directed and instrumental activities. According to Nietzsche, a person cannot even relate to individual entities once the Dionysian has gained power over her, because the principium individuationis has temporarily collapsed, and any awareness of her own individuality or of the individuality of other entities has, therefore, collapsed as well. I do not see how one could still stand in a practical relation to the world while not being able to distinguish between individual entities. More precisely, I do not see how one could still use objects or interact with other people in order to satisfy some interest. In order to perform a goal-directed, practical action, one needs to make a decision on how to change a given state of the world. This implies that one must distinguish, at least, between two states, namely between the actual state of the world and the desired one. Consequently, one cannot make a decision and cannot perform goaldirected, practical actions without distinguishing between different states. Since the Dionysian excludes the ability to make such distinctions, it leads to an experience that may include all sorts of bodily activities, yet that excludes all practical behavior. Thus, Nietzsche’s account of the Dionysian does not contradict my account of disinterestedness. Having an aesthetic experience of the Dionysian kind rather presupposes the adoption of a disinterested

Defending Disinterestedness  67 attitude, for it presupposes that one neither relates to the world in a practical way nor relates to it according to one’s specific perspective. The notion of the Dionysian would contradict my account only if I claimed that the adoption of a disinterested state must make us stand in a contemplative and disembodied relation to the world. However, I have never claimed this. It certainly is true that I primarily conceive of a disinterested state as of a state that makes us stand in a contemplative relation to the world. I do not deny, though, that there might be bodily activities so immersive that they prevent us from relating practically to things according to our own perspectives. Dancing at a rave might be an example, but also certain forms of singing or playing music could have this effect on us. Of course, we will hardly ever refrain from distinguishing between individual entities when singing or playing music, even when doing so in a state of ecstasy. When playing music, we typically use an instrument, and thereby must stand in a practical relation to the world. Occasionally, though, we might use an instrument without truly relating to it as an instrument. That is, we might no longer conceive of it as a tool that helps us to reach a goal, and therefore might no longer really relate to it in a practical way, for a practice is performed only if an agent follows certain rules or conventions in order to reach a goal. When in a state of ecstasy or intoxication, however, one does not do this. One may still follow rules or conventions, but will not follow them in order to reach a goal. So, if a person, for instance, plays the piano in a state of ecstasy, she still will follow rules and use the piano, but will do so while having forgotten the rules, the piano, her hands, the audience, the reason why she plays, and so on. No question or concern will cross her mind: she will only be with the music. Similarly, if there exists an ecstatic state of playing soccer, which truly resembles an experience of the Dionysian kind, then one cannot relate practically to the world according to one’s interests while in that state. This is not to say that one may not do something that satisfies one’s interests. In this sense, playing soccer in a state of intoxication could amount to something paradoxical, namely to the satisfaction of an interest that one has temporarily abstracted away from. If, however, one insisted that there are flow-like states of playing soccer that qualified as full-blown, practical relations to the world, I would doubt that such states could make a person temporarily lose the sense of herself.11 Let me conclude this section by re-stating the four major claims that I have defended: (a) the adoption of a disinterested attitude does not exclude every kind of corporeal behavior, but only excludes every kind of practical engagement with the world. (b) When adopting a disinterested attitude, a person does not relate practically to the world according to any interest, and does not cognitively relate to it according to her own fundamental perspective. (c) When performing an ecstatic activity such as a Dionysian dance, a person must have adopted a disinterested attitude. (d) A person may adopt a disinterested attitude and yet perform an activity that ultimately makes her satisfy a desire that she temporarily abstracted away from. These claims

68  Defending Disinterestedness should sufficiently support my overall point in this section that the notion of disinterestedness stands for more than a state in which we are free from distraction. Therefore, this notion is far from being vacuous. §2 The Question of Illusion Dickie’s second objection against the notion of disinterestedness arises from his introspection: “When the curtain goes up, when we walk up to a painting, or when we look at a sunset are we ever induced into a state of being distanced either by being struck by the beauty of the object or by pulling off an act of distancing? I do not recall committing any such special actions or being induced into any special state, and I have no reason to suspect that I am atypical in this respect.”12 Now, whether Dickie is atypical or not, I do not share his introspective observation. More importantly, though, it is wrong to assume that attitudes must always be intentionally or consciously adopted. For instance, if a dog suddenly attacks me on the street, I will hardly decide to fear him. It is also unlikely that I will remember later on, how I consciously adopted an attitude of fear or an attitude of self-defence when the dog attacked me. Rather, I will just recall that I feared the dog, and that I came to defend myself. The same holds true with respect to many practical attitudes that a person adopts throughout her daily life. In other words, the adoption of a practical attitude often is not a conscious act or an explicit decision. In a similar way, then, there also might be objects or events whose contemplation temporarily disengages a person from her own desires, interests, and goals, without her realizing this disengagement as a conscious act or as an explicit decision. Dickie denies that he has ever been “induced into any such special state.” This report about his experience, though, lacks the strength to disprove that a consciously or unconsciously adopted state of disinterestedness constitutes a significant aspect of our aesthetic engagements with works of art. It specifically lacks the strength to disprove this claim as long as there are others—like myself—who recall having been induced into such a state.13 However, Dickie’s real objection here is much more serious. He not only argues that we can hardly stipulate the existence of “some mysterious psychological processes”14 on introspective grounds, but that we do not need to stipulate their existence in order to explain why people typically do not relate in a practical way to what an artwork shows or presents. For Dickie, a person’s relation to an artwork is governed not by the adoption of some special attitude but by the observance of rules and “institutional conventions.”15 So, a person’s misbehavior towards a theatrical performance, for instance, does not imply that she adopted the wrong kind of attitude, but rather implies that she misunderstood or disregarded the relevant rules and conventions: “The spectator who ‘distances an object’ is merely following a rule of the art game; namely ‘Watch, listen, and so on, but do not try to participate in the work of art.’ This tacit rule is connected with the demand

Defending Disinterestedness  69 that a work of art be complete. . . . It is not that we are detached or distanced from a work of art, we are barred from the work of art by the rules of the art game.”16 Dickie further states that different forms of art use different devices in order to establish rules for governing a recipient’s relation to a specific work.17 A very important rule here is what he calls “the aesthetic barrier rule of art games.”18 Dickie’s point is that in addition to the observance of this rule, we do not need to stipulate the existence of special attitudes or “psychological forces.”19 Moreover, he argues that we do not always play the same art game: [T]here is a plurality of art games, and the rule of the aesthetic barrier applies more strictly in some than in others. On one end of the range there are dance situations in which the line between spectator and dancer is blurred to the extent that spectator may become dancer and dancer become spectator. On the other end of the range are theater situations in which the barrier rule is rigidly adhered to.20 Dickie is right to emphasize that the observance of rules and conventions is constitutive of an appropriate relation to an artwork. I take it to be wrong, though, to play the importance of rules off against the assumption that we adopt a special attitude when relating to an artwork. I claim that the establishment of these rules has the purpose of establishing an aesthetic sphere, or rather has the purpose of making us adopt a disinterested attitude towards what a work shows. There also is nothing mysterious about this attitude; its adoption just allows us to relate to what an artwork shows or presents in a particular way: it allows us to perceive it while not relating to it in a practical way and while not relating to it according to our own perspectives. Ultimately, this not only allows us temporarily to lose our sense of self, but also to gain a sense of the other, and to achieve selfhood. There are different devices that the arts use in order to make this experience possible. In Chapter Four, I will discuss some of them. Moreover, I will explore those art games in which the aesthetic barrier rule does not really apply, and will discuss the consequences that the existence of such games has for my accounts of aesthetic disinterestedness and of art. Obviously, Dickie is skeptical of any psychological investigation of our relations to works of art. He prefers to explore these relations by focusing on institutional and normative settings. I do not deny the importance of such an exploration. We cannot understand our relations to works of art without paying attention to the relevant settings. Besides, we must pay attention to the ways that we express our relations to artworks, which is not to say that the “aesthetic experience, and the aesthetic attitude must . . . be elucidated primarily in terms of their expression.”21 Any investigation that totally ignores the normative and institutional presuppositions of our relations to artworks and also ignores our ways of expressing these relations runs the

70  Defending Disinterestedness risk of becoming too abstract and illusory. Any investigation, though, that ignores the intentional structure of these relations runs the risk of missing what art is really about, i.e., it runs the risk of not understanding the power of art. When discussing the disinterestedness of our aesthetic relations to works of art, I am not discussing a mysterious force or occult process, but the intentional structure of a particular kind of experience. In Chapter Four, I will spell out the normative and institutional presuppositions of this experience. Dickie was right to emphasize their significance, but he was wrong to suggest that the adoption of a disinterested attitude always is an illusion.

II. Disinterestedness without Formalism According to Dickie, not all accounts of disinterestedness are equally problematic. In fact, he argues that the “conception of disinterestedness in Hutcheson’s theory and the theories of earlier theorists is benign because it does not attempt to cut off the object of taste from its relations to the rest of experience.”22 Kant’s account, though, is supposedly problematic because, according to Dickie, Kant’s disinterested “ ‘free play’ experientially disconnects the beautiful object from its relations to other representations, thereby isolating it from everything else.”23 The assumption that, for Kant, beauty must be relationless and that his aesthetic theory therefore has a tendency towards formalism is widespread, and so is the assumption that every notion of disinterestedness implies a formalist account of art. I argue against these assumptions, proceeding in two steps: in the first step, I show that the adoption of a disinterested attitude excludes neither the application of concepts nor the interested attention towards form and content. In a second step, I show that a disinterested attitude does not necessarily lead to a disembodied and affectless experience. §1 Concepts, Contents, and Interests In Chapter One, I argued that even though Kant, at times, suggests that the aesthetic relation to beauty excludes the application of any determinate concept, we should interpret him as claiming that only the immediate ground of one’s pleasure in the beautiful excludes such an application. For Schopenhauer, though, the aesthetic experience of beauty must be non-conceptual due to its disinterestedness, for if one disengages oneself from one’s will, one also will disengage oneself from one’s conceptual capacities, which only serve the will. The claim that the experience of beauty consists in the apprehension of some unconceptualized given is problematic, though. I have already pointed out that a person’s state cannot be part of the unity of intentional states constituting her identity without it having some conceptual structure that may connect it to her other states. Moreover, it is implausible to assume that we refrain from applying concepts to an object when appreciating it as a beautiful one: “ ‘[A]esthetic’ vision is certainly characterized by not

Defending Disinterestedness  71 hurrying to relate what one sees to a universal, the known significance, the intended purpose, etc., but by dwelling on it as something aesthetic. But that still does not stop us from seeing relationships . . . our perception is never a simple reflection of what is given to the senses.”24 This especially holds true with respect to our perceptual relations to works of art. For instance, we hardly could make sense of a film if we did not apply the general categories of cause and effect—and thereby what Schopenhauer takes to be the principle of sufficient reason—to the sensory input that we receive when watching a film. And even when engaging with a supposedly non-representational artwork such as Kandinsky’s Composition VII, we still will apply concepts to it, such as blue, green, yellow, dynamic, wild, or gleaming. In fact, it seems impossible to relate to an artwork without making conceptual identifications and distinctions.25 All this raises problems for Schopenhauer’s account of art, but not for my Kantian account. For Kant, works of art are cases of adherent beauty, the experience of which presupposes the application of some concept, because “if the object is given as a product of art, and is as such supposed to be declared to be beautiful, then, since art always presupposes an end in the cause (and its causality), a concept must first be the ground of what the thing is supposed to be . . .” (CPJ, §48, 5:311). Moreover, Kant does not deny that an artwork has some content. Rather, his point is to deny that its form or content can be fixed by the application of a determinate concept, and that such an application can be the reason that a work qualifies as a case of artistic beauty. In particular, my reformulation of Kant’s position in the last chapter should have made it clear that our aesthetic engagements with artworks may include conceptual relations to form and content. Indeed, such relations can be an important part of the free and disinterested play among our cognitive powers, which aims to construct a meaningful metaperspective, as long as they do not conflict with that play’s status as an open-ended process of re-articulating and creative synthesizings. Due to its wealth, dialectic structure, and antagonistic multiperspectivity, an artwork’s particular presentation will always resist all fixations and final conceptualizations. If a person adopts a disinterested attitude, she neither relates to the world practically nor relates to it according to her own specific perspective. This implies that she can no longer apply the concepts, principles, and schemata inherently connected to her own individuality. However, it does not imply that she must disengage herself from the categories, principles, and schemata shared by all of us in order to relate to a common world, nor that she cannot use concepts, principles, and schemata connected to some other individual perspective. In order to relate to something at all, a person must have adopted some kind of perspective. The adoption of a disinterested state makes it possible for her to adopt perspectives different from her own, and this experience may ultimately make her question the categories, principles, schemata, and explanatory models that she usually uses due to her cultural, social, and personal background. Following Elisabeth Camp, I claim that

72  Defending Disinterestedness works of art ask us to perform such perspectival shifts, thereby producing “conceptual transfigurations: They can get us to see the world ‘in a new light,’ shifting our sense of what is important, what sort of people and possibilities are out there, and how we ought to respond to them.”26 In any case, if a person adopts a disinterested attitude, she still will relate to the world by means of applying various concepts, principles, and schemata, and she may still attend to some content. In contrast to Schopenhauer, then, I do not assume that the adoption of such an attitude makes us isolate an object, for if we apply a concept to it, we assimilate it to all other objects to which this concept applies, or, at least, we identify and differentiate it in relation to other things. Moreover, the conceptual nature of our relations to artworks simply falsifies the claim that we look at them in isolation from other things when aesthetically appreciating them.27 The adoption of a disinterested attitude, then, does not exclude the application of concepts. What about desires, interests, and goals, though? It seems to be obvious that an attitude called “disinterested” must exclude all such states, and this apparent exclusion is partly responsible for the frequent hostility towards the notion of disinterestedness. For when aesthetically appreciating a work of art, we naturally say that it interests us. The fact that we often turn away from a work precisely because we find it uninteresting indicates that we must feel some interest with respect to a work in order even to attend to it. One might wonder, though, how we could ever adopt a disinterested attitude towards a work if there always must be something about it that initially triggers our attention, and consequently interests us. Moreover, it also seems to be the case that there are interests in play while we relate to a given work. More precisely, our relations towards what a work shows or presents seem to be guided by certain interests and objectives. Finally, our conversations with others about an artwork are an important aspect of our aesthetic engagements with it. As Kant correctly pointed out, we have an empirical interest in such conversations. Often, though, these prove that we attend differently to a work and emphasize different aspects, which seems to imply that we approach it according to different interests. So, it not only seems that our relations to artworks are guided by interests, but, further, that these interests seem to be personal ones, and this, of course, radically contradicts my notion of aesthetic disinterestedness. Just as the adoption of a disinterested attitude does not exclude the application of concepts, though, it does not exclude all desires, interests, and goals. In Chapter One, I explained that a presentational work always shows something as something, and that it has a metaperspective that determines which categories, principles, and interests are meant to structure fundamentally and continuously our relations to the work. A narrative film, for instance, usually highlights certain figures, events, and story lines, thereby motivating us to take an interest in them. This does not exclude that our receptions of such a film may follow different paths due to its potential wealth, dialecticity, and multiperspectivity. Nevertheless, there always remains some kind

Defending Disinterestedness  73 of guidance. When aesthetically engaging with an artwork, then, a person’s relations to what the work shows are structured by interests, but these are not her personal ones, but are instead interests that the work asks her to have. We, therefore, may legitimately criticize someone’s aesthetic judgment if we recognize that she did not approach a work as it asks one to approach it. Of course, a person may reject to adopt some work’s perspectives, which will push our potential disagreement to another level. That is, we now, most likely, will disagree about the value or productivity of the relevant perspectives. In any case, the adoption of a disinterested attitude does not imply that one has to disengage oneself from the interests that one has due to being a person, a human being, or a member of some other relatively extensive group that the work primarily addresses, and it does not imply that one cannot approach something according to new and different interests. In other words, the interests in play while having adopted a disinterested attitude cannot derive from one’s individuality, and they cannot make one relate practically to what one perceives.28 It, further, is important to keep in mind that I conceive of our aesthetic engagements with works of art as dynamic and dialectic processes. When aesthetically relating to a work of art, there is a constant shift between losing the sense of oneself, while gaining a sense of the other, and achieving selfhood. In fact, it may very well be that there initially is something about a work that promises happiness to me. In other words, it may often be the case that I take a work to show something that could be important for my individual life and that, therefore, motivates me to attend to the given work. If, however, it truly motivates me to attend to the work, it must motivate me to attend to it in a disinterested way, i.e., it must motivate me to disengage myself from my own perspective and to approach what the work shows according to its own terms. This experience of being temporarily immersed in what the work shows, and in how it shows it, may then initiate a process of self-reflection and self-criticism that again draws me back to my own individuality and life—which then again may motivate me to attend anew to what the work shows. In this sense, a person’s aesthetic engagement with a work of art may overall be something rather personal and unique. However, I claim that this engagement must include the person’s temporary disengagement from her own perspective, and must include her attempt to synthesize the work’s metaperspective. Without this moment of disinterestedness, a person just takes the work as an occasion for her personal ruminations and does not aesthetically relate to it as to the work of art that it is. Apparently, there is something about artworks that we can reasonably argue about. Apparently, an artwork has some objectivity that is not determined by the personal interests of a recipient, namely its unity of meaning, or rather its meaningful metaperspective. In order to grasp this perspective, which we never fully can, we need to abstract away from our specific perspectives, including our own particular interests. Moreover, even though a person’s aesthetic engagement with an artwork may overall be

74  Defending Disinterestedness rather personal and unique, a work ultimately cannot promise only some personal happiness. Rather, there must be something in or about it that carries some more universal value, and therefore justifies the inherent claim of inter-subjective validity that our judgments of taste typically include. At the end of this chapter, I will return to this issue. In contrast to Schopenhauer, then, I do not take it that we abstract away from all interests when appreciating an artwork. Even while adopting a disinterested attitude, we apply concepts to it, we attend to its form as well as to its content, and our attention is guided by interests that we always have simply in virtue of our existence as persons and human beings, or temporarily have due to the work’s perspectives. What is more, the adoption of this attitude can arise from, and also lead to, a process intimately connected to our own individualities. Finally, I claim that all of us share an interest in disinterestedness because of the experience that it allows us to have. Does all this, however, really prove that my account of disinterestedness does not imply formalism?29 In general, formalism defines an artwork as an object that “is designed primarily in order to possess and to exhibit significant form.”30 Clive Bell, one of the most prominent formalists in the twentieth century, explicates the experience of significant form as a kind of contemplation that “leads to a state of extraordinary exaltation and complete detachment from the concerns of life. . . .”31 For Bell, it leads to such a state because of its being opposed to our usual, practical conduct, which makes us focus on something’s content rather than its form. Bell further takes it that our appreciation of significant form is identical to the feeling of a specific kind of emotion, which he calls “the aesthetic emotion.”32 This emotion is different from all others because of its “supreme certainty and absolute disinterestedness.”33 So, Bell draws a tight connection between the claim that the aesthetic experience of art makes us attend only to significant form and the claim that this experience is disinterested and, therefore, disengages us from our usual state of existence: The representative element in a work of art may or may not be harmful; always it is irrelevant. For, to appreciate a work of art we need to bring with us nothing from life, no knowledge of its ideas and affairs, no familiarity with its emotions. Art transports us from the world of man’s activity to a world of aesthetic exaltation. For a moment we are shut off from human interests; our anticipations and memories are arrested; we are lifted above the stream off life.34 Formalism faces many problems. Most importantly, it faces the problem of having to explain what exactly significant form is. For Bell, it is what allows one to feel the aesthetic emotion. This emotion is disinterested and felt with “supreme certainty.” Primarily, though, it is defined by the fact that it is the kind of emotion that the contemplation of significant form

Defending Disinterestedness  75 makes one feel.35 Obviously, Bell moves in a circle here. One might be able to escape this circle by making the notion of disinterestedness more productive when trying to characterize the aesthetic emotion. However, I see no reason to make a serious effort in defending formalism, since the claim that an artwork’s content is irrelevant for our appreciation of it just seems to be wrong. I, therefore, reject such an account, and also stress that my notion of disinterestedness does not imply it, even though Bell suggests this when arguing that “one loses oneself” in the state of mind that the experience of pure (visual) form allows one to enter.36 In fact, I agree with Bell that artworks move us because they allow us to perceive something that we cannot perceive when engaging practically with the world according to our own specific interests. In contrast to Bell, though, I do not claim that artworks possess what he calls “significant form,” but instead that they possess a unity of meaning or meaningful metaperspective inherently connected to particular contents. According to my account, then, the adoption of a disinterested attitude in no way excludes the application of ordinary concepts or the interested attention to contents. Besides, it does not disengage us from life and the “world of man’s activity,” but only from our practical relations to the world and from our own individuality. So, even though every kind of formalism may imply some notion of disinterestedness, not every notion of disinterestedness implies some kind of formalism. In the next section, I will further support this claim by showing that a disinterested experience may include various kinds of somatic, affective, and emotional states.37 §2 Emotions, Affects, and Bodies Many philosophers take it that our emotions make us relate to the world according to our own desires, interests, and needs. Jenefer Robinson, for instance, takes it to be “clear that I won’t experience any emotional response to a novel unless I sense that my own interests, goals, and wants are somehow at stake.”38 Obviously, Robinson is not referring here only to interests shared by all of us, but also (and maybe particularly) to interests connected to her own specific individuality. Presuming that she is right in doing so, and presuming that our emotional responses to an artwork often are an important aspect of our engagements with it, the extent to which such engagements can be disinterested becomes an important question. In other words, one might wonder whether there is a tension between the claim that our aesthetic engagements with works of art are disinterested and the claim that they often include the feeling of emotions. In order to answer this question, we first need to discuss briefly the nature of an emotion. An emotion is not identical to a bodily sensation or “the feeling of a bodily change.”39 We cannot individuate an emotion by explicating it as a particular bodily sensation, because the same emotion may be connected to different kinds of sensations, whereas the same sensation may be connected to distinct emotions.40 Following a cognitivist approach, I claim that

76  Defending Disinterestedness an emotion is an intentional state. That is, every emotion essentially has an intentional object: we are angry at our enemies, sad about our defeats, happy about our victories, and so on. Of course, emotions are different from other intentional states, such as beliefs, thoughts, or perceptions. Apparently, they cause us not only to believe, think, or perceive that something is the case, but also to become involved in a particular manner. Cognitivists have introduced different specifications in order to explain this kind of involvement. For instance, they have explicated an emotion as “an evaluative judgment,”41 “an engagement,”42 “an interpretative framework,”43 or “an appraisal.”44 Some have also combined a somatic or physiological account with a cognitivist account, arguing that emotions are “embodied appraisals”45 or “appraisals of stimuli relative to certain interests [that] give rise to visceral feelings which typically prime behavioural tendencies to act.”46 For our purposes, it is not decisive to favor one particular cognitivist account over others. It is only important to note that all such accounts characterize an emotion not only as an intentional state but also as an evaluative one. That is, cognitivists typically claim that our emotions make us cognitively relate to something and evaluate it according to our interests. I do not deny this claim. For instance, when I am angry, sad, fearful, or happy, then I typically perceive and evaluate some aspect of the world according to my interests. These interests, however, do not need to be idiosyncratic ones. Rather, they can be interests that I share with all other members of my social or cultural groups, or that I have because of my status as a person or a human being. As a person, for instance, I have an interest in the integration of all my intentional states into one coherent whole. If I fail to achieve this, I will be frustrated about it. As a rational being, moreover, I may feel the moral obligation to follow certain practical norms and to defend their universal observance. This feeling may lead to a universal moral interest or goal, and consequently to my frustration, anger, or sadness if I recognize that I myself do not follow these norms or that others do not abide to them. I, therefore, take it that not all emotions we feel are necessarily connected to interests that, strictly speaking, qualify as our personal ones.47 In the last section, I explained that interests organize a person’s relation to an artwork even while she adopts a disinterested attitude towards what the work shows. These interests, however, are not her personal ones. Rather, they are connected either to her status as a person, a human being, or a member of some other extensive group, or to the work’s own perspectives. I further claim that the interests and goals that a recipient has due to her adoption of a work’s perspectives typically make her emotionally respond to what the work shows. As Camp pointed out, the adoption of a perspective has a broad effect: it not only alters what we think, believe, and perceive, but alters how we do it, and how it makes us feel: “A perspective often also imposes certain evaluative attitudes and emotional valences on its constituent features.”48 The adoption of a disinterested attitude, then, does not exclude all emotional responses, but excludes only those intimately

Defending Disinterestedness  77 connected to our own personal interests, or rather to our own specific perspectives. As a matter of fact, it may include new and transformative emotional experiences due to the different perspectives that we temporarily adopt. Of course, the feeling of emotions connected to one’s specific individuality also plays a certain role in the context of one’s overall engagement with a given artwork. As I explained above, this engagement is a dynamic and dialectic process of losing the sense of oneself, while gaining a sense of the other, and of achieving selfhood. An important difference, however, between our ordinary emotional responses towards the world and our emotional responses when we have adopted a disinterested attitude is that the former typically make us—or, at least, prepare us to—act immediately in some practical manner. On the other hand, while we may feel various emotions with respect to what a work shows when disinterestedly attending to it, we will not immediately relate to it in a practical way on the basis of these emotions. Indeed, such relations are metaphysically impossible when attending to the fictional or diegetic world that a work unfolds. Such a world, or rather the characters, events, and states of affairs constituting it, is just out of our practical reach. The emotions, then, that a person feels while disinterestedly attending to a work are not only disconnected from her individuality, but are also disconnected from her ordinary, practical life: they, so to say, are practically inert. Many philosophers who have been focusing on our emotional responses to works of art make this point. Kendall Walton, for instance, generally describes a person’s engagement with a (representational) work of art in terms of imaginative activities that he calls “games of make-believe.”49 When playing such games, physical participation is possible only in a restricted sense, and a person’s responses to representational or fictional entities, therefore, seem to be cut off from her physical behavior: “One effect of this restriction and of limitations on participation generally is to give the appreciator a kind of objective, ‘distanced’ perspective on the world of his game. Questions about what . . . might be demanded of him recede into the background, as do questions about how fictionally he might or should try to influence events.”50 For Walton, the emotions we feel with respect to what a representational work shows are different from our ordinary ones. So, instead of feeling fear towards something fearful that a work presents, we feel “quasi-fear.”51 Gregory Currie describes our engagements with representational or fictional works in a similar way. He assumes that such works ask us to pretend, or rather to make-believe, that certain things are true. Aside from asking us to form specific make-beliefs, they also ask us to form specific makedesires, and the “interaction of . . . [our] thus acquired propositional attitudes (make-belief and desire)”52 makes us emotionally respond to what a work shows in a particular manner.53 In contrast to our emotional responses towards reality, then, emotional responses towards fictional entities do not rely on beliefs and desires but on make-beliefs and make-desires. According

78  Defending Disinterestedness to simulation theory, make-beliefs and make-desires are so-called “I-states.” In general, simulation theory is a psychological theory about how we understand other people. The simulationist argues that we primarily understand them “by mirroring their mental states in our own mind,”54 or rather “by running mental states off-line—that is, disconnected from their usual perceptual inputs and behavioral outputs.”55 Currie claims that our emotional responses to fiction rely on such mental simulations. For instance, when feeling pity with a fictional character, we simulate her beliefs, desires, expectations, and interests, thereby coming to perceive things as she perceives them, and feeling about them as she does. In contrast to her, though, we do not feel motivated to perform any immediate practical actions, because the mental states that we simulate are disconnected from their behavioral outputs. According to Currie, when emotionally responding to a fiction, we generate such substitute versions of the states that we take a fictional character, a persona, an implied or fictional author to possess, and these substitute versions are the so-called “I-states.”56 According to Walton and Currie, then, we not only pretend that certain things are true but also pretend or imagine that we are having certain kinds of experiences when engaging with a representational or fictional work. Their accounts of games of make-believe may productively supplement my position, according to which one’s relation to an artwork primarily consists in free, open-ended, and playful perspectival shifts. That is, this playful process of shifting perspectives, or rather of synthesizing a meaningful metaperspective, may include various forms of pretending and imagining. It is important to keep in mind, though, that a perspectival shift not only makes us think, perceive, or feel that something is so and so but also “imaginatively alters how we structure and color our thoughts about what is so.”57 Our emotional responses towards what a presentational work shows rely on this qualitative re-structuring of our intentional states that perspectival shifts make possible.58 There is a fundamental disagreement between Walton and myself, though. Walton takes it that a person’s games of make-believe include imaginings about herself, because whenever she imagines perceiving or feeling something, there is a kind of self-imagining involved: “We might express this point by saying that the self whom I imagine to be seeing a rhinoceros may be a ‘bare Cartesian I.’ . . . I propose thinking of imagining de se not as a species of imagining de re but rather as a different way in which imaginings can be ‘about’ oneself.”59 I doubt that the relevant states of imagining include such imaginings de se, but I still could accept Walton’s claim, since I have a more substantial and thicker notion of self-consciousness in mind when I claim that a person temporarily loses the sense of herself while aesthetically engaging with a work of art. Walton, however, goes on to argue that a person also is a participant in the worlds of her make-belief. That is, she is not only participating in the sense of playing games and constructing fictional worlds, but actually participates within these worlds.60 Part of

Defending Disinterestedness  79 Walton’s thinking here must be that when recipients imagine that they are perceiving something, they (implicitly) pretend that they really perceive these things, and thereby “generate fictional truths about themselves,”61 which ultimately makes them part of the fictional worlds their games of makebelieve construct. A recipient, however, typically has “a rather ‘sketchy’ or ‘ghostly’ presence in the world of his game, in light of the restrictions on his role in it. . . .”62 Even though Walton makes this concession, he still goes wrong when claiming that a recipient lives within the world she creates while relating to a work of art. Being-in-a-World implies more than just perceiving and feeling certain things; it essentially implies that one interacts practically with what one perceives, and that others may acknowledge one’s presence in this world. Such forms of interaction, involvement, and acknowledgement are not an option when relating to fictional entities. Moreover, they ground a kind of self-relation that is constantly and necessarily in play during our ordinary, practical lives, but that we temporarily disengage ourselves from when aesthetically engaging with an artwork. In Chapter Three, I will discuss all of this in detail. In any case, the notion of aesthetic disinterestedness does not contradict the contention that our engagements with artworks include emotional responses, if one conceives of a disinterested state as a state that does not exclude all interests and desires, but excludes only immediate practical actions and one’s relation to the world according to one’s own specific individuality.63 The same holds true with respect to a variety of affects and somatic experiences. In general, the notion of an affect seems to have a rather wide extension “comprising, among other things, hard-wired reflex reactions, like the startle response, sensations (including pleasure, pain, and sexual arousal), phobias, desires, various occurrent, feeling-toned mental states—such as fear, anger, and jealousy—and moods.”64 A disinterested state is, most likely, not compatible with all of these states, since some of them seem to be connected closely to one’s own specific body and individuality. Nevertheless, I take it that a person may have strong somatic and affective experiences, including desires, emotions, feelings, and sensations, due to her adoption of different perspectives. In fact, the adoption of a disinterested state may be a condition of such experiences, since it temporarily disengages one from one’s own perspective. Moreover, I have already stated that our relations to an artwork rely on certain activities of our sensuous capacities. Given that such activities are necessarily embodied, our relations to an artwork must be so as well. And given that perceptual states always have a phenomenal quality, i.e, it always feels a particular way to be in such states, our aesthetic relations to an artwork are not only intentional states but also phenomenal ones.65 One still may object, though, that I conceive of our aesthetic relations to an artwork primarily in terms of certain intentional or propositional relations, and therefore follow what some call “our dominant idealist aesthetic

80  Defending Disinterestedness tradition.”66 Let me make two comments regarding this objection: first, as pointed out before, there are very different kinds of aesthetic experiences, and some of them may have a more dominant somatic dimension than others. As a multi-disciplinary field of study, aesthetics has to deal with the nature of all kinds of aesthetic experiences, and surely has ignored many of them in the past.67 Second, I claimed in Chapter One that the aesthetic experience of art goes hand in hand with a certain kind of liberation. However, there exist forms of social domination that are “covertly materialized and preserved by encoding them in somatic norms that, as bodily habits, typically get taken for granted and therefore escape critical consciousness.”68 A state of free play among one’s cognitive capacities may not effectively liberate one from these forms of domination. Rather, one may have to try out “alternative somatic practices. Fruitfully embraced by recent feminist and queer body theorists, this Foucauldian message has long been part of the program of body therapists like F. M. Alexander, Wilhelm Reich, and Moshe Feldenkrais.”69 The interesting questions here for us to ask are whether contemporary artistic objects and events also invite one to try out such alternative somatic practices, whether this trying out of alternative practices still qualifies as an aesthetic experience, and whether it still somehow allows for the adoption of a disinterested attitude. In the second part of Chapter Four, I will discuss these questions in detail.70 Before turning to Gadamer and the question of judgment, one last objection against my claim that our relations to artworks include the adoption of a disinterested, and therefore non-practical, attitude needs to be discussed. According to this objection, an artist must adopt an aesthetic attitude towards her work while creating it, yet could not do so if this attitude was not practical: [I]f we insisted that a contemplative (non-practical) attitude is necessary for an attitude’s being aesthetic, then any artist at all would count as not taking up an aesthetic attitude to her work while she makes it. For her attitude towards the work is certainly practical while she makes it: she is concerned to create it and to revise it in various ways as to improve its quality. The contemplative criterion . . . neglects the viewpoint of its maker, which has at least as good a claim to be an aesthetic one. . . .71 Similarly, it has been argued that a critic cannot adopt a contemplative attitude towards a work when writing, or preparing to write, about it, since writing qualifies as a practical activity.72 In fact, in his Parerga and Paralipomena, Schopenhauer explicitly discusses the problem of the artist as someone who is disinterested and yet produces something according to certain purposes. According to Schopenhauer, an artist must proceed in two steps: first, she has an experience that disengages her from her will, and that makes her perceive something that others do not perceive. Second, she becomes active as an agent and produces a work of art in order to show what she first

Defending Disinterestedness  81 perceived. So, Schopenhauer takes it that an artist must switch from one attitude to another.73 Bullough points in a similar direction when writing: “It is, by the way, one of the reasons why criticism is an art, for it requires the constant interchange from the practical to the distanced attitude and vice versa, which is characteristic of artists.”74 Indeed, I find it plausible to assume that artworks originate from alternations between different kinds of attitudes. In other words, it is implausible to assume that an artist continuously adopts an aesthetic attitude towards her work when creating it. A film director, for instance, often attends to practical problems when shooting her movies. Her attention to these problems may contribute to the aesthetic power of the final film, but hardly makes her have, or requires her to have, an aesthetic experience. One might argue, though, that many cases of contemporary performance art and many artistic environments or spaces ask for such an alternation between different attitudes. That is, one might argue that, at least, some artworks not only make us alternate between losing our sense of self, while gaining a sense of the other, and achieving selfhood, but also ask us to interact practically with what they show. Once again, then, the question arises whether all artworks really make us adopt a non-practical attitude towards what they show, and if not, whether the notion of aesthetic disinterestedness truly has the universal significance and value that I have claimed it to have. Once again, I acknowledge the necessity of answering this question and promise to do so in Chapter Four.

III. Self-Loss and Self-Determination In his On the Genealogy of Morality, Nietzsche rejects the notion of a disinterested attitude, because he takes this notion to refer to some kind of non-perspectival relation to the world. Such a relation, however, cannot lead to objective knowledge. In fact, it does not even qualify as a perceptual state: “There is only a perspectival seeing, only a perspectival ‘knowing’; the more affects we are able to put into words about a thing, the more eyes, various eyes we are able to use for the same thing, the more complete will be our ‘concept’ of the thing, our ‘objectivity’.”75 It should be clear by now that I agree with Nietzsche that a non-perspectival way of perceiving is impossible. Moreover, I agree that we may acquire a more objective grasp of reality if we perceive it from different perspectives. In the third Critique, Kant makes a similar suggestion when arguing that a person can acquire a universal perspective, which Kant, most likely, takes to open up an objective view on reality, only “by putting himself into the standpoint of others” (CPJ, §40, 5:295). As I claimed above, it is an essential aspect of our aesthetic relations to works of art that we shift perspectives and learn to perceive things differently. According to Gadamer, though, this is the wrong picture. He holds that when reading and trying to understand a literary text, that is, when having a hermeneutic experience, a person relies on her own prejudices, and

82  Defending Disinterestedness her own specific perspective, or rather her own specific horizon, fuses with the perspective of the text. I take it that Gadamer further considers this to be a correct description of our engagement with any kind of artwork. In a first step, I discuss the challenge that Gadamer’s position poses for my account. In a second step, I address the question of whether the aesthetic judgment of an artwork can ever legitimately entail a claim of universal validity.76 §1 Prejudices and Concrete Selves Gadamer assumes that a person or a human being is a historical entity deeply conditioned by the traditions of her society and culture. Her prejudices manifest these conditions. Instead of being contingent flaws that she can easily cast off, they constitute who she is and guide her relations to the world (TM, 278). According to my account, they are the social and cultural components of a person’s fundamental perspective. Gadamer argues that one cannot understand anything, including a literary text, independently of one’s prejudices, because the “prejudices and fore-meanings that occupy the interpreter’s consciousness are not at his free disposal” (TM, 295). This is not to say that one faces only oneself, or rather one’s own specific horizon, when dealing with a text. Rather, a text has some kind of objectivity, and may have some truth to tell, but we can grasp neither its objectivity nor its truth if we try to abstract away from our horizon. The idea that one needs to follow an objective, historicist method in order to understand a text is mistaken. One must instead be aware of how one unavoidably approaches a text according to one’s prejudices, and then has to determine which of these are appropriate for an understanding of the given text. Gadamer, then, does not argue that all prejudices are adequate. Being aware of one’s bias actually protects one from falling under “the tyranny of hidden prejudices” (TM, 272). Gadamer goes as far as to argue that the understanding of a text requires “the fundamental suspension of our own prejudices” (TM, 298). I take it, though, that he is referring here only to inappropriate ones. In order to distinguish between those that are appropriate and those that are not, one has to be aware of how one’s fore-meanings structure one’s understanding: “[T]his kind of sensitivity involves neither ‘neutrality’ with respect to content nor the extinction of one’s self . . . The important thing is to be aware of one’s own bias, so that the text can present itself in all its otherness and thus assert its own truth against one’s own fore-meanings” (TM, 271, 272). In order to understand a text, then, a person does not need to disengage herself from her own horizon, and look at things according to some other horizon. While she lives, her own horizon constantly changes, due to the fact that her own prejudices are far from being fixed. When understanding a text, her dynamic horizon has not temporarily been replaced by another one: “Rather, understanding is always the fusion of these horizons supposedly existing by themselves” (TM, 305). They only supposedly exist

Defending Disinterestedness  83 by themselves, because they ultimately are part of the one moving horizon that embraces our past, present, and future (TM, 303). Literary texts and other works of art never confront us with something totally alien. As historical beings, we are deeply conditioned by the past, and our perspectives, therefore, stand in continuity with the perspectives unfolded by works from the past. When understanding them, we do not grasp particularities, but rather grasp underlying commonalities and universalities (TM, 304). In other words, we do not exchange one particular viewpoint for another, but focus on what the work really shows, namely some truth that transcends all particularities. This does not imply that a work’s meaning is fixed. As pointed out in Chapter One, Gadamer conceives of this meaning as something that must change over time, since it relates to a historically changing world (TM, 298). Readers from different times must, therefore, understand a text differently, since the text’s meaning changes. They may all relate to the same truth, yet this truth will show itself differently. Similarly, judges from different times may interpret and appropriate some law differently while still relating to the same “legal idea” (Rechtsgedanke) (TM, 324). Gadamer rejects the historicist position, according to which one has to transpose oneself into the situation of the original audience and try to understand a text according to its author’s intentions: “The real meaning of a text, as it speaks to the interpreter, does not depend on the contingencies of the author and his original audience. It certainly is not identical with them, for it is always co-determined also by the historical situation of the interpreter and hence by the totality of the objective course of history” (TM, 296). According to Gadamer, then, one draws a false picture when claiming that a reader must disengage herself from her own horizon and situation in order to understand a text properly. Even when transposing ourselves into someone else’s situation, we never leave ourselves behind, but “into this other situation we must bring, precisely, ourselves. Only this is the full meaning of ‘transposing ourselves’ ” (TM, 304). Consequently, it also is wrong to assume that a reader must temporarily lose the sense of himself when properly relating to a text. Rather, he finds himself when doing this, for all “reading involves application, so that a person reading a text is himself part of the meaning he apprehends. He belongs to the text that he is reading” (TM, 335).77 I take it that Gadamer’s position on the nature of a reader’s relation to a literary text can also be formulated more generally with respect to a recipient’s aesthetic engagement with an artwork. That is, one may argue that a recipient neither can nor should abstract away from her prejudices, that her own horizon or perspective plays an important role in order for her to understand a given work, and that instead of temporarily losing the sense of herself, she is confronted with herself.78 So, one may reject the whole idea that one’s aesthetic relation to an artwork has something to do with disengaging oneself from one’s individuality. In contrast to Kant, one may further claim that a person does not relate to herself as to a universal subject

84  Defending Disinterestedness when experiencing artistic beauty, but rather relates to herself as to a very concrete subject “charged with historical experiences.”79 There are three things to say with respect to the challenge that Gadamer’s position poses for my account. First, even though a recipient often must be aware of her own bias in order to avoid inappropriate prejudices, she still has to shift perspectives in order to understand an artwork. In Chapter One, I explained how a presentational work, such as a film, always shows something as something. That is, I explained how such a work organizes our attention towards what it shows. Allowing a work to structure one’s attention towards what it presents just means adopting its perspectives. Our prejudices may often prevent us from doing this, and we often have to be aware of them in order to disengage ourselves from them. Moreover, Gadamer is right when suggesting that an artwork usually does not ask us to disengage ourselves from all our prejudices. A work typically addresses a recipient who is situated within a particular socio-cultural setting, and therefore presupposes that a recipient uses certain categories, principles, and schemata when relating to it. Works that originated within our own socio-cultural settings, therefore, typically count on us approaching them according to some of our own prejudices. Due to the continuities between different times, cultures, and societies, even artworks that originated within different settings hardly ask us to disengage ourselves entirely from our own horizon. In this sense, our relations to artworks always depend on our own experiences and perspectives, and it, therefore, may be a bit misleading to claim that one needs to switch perspectives when relating to them, since one has to disengage oneself only from certain parts of one’s own perspective— specifically from those related to one’s particular individuality—and temporarily replace them with different categories, principles, schemata, interests, and so on. Consequently, one may prefer to speak of a perspectival fusion instead of a perspectival shift. Whether we speak of a switch or a fusion, though, the main point is that an artwork asks its recipient to perceive what it shows according to its perspective, which may more or less resemble the recipient’s own perspective. In order to perceive things as an artwork asks one to perceive them, one may have to be aware of one’s own prejudices. I find it implausible, though, to assume that one still must attend to them while one successfully sees things as an artwork requires them to be seen. I rather take it that, under such conditions, one has adopted a disinterested attitude and temporarily lost the sense of oneself. Of course, the adoption of a disinterested attitude is difficult to achieve. In order to adopt and sustain it, one must again and again block out inappropriate prejudices. In fact, it may be an ideal that one can never fully achieve. That is, understanding an artwork in its full otherness may always remain an objective. This, however, does not make it irrational to pursue this objective.80 Second, I agree that recipients from different times must relate differently to a given artwork. As pointed out in the last chapter, a work’s meaningful unity or metaperspective does not relate to some isolated and frozen

Defending Disinterestedness  85 cosmos; many of the work’s moments change over the course of history. Just as the legal idea of a law, then, must be appropriated according to the circumstances of a given time, a work’s unity or metaperspective must also (repeatedly) be appropriated by its recipients. For instance, when reading Kafka’s The Trial today, we must read it against the background of current forms of bureaucratic or legal absurdities and social oppressions. Reading it any other way runs the risk of missing what the work really is about; it runs the risk of missing its truth. Moreover, we have to read it against the background of its history of reception, because this history constitutes part of the work’s identity. In contrast to Gadamer, though, I take a work’s original context of production and reception to play an exceptional role for the fixing of some of its main presuppositions, such as what medium or genre it belongs to, what other works it associates itself with, what works it opposes, and what philosophical, cultural, or artistic ideas it mostly relies upon. For instance, when trying to understand Beethoven’s music, it is important to acknowledge the historical context within which this music was composed. More precisely, it is important to relate it to the ideals of the enlightenment and the French Revolution and to the events that followed these movements: “If we do not somehow . . . know something about the concept of a human being, of humanity, autonomy, freedom, and other such categories, then we may register all sorts of sensual things while listening to Beethoven, but it is totally impossible for us, to understand a piece composed by Beethoven.”81 So, even though we must appropriate an artwork according to the circumstances of our time, in the sense of applying its perspectives towards our reality and constructing its unity while incorporating moments of this reality, we also must understand its original context. If, out of ignorance or laxity, we do not understand this context, we will hardly grasp how a given work asks us to relate to what it shows, or rather we will use it only as an occasion for our personal or culture-specific ruminations and experiences.82 At last, there is the question whether our aesthetic experiences make us relate to our concrete, empirical selves or to our universal, a priori selves. By now, I have already stated several times that a person’s aesthetic engagement with an artwork culminates in a self-reflective process that allows her to determine herself. I have also stated that this engagement overall is rather unique and personal. So, I agree that it involves a person as the concrete and historically situated individual that she is. Nevertheless, I also claim that the self-reflective and self-critical process that constitutes the culmination of this engagement is possible only because a person initially disengages herself from the perspective tied to her qualitative identity and temporarily adopts different perspectives. In contrast to Kant, I do not conceive of the person or subject that experiences the aesthetic play as a universal one. Due to the fact that an artwork’s metaperspective remains open and broken, there is, strictly speaking, no aesthetic subject at all. When having an aesthetic experience, a person rather constantly dissolves and recomposes as the concrete

86  Defending Disinterestedness subject she is by entering processes of alternative subjectivations. These processes are playful activities among a person’s own capacities. Ultimately, they make her, i.e., the concrete individual she is, critically reflect on her specific selfhood. However, they are also related to universal objectives that all of us share. This, finally, brings me to the question of judgment.83 §2 The Question of Judgment According to Kant, we legitimately expect universal agreement when making judgments of taste. Given that I take a person’s aesthetic engagement with an artwork ultimately to be unique and personal, it seems as if I must oppose Kant’s position. That is, it seems as if I must deny that a person may ever legitimately expect universal agreement when calling a work of art “beautiful,” “fantastic,” “challenging,” or “breathtaking.” I do not deny this, though. If a person truly relates to an artwork as to the work that it is, she will appreciate the work because of what it shows and because of how it shows it. More precisely, the work pleases her, at least partly, because it makes her experience something that she has not experienced as such before, that therefore surprises and challenges her, and that ultimately may even force her to reevaluate her own perspective. Given that a person’s perspective is significantly shaped by her particular society and culture, it seems fair for her to expect other members of her society to feel as captivated and challenged by a given work as she does. Indeed, when making aesthetic judgments about works of art, we generally expect agreement from members of our own socio-cultural groups, for we assume that they share our prejudices and therefore feel surprised and challenged by the same works that surprise and challenge us. Typically, we are much more hesitant to expect such agreement from members of other groups, because we assume that their perspectives differ more radically from our own. Even when debating with people similar to us, though, our claims of inter-subjective validity can be unjustified. That is, it may turn out that a work does not really turn against traditional prejudices or patterns and that it does not really challenge someone’s perspective—or merely challenges some very idiosyncratic aspects of it. Nevertheless, if a person, more or less consciously, relates her pleasure in what an artwork shows to the challenge that its perspective (apparently) poses for her own perspective, it seems plausible for her to expect, at least, her perspectival kin to feel a similar kind of pleasure when being confronted with the relevant work. This argument, however, presupposes that people want to feel surprised and challenged and that they have a universal interest in self-criticism. For Kant, a work of art, indeed, is related to universal interests. Most importantly, it allows us to have experiences that satisfy our general cognitive aims, while making us feel our own freedom. Following Kant, I explained in Chapter One that, due to its wealth, multiperspectivity, and dialecticity, an artwork makes our capacities enter into a free process of re-articulating

Defending Disinterestedness  87 and creative synthesizings. I further claimed that the awareness of our own capacities acting in an unusually free manner, the anticipation of some unity that goes beyond traditional, conceptual fixations, and the hope for happiness are mainly responsible for the pleasure that we take in the experience of a given artwork. Desires for unity, freedom, and happiness seem to be promising candidates for truly universal human interests. If a work of art, therefore, allows a person to have an experience that makes her disengage herself from her own specific perspective, while making her realize her own freedom and anticipating a higher, novel kind of unity, she may have a good reason to expect other people to agree with her when praising that work. Of course, in order really to grasp an artwork’s particular wealth, multiperspectivity, and dialecticity, one may have to accomplish many things, and one may have to know a great deal about the relevant work’s historical, social, and cultural context. Consequently, it may be difficult for us to appreciate works from different times and cultures, but it surely is not impossible for us to do this. In fact, it is precisely the task of every critic and art historian to support her judgment by means of informing and educating her audiences in such a way that they come to discover a work’s particular wealth, multiperspectivity, and dialecticity for themselves. Such a discovery includes that one’s capacities enter a free process of re-articulating and creative synthesizings, i.e., it includes that one has an aesthetic experience in the strong, Kantian sense. One can prove the inter-subjective validity of one’s aesthetic judgment about a given work of art only by making others have an aesthetic experience of that work. As pointed out in Chapter One, the goal of all aesthetic discourse is the sharing of particular aesthetic experiences.84 Even if one assumes, though, that there are works that not only have the power to surprise and challenge members of a specific socio-cultural group, but also have the power to cause people from different times and cultures to have aesthetic experiences in the strong, Kantian sense, one still may wonder whether freedom, unity, reconciliation, and self-criticism are universal values or ideals. In other words, one may object that my reliance on such ideals is convincing only from the standpoint of modern, Western civilization, which is deeply influenced by the enlightenment. Consequently, one may object that my accounts of art and the aesthetic experience are far from being universally applicable. At the end of Chapter Four, I will discuss this issue in more detail.85

Notes 1 Richard Shusterman’s work, especially, has directed attention towards the somatic dimension of our aesthetic experiences. See his Pragmatist Aesthetics: Living Beauty, Rethinking Art, 2nd ed. (New York: Rowman and Littlefield, 2000); and his Body Consciousness: A Philosophy of Mindfulness and Somaesthetics (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2008). Also see Voss, Der Leih­ körper. The emotional aspect of our aesthetic experiences of art has been an important topic for several decades. For an overview of the most influential

88  Defending Disinterestedness positions, see Mette Hjort and Sue Laver, eds., Emotion and the Arts (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997). For some more recent major contributions, see Jenefer Robinson, Deeper than Reason: Emotion and Its Role in Literature, Music, and Art (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2005); and Gaut, Art, Emotion and Ethics. 2 Dickie, “The Myth of the Aesthetic Attitude,” 60. On this issue, also see Dickie, Art and the Aesthetic: An Institutional Analysis (Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 1974), 112. 3 John Stuart Mill, Utilitarianism (Indianapolis and Cambridge: Hackett Publishing Company, 2001), 17. 4 Carroll argues that those who explicate the aesthetic experience in terms of disinterestedness explain this experience not in terms of its internal features but in terms of its causal conditions. See Carroll, “Four Concepts of Aesthetic Experience,” 48. It should be clear from my previous discussion that neither Kant nor Schopenhauer conceives of the aesthetic experience as something that has been caused by a specific motivation, and neither do I conceive of it as such. That is, I do not take a disinterested experience to be a specific motivational state, but rather take it to be a specific perceptual one. 5 Dickie, “The Myth of the Aesthetic Attitude,” 59. At the end of this article, Dickie also writes: “When the aesthetic attitude finally turns out to be simply attending (closely), the final version should perhaps not be called ‘the weakest’ but rather ‘the vacuous version’ of the aesthetic attitude.” Ibid., 64. On this issue, also see George Dickie, “Bullough and Casebier: Disappearing in a Distance,” The Personalist 53, no. 2 (1972): 127–131; and George Dickie, “Psychical Distance: In a Fog at Sea,” British Journal of Aesthetics 13, no. 1 (1973): 26–27. 6 Alan Goldman, “The Aesthetic,” in The Routledge Companion to Aesthetics, ed. Berys Gaut and Dominic McIver Lopes (London and New York: Routledge, 2001), 190. 7 See Dickie, Art and the Aesthetic, 117. 8 My distinction between a person’s roles and her interpretation of them is inspired by Mead’s distinction between a person’s me and her I. In the next chapter, I discuss this distinction in greater detail. Moreover, it should be clear that I am not claiming that a person’s numerical identity will change once she adopts different roles. Following Strawson, I have already claimed that a person’s numerical identity depends on the spatio-temporal continuity of her body. See Strawson, Individuals, 37 and 164. Instead, I claim that adopting a new role can change a person’s qualitative identity, for sometimes we say that a person no longer is the person she used to be when she, or rather her fundamental perspective, acquired some features that she did not previously possess. 9 See Stolnitz, Aesthetics, 18 and 33. 10 Friedrich Nietzsche, The Birth of Tragedy, trans. Douglas Smith (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000), 22. 11 Of course, there are other cases of dancing, singing, or playing music that are not disinterested, and do not make us lose our sense of self, yet still qualify as aesthetic experiences. In contrast to dancers at a rave, dancers at a Milonga, for instance, hardly lose their sense of self. Nevertheless, many will argue that dancing Tango definitely qualifies as a kind of aesthetic experience. I agree, because dancing Tango includes feelings of sensuous pleasure. As I stated in the introduction, there are many different kinds of aesthetic experiences, and not all of them are disinterested. 12 Dickie, “The Myth of the Aesthetic Attitude,” 57. Also see Dickie, Art and the Aesthetic, 99; and Dickie, “Psychical Distance: In a Fog at Sea,” 22.

Defending Disinterestedness  89 13 A similar point was made by Sneh Pandit in his “In Defense of Psychical Distance,” British Journal of Aesthetics 16, no. 1 (1976): 60. 14 George Dickie, “Is Psychology Relevant to Aesthetics?” Philosophical Review 71, no. 3 (1962): 300. 15 Dickie, “Psychical Distance: In a Fog at Sea,” 23. 16 Dickie, “Is Psychology Relevant to Aesthetics?” 298 and 299. Also see Dickie, Art and the Aesthetic, 99–101; Dickie, “Psychical Distance: In a Fog at Sea,” 22; and George Dickie, “Beardsley’s Phantom Aesthetic Experience,” The Journal of Philosophy 62, no. 5 (1965): 132. 17 Dickie, “Psychical Distance: In a Fog at Sea,” 25. 18 Dickie, “Is Psychology Relevant to Aesthetics?” 300. 19 Dickie, “Psychical Distance: In a Fog at Sea,” 23. 20 Dickie, “Is Psychology Relevant to Aesthetics?” 300. 21 Scruton, Art and Imagination, 9. 22 George Dickie, “Radical Disinterest,” in Philosophy and Literature, ed. Doug Bolling (New York: Haven, 1987), 134. 23 Ibid., 135. 24 Gadamer, Truth and Method, 78. For the by now classical criticism of the notion of an unconceptualized sensory “given” see Wilfrid Sellars, Empiricism and the Philosophy of Mind, with an introduction by Richard Rorty and a study guide by Robert Brandom (Cambridge and London: Harvard University Press, 1997). Also see Nelson Goodman, Languages of Art (Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 1976), 8 and 241. 25 Some have argued that even works such as Composition VII qualify as representational works, and therefore require the application of concepts that allow one to identify some representational content. For instance, see Richard Wollheim, Painting as an Art (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1987). For a neo-formalist account of our conceptual engagements with narrative films see David Bordwell, Narration in the Fiction Film (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1985); and Edward Branigan, Narrative Comprehension in Film (New York: Routledge, 1992). 26 Camp, “Two Varieties of Literary Imagination,” 117. 27 See Carroll, “Four Concepts of Aesthetic Experience,” 56 and 57. 28 Strawson argues that “an aesthetic interest in an individual is not any kind of practical interest, not an interest in anything it can or should do, or that we can do with it. . . .” (Strawson, “Aesthetic Appraisal and Works of Art,” 206). 29 Regarding our shared interest in disinterestedness, see Seel, Aesthetics of Appearing, 31. 30 Noël Carroll, Philosophy of Art: A Contemporary Introduction (London and New York: Routledge, 1999), 115. 31 Clive Bell, Art (New York: Capricorn Books, 1958), 54. 32 Ibid., 67. 33 Ibid., 67. 34 Ibid., 27. 35 See ibid., 19 and 45. 36 Ibid., 30. 37 Carroll attacks formalism on the basis of his claim that most artworks have been created “with the intention to serve practical or instrumental purposes.” (Carroll, “Four Concepts of Aesthetic Experience,” 45.) In his argument against formalism, Carroll specifically focuses on the case of demon figures: “Many cultures, for example, produce demon figures that are intended to drive off intruders by means of their terrifying visages. It is implausible to imagine that these figures were designed to be contemplated for their own sake. Such responses

90  Defending Disinterestedness would contradict the very purpose these artifacts subserve. But nevertheless we count figures and masks such as these as artworks” (ibid., 46). I agree that it is hard to imagine that these figures were designed in order to be contemplated for their own sake, or in order to be contemplated in a disinterested manner. It is also hard to imagine, though, that they were designed as works of art. Rather, they probably were designed and related to as magical guardians, weapons, or ritual objects. It may be true that one needs to know about these practical purposes in order to appreciate these figures adequately. Does this, however, imply that, in order to understand them, one actually needs to relate practically to the figures according to their original purposes? If yes, then one cannot disinterestedly relate to them if one wishes to understand them. If no, then one may understand them while disinterestedly attending to them as to artifacts that played a particular practical role within another culture. In any case, I doubt that demon figures truly qualify as works of art. Of course, we go to museums in order to see them, but we hardly look at them as artworks. Rather, we look at them as (aesthetically pleasing or displeasing) ritual artifacts or products of some other culture’s craftsmanship. In the last chapter, I will revisit this issue and discuss it in detail. 38 Robinson, Deeper than Reason, 114. 39 William James, “What Is an Emotion?” in What Is an Emotion?: Classic and Contemporary Readings, 2nd ed., ed. Robert C. Solomon (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003), 67. 40 See Ronald De Sousa, “Emotion,” in Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, first published 02/03/03, substantive revision 01/21/13, http://plato.stanford.edu/ entries/emotion/, section 2, accessed on 04/15/16. 41 Robert C. Solomon, The Passions: Emotions and the Meaning of Life (Indianapolis and Cambridge: Hackett Publishing Company, 1993), 43; and Martha Nussbaum, “Emotions as Judgments of Value and Importance,” in Solomon, What Is an Emotion?, 271. 42 Robert C. Solomon, “Emotions, Thoughts and Feelings: Emotions as Engagements with the World,” in Thinking about Feelings: Contemporary Philosophers on Emotions, ed. Robert C. Solomon (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004), 86. 43 Chesire Calhoun, “Cognitive Emotions,” in Solomon, What Is an Emotion?, 245. 44 Richard Lazarus, “From Appraisal: The Minimal Cognitive Prerequisite of Emotions,” in Solomon, What Is an Emotion?, 126. 45 Jesse Prinz, “Embodied Emotions,” in Solomon, What Is an Emotion?, 56. 46 Noël Carroll, The Philosophy of Motion Pictures (Malden: Blackwell Publishing, 2008), 151. 47 Of course, these ideas about universal interests, whether cognitive, semantic, or moral, are inspired by Kant’s philosophy. The claim that a person has to follow practical norms due to her status as a rational agent lies at the heart of his ethics. The claim that a person or a cognitive subject essentially constructs a unity of consciousness according to theoretical norms lies at the heart of his metaphysics and epistemology. In his Anthropology, Kant writes: “The fact that the human being can have the ‘I’ in his representations raises him infinitely above all other living beings on earth. Because of this he is a person, and by virtue of the unity of consciousness through all changes that happen to him, one and the same person– i.e. through rank and dignity an entirely different being from things, such as irrational animals . . .” (APPV, 7:127). 48 Camp, “Two Varieties of Literary Imagination,” 111. 49 Kendall L. Walton, Mimesis as Make-Believe: On the Foundations of the Representational Arts (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1993), 12. 50 Ibid., 236. Also see ibid., 228 and 241. 51 Ibid., 245.

Defending Disinterestedness  91 52 Gregory Currie, The Nature of Fiction (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009), 207. 53 Ibid., 196. 54 Gregory Currie, “The Paradox of Caring,” in Hjort and Laver, Emotion and the Arts, 69. 55 Gaut, Art, Ethics and Emotion, 149. 56 Currie, “The Paradox of Caring,” 67. 57 Camp, “Two Varieties of Literary Imagination,” 116. 58 In Chapter One, I claimed that a work has a metaperspective, and that this perspective belongs to the work’s implied producer. The existence of this producer is a theoretical assumption that matters for philosophical purposes, but does not typically play a role in the context of our aesthetic experiences. So, when attempting to construct a work’s metaperspective, we are not consciously attempting to construct a specific character or his particular psychology. Even in the context of our philosophical discussions we should be careful not overly to anthropologize or ontologize the implied, postulated, or fictional producer. I take it that Currie tends to do this a bit when writing about “the fictional author’s belief structure” (Currie, The Nature of Fiction, 76). An implied, postulated, or fictional producer is not a person. Aside from her perspective, she is nothing, and when it comes to a work of art, her perspective is necessarily open, dissonant, and broken. 59 Walton, Mimesis as Make-Belief, 32. 60 Ibid., 273. 61 Ibid., 213. 62 Ibid., 27. 63 Jerrold Levinson also arrives at the conclusion that the adoption of a disinterested attitude “need not call for suppression of emotional receptivity generally.” See his “Emotions in Response to Art: A Survey of the Terrain,” in Hjort and Laver, Emotion and the Arts, 31. 64 Carroll, The Philosophy of Motion Pictures, 149. 65 For some influential discussions of phenomenal states, see Thomas Nagel, “What Is It Like to Be a Bat?,” The Philosophical Review LXXXIII, no. 4 (1974): 435–450; and Joseph Levine, “Materialism and Qualia: The Explanatory Gap,” Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 64 (1983): 354–361. 66 Richard Shusterman, “Somaesthetics: A Disciplinary Proposal,” The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 57, no. 3 (1999): 308. 67 I am, therefore, open to Shusterman’s account of somaesthetics and his disciplinary proposal. 68 Ibid., 303. 69 Ibid., 304. 70 In developing his notion of somatic norms, Shusterman follows Foucault and Bourdieu. (See ibid., 303 and 304.) Although he did not focus on the bodily or somatic dimension of these normative procedures, Heidegger, of course, already argued that norms often do not regulate our behavior by means of linguistically formulated laws. In Chapter Three, I will revisit this issue. 71 Gaut, Art, Ethics and Emotion, 31. 72 See Noël Carroll, “Art and Interaction,” The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 45, no. 1 (1986): 63. 73 Arthur Schopenhauer, Parerga and Paralipomena, vol. 2, trans. E.F.J. Payne (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001), 418–419. 74 Bullough, “Psychical Distance,” 324. 75 Friedrich Nietzsche, On the Genealogy of Morality, ed. Keith Ansell-Pearson, trans. Carol Diethe (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006), 87. 76 Nietzsche’s rejection of disinterestedness does not pose a challenge for my account, because I do not conceive of a disinterested experience as of a non-perspectival

92  Defending Disinterestedness (cognitive) relation to the world. For a thorough discussion of Nietzsche’s perspectivism see James Conant, “The Dialectic of Perspectivism, I,” Sats—Nordic Journal of Philosophy 6, no. 2 (2005): 5–50; and James Conant, “The Dialectic of Perspectivism, II,” Sats—Nordic Journal of Philosophy 7, no. 1 (2006): 6–57. 77 Even though their overall approaches are very different, there are some interesting similarities here between Gadamer and Walton. See Walton, Mimesis as Make-Believe, 34. 78 In fact, I take it that Gadamer also formulated this more general position. In his Truth and Method, he generally follows Heidegger in characterizing an artwork as “a happening of truth,” and further argues that we understand and determine ourselves when understanding an artwork. For Heidegger’s conception of a happening of truth, see his “The Origin of the Work of Art,” 16. 79 Adorno, Ästhetik, 321. The fact that Adorno emphasizes the aesthetic role of the concrete, empirical subject marks another difference between him and Kant. Recently, Juliane Rebentisch has forcefully argued that aesthetic self-reflection is directed at the concrete, historically situated, and embodied subject. See Rebentisch, Theorien der Gegenwartskunst, 52, 56, 71, 83 and 84. 80 Gadamer argues that the “way the interpreter belongs to his text is like the way the point from which we are to view a picture belongs to its perspective. It is not a matter of looking for this viewpoint and adopting it as one’s standpoint. The interpreter similarly finds his point of view already given, and does not choose it arbitrarily” (TM, 325). I agree that an interpreter does not choose his standpoint arbitrarily. However, when reading and trying to understand a text, his perspective on what the text shows or presents is not his own, but rather is the text’s perspective. 81 Adorno, Ästhetik, 246. 82 On the importance of an artwork’s original context, see Kendall L. Walton, “Categories of Art,” Philosophical Review 79, no. 3 (1970): 364. 83 In his Must We Mean What We Say? (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1969), Stanley Cavell argues that the “spectator . . . alienates himself in the aesthetic object, as if to sacrifice himself for the sake of its advent and as if this were a duty which he must fulfill. Still, losing himself in this way, the spectator finds himself” (322). In fact, there are even passages in Truth and Method that suggest a picture similar to my own. For instance, Gadamer writes that the “spectator is set at . . . a distance that precludes practical or goal-oriented participation. . . . A spectator’s ecstatic self-forgetfulness corresponds to his continuity with himself. Precisely that in which one loses oneself as a spectator demands that one grasps the continuity of meaning. For it is the truth of our own world . . . that is presented before us and in which we recognize ourselves” (TM, 124). Of course, Gadamer would deny that our engagements with works of art include processes of alternative subjectivations. Christoph Menke, moreover, describes the aesthetic play as an activity of pre-subjective powers. See Menke, Die Kraft der Kunst, 11–14. 84 According to Kant, not only are works of art related to our most general cognitive aims and our desire for freedom, but, by means of their aesthetic ideas, such works touch on more concrete themes connected to universal human interests, such as eternity, death, love, glory, and so on (CPJ, 49, 5:314). Hegel similarly suggested that art is “one way of bringing to our minds and expressing the Divine, the deepest interests of mankind, and the most comprehensive truths of the spirit.” See G.W.F. Hegel, Aesthetics: Lectures on Fine Art, vol. 1, trans. T.M. Knox (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1978), 7. Hegel further argued that what “is now aroused in us by works of art is not just immediate enjoyment but our judgment also, since we subject to our intellectual consideration (i) the content of art, and (ii) the work of art’s means of presentation, and

Defending Disinterestedness  93 the appropriateness or inappropriateness of both to one another” (ibid., 11). According to my conception of an aesthetic judgment, such a consideration, which undoubtedly is part of one’s engagement with an artwork, qualifies as a moment of one’s aesthetic judgment about a work only if it is part of a cognitive process that remains open-ended and pleasurable. For a discussion of my conception of an aesthetic judgment, see my “Was ist ein ästhetisches Urteil?” 5 I take a person’s aesthetic engagement with a work of art ultimately to be unique 8 and personal, because it makes her aware of her freedom, forces her critically to reflect on her own specific perspective and life, and thereby possibly includes a transformation of that particular person. At the same time, I take it that, due to its wealth, multiperspectivity, and dialecticity, a work of art has the power to make many—possibly even all—people have such an experience. Therefore, the aesthetic judgment about an artwork can legitimately entail a claim of intersubjective validity.

3 Explicating Disinterestedness

When adopting a disinterested attitude, one does not relate practically to the world according to any interest, nor does one intentionally or cognitively relate to it according to one’s own specific perspective. Why should this make one temporarily lose the sense of oneself, though? What does it actually mean to have such a sense in the first place? So far, I have mostly relied on an intuitive understanding of terms such as “losing the sense of oneself” or “having a sense of one’s own specific self.” In order to spell out fully my account of disinterestedness, such an understanding does not suffice. It is also insufficient simply to rely on introspection in order to defend successfully the claim that a person must lose the sense of herself when aesthetically relating to what a work of art shows. To defend these claims, three things must be accomplished: (a) we must explicate the nature of the sense of self that a person temporarily loses when adopting a disinterested attitude, (b) we must identify the conditions of having this sense of self, and (c) we must explain why these conditions are not satisfied when a person relates to what an artwork shows. In this chapter, I attend to the first and second task; in the next, and final, chapter, I will attend to the third task. Intuitively, it may seem obvious that a person must lose the sense of herself while disengaging from her own fundamental perspective, because this perspective secures her qualitative identity. In fact, though, I take it that the non-practical nature of disinterestedness plays an even more decisive role here. In the last two chapters, I have discussed in detail the opposition between practical and disinterested attitudes. I will now show that this opposition is responsible for the fact that the adoption of a disinterested attitude makes a person temporarily lose the sense of herself. A person’s practical relations to the world always make her relate to her own existence in a particular manner, thereby giving her a sense of her own specific self that is temporarily lost when she adopts a disinterested attitude. I will explain this self-relation in three steps: I begin with two comments on my account of having a sense of oneself that are meant to eliminate likely misunderstandings. Then, I explicate this account by discussing Ernst Tugendhat’s interpretation of Heidegger’s analytic of Dasein. Finally, I describe the

Explicating Disinterestedness  95 social conditions of having a sense of oneself by focusing on Mead’s account of self-consciousness and Tugendhat’s advancement of it.

I. Two Introductory Comments Many philosophers have argued that a person essentially is a self-conscious being, and that it is her self-consciousness that distinguishes her from other forms of conscious life. As such a being, a person not only exists, but possesses a special consciousness that she has of herself. This consciousness is special because it makes her relate to herself as herself. That is, it not only makes her relate to herself, but makes her relate to herself while being aware that it is herself that she relates to. I will not present a full account of self-consciousness in what follows. Doing so would require me to discuss in detail the use of first-person pronouns, for “many mysteries surround the self . . . [and] many of them arise from the fact that a self refers to itself in the first-person way.”1 Instead of attending to the problem of selfconsciousness in all its complexity, I will focus on one particular way in which a person relates to herself as herself, and I will do so precisely to such a degree that it becomes clear what I mean to say when claiming that a person loses the sense of herself while adopting a disinterested attitude.2 First, however, I want to stress that when having a sense of herself, a person does not perceive herself. Terms such as “having a sense of oneself” or “having a sense of one’s own specific self” may seem to suggest that the relevant relation is a kind of sensory perception. There are, in fact, philosophers who explicitly defend a perception-model of introspection and ultimately of self-consciousness.3 Such a model, however, implies that a person is structured like a theater; it implies that she splits into two when relating to herself, namely into a perceiving I, on the one hand, and a perceived I or a perceived inner state, on the other. This is implausible, and it is not what I have in mind when claiming that a person always has a sense of herself while relating to the world in a practical manner. In other words, I do not mean to suggest that under such circumstances, a person perceptually turns towards her own specific self or her own inner states.4 Second, I do not take a person to relate to herself as an object when she has a sense of herself. Again, the term “having a sense of oneself” may seem to suggest such a conception; it may seem to suggest that a person somehow bends back onto her own ego, her own I, or her own self, thereby facing herself as an object. Following Tugendhat, I hold that one runs into confusions if one conceives of a person’s self as an object that the person relates to in a self-reflective way. Having a sense of oneself, then, is not a subject-object relation. If a person, however, does not relate to herself as an object, how else does she relate to herself while having a sense of herself?5 As we have seen, Schopenhauer takes it that a person is conscious of herself whenever she wants something, or rather whenever she immediately experiences her own will. A person, moreover, immediately experiences her

96  Explicating Disinterestedness own will whenever she immediately experiences her own body as a manifestation of her particular desires—that is, whenever she experiences it from the inside, instead of experiencing it as a phenomenon embedded within a nexus of reasons. According to Schopenhauer, then, self-consciousness arises out of a specific (immediate) manner in which a person can experience her own body. Unfortunately, though, he does not spell out what exactly it could mean for a person to experience her body in such a way. Therefore, his account of self-consciousness ultimately remains obscure and unsatisfying, as does his claim that a person temporarily loses the sense of herself while aesthetically relating to a beautiful object. Schopenhauer, however, was not the first to draw a tight connection between the notion of self-consciousness and the notion of a desiring agent. In his Foundations of Natural Right, Fichte had already argued that “the practical I is the I of original self-consciousness; that a rational being perceives itself immediately only in willing, and would not perceive itself . . . if it were not a practical being. The practical faculty is the innermost root of the I; everything else is placed upon and attached to this faculty.”6 Let us ignore Fichte’s apparent endorsement of the (problematic) perception-model of self-consciousness, and instead note that, however deep their overall disagreements may be, Fichte and Schopenhauer both share the contention that a person is a practical being that, most essentially, wants something and acts to advance its wants. They further share the contention that a person primarily relates to herself when she is active as such a being. In contrast to Fichte, Schopenhauer never speaks of an I that “posits” itself, yet he speaks of a person who can truly become conscious of herself only as a specific willing being.7 An important difference between Schopenhauer and Fichte is that the latter defines a person as a rational being, whereas the former takes a person ultimately to be determined by her irrational strivings. Fichte also argues that a person must ascribe a “free efficacy,” or rather the ability for free action, to herself in order to be conscious of herself as a rational being (FNR, §1, 18). More precisely, she must form the concept of her potential efficacy according to ends that she sets for herself (FNR, Introduction, 9). So, when claiming that a person or a rational being immediately experiences herself only when wanting something, Fichte takes a person wanting something to mean that she sets some ends for herself, and that she forms the concept of her own potential efficacy according to these ends.8 In contrast to Schopenhauer, then, Fichte holds that a person’s selfconsciousness depends on her intentional relations to her own freedom. This is a promising line of thought. Fichte’s characterization of these relations, though, remains vague and abstract. He does not present a conceptual framework fine and concrete enough to explain what exactly it could mean to relate to one’s own freedom. Ernst Tugendhat, however, presents precisely such a framework in his Self-Consciousness and Self-Determination. On the basis of his interpretation of Heidegger’s analytic of Dasein,

Explicating Disinterestedness  97 Tugendhat, further, spells out a notion of practical self-consciousness that illuminates the way in which a person loses the sense of herself while adopting a disinterested attitude. In order to explicate my understanding of what it means for a person to have a sense of herself, I, therefore, will now turn to Tugendhat’s account and discuss it in detail.

II. Practical Self-Consciousness Tugendhat distinguishes between two kinds of self-consciousness. On the one hand, there is what he calls “theoretical self-consciousness” or “epistemic self-consciousness” (SaS, 18). On the other, there is what he calls “a practical relation of oneself to oneself” (SaS, 23). The former includes all knowledge that a person has of her own states. According to Tugendhat, a person expresses such knowledge by articulating sentences of the form “I know that I ϕ,” where ϕ stands for any of her states (SaS, 13). If ϕ stands for one of her mental states, the articulation of such sentences expresses what Tugendhat calls “immediate epistemic self-consciousness.” If, however, it stands for one of her non-mental states, such as her having a certain size, the articulation of such sentences expresses what he calls “mediate epistemic self-consciousness.” The consciousness a person has of her own mental states is different from the one she has of her own non-mental states, because the former is a kind of knowledge that is not available to others. A sentence of the form “I know that I ϕ,” where ϕ stands for a mental state, further is assertoric, yet not cognitive (108). For instance, when saying that “I am in pain,” I say something that is either true or false, but that does not reveal an insight that I have arrived at on the basis of some observation, proof, or other cognitive procedure. To know that I am in pain just means that I say or think that I am in pain, and that I use the relevant terms according to their rules. The fact that I can have knowledge of my own mental states just on the basis of saying certain things and correctly using certain terms gives me an authority that others cannot have when talking about my mental states. Others rather have to rely on their observations of my behavior in order to be entitled to say or think that I am in a particular mental state. Following Wittgenstein, Tugendhat takes it that one’s articulation of a sentence of the form “I know that I ϕ,” where ϕ stands for a mental state, is part of the forms of behavior that can make another speaker ascribe predicate ϕ to me. So, if I say “I am in pain,” I not only express my knowledge of the fact that I am in pain, but also express my pain, showing a behavior that allows others to say “Thomas is in pain.” Thus, sentences of the form “I am in pain” are not only assertoric, but also expressive (108).9 In addition to her epistemic self-consciousness, there also is a person’s practical self-consciousness. Strictly speaking, though, Tugendhat does not speak of practical self-consciousness, but rather claims that a person relates practically to herself. In any case, he clearly seems to assume that a person

98  Explicating Disinterestedness is conscious of herself, or rather intentionally relates to herself, when being active as a practical agent: “[I]t seems to be a phenomenological fact that one relates to oneself in one’s volitions and actions” (132). As a matter of fact, Tugendhat even argues that a person stands in propositional relations to herself, or rather to her own existence, when wanting something or acting according to what she wants: “As agents we are what we do and want; in this sense we already have a relation to ourselves that is different from the epistemic one” (20, 21). In Chapter One, I pointed out that Schopenhauer anticipated Heidegger’s claim that we primarily relate to objects in a practical and instrumental way. I take it that Schopenhauer also anticipated Tugendhat’s claim that we relate to ourselves when wanting something or acting according to what we want. I further agree with Tugendhat that Heidegger’s account of Dasein implies this claim. Thus, even though Schopenhauer, Heidegger, and Tugendhat follow distinct methodological principles, they all stand in a common (pragmatist) tradition, because they all emphasize our practical nature and the practical dimension of self-consciousness.10 According to Tugendhat, there are two kinds of practical self-consciousness. A person expresses practical self-consciousness of the first (basic) kind, or rather she expresses immediate practical self-consciousness, when wanting something and acting according to what she wants. She verbally expresses this type of self-consciousness whenever she articulates sentences like “I want to do x” or “I will do x” (23). Moreover, she expresses practical selfconsciousness of the second kind when explicitly thinking about what she wants to do, how she wants to do it, and how she wants to be. Tugendhat calls this kind of self-consciousness “one’s reflective relation to oneself” or “self-determination” (21). He further argues that self-determination depends on mediate epistemic self-consciousness, for we can determine who we want to be, and how we want to act, only according to what we know about ourselves (33). Self-determination presupposes that we follow the Delphic motto “gnothi seauton” (know thyself). I take it, though, that both kinds of epistemic self-consciousness are already relevant with respect to practical self-consciousness of the first kind. How could we navigate the world without having any knowledge of our mental and non-mental states? Thus, while I agree with the distinctions Tugendhat makes, I see more possible interrelations among the four types of self-consciousness that he identifies. As already pointed out, Tugendhat develops his notion of practical selfconsciousness on the basis of an interpretation of Heidegger’s existential analytic of Dasein. Therefore, we cannot discuss his account without discussing his interpretation of Heidegger. In fact, it makes sense to begin with Heidegger and to explain briefly his notion of Dasein. Literally, the German word “Dasein” means being there, but the word is usually left untranslated by those who discuss Heidegger in English, and I, therefore, will also leave it untranslated. Heidegger primarily uses the term in order to refer to each

Explicating Disinterestedness  99 of us. Since he presents his analytic of Dasein as an attack on traditional accounts of subjectivity, personhood, and consciousness, one must be careful when associating this term with others. Nevertheless, I take it to be unproblematic to assume that Heidegger uses the word “Dasein” in order to refer to what we typically call “human beings”: “As ways in which human beings behave, sciences have this entity’s (the human being’s) kind of being. We are defining this entity terminologically as Dasein.”11 For Heidegger, then, the human being, “correctly understood ontologically,” is called “Dasein” (BT, §24, 103). Other terms, such as “subject,” “person,” or “consciousness,” serve to block an ontological investigation of what this term designates: “All these terms . . . are never used without a remarkable failure to see the need for inquiring about the being of the entity so designated” (BT, §10, 43). How exactly, though, does Heidegger ontologically conceive of the kind of entity that he calls “Dasein”?12 Most importantly, he takes it to be an entity that is different from other kinds of entities because it relates to its own “being.” That is, Dasein is “ontologically distinguished by the fact that in its being this entity is concerned about its very being” (BT, §4, 10). Of course, it is far from clear what Heidegger exactly means by the term “being,” which he grammatically uses as the gerundive of the verb “to be.” His understanding of this term is a huge topic among scholars, but it is not our topic in this chapter. Tugendhat assumes that Dasein relates to its own being in the sense of intentionally relating to its own existence. In contrast to other kinds of entities, then, Dasein does not only exist or live, but rather has to relate intentionally to its existence or life.13 According to Tugendhat, Heidegger’s account of Dasein presents a promising alternative to some popular, yet wrong, models of self-consciousness. In particular, Tugendhat rejects the idea that a person perceives her own self or her own states when intentionally relating to herself. Further, he denies that a person’s self-consciousness makes her relate to herself as an object: “While it was assumed in German Idealism that the relation of oneself to oneself necessarily has the structure of a relation of something to itself and thus must appear as a kind of self-mirroring, Heidegger presents the following alternative model: The human being relates himself to himself in relating himself to his existence—to his life as it is impending at any given time” (SaS, 29). The consciousness that a human being or a person has of herself, then, really is an intentional relation to her own existence or life. Tugendhat further specifies this relation as a propositional one. More precisely, he argues that we must understand the relation that a person has to her own existence as her relation to the fact that she exists (SaS, 142). When relating to this fact, she does not relate to an attribute that she instantiates. In fact, she does not relate to something that she already is at all. Instead, she relates to the fact that she has to be something. For Tugendhat, Heidegger’s analytic of Dasein suggests such an understanding of a person’s relation to the

100  Explicating Disinterestedness fact that she exists, and thereby also suggests a practical interpretation of “I am”-statements: According to Heidegger, I am not related to my being in the “I am” statement ‘aesthetically,’ that is, in the mode of looking or contemplating. I do not describe my being as something present (vorhanden), but I relate to it in the mode of ‘self-concern’ (Selbstbekümmerung); this being thereby does not have the sense of being present, but I relate myself to my being as something that I, as he says in Being and Time, “have to be.” (SaS, 27) Tugendhat continues by arguing that a person relates to the fact that she has to be something in the sense of relating to the fact that she has to be one way or another in the future. More precisely, a person essentially is directed at her future existence, yet does not see it as a fixed path unfolding ahead of her. Rather, she sees it in terms of certain possibilities; she leads her life according to an understanding that she not only has to be one way or another, but also can be one way or another. When a person, therefore, relates to the fact that she exists, she relates to the fact that there are different possibilities for her of how to lead her life in the future. Heidegger supposedly points to all of this when further characterizing Dasein’s existence as a “being ahead of itself,” a “being towards possibilities,” and a “potentiality for being.”14 According to Tugendhat, different ways of existence amount to different actions. When saying that a person is aware of different possibilities with respect to her future existence, he, therefore, means to say that a person is aware of the fact that she could do different things in the future. Being aware of this, moreover, implies being aware of the fact that one has a choice, and that one can make a decision. A person, then, propositionally relates to her existence by affirming certain possible courses of action and by denying certain others (27). Of course, her range of possibilities might change. They might even be reduced to such a degree that it becomes hard to continue calling her “free.” As long as she exists as a person, though, she will position herself within some range of possibilities. That is, as long as she exists as a person, she will actively relate to her existence by affirming some possible courses of action and by denying some others. A person says “yes” or “no” to a possibility by means of answering a “practical question” (172). Such a question has the following six characteristics: (a) it “always concerns one’s own or common acting, doing, living, or being in the first-person singular or plural” (172), (b) when it is asked, “one’s own or a common future” is at stake (172), (c) asking it presupposes that one’s own actions matter to oneself, (d) asking it indicates that one can freely choose among alternatives, yet that one’s freedom also has limitations, (e) one can freely decide whether to ask it or not, and (f) one always asks

Explicating Disinterestedness  101 this question in the sense of asking, “What is better?” (172, 173). So, I will ask a practical question, for instance, if I ask, “Should I finish this book?”, “Should I marry my girlfriend?”, “Should I stay in America?”, “Should I play soccer on Thursday?”, “Should I call my mother today?”, “Should I eat out tonight?”, or “Should I take the stairs when leaving the building?” Of course, not all of these questions make me relate to my existence in the same way. Some are more fundamental than others. The most fundamental one goes, “To be or not to be—that is the question.”15 When asking this question, a person relates to her existence in the most fundamental way, because she calls it into question. Thus, there is a huge difference among the ways in which a person relates to her own existence due to the qualitative differences among the practical questions that she asks. However, every time a person answers such a question, she determines her future actions, and thereby her future existence. As Tugendhat points out, every action expresses a different way to be.16 Moreover, a person answers a practical question only by forming an intention. For instance, I positively answer the question “Should I finish my book?” only if I form the intention to finish it, which I really form only when actually working on the book. For as long as I do not work on it, it is not clear whether I really intend to finish it or just deceive myself and others in thinking so. Intending something, therefore, truly shows itself only in action (190). And the same holds true for wanting something. Not all volitions, though, imply a decision, for not all volitions include the affirmation of a possibility. An instinctual or an obsessive desire, for instance, may make a person follow a path of life that she did not affirm as her own chosen course. Making a decision, however, presupposes such an affirmation, for the idea of a decision, as well as the idea of an action, entails the idea of a choice (190). This choice can be made implicitly, and perhaps can be identified only in retrospect. Nevertheless, it must be made in order for a decision to be made. What holds true in the case of wanting something also holds true in the case of doing something. Tugendhat, therefore, is wrong to suggest that all our doings express intentions or decisions. Some of them may express obsessions, instincts, or reflexes, and consequently will not qualify as actions. However, even if a person temporarily stops relating to herself by means of making a decision about her future existence, she generally has to live her life according to her ability to make such decisions. As a selfconscious being, she simply must understand that there are different possibilities for her of how to act in the future, and she typically must make choices among these possibilities whenever she wants something or acts in some practical way. Following Tugendhat, then, we may draw the following conclusion: a person typically stands in a “voluntative” relation to herself whenever she wants something or acts in some practical way, because she then decides among different possibilities of how to be in the future (169). This conclusion

102  Explicating Disinterestedness specifies Fichte’s claim that a person is conscious of herself in the sense of being aware of her freedom. Tugendhat, however, considers this to be only the active side of a person’s practical relations to herself. There is also a passive side, which has to do with a person’s moods and emotions. Once again, Tugendhat turns to Heidegger in order to cash out this point: [T]his voluntative relation to one’s own being involves only one side of the matter—the side of the active self-relating to one’s own being that is experienced as practical possibility . . . And Heidegger now advances the further thesis that the side of practical necessity—which he terms “thrownness”—also has its own mode of disclosure: In accordance with this passive side one’s own being is disclosed in one’s emotions and moods. Thus, Heidegger succeeds in incorporating the voluntative as well as the affective states into the relation of oneself to oneself. The person encounters herself, her being, both in what she wants and in what she feels. (169) Indeed, in his Being and Time, Heidegger argues that “in attunement Dasein is always brought before itself, it has always already found itself, not as perceiving oneself to be there, but as one finds one’s self in attunement“ (BT, §29, 128). Further, he claims that “the mood brings Dasein before the that of its there, which stares at it with the inexorability of an enigma” (BT, §29, 128). So, even though a person may choose among possibilities, she has not chosen to exist in the first place. The fact of her existence rather is a mysterious starting-point that she just has to deal with. Besides, she has not chosen the specific age, culture, society, class, and family that she grew up in. Rather, she has been thrown into all of them, just as she has been thrown into her very existence. Right from the beginning, then, a person finds herself in particular situations that restrict her range of possibilities. Following Heidegger, Tugendhat argues that a person’s moods and emotions arise out of these situations. Of course, a person may attempt to change her moods and emotions, but initially, they arise as a result of how her environment makes her feel. For instance, we do not decide to feel afraid when a dog attacks us, we do not decide to feel angry when being cheated on, and we do not decide to feel happy when winning the jackpot. We also hardly decide whom we love, hate, or envy. All these emotions, more or less, just happen to us. Our moods and emotions, however, do not just arise out of the situations in which we find ourselves, but also arise out of how we evaluate them according to our desires, intentions, and decisions; they make us aware of how our specific environment responds to our affirmations of being one way rather than another (185). Once again, then, we stand in a relation to our own existence here, yet not in an active one, where we affirm a certain possibility, but in a passive one, where we experience how things respond to

Explicating Disinterestedness  103 our existential affirmations and denials. For instance, when fearing someone, we find him obstructive to some of our desires, whereas when liking him, we take him to satisfy some of them. When being ecstatic, we find the world conducive to our volitions and intentions, whereas when feeling depressed, we find it obstructive or, at least, unresponsive to them. According to Tugendhat, then, a person’s practical self-consciousness shows itself not only via her voluntative and active relations but also via her affective and passive relations to her own existence. While I do not believe that every emotion a person feels makes her relate to her own existence, I take it that Tugendhat’s overall picture is correct.17 As already suggested, the voluntative and affective aspects of practical self-consciousness do not exist in isolation from each other. Rather, we feel what we feel because of what we want, and we want what we want because of what we feel. In particular, our moods are connected to and express our “overall volitional disposition,” which Tugendhat calls our “will to live” (186, 187). What is more, a person’s practical relations to herself do not exist in isolation from her practical relations to other people and objects: “The person experiences herself as in a world—as in an encompassing situation of action—and the being that is at issue is always already a being-in-the-world, that is, a being with others who care in the midst of entities about which one cares. Thus, the person does not relate herself on the one hand to herself and on the other hand to other entities” (177). When characterizing a person as a being-in-the-world, Tugendhat again follows Heidegger. According to Heidegger, Dasein typically is directed at concrete objects, yet is not directed at them as things that are merely present at certain positions in space and time, where we understand space and time as structures correctly described by mathematics and science. As pointed out in Chapter One, Dasein primarily relates to objects as things that are at-hand. That is, it sees them according to what it can do with them: it sees the pen as something to write with, the book as something to read in, the desk as something to sit at, and so on. Heidegger contends that Dasein primarily stands in such practical relations to things, thereby always relating to itself as well: “Dasein initially finds ‘itself’ in what it does, needs, expects, has charge of, in the things that are at hand which it initially takes care of in the surrounding world” (BT, §26, 112). The objects that are at-hand to Dasein are further interconnected with each other. For instance, the objects in my study constitute a whole; they all belong together and collectively serve certain purposes. Following Heidegger, we may, for example, say that the pen on my desk “refers” to the piece of paper next to it, since it is “relevant” only “together with it” (BT, §18, 78). When practically relating to things, then, I see them as tools that may fulfill certain purposes. Heidegger further takes it that there must be one primary purpose according to which everything that is at-hand to me is situated within one overall totality. This purpose must be I myself (BT, §18,

104  Explicating Disinterestedness 84). As Dasein, then, I relate to all things that are at-hand to me as things that I ultimately can use for my own sake: “Heidegger advances the ostensibly plausible thesis that we do not relate to entities in isolation, but according to their relevance within an interest-determined situation of action; he designates this situation as the ‘world.’ . . . For Dasein the fundamental issue is always its own being. Its being is its ultimate ‘for-the-sake-of-which’ . . .” (SaS, 165).18 Tugendhat’s reading of Heidegger here allows us to return to the concept of an interest. It also reminds us of an affinity between Heidegger and Schopenhauer, since both of them obviously take it that we typically relate to objects within an “interest-determined situation of action.” That is, Heidegger also takes us to relate to objects primarily according to the role that they may play for the satisfaction of what we want and the realization of what we intend. If this is how we primarily relate to objects, though, and if Tugendhat’s analysis of our volitions and intentions is correct, then we cannot relate to objects without also relating to ourselves. And the same holds true vice versa. For how could we affirm a specific way to act or evaluate how things respond to such an existential affirmation without relating to specific objects as things that are at hand to us? So, according to the picture that Tugendhat draws on the basis of his interpretation of Heidegger, a person’s practical relations to other entities and her practical relations to herself, or rather to her own existence, cannot be two separate things, but rather must be two sides of the same coin. Tugendhat spells out an important aspect of self-consciousness by introducing his account of one’s practical relations to oneself. In fact, when saying that a person has a sense of herself while relating practically to the world according to her own interests, I primarily mean to say that she relates practically to herself while doing so. More precisely, I mean to say that while doing so, she voluntatively and affectively relates to her own existence. Tugendhat’s account of practical self-consciousness, then, illuminates my understanding of having a sense of oneself, and it explains why having this sense of self always goes hand in hand with one’s practical behavior. However, there are three objections against the picture drawn so far that need to be addressed. First, one might argue that, according to Heidegger, we are far from making free choices while living our daily lives. As Dasein, each of us typically follows the general norms and patterns of society, and therefore behaves as everyone else does. Heidegger famously argues that Dasein primarily and ordinarily just exists as “the they,” and further specifies this way of existence as “inauthentic” (BT, §27, 120). Of course, he can only specify it as such, because he argues that it is also possible for Dasein to exist in an authentic way, i.e., to exist as an authentic self: “The self of everyday Da-sein is the they-self which we distinguish from the authentic self, the self which has explicitly grasped itself” (BT, §27, 121). Already in the introduction of Being and Time, Heidegger notes that Dasein understands itself “in terms of its possibility to be itself or not to be itself“ (BT, §4, 10), and later claims that “Da-sein is always essentially its possibility,

Explicating Disinterestedness  105 it can ‘choose’ itself in its being, it can win itself, it can lose itself, or it can never and only ‘apparently’ win itself” (BT, §9, 42). All this makes it sound as if Dasein is ordinarily neither free nor truly relating to itself. It seems as if Dasein is truly free and relates to itself only when reaching an authentic way of existence, whatever exactly this may be. Indeed, some scholars have suggested that Heidegger’s account of authenticity is an account of freedom.19 In general, I agree, as does Tugendhat. For him, having the ability of truly becoming myself relies on the ability of distancing myself from the usual norms and practices, and of determining deliberatively how I want to be and how I want to live. When deliberatively and reflectively determining myself in this way, I leave the level of immediate practical self-consciousness and reach the level of what Tugendhat calls “self-determination.” For Tugendhat, then, Heidegger’s account of authenticity is an account of selfdetermination, which explicates a degree of self-consciousness and freedom that a person ordinarily does not possess or express. This does not imply that a person is ordinarily neither free nor engaged in self-relation. Freedom rather “is a gradual phenomenon, just like self-consciousness; the more extensively we recognize the factors that determine our being and acting, our willing and feeling, the freer we are. For only if we are aware of them can we control them in a given situation . . .” (SaS, 127). I agree that a person always makes choices when practically relating to objects, and thereby always expresses her freedom. Moreover, I agree that her freedom remains of a primitive or diminished kind if she blindly follows the norms and practices of her society without ever realizing how they condition her, and without ever critically reflecting on their contingency and on possible alternatives to them. Following Tugendhat, I claim that a person reaches a more substantial freedom, and also gains a stronger sense of herself, when explicitly and critically reflecting on her social conditions and the unarticulated presuppositions that determine her relations to the world, for such a reflection allows for the making of a more fundamental choice with respect to her own existence. In fact, this kind of reflection and choice constitutes what I have been calling “achieving selfhood.” Following Heidegger, we may also call it “an authentic way of existence.” Whether a person exists authentically or inauthentically, though, she always must relate to herself when relating to objects in a practical manner. One may further object, though, that neither this account of practical selfconsciousness nor my account of a perspective is in line with Heidegger’s project. According to Hubert Dreyfus, Heidegger rejects the idea that our ordinary behavior is guided by desires, intentions, goals, or choices. Instead of explicating an action intentionalistically, he rather explicates it as a kind of flow.20 Of course, Dreyfus does not deny that Heidegger believes that Dasein takes a stand on itself by means of acting in a specific way, but this stand supposedly has nothing to do with some kind of “thematic selfreferential consciousness.”21 That is, human beings typically do not relate to themselves via intentional states and “are not, except in cases of breakdown,

106  Explicating Disinterestedness subjects making choices as to how to satisfy their desires. Rather, beingthere is doing something it makes sense to do given the public situation, and given already-taken-over public for-the-sake-of whichs.”22 In response to this objection, let me first stress that it is not my goal here to present a correct interpretation of Heidegger. Tugendhat’s account of practical self-consciousness may actually contradict Heidegger’s project to some extent, and I concede that my account of a perspective, most likely, does so as well. According to this account, a person intentionally relates to the world and to herself according to certain categories, principles, schemata, interests, and goals. Dreyfus is right to stress that this is not Heidegger’s picture. When claiming that a person relates in such a way to the world, though, I do not mean to claim that her categories, principles, schemata, interests, and goals are mental states that cause her intentional relations to the world and exist independently of them. A person rather expresses them when relating to the world in specific ways. Moreover, she adopts most of her categories, principles, and interests by means of being thrown into particular practices that teach her how to relate to things and to herself. Similarly, a person expresses her intentions, choices, and decisions by means of acting one way or another. Typically, she does not make her choices deliberatively and explicitly, but rather just acts. Whenever acting one way or another, though, she has made a choice about her existence, and thereby has related practically to herself. Giving up, then, on the idea that our choices are mental episodes causing other episodes (i.e., our actions) does not force us to give up on the notion of a choice in general. And even though our actions may not be accompanied by some kind of “thematic self-referential consciousness,” they still may go hand in hand with a kind of self-relation that consists in implicitly and nondeliberatively affirming specific ways to exist.23 Finally, one may object that it is not convincing to claim that a practical relation to one’s own existence qualifies as a relation to oneself. That is, it does not seem to be the case that implicitly affirming a specific way of existing necessarily includes a self-referential thought. In fact, though, I hold that there are no existential affirmations and human actions without such thoughts. Our affirmations and actions are not caused by such thoughts, but they express them. Acting in a particular way always implies answering a practical question, and this implies that one actively decides in favor of an action that one takes to concern oneself, and that one considers being appropriate under the circumstances in question. Thinking this manifests or expresses itself in actually performing the relevant action and in being able to explain and justify why one performs it. So, when acting and affirming a particular way to be, one typically does not articulate a sentence that makes clear that one relates to oneself as oneself, and one typically does not pause in order to entertain explicitly a thought of this kind, yet one still is aware of oneself as oneself, because one decides to perform an action that one takes to concern oneself, and that one considers being the right or a good thing to do.24

Explicating Disinterestedness  107 Of course, a person does not always relate to herself. For instance, when falling into dreamless sleep, she temporarily loses the sense of herself, because she no longer positions herself within a range of possibilities, and no longer evaluates her environment according to her own interests, intentions, and choices. She rather takes a break from the relations in which she usually stands to herself, i.e., she temporarily loses the sense of herself. Something similar happens when a person aesthetically relates to an artwork, although in contrast to her falling asleep, she does not become blind when engaging with such a work. On the contrary, she becomes quite sharp-sighted and starts to perceive things that she does not perceive when relating practically to the world according to her interests. Before explaining why a person must lose the sense of herself when aesthetically relating to a work of art, I will now briefly turn to the social conditions of practical self-consciousness in order to spell out fully my conception of having a sense of oneself.

III. The Social Conditions of Practical Self-Consciousness It has often been argued that one can develop into a self-conscious being only by interacting with other such beings. In his Foundations of Natural Right, Fichte, for instance, intends to present “an a priori argument for the fundamentally social character of human beings, an argument grounded upon an analysis of the very structure of self-consciousness. . . .”25 Heidegger argues that Dasein is “being-with others” (BT, §26, 112), and Tugendhat claims that one needs to interact with others in order to develop into a person. In order to specify and defend this claim, Tugendhat does not again draw on Heidegger’s analytic, but instead turns to Mead’s account.26 In his Mind, Self, and Society, Mead sets out to explain the nature and origin of consciousness, self-consciousness, and what he calls “the mind” from a social behaviorist’s point of view.27 According to Mead, all three arise out of social interaction and communication (MSS, 18). Moreover, he argues that social interaction consists in one individual stimulating another to behave in a particular way. The kind of stimulus most often used here is the gesture (MSS, 43). Social interaction, therefore, usually consists in a “conversation of gestures” (MSS, 47). Mead further distinguishes between two different kinds of gestures. On the one hand, there are gestures that one makes only in order to arouse a response in another individual. On the other hand, there are gestures that one makes in order to arouse a response in another individual and in order to arouse the same response implicitly in oneself. For Mead, only gestures of the latter kind have meaning, and therefore qualify as “significant symbols” (MSS, 45), because only they can make all individuals involved relate a given gesture to one and the same thing, namely to a particular behavioral response. The meaning of a gesture, then, is the response that an individual explicitly arouses in another and implicitly arouses in herself when making this gesture (MSS, 47). Vocal gestures are exceptionally suited to be significant symbols, for when making a vocal

108  Explicating Disinterestedness gesture, one hears one’s own address to another person just as the addressee hears it, and thus tends to respond to it as the addressee does (MSS, 69). As an organization of vocal gestures, language, therefore, is the primary means for our social interactions and communications (MSS, 97). Responding implicitly to a gesture that one addresses to another individual in the same way as that other individual explicitly responds to it—or, at least, is expected to respond to it—must mean that one is prepared to behave in the same way as one expects the other individual to behave. The implicit response, then, that one arouses in oneself is not an actual behavior, but rather a disposition to manifest such behavior under certain conditions (MSS, 67). For instance, if I tell you to get the chair, I am not getting the chair myself, but I am prepared to get it if you do not do so. Mead assumes that such a tendency or disposition to do the same thing that one asks another one to do implies that one adopts “the attitude of the other” towards one’s own gesture (MSS, 47). In the context of Mead’s social behaviorism, an attitude stands for an individual’s adjustment to her environment and for “the beginning, or potential initiation, of some . . . social act in which, along with other individuals, the individual taking the given attitude is involved or implicated” (MSS, 100). So, when one individual addresses another by using a significant symbol, she prepares herself to make the same adjustment to her environment that she expects or asks the other one to make. In other words, when addressing another one by using a significant symbol, one adopts that individual’s “attitude” or “role” (MSS, 141). According to Mead, this procedure of adopting another one’s attitude allows for better control of one’s own behavior, for it makes one anticipate how a given social interaction may proceed in the future (MSS, 254). Mead further argues that it is necessary for an individual to communicate with others and to adopt their attitudes toward her own gestures in order to develop into an intelligent being. For in order to develop into such a being, an individual needs to acquire the ability to deliberate and to think, and thinking is nothing but an inner dialogue and an internalization of the exchanges of significant symbols that one has with others (MSS, 47). So, when thinking, an individual prepares to behave as she expects others to behave, and prepares to respond to their behavior, without actually engaging with them. As such an internalized dialogue, thinking remains a social activity, because it entails that the individual who thinks arouses in herself the attitudes of others, with whom she may eventually co-operate. By arousing implicit responses in herself, and by adopting the attitudes of others, an individual recognizes her various possible responses to a given situation and eventually chooses among these possibilities (MSS, 117). Mead claims that an individual recognizes her possibilities only by means of standing in social relations, for the capacity to arouse implicit responses in oneself arises only out of one’s actual exchanges of gestures with others. For Mead, then, there can be no role-taking, and thereby no deliberative and free selection among possibilities, without real social interaction. Finally, he claims that,

Explicating Disinterestedness  109 without social interaction, no individual could develop into a self, or rather into a self-conscious being: “We are unconsciously putting ourselves in the place of others and acting as others act. I want simply to isolate the general mechanism here, because it is of very fundamental importance in the development of what we call self-consciousness and the appearance of the self” (MSS, 69). In general, Mead takes a self to be an individual that becomes an object to herself (136). He further calls the ability to become an object to oneself “self-consciousness” (172). An individual, though, cannot become an object to herself by directly experiencing herself. Rather, she can only indirectly experience herself from the perspective of an individual with whom she interacts. That is, in order to experience herself, she has to respond to her own gestures and behavior from another individual’s standpoint (138). Taking the stance of another person is an aspect of our usual communication and interaction. Developing into a self-conscious being, then, is part of engaging in the kind of interaction that we, as speakers of a language, engage in. To a certain extent, linguistic behavior and the expression of selfconsciousness just go hand in hand (142).28 A child really starts to develop into a self-conscious being when it adopts different attitudes during its play period. When playing, a child learns to have a conversation by itself, and thereby learns to think (151). Interestingly, though, Mead assumes that even after having fully developed into a self, not all of an individual’s actions involve herself as the self she has become: “In our habitual actions, for example, in our moving about in a world that is simply there and to which we are so adjusted that no thinking is involved, there is a certain amount of sensuous experience such as persons have when they are just waking up, a bare thereness of the world” (135). Here Mead sounds like Heidegger, or, at least, like Heidegger as interpreted by Dreyfus. In contrast to Mead, I do not take it that our habitual actions involve neither our thinking nor ourselves. I have already discussed this point at the very end of the last section. Mead, however, argues that even when running away from someone, an agent is “entirely occupied in this action, and his experience may be swallowed up in the objects about him, so that he has, at the time being, no consciousness of self at all” (137). According to my conception of self-consciousness, a person running away from someone is conscious of herself, because she relates to her existence by deciding to run away, and by fearing for her life or safety. Of course, this disagreement only points to an even deeper disagreement between Mead and myself: following Tugendhat, I do not conceive of self-consciousness as an ability to become an object to oneself. As a behaviorist, Mead should not have defended this conception. In fact, it is alien to his overall account. When speaking about the adoption of attitudes, Mead speaks about the arousal of implicit responses. That is, adopting another person’s attitude toward oneself means that one prepares and anticipates responding to one’s gestures as one expects others

110  Explicating Disinterestedness to respond to them. This, however, does not make one relate to oneself as an object. Mead’s official characterization of self-consciousness, therefore, is misleading and leads him to some false analyses. In the second part of Mind, Self, and Society, Mead claims that in order to develop into a self in the fullest sense of the word—which includes developing into a rational being—adopting the attitudes of specific individuals towards one’s own gestures and behavior is insufficient. One also needs to adopt the attitude of the so-called “generalized other” (154). For Mead, the generalized other is the “organized community or social group” an individual belongs to (154). So, when adopting this attitude, one evaluates one’s own gestures and behavior according to the expectations and norms that ground the “co-operative processes and activities and institutional functionings” of the social group to which one essentially belongs (155). One cannot fulfill a functional role within society without evaluating one’s own gestures and behavior in such a way. For instance, I cannot work as a college professor within my community without knowing what people from my community exactly expect and demand from a college professor. Mead has it that one’s sense of self is of a higher form if one fulfills a specific functional role within society (316). The fulfillment of such a role gives an individual a feeling of her own position within society as a whole and makes her less dependent on the existence of specific personal relations. The self is not a substance, but rather is a process “in which the conversation of gestures has been internalized within an organic form” (178). It is an organization of all the attitudes it adopts, and the more attitudes it adopts the more complex it becomes. In order to develop really into a rational being, though, the self must adopt the most generalized expectations and norms that a society shares, namely the norms determining what counts as “good,” “right,” “true,” and so on. Mead calls the organized set of attitudes constituting the self “the me” (173). An individual’s me, then, includes all expectations that society has of her, given her functional roles and given her overall behavior and behavioral dispositions (182). The self, however, is not wholly identical to the me. If it were, it could not qualify as the creative and spontaneous agent that we also take it to be. The self, therefore, must also be “the I”: “The ‘I’ is the response of the organism to the attitudes of the others . . . The attitudes of the others constitute the organized ‘me,’ and then one reacts toward that as an ‘I’ ” (175). On the one hand, then, a self-conscious individual is an organized set of attitudes. On the other hand, she must be more than this, because her actions are hardly ever completely determined by such a set. Rather, they tend, more or less, to deviate from the generalized or specific expectations of others, thereby expressing the individual’s uniqueness and creativity (177). The power that introduces this uniqueness and creativity, and that gives an individual a sense of her spontaneity and freedom, is what Mead calls her “I” (178 and 198).29

Explicating Disinterestedness  111 A self-conscious individual, however, cannot be conscious of her own I in a direct manner. Directly, she can be conscious only of the organization of attitudes that constitutes her own me. She can be conscious of her I indirectly, though, by means of recognizing the actions that her I is responsible for: “The running current of awareness, then, is not due to the ‘I’ being immediately aware of itself. It is due to the running commentary of the ‘Me’ on the actions of the ‘I.’ ”30 Tugendhat endorses many aspects of Mead’s account. According to him, though, thinking and relating to oneself have no communicative structure. Both arise from communication, but one does not communicate when one thinks or relates to oneself: “[T]his relation to oneself is not a form of talking to oneself, but an adoption of a yes/no position toward one’s own being; and it is not just an adoption of a position on the part of others that is involved, but a set of normative expectations” (SaS, 235). I agree that thinking and relating to oneself typically entail that one relates to one’s existence according to the normative expectations of one’s society. But this is not the whole picture. A person also often imagines how specific individuals ask her questions. By imagining this, she neither engages in an actual conversation with other people nor duplicates herself into various egos. Rather, she anticipates how others might respond to certain things she says or does, and how she again might react to their responses. This anticipation entails that the person adopts different roles, such as the role of her friend, her teacher, and so on, and implicitly responds to her behavior from the standpoint of these roles. Mead rightly points to the behavior of children during their play period in order to explain how one can learn such role-taking. If one generally endorses Mead’s account and takes it seriously, then one can now explain the emergence and development of an individual’s practical self-consciousness in the following way: first, an individual must be summoned by other individuals to answer practical questions. When she has learned how to answer such questions, she has acquired a basic sense of herself, for by answering a practical question, the individual makes a decision and thereby stands in an intentional relation to her existence. In order to acquire a more robust sense of herself, though, the individual must learn how to ask herself practical questions outside of actual conversations. She learns this by learning how to adopt the attitudes of absent individuals, and by asking herself questions that these individuals might ask her. Following Mead, I claim that an individual learns how to do this when learning how to adopt attitudes and roles in the context of playing games.31 In order to develop fully into a being that possesses and expresses practical self-consciousness, an individual, moreover, must learn how to evaluate her behavior according to the generalized expectations and norms of her social community. For without learning how to do this, she cannot really think about anything, including herself. That is, she cannot affirm a certain possible course of action in the sense of determining what, under some specific circumstances, the appropriate action is, and she cannot make a

112  Explicating Disinterestedness decision, for making a decision requires that one is able to justify it, and one can do so only against the background of shared norms and social practices. Of course, what holds in the case of every ordinary decision must hold even more so in the case of the deliberative and reflective decision-making that constitutes self-determination. Just like every other kind of decision-making, self-determination relies on the existence of reasons that can justify it, and, according to Tugendhat, it also relies on a search for truth: “Deliberation is essentially related to truth in a threefold sense; one raises questions about (a) what is actual (individual and social knowledge), (b) what is possible (knowledge of the situation of action), and (c) what is best among the possibilities that are given in the situation of action” (SaS, 266). In fact, I take it that a person always implicitly asks, “What is real?”, “What is possible?”, and “What is best?” when relating practically to herself. Moreover, when answering these questions in a rational manner, she must do so according to norms and practices determining what counts as real, possible, and best, and what counts as a reason. There cannot be such norms, though, without a community of speakers. The notion of a norm is the notion of something that holds for everyone, that determines what one is obligated to do, and what others consequently may expect from one. The notion of a norm, therefore, implies the notion of a community. So, a person cannot follow a norm without conceiving of others who may hold her accountable, and who themselves must follow this norm as well. Tugendhat, however, seems to assume that self-determination actually presupposes the transcendence of one’s own particular community and a determination of the “right form of life” that all rational agents must find compelling (SaS, 254). Tugendhat also turns from Heidegger to Mead because he takes it that, in contrast to the latter, Heidegger neglects the essential connection between self-determination and rationality: [W]e are free in the sense of self-determination if we act on the basis of an explicit or implicit process of deliberation in which the practical question is posed in its fundamental sense. In this way the aspect of reason stressed by Mead is included, since the concept of deliberation involves aiming for the good or the best, that is, for an objectively justified preference. On the other hand, we have seen that it is equally characteristic of the concept of deliberation that the process of adducing grounds must come to an end when decisions about one’s life are at issue; thus the decision retains an irreducibly volitional and subjective aspect. (SaS, 265) At the end of this passage, Tugendhat hints at Mead’s notion of the I. Like Mead, then, Tugendhat claims that the decisions and actions by means of which a person determines herself cannot completely arise from the generalized expectations, norms, and practices of a community, even if this

Explicating Disinterestedness  113 community is the group of all rational agents. This, however, is a problematic claim. If a person’s decision has “an irreducibly volitional and subjective aspect,” or rather if it relies on a spontaneous activity of her I, then she cannot fully explain and justify it, for something about the decision goes beyond her rational control. This seems to imply that her decision, at least to some extent, is not made by her, but rather overcomes her, which then raises the question of whether such decision-making can really have anything to do with an expression of her freedom. Alternatively, one may suggest that the decision-making constitutive of self-determination may challenge the generalized expectations, norms, and practices of one’s own community, yet still must appeal to the expectations and norms of some more encompassing community (MSS, 276 and 284). On the other hand, though, one again could argue that a free decision must express a person’s creativity, and therefore must go beyond the appeal to any norm. Even starting fully to spell out this problem would mean writing another book. Instead of doing this here, I conclude that a person’s self-determination (also) relies on her reflection on, and eventually her challenge of, the expectations, norms, and practices that typically determine her own life. In other words, achieving selfhood relies on the critical reflection of one’s own fundamental perspective. When saying that a person has a sense of herself, I primarily mean to say that she stands in a voluntative or affective relation to her own existence. She stands in a voluntative relation to her existence when deciding to act in a particular way; she stands in an affective relation to it when evaluating, via her moods and emotions, how the world responds to her decisions and interests. Moreover, when intentionally relating to her own existence, a person also intentionally relates to objects that she can interact with practically according to her interests. In order to acquire the ability to relate to oneself in such a way, one must be summoned by others to answer practical questions, and one must learn how to answer practical questions that one asks oneself. In the next chapter, I will show that a person typically cannot stand in a voluntative or affective relation to her existence when relating to what an artwork shows, and therefore must temporarily lose the sense of herself. One might wonder, though, where all of this leaves “epistemic selfconsciousness.” More precisely, one might wonder whether I also claim that a person refrains from ascribing mental or non-mental predicates to herself while adopting a disinterested attitude. In the previous chapters, I have argued that the adoption of a disinterested attitude makes a person not only relate to the world in a non-practical way, but also disengage herself from her own specific perspective. That is, when adopting a disinterested attitude towards what a work of art shows, we become absorbed and immersed in what it shows, and how it shows it, and therefore tend to forget about ourselves, including our intentional and non-intentional states. Consequently, we also tend to refrain from ascribing predicates to ourselves while adopting a disinterested attitude. In the following, I will describe the absorbing and immersive power of the various arts in

114  Explicating Disinterestedness some detail. In the previous chapters, though, I have already presented my main reasons for believing that it is constitutive of one’s aesthetic relation to what an artwork shows that one temporarily disengages oneself from one’s specific perspective and adopts the work’s own perspective(s). In the next chapter, I will focus on proving that a person loses her practical sense of self while aesthetically relating to what an artwork shows. Overall, a central feature of my conception of aesthetic disinterestedness remains its non-practical nature.

Notes 1 Hector-Neri Castañeda, “On the Phenomeno-Logic of the I,” in Self-Knowledge, ed. Quassim Cassam (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994), 60. 2 Kant is one of the many philosophers who assume that a person essentially is a self-conscious being, and that it is her self-consciousness that distinguishes her from other forms of conscious life. See Kant, Anthropology, 7:127. For some more recent (favorable) presentations of this position see Strawson, Individuals, 87; Hidé Ishiguro, “The Primitiveness of the Concept of a Person,” in Philosophical Subjects: Essays Presented to P. F. Strawson, ed. van Straaten, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1980), 62–73; and Dieter Henrich, Denken und Selbstsein: Vorlesungen über Subjektivität (Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp Verlag, 2007), 30 and 65. For an interesting study of the use of first-person pronouns from an analytic as well as German Idealist’s perspective, see Sebastian Rödl, Self-Consciousness (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2007). Rödl rightly emphasizes that self-consciousness not only makes a person relate to herself, but also makes her relate and refer to herself as herself. See Rödl, SelfConsciousness, 1. 3 See, for instance, D. M. Armstrong, “Introspection,” in Cassam, SelfKnowledge, 109. 4 For criticism of the theater-model of the self, see Donald Davidson, “Knowing One’s Own Mind,” in Subjective, Intersubjective, Objective, 34; and Ernst Tugendhat, Self-Consciousness and Self-Determination, trans. Paul Stern (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 1986), 73. 5 For Tugendhat’s criticism of the idea that a self-conscious relation is a specific kind of subject-object-relation, see Tugendhat, Self-Consciousness and SelfDetermination, 14, 39–54 and 73. 6 Johann Gottlieb Fichte, Foundations of Natural Right, ed. Frederick Neuhouser, trans. Michael Baur (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000), Corollaries following §1, 21. 7 Fichte’s notion of positing is notoriously difficult to understand. I take it that to posit something means to be conscious of it as well as to assert it. Thus, I agree with Frederick Neuhouser that Fichte primarily uses the term “selfpositing” as a technical term for “self-consciousness”—or as Neuhouser has put it: “[I]n being conscious of itself the I directs its conscious activity back on itself and thereby ‘posits,’ or ‘intends,’ itself. . . .” See Frederick Neuhouser, “Introduction,” in Fichte, Foundations of Natural Right, ix. For some textual evidence supporting the claim that, according to Fichte, to posit something also means to assert it, see Johann Gottlieb Fichte, “Foundations of the Entire Science of Knowledge,” in Science of Knowledge, 2nd ed., ed. and trans. Peter Heath and John Lachs (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1982), 66. 8 See Axel Honneth, “Die transzendentale Notwendigkeit von Intersubjektivität: Zum Zweiten Lehrsatz in Fichtes Naturrechtsabhandlung,” in Axel Honneth,

Explicating Disinterestedness  115 Unsichtbarkeit: Stationen einer Theorie der Intersubjektivität (Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp Verlag, 2003), 34. 9 Many associate the specific kind of knowledge that Tugendhat calls “immediate epistemic self-consciousness” with so-called first-person authority. For a discussion of this topic, see Donald Davidson, “First Person Authority,” in Subjective, Intersubjective, Objective, 3–14. 10 There are many other philosophers whom one could place in this tradition, such as Jürgen Habermas, for instance. In his Postmetaphysical Thinking, Habermas writes: “In the practical relation-to-self, on the other hand, the acting subject does not want to recognize . . . itself; rather, it wants to reassure . . . itself about itself as the initiator of an action that is attributable solely to it–in short, to become sure of itself as a free will.” See Jürgen Habermas, Postmetaphysical Thinking, trans. W. M. Hohengarten (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1992), 181. 11 Heidegger, Being and Time, §4, 10. 12 Hubert Dreyfus also suggests associating the term “Dasein“ with the term “human being“: “The best way to understand what Heidegger means by Dasein is to think of our term ‘human being,’ which can refer to a way of being that is characteristic of all people or to a specific person–a human being.” See Hubert L. Dreyfus, Being-in-the-World: A Commentary on Heidegger’s Being and Time, Division 1 (Cambridge, MA and London: MIT Press, 1991), 14. Tugendhat criticizes Heidegger for using the word “Dasein” instead of words such as “human being,” “subject,” or “person,” because “Dasein” supposedly has a different grammar than any of these terms, and therefore cannot replace them. Above all, this term has no plural (SaS, 152). 13 Strictly speaking, other entities do not really exist. Since Heidegger calls Dasein’s specific way to be “existence,” he considers only Dasein to exist (BT, §4, 10). On my view, Dasein, first of all, is different from other entities, because it has an understanding of being, which allows it to relate to entities and to occupy a world in the first place. Following Dreyfus, I further assume that, for Heidegger, an understanding of being is not a set of beliefs, but rather is a set of basic practices that allows one to relate to a variety of interconnected entities in a meaningful manner: In sum, the practices containing an interpretation of what it is to be a person, an object, and a society fit together. They are all aspects of what Heidegger calls an understanding of being. Such an understanding is contained in our knowing how-to-cope in various domains rather than in a set of beliefs that such and such is the case. Thus we embody an understanding of being that no one has in mind. We have an ontology without knowing it.  (Dreyfus, Being-in-the-World, 18) Finally, I take it that there is no real difference between an understanding of being and being itself. For a discussion of Heidegger’s ambivalent use of the term “being” also see SaS, 147–150. 14 Tugendhat must specifically think of the following passage: “Dasein projects its being upon possibilities. This being towards possibilities that understands is itself a potentiality for being because of the way these disclosed possibilities come back to Dasein” (BT, §32, 139). 15 William Shakespeare, Hamlet, ed. T. J. B. Spencer (London: Penguin Books, 1980), III. 1, 56. 16 Some other analytic philosophers, such as Gareth Evans and Sydney Shoemaker, have stressed the practical aspect of self-consciousness in a similar vein. Evans writes: “It is true that I manifest self-conscious thought, like ‘here’-thought, in action; but I manifest it, not in knowing which object to act upon, but in acting” (Gareth Evans, “Self-Identification,” in Cassam, Self-Knowledge, 186).

116  Explicating Disinterestedness Shoemaker further argues: “It seems reasonable to hold that part of what makes a belief a belief about the person who has it (in the way beliefs expressed by firstperson sentences are about the speaker) is the fact that it plays this distinctive role in the determination of action” (Sydney Shoemaker, “Introspection and the Self,” in Cassam, Self-Knowledge, 132). 17 Not every emotion a person feels makes her relate to her own existence because she may feel emotions unrelated to her own specific desires, intentions, and decisions. In Chapter Two, I have discussed this issue in detail. 18 I have changed Stern’s translation of “Bewandtnis” from “involvement” to “relevance.” 19 For instance, see Hubert L. Dreyfus, “Heidegger and Foucault on the Subject, Agency, and Practices,” http://socrates.berkeley.edu/%7Ehdreyfus/html/paper_ heidandfoucault.html, accessed on June 15, 2016; and John Haugeland, “Truth and Finitude: Heidegger’s Transcendental Existentialism,” in Heidegger, Authenticity, and Modernity: Essays in Honor of Hubert L. Dreyfus, vol. 1, ed. Mark Wrathall and Jeff Malpas (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2000), 43–78. 20 Dreyfus, Being-in-the-World, 94. For this point also see ibid., 89 and 302. 21 Ibid., 58. 22 Ibid., 301. 23 Even though a person may not deliberatively and explicitly make decisions while performing practical actions, she must be able somehow to explain and justify what she did in order to count as a practical agent. In Chapter Two, I suggested that a person might ecstatically dance or play music in such a way that she temporarily loses the sense of herself. In contrast to a practical agent, a person who engages in such ecstatic behavior cannot explain and justify what she did. Whatever she did was not done by the practical agent she ordinarily is. Engaging in ecstatic behavior is like being possessed or intoxicated, and therefore is disconnected from practical life. 24 When countering this last objection, I also rely on thoughts introduced by Sebastian Rödl. In his Self-Consciousness, Rödl argues that an “action expresses a thought about what to do, not in the sense of being its effect, but in the sense of being this thought” (49). Moreover, he states that a person’s consciousness, or rather “her knowledge that and why she is doing A, which her action explanation articulates, does not come from observing what she is doing. It comes from ascertaining what to do. First person knowledge is not from the senses, but from thought” (59). 25 Dan Breazeale, “Johann Gottlieb Fichte,” in Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/johann-fichte/, accessed on June 15, 2016, section 4.4. 26 Fichte famously argues that a person can become conscious of her free efficacy, and thereby can become conscious of herself, only if another person makes her aware of her exclusive sphere of possibilities by summoning her to act according to her freedom (FNR, §3, 31). For Fichte, a summons is an action by means of which someone is asked to act according to her free choice. Whoever, therefore, summons another one to act acknowledges the other’s ability and right to act according to her freedom. If, however, the summoning agent acknowledges this, then she herself must possess the ideas of freedom and reason, which implies that she herself must be a free and rational agent (§3, 35). So, a person cannot discover her free efficacy independently of other free and rational agents. Fichte further claims that one agent summons another to act according to her own freedom by making her recognize that she can choose among certain possibilities (§4, 40). Finally, he has it that an agent who is summoned to act not only ascribes an exclusive sphere of possibilities to herself, but also to the one summoning her. That is, when being summoned to act, a person not only feels

Explicating Disinterestedness  117 recognized as a free agent by the summoner, but also recognizes the summoner as a free agent. An act of summoning, then, depends on people’s mutual recognition of each other as free agents (§4, 42). In any case, like Tugendhat, Fichte claims that self-consciousness is connected to a person’s awareness that she can freely choose among certain possibilities of how to act. Following both, then, we could argue that one initially develops into a self-conscious being when another person arouses one’s awareness of one’s possibilities by asking one a practical question, and by ascribing to one the ability and right to say “yes” or “no” to this question. 27 George Herbert Mead, Mind, Self, and Society: From the Standpoint of a Social Behaviorist, ed. Charles W. Morris (Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press, 1934), 1. 28 As a logical behaviorist, Gilbert Ryle defended a somewhat similar position as Mead did. Ryle claimed that “self-consciousness” is an umbrella term, referring to higher-order acts and attitudes that are “the same in kind as the higherorder acts and attitudes exhibited in the dealing of people with one another.” See Gilbert Ryle, The Concept of Mind (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1966), 185. 29 I have already relied on Mead’s distinction between the me and the I in Chapter Two, when arguing that one’s actions are never completely determined by the social roles that one plays. 30 Mitchell Aboulafia, “George Herbert Mead,” in Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, http://www.plato.stanford.edu/entries/mead/, accessed June 15, 2016, section 4. 31 Tugendhat argues that a role is also a possibility of how to be, which one may affirm or deny: “[T]he role is only an offer of meaning, and whether I make it my own or not depends on me. Thus, we also encounter the phenomenon of the adoption of a yes/no position here” (SaS, 216).

4 Generating Disinterestedness

When a person adopts a disinterested attitude towards something, she does not intentionally relate to it according to her specific perspective, she does not engage with it in a practical way, and therefore temporarily loses the sense of herself. In Chapters One and Two, I argued that it is a necessary condition of engaging with an artwork to adopt the perspective that the work unfolds. One therefore cannot relate to what a work shows according to one’s own perspective if one wishes to engage with it as it asks to be engaged with. I further defined the engagement with an artwork as a free play among one’s powers that aims to construct a meaningful metaperspective, but that due to the work’s antagonistic multiperspectivity and dialectic structure, does not come to an end, but remains an open-ended, yet pleasurable, process of re-articulating and creative synthesizings. I also stressed the non-practical nature of this engagement and claimed that it is mainly responsible for the fact that one temporarily loses the sense of oneself while relating to what an artwork shows. Then, in Chapter Three, I explained what it means to have a sense of oneself, and why relating practically to things and having such a sense of self go hand in hand. Finally, in this chapter, I show why a person typically cannot relate to what an artwork shows in a practical manner, and therefore must temporarily lose the sense of herself while relating to art. In fact, though, I have already anticipated the main point I intend to make: in Chapter One, I argued that an artwork typically establishes an aesthetic sphere, which is separated from the practical sphere of a recipient’s ordinary life. In other words, a work of art typically shows a fictional world that is different from the world that its recipient occupies as a practical agent. Therefore, a recipient cannot interact practically with whatever she perceives as happening within the world a work shows and consequently cannot relate practically to her own existence. My objective in this chapter, then, is to explain how a work establishes such an aesthetic sphere. Of course, different artworks establish their aesthetic spheres and present their fictional worlds differently. However, there are some general points to make here, because there are commonalities among the conditions of reception that the various arts determine. When speaking of an art, I speak

Generating Disinterestedness  119 of something such as painting, photography, film, video, sculpture, architecture, installation art, literature, theater, performance art, dance, music, and so on. The arts constitute an open, nowadays constantly growing and internally changing, system of practices that developed out of the so-called “modern system of the fine arts.”1 Paul Oskar Kristeller argued that during the eighteenth century, European philosophers and critics decided to group together painting, sculpture, dance, music, and poetry, and thereby constituted “the irreducible nucleus of the modern system of the arts, on which all writers and thinkers seem to agree.”2 Irrespective of whether his specific narrative is correct, Kristeller certainly is right in claiming that the grouping together of painting, sculpture, dance, music, and poetry under the title “the fine arts” is the product of a historical process. Further, this process did not really come to an end in the eighteenth century; the system of the arts has been growing and changing until today. One might object, though, that it is misleading to conceive of painting, for instance, as an art, for conceiving of it as such seems to imply that every painting qualifies as an artwork, which is a view I reject. There are many people painting pictures, yet most of them do not create artworks.3 If there are paintings, though, that do not qualify as artworks, it seems problematic to conceive of painting as an art, and the same holds true with respect to photography, literature, music, and so on. Therefore, one may prefer to speak of media or presentational systems, instead of speaking of the arts. These notions, however, have problems of their own,4 and since I am not interested in dealing with any of these problems here, I suggest conceiving of painting as an artistic practice. Something is an artistic practice if it belongs, or at least belonged, to those practices that artists typically make use of when creating their works. This distinguishes painting from plumbing, yet assimilates it with film, literature, and music. Moreover, the fact that painting is an artistic practice does not turn every painter into an artist. Most painters do not create works of art, even though all of them make use of the same artistic practice. Every painter, though, produces what I have been calling a “presentational work,” for a painting always shows something as something. However, it rarely unfolds a unique, yet open and broken, metaperspective that promises to unify all of its antagonistic moments in a way transcending abstract and conventional fixations. Of course, an artist does not need to make use of an existing artistic practice in order to create her works. Sometimes, she even must disregard all such practices in order to keep the power of art alive. This, however, often results in the establishment of a new artistic practice, and it changes nothing about the fact that there is a system of practices that artists typically make use of when creating their works, which I will continue to call “the arts” or “the fine arts.”5 Due to their different material, technological, medial, historical, cultural, and institutional settings, different arts determine different circumstances of reception. In fact, works from one and the same art often determine different

120  Generating Disinterestedness conditions of reception. For instance, medieval European paintings overall differ from modern European paintings due to their rather different settings, and consequently expect different approaches from their respective recipients. However, I still claim that every art has its ways of establishing spheres that a recipient cannot enter as a practical agent. More precisely, every art has its ways of determining conditions of reception that turn a person into an invisible recipient who cannot feel personally addressed by what she perceives and who, as a practical agent, is excluded from it. In the first part of this chapter, I support this claim by focusing on the conditions of reception that hold in the case of watching a film at a movie theater. This discussion of our cinematic experiences is the backbone of my overall argument. I then proceed to other visual arts and to literature. In the second part, I turn to the more complicated case of theater. It may seem as if the conditions of reception holding in the case of watching a play on stage always secure one’s visibility to the spectacle. I show, though, that theater also has particular ways of establishing a recipient’s invisibility and practical exclusion. Following this discussion, I comment on dance, music, and opera, and then focus on a challenge that I have already touched on several times, namely the challenge that works of performance art seem to pose for my position. I show that some of these works, just as some works from other artforms, refuse to establish aesthetic spheres, thereby preventing one from having disinterested experiences in a straightforward way. However, I also show that such works have their status as artworks and their artistic power in part because of their particular rejections of the aesthetic paradigm and the notion of disinterestedness, and therefore still rely on both. Of course, one may object that there are works of ancient and medieval art, or works of non-European art, that ask for practical and interested involvement on side of their recipient without relating to the aesthetic paradigm. That is, one may object that the aesthetic paradigm and all aesthetic conceptions of art are products of historical processes that largely took place in Europe during the seventeenth and eighteenth century. Consequently, my investigation in this book runs the risk of having less universal relevance than I obviously assume it to have. In the last part of the chapter, I address this challenge. Every art has its ways of establishing aesthetic spheres, but most works produced by means of using artistic practices do not qualify as artworks. What is the precise relationship, then, between artworks and aesthetic spheres? Are artworks the only articles displaying fictional worlds that a recipient cannot enter as a practical agent? The obvious answer goes, “No.” In fact, I take it that a work of art is not the only kind of presentational work that allows us to have disinterested experiences. Having adopted a disinterested attitude, then, is an essential aspect of our aesthetic engagements with works of art, but it is not a sufficient condition of it, because when we are disinterested but are not attempting to construct a unique, yet open and broken, metaperspective that forces us to re-evaluate our own fundamental perspectives on the world, we are not engaging with an artwork.

Generating Disinterestedness  121

I. The Invisible Spectator §1 Film In order to prove that a film bars practical interaction with what it shows, I proceed in three steps: first, I identify the general conditions of reception that hold in the case of watching a film at a theater, drawing on Stanley Cavell’s philosophy of film and on the theories of some of the most compelling film scholars. I then focus on the differences between film and other kinds of moving images. Finally, I discuss how the circumstances of reception holding in the case of watching a film can differ due to varying historical, technological, medial, and cultural settings. In his The World Viewed, Cavell argues that photography constitutes the material basis of film. According to Cavell, a film camera produces successions of photographs, which we call “a film” or “a movie” when they are projected on a screen.6 He further takes a photograph not to be some kind of representation or sign. Rather, a photograph makes us see its object without denoting it.7 What we perceive in a photograph, though, is not identical to reality, or to some part of reality. We are essentially separated from it, because we cannot interact with it. In fact, we are not even present to what we perceive in a photograph. Cavell concludes that a world to which we are not present is a world that does not exist at the moment when we look at it: “Photography maintains the presentness of the world by accepting our absence from it. The reality in a photograph is present to me while I am not present to it; and a world I know, and see, but to which I am nevertheless not present (through no fault of my subjectivity), is a world past.”8 What ultimately distinguishes reality from what we see in a photograph or a film, then, is that we are present to the former yet not to the latter. Cavell denies that the acceptance of a rule or a convention is responsible for this difference. Rather, the technical mechanisms of the camera and the projector establish a metaphysical barrier between a spectator and what she perceives in a photograph or a film. This barrier is metaphysical, because any interaction between the two sides is strictly impossible. Whatever we perceive in a photograph or a film is not part of our world, part of the world that we actually occupy. It is always possible to interact with the objects of our world in a practical manner and to become present to them. With regard to the objects of a world past, this is not even possible in principle. In the context of photography and film, then, our situation as invisible spectators is automatically determined by the technical procedures of the involved apparatuses, and there is nothing we can do in order to make ourselves visible to what we see in a photograph or a film. According to Cavell, it is a defining feature of these apparatuses that they automatically determine their general circumstances of reception.9 Aside from the fact that a film makes us see movements—and thereby probably makes us see something that really deserves to be called “a

122  Generating Disinterestedness world”—Cavell assumes that it is part of its nature to show us a world that is projected on a screen. Of course, a photograph can also be projected on a screen. In contrast to a film, though, this is not part of its conditio sine qua non. The screen in a movie theater, moreover, serves as a container, which determines the size and form of the projected world, and serves as a barrier separating the recipient from what she sees happening in the film. The material basis of a film, then, is “a succession of automatic worldprojections,”10 and the recipient of a film must remain invisible to what she perceives because of a metaphysical barrier automatically established between her and the projected world, or rather the world past. Cavell was neither the first nor the last to claim that the spectator of a film remains invisible to what she perceives and cannot interact with it. Hugo Münsterberg, one of the first academics to investigate the nature of film, had already discussed the opposition between practical life and watching a film at the beginning of the twentieth century.11 And Christian Metz, the main figure of semiotic and later psychoanalytic film theory and one of the most influential film scholars during the second half of the twentieth century, famously characterized the spectator of a film as a “pure onlooker whose participation is inconceivable”12 and who is “entirely on the side of the perceiving instance, absent from the screen.”13 He further argued that a “film is not exhibitionist, I watch it, but it does not watch me watching it.”14 As did Cavell, Metz finally claimed that there is an essential metaphysical barrier between the world that a film shows and the world that its recipients occupy: “The space of the diegesis and that of the movie theater (surrounding the spectator) are incommensurable. Neither includes or influences the other, and everything occurs as if an invisible but airtight partition were keeping them totally isolated from each other.”15 In his “More of the World Viewed,” Cavell goes on to suggest that due to the metaphysical barrier existing between the spectator of a film and what she perceives, the audience in a movie theater constitutes the counter-model to the polis.16 Indeed, it characterizes a polis that each of its members has a say in the organization of the group. When the members of a polis meet, each of them can interact with the others in order to satisfy her goals and can participate in whatever is happening in front of her eyes. In contrast to the audience of a film, the audience of a stage performance typically still instantiates this feature of a polis, at least to a certain degree. For the spectator of a stage performance can, to some degree, influence the events happening on stage. Of course, she cannot directly change the fictional world of a play, but she can change the behavior of the actors and thereby indirectly change the world that these actors artistically create. It may be unlikely for a spectator to help create an Othello who ends up not killing Desdemona, but it is entirely possible for her to help create an Othello who kills Desdemona in a particular way. One never sees the same Othello twice. An actor’s portrayal of a character always changes from one performance to the next. These changes usually remain subtle, but

Generating Disinterestedness  123 they always occur. There are always some alterations in an actor’s mimics, gestures, and accentuations, and these are caused in part by the dynamics between an actor and her particular audience. An actor recognizes whether her spectators laugh, sigh, whisper, cry, watch attentively or leave, and she feels confirmed, encouraged, thrilled, uneasy, or frustrated depending on what they do. Usually, then, there are various interactions happening between an actor and her audience. Together with her fellow actors and her spectators, an actor constitutes the so-called magical triangle. Or to use another common expression, the fourth wall between an actor on stage and her audience is transparent in both directions. The wall between an actor on screen and her audience is different. This wall separates two totally distinct spaces, and therefore blocks all interaction.17 Cavell then is right to argue that the barrier between the spectator of a film and what she perceives does not exist due to the observance of certain conventions that one could break with. There are, of course, conventions or rules that regulate our behavior at a movie theater, such as the rule that we cannot talk during the screening of a film. But such rules regulate only the behavior of the spectators towards each other. There cannot be a rule regulating the interaction between spectators and actors appearing on screen, for these groups are incapable of interacting with each other. For instance, when watching Vertigo, I cannot affect James Stewart’s or Kim Novak’s performances, for both of them are absent: “in the cinema, the actor was present when the spectator was not (= shooting), and the spectator is present when the actor is no longer (= projection). . . .”18 Of course, I may yell at the screen, throw something at it, and even switch off the projector, but I thereby will not have changed anything within the diegetic world itself. At most, I will have made it disappear from my field of vision. In an important sense, then, objects and events projected on the screen of a movie theater always remain absent.19 Metz goes beyond Cavell when claiming that due to their solitude and invisibility, spectators at a movie theater do not really constitute an audience, but rather qualify as “an accumulation of individuals who, despite appearance, more closely resemble the fragmented group of readers of a novel.”20 Metz carries it a bit too far here, for the reactions of other spectators certainly influence one’s reception of a film. One may not feel the same kind of bond with them that one feels with the other spectators of a stage performance, but their presence is relevant for one’s experience of a given film. For instance, hearing their laughter may motivate one to find something funny that one otherwise would not have found so, or it may just annoy one and interrupt one’s attention. In any case, following Cavell and Metz, I claim that the general circumstances of reception that hold in the case of watching a film do not make us intentionally relate to something that we may interact with in a practical manner, and do not make us feel acknowledged as the specific agents we are. With respect to the objects we see in a film, it simply makes no sense to

124  Generating Disinterestedness ask, “what can this object do to me,” “what can I do to it,” or “what do I want to do with it.” If the spectator of a film, however, cannot immediately interact with what she perceives, then there also is no immediate reason for her to ask herself practical questions and to decide how to act. Moreover, if the world of a film is different from the world that the recipient occupies, and if nothing within this world can directly affect her, then the recipient has no immediate reason to ask herself how this world, or some part of it, responds to her own intentions and decisions. This does not make it irrational for a recipient to feel an emotion with respect to what she perceives in a film. It only makes it irrational for her to feel the kind of self-centered emotions she feels when evaluating her immediate environment according to her intentions and decisions. For instance, it would be irrational for her to fear for her life and to run away from something that she sees on screen. Due to the metaphysical barrier between the diegetic world of a film and the world that she occupies, the spectator of a film, therefore, cannot relate to what she perceives in a practical manner, and since her practical relations to objects, events, and people are just the flip side of her voluntative and affective relations to her own existence, she also cannot have a sense of herself. Consequently, the general circumstances of reception that hold in the case of watching a film at a movie theater fundamentally contradict the conditions of having a (practical) sense of oneself. This all is not to say that a recipient may not ask herself practical questions, may not feel self-centered emotions, and may not make decisions on how to act because of what a film shows her. Especially if the film qualifies as a work of art, and if the recipient really engages with it, she ultimately must ask herself such questions. She cannot make practical decisions, however, or ask herself practical questions with respect to the objects or people she sees on screen, for they are part of a fictional world, and therefore lie outside of her practical reach. So, whatever she may decide to engage with in a practical way, or whatever she may evaluate as bearing an importance for her life, it is not what she sees unfolding in front of her eyes on the screen, but it is something that lies outside of the theater. As a consequence, a recipient typically feels no immediate urge or obligation to answer a practical question or to make a practical decision while attending to the diegesis of a film; a film just “does not incite one to immediate action.”21 Due to her inability to affect the objects, events, and people projected on the screen, and due to her situation as an invisible spectator, the recipient of a film, therefore, must tend to lose the sense of herself.22 Ever since scholars and critics began to discuss the nature of film, it has been suggested that watching a film is similar to dreaming or being under hypnosis. Metz, for instance, has it that “[in] contrast to the ordinary activities of life, the filmic state as introduced by traditional fiction films . . . is marked by a general tendency to lower wakefulness, to take a step in the direction of sleep and dreaming.”23 He further characterizes a film spectator as someone whose individuality temporarily dissolves, and therefore

Generating Disinterestedness  125 temporarily becomes nothing but an act of viewing: “[T]hat which is seen does not know that it is seen . . . and its lack of awareness allows the voyeur to be himself unaware that he is a voyeur. All that remains is the brute fact of seeing . . . a seeing which has no feature or position, as vicarious as the narrator-God or the spectator God. . . .”24 Before Metz, Siegfried Kracauer had already argued along such lines in his Theory of Film, the publication of which marked the highlight of classical film theory. Kracauer compares the moviegoer to a person under hypnosis, who is “[s]pellbound by the luminous rectangle before his eyes.”25 Moreover, he argues that a film disengages a recipient from her own specific self: With the moviegoer, the self as the mainspring of thoughts and decisions relinquishes its power of control. This accounts for a striking difference between him and the theatergoer, which has been repeatedly pointed out by European observers and critics. “In the theater I am always I,” a perceptive French woman once told this writer, “but in the cinema I dissolve into all things and beings.“ Wallon elaborates on the process of dissolution to which she refers: “If the cinema produces its effect, it does so . . . because I more or less forget myself in what is being displayed on the screen. I am no longer in my own life, I am in the film projected in front of me.”26 Finally, Kracauer almost replicates an important aspect of Schopenhauer’s aesthetic theory when arguing that it often is not a particular film that makes people go to the movies, but that “what they really crave is for once to be released from the grip of consciousness, lose their identity in the dark, and let sink in, with their senses ready to absorb them, the images as they happen to follow each other on the screen.”27 Hugo Münsterberg and Rudolf Arnheim described the filmic state in a very similar vein. In particular, Arnheim stressed its escapist dimension.28 Obviously, movies have an exceptional power to absorb us in what they show, and this power not only results from the fact of presenting worlds past, but also results from the following three factors: first, movies typically offer very rich sensory stimulations to our eyes as well as to our ears. That is, “cinema is more perceptual, if the phrase is allowable, than many other means of expression; it mobilizes a larger number of the axes of perception.”29 Second, movies typically make us perceive movements, and movements by themselves are vivid and absorbing.30 Finally, movies are traditionally watched within dark auditoriums. Darkness “reduces distracting visual information and isolates the film for our concentration.”31 That is, it makes us forget about our immediate environment and about our specific spatial locations.32 Of course, there are many reasons for going to the movies, and not all of them are related to entering a filmic state.33 For instance, a couple might go to the movies only for romantic reasons, which might keep them from truly

126  Generating Disinterestedness qualifying as spectators. Metz correctly observed, though, that “immersion in the filmic fiction . . . has the effect, stronger in proportion as the film is pleasing, of separating groups or couples who entered the cinema together and sometimes have a certain difficulty re-achieving that togetherness when they leave.”34 In order for us to become absorbed in what a film shows, it certainly must please and interest us to such an extent that we attend to it seriously. Once we do, however—that is, once we stop merely taking it as an occasion for our daydreamings, personal ruminations, or other practical activities—its general circumstances of reception tend to absorb us in what it shows, and even lead us temporarily to lose our sense of self. As mentioned before, then—and as paradoxical as it may sound—a film must somehow interest us in order for us to attend to it to a degree that enables a disinterested experience of it. The experience of a film, though, does not continuously make us lose our sense of self. When watching a film, there are always moments when the spectator slips away from the film’s grasp upon her, starts to think about what she perceives, and relates it to her own life.35 Moreover, even while losing the sense of herself, the spectator knows, at least implicitly, that she is watching a film.36 All this does not disqualify a film from being a work of art. In Chapter Two, I explained in detail that a person’s aesthetic engagement with an artwork is a dynamic process that makes her swing back and forth between losing the sense of herself and achieving selfhood. What is more, being absorbed in what a film shows and temporarily losing the sense of oneself does not imply that one turns into a passive spectator. If it implied this, my argument would face a serious problem, for the recipient of a film is never passive. As pointed out in Chapter One, all presentational works, particularly those that qualify as artworks, require some activity from their recipients. As David Bordwell put it, “[t]he artwork is necessarily incomplete, needing to be unified and fleshed out by the active participation of the perceiver.”37 When watching a narrative film, for instance, a spectator has to accomplish a lot in order to understand the relevant story. First, she must register incoming information, then organize it based on her knowledge about reality, movies, genres, and so on. Then, she has to form hypotheses about what is to happen next, and possibly has to modify them again because of new incoming information. Finally, she has to draw inferences from the new information and from the hypotheses she has already made in order to flesh out fully the given story. When watching a narrative film, then, a spectator constantly synthesizes what she is perceptually confronted with according to certain categories, principles, schemata, and goals.38 As I have argued, the adoption of a disinterested attitude does not exclude such an activity as long as it is performed while one disengages oneself from one’s own particular perspective. An experience, therefore, can be disinterested and simultaneously qualify as something that is “less attitude than action: creation and re-creation.”39

Generating Disinterestedness  127 Metz and other scholars of the 1970s took it that the spectator of a film temporarily becomes “a distanced, decorporealized, monocular eye completely unimplicated in the objects of its vision.”40 More recently, film scholars have turned away from this model of spectatorship and criticized the so-called “gaze theory.”41 I agree with recent critics that our mode of attention does not shrink to an act of pure vision when watching a film. Rather, we typically show a multitude of interrelated affective and somatic responses. For instance, horror and action movies make us sweat, move in our seats, feel tensions in our stomachs, and so on. This, however, does not imply that such movies prevent the adoption of a disinterested attitude towards what they show. In Chapter Two, I explained that the adoption of such an attitude does not exclude all affective and somatic responses, but rather excludes only those that also qualify as self-centered or practical relations. Most affective and somatic responses to what a film shows do not qualify as such relations. For instance, if I sweat and fear for the heroine’s life while watching a horror film, I do not evaluate what I perceive according to my specific perspective, I do not immediately relate it to my own existence or life, and I do not feel the immediate urge or obligation to perform some practical action. My account of disinterestedness, then, does not imply some kind of gaze theory. However, it implies that a disinterested spectator does not interact with what she perceives. There is a strong tension, then, between my position and Vivian Sobchack’s influential position, according to which the relation between a film and its spectator is an essentially dialogical one: There are always two embodied acts of vision at work in the theater . . . The film’s vision and my own do not conflate, but meet in the sharing of a world and constitute an experience that is not only intrasubjectively dialectical, but also intersubjectively dialogical. Although there are moments in which our views may become congruent in the convergence of our interest (never of our situation), there are also moments in which our views conflict; our values, interests, prospects, and projects differ. . . .42 Given my overall conception of presentational works, I endorse Sobchack’s claim that a movie shows a diegetic world as being seen from a specific, embodied perspective. Moreover, Sobchack is right when claiming that there are moments when our own interests and values conflict with the view that a film offers. Nevertheless, we still may, and often do, continue just to follow along with a film, and keep disengaging from our perspectives, in order really to grasp and understand the film’s opposing perspective. Indeed, I claim that this is a constituent aspect of engaging with an artwork. Of course, there are perspectives that we find despicable to such a degree that we do not want to adopt them even temporarily. Such a resistance, though, will not lead to some special dialogue between us and a film,

128  Generating Disinterestedness but will terminate our relations to it. In fact, I do not see how there ever could be a dialogue between a film and its spectator. A dialogue presupposes that speakers can influence each other. While the recipient of a film may respond to the perspective a film offers, the film itself cannot recognize or react to this response. Therefore, it is quite a stretch of the term “dialogue” to speak of a dialogical relation here. A film may always require some activity from its recipient in order for it to show its diegetic world and to unfold its perspectives, and a recipient may always respond to what a film shows in her own particular way, but to use a bit of terminology introduced in the previous chapter, there can be no exchange of gestures between a film and any of its recipients. There can, however, be a dialogue or an exchange of gestures between a person and what she perceives in other kinds of moving images. In fact, moving images have increasingly become one of the main means of communication, and serve all types of practical purposes: most of us professionally or privately talk to someone via Skype, Facetime, or similar pathways on a daily, if not to say hourly, level. Moreover, the performance of practical actions in the context of contemporary medicine, warfare, and other fields more and more relies on the immediate use of moving images. Surgeons often perform surgery and drone pilots always attack their targets on the basis of what they see in moving images. These agents also immediately affect what they see in those images. So, there is no metaphysical barrier between what a surgeon or a pilot sees in the relevant images, just as there is no such barrier when I talk to my friends or colleagues via Skype or Facetime. Film belongs to the larger family of moving images, but its circumstances of reception are special. That is, not all moving images determine conditions of reception that make us relate to something that ignores our presence, and that we cannot engage with in a practical manner.43 A film is a unified sequence of moving images that have been produced before they are being watched. This temporal gap means that a film shows something that has already happened and that one therefore cannot affect. So far, I have discussed the experience of film in the context of its original or traditional setting. That is, I have discussed the nature of cinematic experiences. The circumstances of reception that hold in the case of these experiences, or rather cinema’s “dispositif,” are defined by a technological setup that essentially includes a screen, a projector, and a film reel or another kind of data carrier that can supply a unified sequence of moving images for projection. In contrast to the setups that define the conditions of reception, or rather of communication, in the case of Skype or Facetime, the setup defining cinema’s dispositif does not include a camera. In the case of film, then, there are no technological devices that perceptually connect one to events happening at the same moment that one perceptually relates to them. The world of a movie just is a world past.44 One may object that my identification of supposedly general conditions of reception ultimately remains uninformative. During the last few decades,

Generating Disinterestedness  129 many scholars—often under the influence of postmodernism or some kind of empiricism—have argued that instead of introducing general theories of spectatorship, we must pay close attention to the specific historical, cultural, medial, and technological parameters of the circumstances of reception existing in a given case. With respect to film, one may specifically object that the relevant circumstances have dramatically changed during the last one hundred and twenty years, and that not all circumstances have allowed a recipient to become absorbed in a world that ignores her presence and excludes her practical involvement. Therefore, one may claim that I have described the nature of only one particular cinematic setting, instead of describing conditions that determine the experience of every film. In order to meet this challenge, I conclude this section by focusing on three apparently problematic settings, namely the settings of early cinema, of postclassical cinema, and of watching films in a supposedly post-cinematic age.45 During the days of early cinema, films were shown under conditions that partially “opposed . . . the classical segregation of screen and theater space with its regime of absence and presence and its discipline of silence . . . and perceptual isolation.”46 More precisely, the experience of a film at the beginning of the twentieth century differed from the classical cinematic experience, at least, in the following four ways: first, screenings often alternated with live performances by dancers, comedians, or trained animals, and therefore often were part of larger vaudeville shows. Second, the screenings themselves were often accompanied by live performances of musicians, sound engineers, or lecturers. Third, the rules of behavior holding in the context of early cinema were less strict than those holding in the context of classical cinema. Spectators were typically allowed to behave like at other vaudeville theaters, and, as a result, were often noisy. Early movie theaters, then, created much more of a social space, an atmosphere more akin to that of a circus than a contemporary movie theater. Under such conditions, films could hardly develop the same absorbing power that they would come to develop under later screening conditions. Finally, early films often did not present a closed diegetic world, but rather showed something that indicated an awareness of the fact that its primary functions were to be seen and to give visual pleasure. So, actors often looked directly into the camera, which, to a certain extent, put the spectator under the impression that her presence somehow was acknowledged. As Tom Gunning put it: “[T]his is cinema that displays its visibility, willing to rupture a self-enclosed fictional world for a chance to solicit the attention of the spectator.”47 Of course, even spectators at early movie theaters knew that the actors on screen could not really see them, and that they could not really interact with them. That is, they (implicitly) knew of the metaphysical barrier between themselves and what they perceived. Therefore, the general conditions of reception identified above existed even in the case of early cinema. In other words, even the spectator of a film at the beginning of the twentieth century hardly could have felt an immediate urge or obligation to answer a practical question or

130  Generating Disinterestedness to make a decision about her existence while relating to events projected on a screen. However, I take it that the theatrical and presentational settings of early cinema allowed for less absorbing conditions than the settings of classical cinema, and consequently established less of an aesthetic sphere, separated from the spheres of practical life. This poses no problem for my account, though, because as already mentioned, the general conditions of reception identified above still held even in the case of early cinema. Moreover, the works of early cinema typically do not qualify as works of art, but rather qualify as cases of entertainment, communication, or education. I am not pointing this out in order to downplay their quality or importance as cultural artifacts, but to indicate why the conditions of reception holding in the case of early cinema are not a major concern in the context of my account.48 During the later 1910s, D. W. Griffith and other directors in America started to introduce so-called Classical Hollywood Cinema, which reached its first bloom during the 1930s. Classical Hollywood Cinema established norms and conventions still followed by many filmmakers today. The main goal of Griffith and his colleagues in Hollywood was to present closed diegetic worlds on screen. Nothing within these worlds was to give the impression that it was part of a world whose main purposes were to be seen and to give visual pleasure. The existence of the camera, and thereby the existence of the potential spectator, was ignored by everybody and everything that appeared in a film. Moreover, the spectator was meant to follow the action of a movie without facing any difficulties in constructing the fictional world. This norm led to the introduction of continuity editing and other practices that would help recipients to put together the various pieces of a film without much (cognitive) effort. By means of such stylistic innovations, Classical Hollywood Cinema enhanced film’s absorbing power.49 At the same time that Griffith and others started to establish the conventions of Classical Hollywood Cinema, movies were increasingly shown under conditions that no longer resembled the conditions of reception holding at vaudeville shows. The classical movie theater, with its dark auditorium and clear seating arrangements, was established. The rules holding at this theater became more and more strict, sanctioning all disruptive behavior. Together with the innovations of Classical Hollywood Cinema, these new rules and the new medial set-up at movie theaters determined highly absorbing conditions of reception, which have remained dominant at theaters around the world. When it comes to watching a film at a theater, then, Classical Hollywood Cinema and the settings of classical movie theaters still constitute the dominant paradigm today. Of course, this paradigm has been repeatedly challenged. Many experimental filmmakers and so-called auteurs have turned against the idea that a film has to allow a recipient to immerse herself effortlessly in a closed diegetic world. Specifically during the 1960s and 1970s, a wider audience witnessed how Classical Hollywood Cinema was challenged when young

Generating Disinterestedness  131 filmmakers across Europe introduced new cinematic techniques and styles, often in order to pursue explicitly leftist objectives. The films by Jean-Luc Godard played an exceptional role in the context of this challenge. In his Week End, for instance, we can see actors directly looking into the camera while other actors, who are offscreen, give political speeches. Due to the metaphysical barrier holding between a spectator and what she sees on screen, we still cannot interact with these actors, and we also know that they cannot really see us. When watching Week End, though, it sometimes seems as if the figures on screen are addressing us. Moreover, the film does not really follow the established norms of Classical Hollywood Cinema. Rather, it consists of a group of sequences that often are hard to connect and hard to digest. Consequently, Week End does not allow us to immerse ourselves effortlessly in a closed diegetic world, at least not in the way that classical fiction films allow us to do this, and the same holds true for many other films by Godard as well as for films by Harun Farocki, Bernardo Bertolucci, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, and others.50 A film such as Week End, then, turns against norms and conventions that secure a recipient’s invisibility towards what she perceives and her immersion in it. In fact, the film refuses, at least to a certain extent, to establish an aesthetic sphere that is clearly separated from the sphere of a recipient’s practical life, and thereby turns against the idea of disinterestedness. Even a film such as Week End, though, cannot altogether change the general circumstances of reception holding in the case of watching a film: the metaphysical barrier remains intact. In contrast to works of early cinema, though, Godard’s film turns against existing norms and paradigms, instead of simply not following them. This is partially responsible for the fact that Week End is an artwork; the film relies on what it denies. At a later stage of this chapter, I will revisit this issue. Some have described the challenge to cinema’s dominant paradigm as more devastating than I have. In her article “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema,” Laura Mulvey, for instance, wrote: The first blow against the monolithic accumulation of traditional film conventions (already undertaken by radical film-makers) is to free the look of the camera into its materiality in time and space and the look of the audience into dialectics, passionate detachment. There is no doubt that this destroys the satisfaction, pleasure and privilege of the ‘invisible guest’, and highlights how film has depended on voyeuristic active/passive mechanisms. Women, whose image has continually been stolen and used for this end, cannot view the decline of the traditional film form with anything much more than sentimental regret.51 Others have supported Mulvey’s claim about the decline of the traditional film form and have argued that “the tradition of contemplative subjectivity has perhaps run its (often glorious) course,”52 and that “postclassical forms

132  Generating Disinterestedness of spectatorship give the viewer a greater leeway, for better or worse, in interacting with the film.”53 These new forms of spectatorship, however, are not so much the result of what films show, and of how they do it, but of the new conditions under which we watch them. Some decades ago, TV and video technologies made it possible to watch films conveniently at home. Today, we can watch them everywhere: at theaters, museums, and galleries, on buses, trains, and airplanes, in parks, cafés, and clubs. That is, we can watch a film such as Week End projected on a screen at a commercial movie theater, a repertory cinema, an art gallery, a techno club, or some hipster bar; we can watch it on TV, DVD, Blue-ray, or online; we can watch it on the screen of a notebook, a tablet, or a smartphone. There are a variety of very different settings, then, that determine the conditions of reception holding when we watch movies nowadays. Often, these circumstances are less regulated than in the case of watching a film at a classical movie theater.54 Often, they do not allow for the kind of highly immersive experience that I described above, but rather turn the filmic state into one facet of an overall dispersed state of perception. Even if one is hesitant to talk about the end of cinema or the beginning of a post-cinematic age—as, indeed, I am—watching a movie often is not a cinematic experience anymore, and this raises the question of to what extent the conditions identified above really qualify as the general circumstances of reception holding in the case of watching a film.55 Clearly, the conditions of reception that hold in the case of watching a movie are not always identical to the conditions that cinema’s dispositif determines. For instance, if I watch a film on my phone while traveling on the train, I do not sit in a dark auditorium with other spectators who are supposed to remain silent during the screening, and I do not look at a huge, bright screen that attracts my view like a giant magnet. I can hardly enter the kind of immersive state I typically enter when watching a film at the theater. However, I still perceive something that cannot really address me as the individual I am, and that I cannot engage with in a practical way. No matter, then, how much the conditions of reception may differ in case of watching a film, there is always a metaphysical barrier between the recipient and what she perceives, and she, therefore, must feel less inclined to ask herself practical questions, to make practical decisions, and to evaluate immediately what she perceives on screen in relation to her specific interests and intentions. That is, when watching a film, a person generally tends to lose the sense of herself. Of course, when a person watches a film at home, she can significantly control the conditions of her reception by determining the spatial relations between the screen and herself, the settings of the screen, and so on. In addition, she often will watch a film while doing other things, such as sewing, writing text messages, or Googling certain things. Indeed, watching a movie is today often embedded within a broader, dispersive state of perception. Contemporary technologies further allow one to alter easily and quickly

Generating Disinterestedness  133 what a film shows, and how it shows it. This, however, does not allow one to interact with what one perceives in a film. Rather, it allows one easily and quickly to become the producer of another film, which is very much based on the film one started watching. So, it is still correct to say that a film in general shows a world past.56 What is more, dispersion has its limits. If it reaches a certain degree, it becomes questionable whether one still watches a film, or whether the film rather has become a background flicker or white noise. In fact, I take it that the kind of aesthetic experience I discuss in this book relies on conditions of reception that guide a recipient’s attention and allow her to enter a state of immersion similar to the one that the classical movie theater or other institutionalized spaces allow her to enter. Showing a world past may be a common feature of all films, and the recipient’s status as an invisible spectator may, at least to a certain extent, be automatically determined, but in order to establish an aesthetic sphere that truly allows a recipient to enter the kind of disinterested state I have been discussing, a film relies on the existence of certain institutionalized settings, such as, for instance, the existence of those settings defined by the classical movie theater. In the next section, I show that such institutionalized settings even have some role to play if a recipient is to gain her general status as an invisible spectator. §2 Other Visual Arts A person tends to lose the sense of herself when watching a film, because a film makes her perceive something that she cannot relate to in a practical way and that cannot address her as the specific individual she is. The same typically holds true, though, when a person engages with works from other visual arts. I will first spell out this claim, mostly focusing on painting, sculpture, installation art, and architecture. Second, I further discuss the cultural and institutional conditions of being able to relate to what an artifact shows as an invisible spectator. The circumstances of reception holding in the case of watching a film at a movie theater allow for a highly immersive experience, but the film spectator is not the only recipient defined by her invisibility and practical exclusion. There also is a metaphysical barrier between a person and what she perceives in a photograph, a painting, a drawing, or another kind of artistic image. These images also show something that essentially is absent, that a recipient, therefore, cannot interact with in a practical way, and that cannot acknowledge a recipient’s individual presence. In other words, the fictional spaces that such images unfold are separated from the spaces that their recipients occupy.57 One may object that many modernist and contemporary paintings do not unfold fictional spaces, but rather show abstract relations, exemplify pure colors, or point to the materiality of certain media or objects. However, even abstract paintings by artists such as Kazimir Malevich, Piet Mondrian, or Yves Klein, as well as Combines by artists such as

134  Generating Disinterestedness Robert Rauschenberg, seem to unfold pictorial spaces, and therefore seem to make us see something in them that essentially is not part of the spaces that we occupy as recipients. Moreover, they seem to show more than isolated abstract configurations, pure colors, or concrete materialities. Such works always situate themselves within some broader (historical, cultural, and artistic) context, making us think about and perceive things that go far beyond the things they immediately show. So, even though they may not make us perceive fictional worlds in a direct way, they will invite us to imagine perceiving things that are not part of the spaces that we occupy while looking at them. And even if one assumed that such paintings merely show isolated abstract configurations, exemplify colors, or point to concrete materialities, a recipient still could not feel acknowledged as an individual by what these works show or interact practically with it, at least not without altering or destroying the given paintings. For instance, when Gerard Jan van Bladeren attacked Who’s Afraid of Red, Yellow and Blue III with a knife, he was recognized neither by the redness that Newman’s painting may have exemplified nor by anything else that it may have shown. (In general, it is far from clear what it could mean for an individual to be recognized by something that a painting exemplifies or shows.) Van Bladeren certainly did something to the painting’s materiality, and thereby related practically to something the painting may have pointed to, but by doing this, he violated rules and conventions that regulate a spectator’s behavior at an art museum. So, even though some paintings may show something, or rather may point to something that a recipient is not metaphysically barred from—such as their own materiality—the dominant rules and conventions of the art world still specify a situation of reception essentially defined by the recipient’s invisibility and practical exclusion. Of course, as in the case of film, the conditions of reception holding in the case of looking at a photograph, a painting, a drawing, or another kind of artistic image can differ significantly. Due to the barrier, though, between a spectator and what she perceives in such images, I again take it that there is a persistent tendency here not to feel an immediate urge or obligation to ask oneself practical questions or to evaluate directly what one perceives in relation to one’s own existence. Moreover, the movie theater has not been the only institutionalized space meant to allow for immersive experiences. Museums, churches, and other places have come up with their own strategies in order to allow for such experiences. Finally, there are several pictorial strategies for absorbing a recipient in what she perceives. Michael Fried has it that paintings in general either acknowledge their recipient’s presence and establish “a theatrical relation” to her or refuse to acknowledge it.58 For instance, paintings by Greuze, Chardin, and other French painters of the eighteenth century refuse to acknowledge their recipient’s presence by presenting people who seem to be absorbed in what they are doing. These paintings create “a closed system which in effect seals off the space or world of the painting from that of the beholder.”59 For Fried, painters such as

Generating Disinterestedness  135 Caravaggio, Domenichino, Velázquez, Vermeer, and Rembrandt are also part of the anti-theatrical tradition, as are Noland, Olitski, and Stella. European Rococo painters, however, are part of a theatrical tradition, and it was particularly their style and the content of their works that Greuze, Chardin, and other painters of the eighteenth century turned against. Fried’s distinction between theatrical and anti-theatrical paintings is compelling, although his polemics against theatrical paintings is not. In any case, we can see that the dialectics between immersion and disinterestedness, on the one hand, and theatrical confrontation, on the other, started long before Godard and others challenged the norms of Classical Hollywood Cinema. It is important to keep in mind, though, that neither theatrical paintings nor theatrical films can really acknowledge their spectator’s individual presence, and a spectator is usually aware of this. According to an influential conception of pictures, though, all pictures, including paintings and other artistic images, are like faces: they look at their recipients, make them feel their gazes, and thereby address them. Engaging with a picture, then, is a performative situation, where a subject interacts with a quasi-subject, i.e., with a picture. If one conceives of pictures along such lines, then my account of the invisible spectator clearly must be false. In fact, though, the relation between a person and a picture is very different from the relation between people. Of course, pictures are produced in order to be looked at. In this sense, one may say that they present themselves to their recipients and address them. Depending on what a picture shows, it may even seem to a recipient as if the picture looks at her. A picture, though, can never ask one a practical question in an immediate manner, and it can never force one to make an immediate decision. Occasionally, one may feel the urge to do something because of what a picture shows, but the picture itself cannot urge one to perform some action. It also cannot literally respond to whatever one does: it can neither welcome nor reject it, and certainly cannot ask for explanations or reasons. So, there is no real communication between a picture and its recipient, and the picture acknowledges her recipient’s specific presence only in a metaphorical sense. Consequently, saying that a picture looks at its recipient and addresses her is misleading, because it falsely assimilates a recipient’s relation to a picture to the inter-subjective relations between people.60 Film, video, photography, painting, drawing, and printmaking clearly are visual arts. One may argue that sculpture is different, because it also must be appreciated through the sense of touch. Even though we do not always touch a sculpture, we always imagine what it would feel like to touch it. Films, paintings, and other artistic images, however, are not so different in this respect, for they often present an object’s surface in a close-up or point to the materiality of their media—such as the materiality of a particular color application—thereby motivating us to imagine what the depicted objects or involved media might feel like. As we have already seen, the recipient of a presentational work always is an embodied subject, and the aesthetic

136  Generating Disinterestedness experience of such a work typically includes more than one sensory modality. Nevertheless, I still assume that even sculpture “is experienced primarily through the visual sense, as are the other visual arts.”61 In contrast to the experience of an artistic image, though, the experience of a sculpture seems to give a recipient a clear sense of her own position in space, since she attends to a three-dimensional object that occupies the same space as her, and that she must move around in order fully to comprehend. Whatever this object shows, though, does not occupy the same space that the recipient occupies as a practical agent. Sculptures are presentational works, and just as films or paintings, they show something that exists in a fictional world, or they make one think about and perceive things that are not part of the recipient’s immediate environment. Moreover, the dominant rules and conventions of the art world do not allow a recipient to alter the materiality of a sculpture, at least not if she means to attend aesthetically to the sculpture as to an artwork. So, there still exists a barrier between a spectator and what she takes a sculpture to show, and this spectator, therefore, still qualifies as an invisible one, who tends to lose the sense of herself.62 Rachel Zuckert, however, has it that our experiences of sculpture, specifically of Greek nude sculpture, indicate that the notion of disinterestedness is mistaken: “Sexual attraction seems to be a paradigmatic form of interest, and it is not obvious that such attraction is not, in some way, responsible for our pleasure in the representation of ideal, nude human form in such sculpture. These denials of embodiment and sexuality . . . devalue the goods and pleasures of our embodied conditions.”63 It should be more than clear by now that I do not conceive of a disinterested state as a disembodied one. Further, it is important to note that one’s own sexual interest is hardly ever directed at a sculpture itself. As Zuckert herself notes, the sexual interest directed at a sculpture is “imaginary” in the sense that it is directed at what the sculpture shows or presents.64 Having such an interest may actually generate a state of disinterestedness by motivating one to attend closely to a given sculpture. Of course, if one truly imagines interacting with what a sculpture shows according to one’s sexual desires, one cannot adopt a disinterested attitude towards it. It is questionable, though, whether one actually attends to the sculpture at all under such conditions. Rather, it seems as if one takes it as an occasion for one’s own sexual fantasies. I do not deny that one’s attention to a sculpture may arise from one’s sexual interests or may affect them, but if one does not temporarily disengage oneself from such interests, one cannot really attend to the sculpture itself, at least one cannot aesthetically attend to it as to the artwork that it may be. Installation art plays a huge role within our contemporary art world. Given that installations may be exhibited at all sorts of places, and given that they may include or rely upon all sorts of artifacts, media, and objects, the circumstances of reception holding in the case of installation art are most heterogeneous. However, I still conceive of installation art primarily as a visual art, because even though there are sound installations, and

Generating Disinterestedness  137 even though installations may show texts, the majority of them still present arrangements of objects or artistic spaces in order for them to be appreciated visually. Besides, I assume that a person typically cannot—or, at least, shall not—interact with what an installation shows in a practical manner, and cannot feel addressed by it as the specific individual she is. Due to the great heterogeneity of the circumstances of reception holding in the case of installation art, the degree of a recipient’s immersion in what an installation shows may differ significantly, but a recipient typically remains an invisible spectator, and therefore tends to lose the sense of herself. In particular, the experience of a video installation often shares a lot with the experience of a film. Here, it is most obvious that an installation unfolds a diegetic space, separated from the space that its recipient occupies. Even if an installation, though, consists of an arrangement of natural objects, such as stones and trunks, it still may open up another space for a recipient to enter via her thoughts and her imagination, situating these natural objects within new relations and giving them new meanings. Moreover, just as she is not meant to do anything with the paintings on a wall, a recipient typically is not meant to do anything with the objects of an installation, aside from looking at them. This, however, is not always true. There are installations that invite or force us to relate to what they show in a practical way, and that consequently do not allow us to lose our sense of self, or rather to adopt a disinterested attitude. In the next part of this chapter, I discuss such works in detail. Finally, there is architecture, although it may not be so clear whether works of architecture really qualify as works of art, or even as presentational works. Indeed, when exploring the nature of presentational works, most of us tend to think of films, videos, paintings, installations, novels, dramatic and musical performances, but not of buildings. Architecture is built form, used in order to fulfill practical functions.65 Many philosophers, however, have argued that architecture not only serves practical purposes, but also shows something that one may aesthetically appreciate. There are various theories of what it could mean to appreciate a work of architecture, the most famous being functionalism, cognitivism, space-theory, and proportion-theory. According to the first, one appreciates a building when recognizing how its form follows its function. According to the second, one appreciates it when attending to what it represents or expresses, such as a specific conception of the world or of life. According to space-theory, one appreciates a building when attending to the spatial relations that it manifests, or rather that it presents. Proportion-theory, finally, has it that one appreciates a building when perceiving its order, proportion, or harmony. I will not defend any specific account of architecture here. Rather, I just mean to indicate what it could mean for a building to show something that a recipient may appreciate. In fact, it seems to be obvious that religious buildings, such as temples, synagogues, mosques, and churches, or political buildings, such as city halls and embassies, show something that transcends

138  Generating Disinterestedness the practical purposes that these buildings are supposed to fulfill. Moreover, there is no reason for assuming that it is, in principle, impossible for a building to unfold an open and broken metaperspective on what it shows. Some of Frank Gehry’s buildings might provide actual examples here. In any case, architecture often is considered to be an art, just as film or sculpture is. Given that I discuss it in this section, it should be clear that I conceive of it as a visual art, even though tactile and auditory experiences can play an important role in the context of one’s appreciation of a given building. However, we still “must allow a precedence to the visual aspect in architecture: it is this which forms the basis and the necessary precondition to all the other parts.”66 None of the four accounts mentioned contradicts the claim that the aesthetic appreciation of architecture is typically disinterested. Following functionalism, one may argue that one cannot understand and appreciate a building without paying attention to its practical purpose, yet this does not imply that one needs to relate to a building in a practical way in order to appreciate it. Rather, there seems to be a difference between using a building according to its specific purposes and relating to it in a contemplative way while keeping its purposes in mind. For instance, I may use the new building of the Berlin State Library according to its purposes by means of looking for books, making copies, or sitting at a desk and reading. On the other hand, I may refrain from using the library in any of these ways, may forget about my own specific interests and goals, and instead observe how the building’s particular set-up, its materials, style, environment, and so on relate to its functions. I further may look at it according to the history of its location, or may look at it in relation to its neighboring buildings, to other libraries, other places of storage, of learning, of research, and so on. Looking at it in these ways does not presuppose any practical behavior. In fact, it excludes such behavior, and rather presupposes the adoption of a disinterested attitude. Besides, if we suppose that a work of architecture can show something in a similar way that a film, video, painting, or sculpture can show something— that is, if we suppose that it can have some presentational content as well as some perspectival form, thereby opening up a fictional space that transcends the practical space it necessarily creates—then there is something about a work of architecture that one may appreciate, but that one cannot interact with in a practical way, and that cannot address one as the specific individual that one is. So, when entering a building as a practical agent, one naturally relates to one’s own existence in a practical way, and therefore has a sense of oneself, but when appreciating what a building possibly shows or expresses—no matter whether this is a conception of the world, of life, history, God, Europe, eternity, peace, or freedom—one does not relate to one’s existence by means of immediately answering practical questions or making practical decisions, and therefore temporarily loses the sense of oneself. As in the case of sculpture and installation art, though, there may be works of

Generating Disinterestedness  139 architecture whose aim is to destroy any contemplative approach towards them. In other words, there may be works of architecture that one must use in a particular manner in order to understand, and that one, therefore, cannot appreciate if one adopts a contemplative or disinterested attitude towards them. There are two obvious objections against the line of thought that I have developed so far. First, one may object that even though a recipient cannot interact practically with what an image, sculpture, installation, or building shows, and even though she cannot really feel addressed by it, there typically are other recipients that attend to a presentational work while one attends to it. When watching a film at a movie theaters, the presence of others may not be especially relevant due to the darkness of the auditorium and the expected silence of every spectator, but when looking at a painting or a sculpture at some museum or church, a recipient typically sees and hears other spectators, and is aware of the fact that they might see and hear her as well. Does this, then, not create totally different conditions of reception? Yes and no. I have stressed many times that a recipient does not continuously lose the sense of herself while attending to what a presentational work shows. Rather, the engagement with such a work is a dynamic and dialectic process of losing one’s sense of self and of relating to oneself. Cinematic experiences may be special in so far as the conditions holding at a movie theater may allow a spectator to lose the sense of herself most rapidly and persistently. It, therefore, is no coincidence that many scholars have stressed the immersive power of film and cinema. When engaging with a painting, sculpture, installation, or building, it may often be impossible to lose the sense of oneself as rapidly and persistently. For instance, when looking at a sculpture at a museum, I probably cannot help noticing other people looking at the same sculpture. Some of them might even look at me, and thereby, in a minimal sense, address me as the individual I am; some of them might even start talking to me, most likely about the sculpture we are both looking at. All this, however, does not change the fact that, in order really to attend to a given work, there must be moments of just relating to what it shows, and during such moments, I attend to something that I cannot interact with in a practical way, and that cannot immediately address me as the individual I am. Even when looking at a painting or a sculpture at some museum, then, there must be moments of losing the sense of oneself. The more serious objection goes as follows: so far, I have taken it to be an obvious fact that artistic images and sculptures show something that essentially is absent, or rather I have taken it that they essentially unfold spaces that are separated from the spaces their recipients occupy. Moreover, I have assumed that most people are aware of the barrier between themselves and what they perceive in an artistic image or perceive when aesthetically engaging with a sculpture. This assumption, though, is debatable. In his “The Origin of the Work of Art,” Heidegger writes: “So it is, too, with the sculpture of the god which the victor of the athletic games dedicates to him. The

140  Generating Disinterestedness work is not a portrait intended to make it easier to recognize what the god looks like. It is, rather, a work which allows the god himself to presence and is, therefore, the god himself.”67 Indeed, people have been assuming that, instead of showing something that is absent, images and sculptures can show something that is present, and that one may interact with in a practical way. It would be mistaken just to disregard such ways of engaging with images and other presentational works as parts of some primitive or obscure sacral practices. Human responses to images are rich and diverse, and relating to them while assuming that we face something present is an important aspect of some of these responses, which, of course, primarily are given within certain sacral or ritual contexts.68 When a person, however, assumes that she faces something present, and that she, therefore, may interact with it in a practical way, she cannot lose the sense of herself. From a contemporary Western, secularized, and scientifically minded perspective, one may argue that a person cannot really interact with what a still image shows, no matter what she herself might believe. So, even though a very religious Catholic might talk to a picture of the Virgin Mary as if Mary herself was present in or through that picture, there still exists a metaphysical barrier between that person and what the given picture shows.69 The spectator’s own beliefs, however, matter in the context of her engagement with a picture or another kind of presentational work. In fact, they are part of the settings determining the relevant conditions of reception. More precisely, we cannot specify circumstances of reception only from a third person perspective, but must pay attention to what a particular recipient believes. Therefore, the status of being an invisible spectator is not automatically established, not even in the case of cinema. In order not to feel an immediate urge or obligation to ask oneself a practical question, one must believe that one is relating to something that is absent. A person hardly has such a belief independently of cultural habits and social practices that make members of a group collectively assume that all images—or, at least, some of them—show something that one is barred from. I will not spell out the relevant habits and practices here. It is clear, though, that they gradually developed throughout history, culminating in the creation of institutionalized spaces such as the modern art museum, while coexisting with other habits and practices that make people relate to images in a different way. I am not claiming that it is right for a person to relate to an artistic image as to a work that shows something absent, even though a contemporary Western, secularized perspective might suggest this. Rather, I claim that there exist cultural habits, social practices, and institutionalized spaces that make people relate to images as artifacts that show something absent, and therefore tend to make them lose their sense of self. Museums and movie theaters are examples of such spaces, whose existence depends on an intricate net of habits, practices, beliefs, technologies, and media. One may find it unsatisfying that I do not tell the story of how human beings came to relate to images as to artifacts that make one relate to something that essentially is absent. This, however,

Generating Disinterestedness  141 is a story for the anthropologist, the cultural scientist, and the art historian to tell. As a philosopher, I can conclude the following: (a) the specification of the general circumstances of reception securing a spectator’s invisibility and practical exclusion have to take into account (some of) the beliefs that a spectator actually holds. (b) An invisible spectator attends to something that she herself must believe to be absent. (c) A person cannot believe that artistic images and other works show something absent without being situated within a particular context of cultural habits, practices, and institutionalized spaces. (d) Obviously, there exists such a context, as is proven by the existence of institutionalized spaces such as the modern art museum and the movie theater. Moreover, my description of the general circumstances of reception holding at such places reflects beliefs and convictions that most moviegoers and visitors of art museums share. In other words, given the kind of behavior most people show at art museums and movie theaters, it is obvious that they assume that presentational works show something that they either cannot or shall not interact with in a practical manner. (e) If invisibility and practical exclusion have cultural and institutional preconditions, then it seems as if the existence of aesthetic spheres, and consequently the existence of art, also has such preconditions. At the very end of this chapter, I will return to this issue and discuss it in detail.70 §3 Literature Many writers and scholars have argued that we tend to lose our sense of self when reading literary texts. For instance, Wayne Booth holds that a “distinction must be made between myself as a reader and the often very different self who goes about paying bills, repairing leaky faucets, and failing in generosity and wisdom. It is only as I read that I become the self whose beliefs must coincide with the author’s.”71 Wolfgang Iser, moreover, describes the act of reading a literary text in terms similar to those used by Metz in his description of the act of watching a film. According to Iser, reading a text alienates one from one’s own world and from oneself: “The more ‘present’ the text is to us, the more our habitual selves—at least for the duration of the reading—recede into the ‘past.’ ”72 Literary works, genres, and traditions employ various strategies in order to disengage a reader from her life. Once again, though, I take it that such works generally tend to make one lose the sense of oneself, because they make one experience something that is not present, and that one cannot interact with practically. That is, when reading a literary text, whether it is prose or poetry, whether it is epic, lyric, or dramatic, a person experiences a fictional world that lies outside of her immediate practical reach and that is different from the world she lives in. In this sense, literature is similar to the visual arts: a reader neither feels the immediate urge nor the obligation to make a practical decision or to evaluate what she experiences in relation to her own interests and intentions. When attending to what a literary work

142  Generating Disinterestedness presents, a person does not stand in a practical relation to her life, and therefore temporarily loses the sense of herself.73 Some scholars, however, have argued that a text is constructed by its reader just as much as it is constructed by its author: “The text itself is really no more than a series of ‘cues’ to the reader, invitations to construct a piece of language into meaning. In the terminology of reception theory, the reader ‘concretizes’ the literary work. . . .”74 If a text, though, is an invitation to concretize it, readers hardly will end up with exactly the same result. Given the indeterminacies of the text, and given the discrepancies between readers from different cultures and different times, it seems that few readers will share the same kind of experience with respect to a given text. According to Terry Eagleton, it is not surprising that there are such discrepancies given that every reader must concretize a text according to her own values and biography, and therefore must end up with a reading different from those that others arrive at. He further argues that the traditional professor of literature was mistaken when she expected her students “to put their own particular histories temporarily on ice, and [to] judge . . . [the text] from the vantage-point of some classless, genderless, non-ethnic, disinterested universal subject.”75 Of course, this issue relates back to my discussion of Gadamer at the end of Chapter Two. In addition to the argument I have presented there, I want to point to the account of reading that Iser and other reception theorists introduced. For Iser, a text offers different possibilities, or rather different strategies, of concretization. Due to their own values and biographies, different readers may affirm different possibilities, and thereby end up with different readings. The affirmed possibilities still have their roots, though, in the text, and therefore the text itself still determines the different readings to a significant degree: “The process of assembling the meaning of the text is not a private one, for although it does mobilize the subjective disposition of the reader, it does not lead to day-dreaming but to the fulfillment of conditions that have already been structured in the text.”76 Indeed, the response to a text could hardly qualify as a reading of it if it was not directed towards something in the text and controlled by it. Thus, our truly idiosyncratic responses are not part of our readings, but rather are part of subsequent responses, “where the aesthetic effect results in a restructuring of experience.”77 Finally, Iser argues that even though readings may differ due to the affirmation of different possibilities, one still must forget about oneself, and may even transform into somebody else, when reading a literary text: “But to be truly caught up in such a present involves forgetting oneself. And from this condition derives the impression readers sometimes have of experiencing a transformation in reading. . . . In the early days of the novel, during the seventeenth century, such reading was regarded as a form of madness, because it meant becoming someone else.”78 In general, I assume that a person relies on her experiences of and knowledge about the world in order to understand a presentational work. However, she does not necessarily rely on her own specific perspective when

Generating Disinterestedness  143 concretizing a work’s indeterminate structures. In particular, she does not have to fulfill “the conditions already structured” by a work according to her own specific interests, but can do so according to interests that she either temporarily adopts or that she shares with all human beings or all members of her respective groups. The concretization of a work’s structures, then, may go hand in hand with a temporary disengagement from one’s own specific perspective, which just is an essential aspect of adopting a disinterested attitude. Another aspect of adopting this attitude is not relating to one’s existence in a practical way. Since one is barred from the events and states of affairs that one reads about in a literary text, and consequently cannot relate to them in a practical manner, one also cannot relate practically to one’s existence while reading, and therefore must temporarily lose the sense of oneself under these conditions. In contrast to Iser, though, I do not take it that there is some kind of interaction or dialogue between a reader and a text.79 My reasons for rejecting this view are related to my reasons for rejecting Sobchack’s conception of the filmic state: just as a film never responds to what a recipient does, a text also never responds to it. Different readers may construct different diegetic or poetic worlds based on their different approaches to a text. Nothing within these worlds, however, will acknowledge their presence. With respect to a text, or rather with respect to what it presents, we remain invisible spectators, who cannot interact with what we experience, and therefore also cannot communicate with it.

II. The Visible Spectator The spectator of a film faces a metaphysical barrier between herself and what she perceives. The spectator of a stage performance, however, faces no such barrier, for she can, at least to some degree, interact with the actors on stage, and can feel their acknowledgment of her presence. That is, she typically is visible to the spectacle and can, by means of affecting the performing artists, affect the fictional world that she sees unfolding on stage. If this is true, though, one may wonder how a work of the performing arts could ever establish an aesthetic sphere that leads to the adoption of a disinterested attitude. In fact, if it is always possible to relate practically to what such a work shows, then it seems as if works of the performing arts cannot make their recipient adopt a disinterested attitude towards what they present, or rather cannot make her lose the sense of herself. The performing arts, however, have come up with their own strategies for creating conditions of reception that make one lose the sense of oneself, even though their works tend to secure a recipient’s visibility. In the first section, I prove this by focusing on the conditions of reception holding in the case of dramatic theater. Then, I turn to other performing arts, such as dance, music, and opera. In the last section, I explore the nature of some works of performance art that clearly establish a recipient’s visibility and call for her practical intervention, and

144  Generating Disinterestedness I explain why even such works still rely on notions of aesthetic autonomy and disinterestedness. §1 Theater Scholars of theater have been stressing for a long time that the spectator of a stage performance always participates in what she perceives. For instance, Max Hermann argued as early as 1920 that the “original meaning of theater refers to its conception as social play—played by all for all. A game in which everyone is a player—actors and spectators alike . . . In this sense the audience is the creator of the theater. So many different participants constitute the theatrical event that its social nature cannot be lost.”80 Contemporary scholars have often followed Hermann in focusing on theater’s social nature. According to Erika Fischer-Lichte, the performance of a play is an ephemeral, aesthetic event, different from the play itself and different from the staging of the play. In contrast to a play and its staging, a performance cannot be revisited, because no matter how much a stage actor attempts to do the same thing twice, small alterations are unavoidable. Moreover, the spectators attending a show on one evening will not behave exactly the same as those attending it on the next evening, even if the two audiences are identical. Again, small alterations are simply unavoidable.81 The spectators’ behavior, however, influences the actors’ performances. Of course, there are certain rules that spectators at the theater are expected to follow, yet these rules do not prevent them from participating in the creation of the dramatic events that they see happening on stage: “Through their physical presence, perception, and response, the spectators become co-actors that generate the performance by participating in the ‘play.’ ”82 Fischer-Lichte concedes that the interactions among stage actors and their spectators often are hard to detect. Already when an actor feels how her spectators look at her, though, some (minimal) interaction takes place, because the actor then feels the acknowledgment of her presence. Of course, the same holds true when the actor looks at her spectators and thereby acknowledges their presence. Fischer-Lichte claims that people interact with each other whenever they are in each other’s “bodily co-presence.”83 She further speaks of a “feedback loop” existing between an actor and her spectators: “[W]hatever the actors do elicits a response from the spectators, which impacts on the entire performance. In this sense, performances are generated and determined by a self-referential and ever-changing feedback loop.”84 Ultimately, Fischer-Lichte characterizes a performance not only as an aesthetic and social event but also as a political one, for she takes it that there are always power relations holding between a performing artist and her spectators. Every stage performance, however, specifies different relations of power and allows for different degrees of vulnerability on the side of the performer and on the side of the spectator. Moreover, these relations are not established exclusively by the institutions of theater, the directors, and the

Generating Disinterestedness  145 actors. The spectators participate in the process of establishing them—i.e., they are free to re-negotiate the conditions of their reception. In fact, the spectator must participate in what she perceives. As long as she attends to a performance, she cannot help but interact somehow with the performer: “In the auditorium, they cannot maintain the same distanced position as when looking at a painting or reading a poem.”85 Finally, Fischer-Lichte has it that there is an important difference between a live performance and a “mediatized performance,” since the latter essentially “invalidates the feedback loop.”86 Overall, I agree with many aspects of Fischer-Lichte’s account. However, it is important to note that the various institutions of theater, and the various theatrical spaces established by them, always have determined rules that regulate the interactions between a performing artist and her spectator. Even in pre-modern times, there was typically some difference between a performer and a spectator. The latter typically was not allowed—or, at least, not expected—to behave exactly as the former did. In particular, she typically was expected not to enter the stage area at free will, and not to interact directly with the actors. In modern times, European dramatists and theater-makers introduced settings that increasingly cut the theatrical feedback loop. Denis Diderot’s writings were very influential in this context. Among his instructions for dramatic authors and actors, one finds the request that “the beholder is no more to be taken into account than if he did not exist.”87 So, Diderot asks authors and actors not to acknowledge the existence of the spectator, and to imagine that the space of the stage were completely enclosed by four walls: “Whether you compose or act, think no more of the beholder than if he did not exist. Imagine, at the edge of the stage, a high wall that separates you from the orchestra. Act as if the curtain never rose.”88 The reason why Diderot insists that an actor should forget about her audience is that, according to him, an actor cannot show anything true or natural if she acknowledges the presence of her spectators: “Every personage who seems to tell you: ‘Look how well I cry, how well I become angry, how well I implore,’ is false and mannered.”89 So, Diderot clearly highlights the pictorial aspects of theater while neglecting those that actually characterize the theatrical. As Fried noted, he uses “the term le théâtral, the theatrical, implying consciousness of being beheld, as synonymous with falseness.”90 According to Diderot, then, the spectator at a theater should feel as if she were looking at a series of pictures, whose content cannot acknowledge her presence as a beholder.91 Diderot’s pictorial account of theater greatly influenced the further development of European bourgeois theater and contributed to the creation of the picture stage. More precisely, during the eighteenth and nineteenth century, European theater-makers created circumstances of reception that, to a certain extent, assimilated the experience of a theatrical performance to the experience of a painting or a novel. In order to achieve this objective, two things were done: first, stricter regulations on spectators’ behavior were

146  Generating Disinterestedness imposed. For instance, spectators were no longer allowed to bring food, and they were not allowed to engage in noisy or otherwise disruptive behavior. Second, the auditorium was darkened, to the effect that only actions taking place on the lighted stage could really be seen. So, in contrast, for instance, to Elizabethan Theater, European bourgeois theater defined conditions of reception that allowed for less interaction between spectators and actors, and that made the former less visible to the latter. The theatrical feedback loop, then, was severed, at least to some degree.92 There were various reasons behind modern theater-makers’ and dramatists’ attempt to cut the feedback loop. I have already mentioned Diderot’s ideas about naturalness and truthfulness. Additionally, at the end of the eighteenth century, some philosophers and dramatists, specifically in Germany, wanted to establish theater as an institution of learning. The spectator should learn something by means of closely attending to the fictional world unfolding on stage, and ideally should thereby transform into a better person. Closely attending to the fictional world unfolding on stage, however, presupposes that one is motivated, or even forced, really to focus on it: If the theatre was to do justice to its claim of educating the spectators by contributing to their personal development (first proclaimed by Goethe and Schiller), it would first have to teach its audience to see the auditorium no longer as a social space but as one enabling focused perception. The theatre laws passed in the first half of the nineteenth century served this purpose, although they failed to be enforced successfully. A far more successful disciplinary measure was the darkening of the auditorium, undertaken in the second half of the same century.93 It is no coincidence that Goethe’s and Schiller’s efforts to make spectators at Weimar’s court theater enter states of focused perception followed on the heels of Kant’s introduction of the as yet most influential account of disinterestedness. Kant’s influence on Schiller is most obvious. Schiller’s texts on aesthetics are essentially elaborations of Kantian themes, as well as disputes with certain aspects of Kant’s philosophy. At the end of the eighteenth century, then, aesthetic theory, criticism, and theater did not exist in isolation from each other; there was an atmosphere of mutual influence, at the center of which we find the notion of aesthetic disinterestedness.94 Much of contemporary Western theater follows in the footsteps of European bourgeois theater. That is, the conditions of reception holding at contemporary Western playhouses often minimize, or, at least, restrict, the interactions happening between the performing artists and the spectators: the latter typically sit in a dark auditorium, and look at an elevated, lighted stage separated from the space that they themselves occupy. They are typically expected not to intervene directly in what happens on stage, and not to distract the actors or their fellow spectators by talking, eating, or performing other types of disruptive behavior. Of course, we can break

Generating Disinterestedness  147 such norms and conventions, but most of us follow them when attending a show. So, even though the feedback loop between actors on stage and spectators can never be completely severed, theater has come up with its own strategies to establish a sphere that a recipient takes to be separated from the sphere of her practical life, and that she consequently does not approach as a practical agent, but rather looks at from a distance: “And this must be one of the functions of the theater where what is witnessed on the stage is put at a distance, and is excluded by convention from the framework of beliefs the precisely resembling thing would fall under were it taken for granted.”95 In fact, cinema’s immersive power relies on these theatrical strategies for separating the diegetic space unfolding on stage from the space of an attending audience. We have already seen how the classical movie theater introduced circumstances of reception very different from those of earlier movie theaters; we can see now that one can also describe this transition as the attempt to turn the movie theater into a place resembling the classical bourgeois playhouse. When watching a stage performance, then, and when following the rules that typically hold at a contemporary theater, a person does not relate to what she perceives as she usually relates to things. That is, even though there is, strictly speaking, no metaphysical barrier between the diegetic space unfolding on stage and the space that she herself occupies as a practical agent, the spectator of a stage performance cannot really interact with what happens on stage in a practical way. She may affect the actors’ performances by laughing, crying, sighing, snoring, or leaving, and may thereby affect the diegetic world of the relevant theatrical work, but she usually will not intentionally intervene in what happens on stage in order to satisfy some goal she has. Rather, she will assume that she is to attend to an aesthetic sphere, and therefore will not feel the immediate urge or obligation to answer practical questions, make decisions, or evaluate what she perceives in relation to her own intentions and interests. Just as the spectator of a film, photograph, or painting, then, the spectator of a contemporary stage performance typically refrains from relating to herself in a practical way, and consequently loses the sense of herself. It may not be possible for her to acquire the status of an invisible spectator in the same way that this is possible for the spectator at a movie theater, because at a playhouse, a recipient’s practical involvement and the acknowledgment of her individual presence always remains a possibility. European bourgeois theater, however, introduced circumstances of reception that, for the most part, make a recipient forget about these possibilities. When going to the theater today, we still often face a rather opaque fourth wall, putting us under the impression of being invisible to the theatrical spectacle. The circumstances of reception, then, that hold in the case of watching a stage performance do not necessarily block the adoption of a disinterested attitude. Of course, since the beginning of the twentieth century, many theater-makers and dramatists have turned against the norms and conventions of European bourgeois theater, and have often attempted

148  Generating Disinterestedness to consolidate the feedback loop between performing artists and spectators. I will soon discuss these developments in a bit more detail. However, the fact that theater has often specified settings that invite a recipient to intervene with what she perceives does not change the fact that theater has also often specified settings that attempt to minimize such interventions. Therefore, my claim still stands that, as an art, theater has its own ways of determining conditions of reception that make a recipient refrain from relating to herself in a practical way, and that therefore make her temporarily lose the sense of herself.96 §2 Other Performing Arts Drama is not the only performing art. As Francis Sparshott has pointed out, “Charles Batteaux in 1746 already thought in terms of generic stage spectacles that would be identified as drama, as music, or as dance, depending on where the creative center and the focus of interest were.”97 Sparshott, moreover, has it that something qualifies as dance “if its principal medium is the unspeaking human body in motion and at rest,”98 and that “[t]he artistic place of the onstage dancer has much in common with that of the dramatic actor. . . .”99 In fact, I take it that not only the onstage dancer and actor share a lot but also their respective recipients. The general circumstances of reception holding in the case of attending to the stage performance of a play also hold in the case of attending to the stage performance of a dance. Just as a stage actor, an onstage dancer can acknowledge her spectator’s individual presence and can interact with her. Again, the forms of interaction that may occur here are often subtle and difficult to detect. Since there always is a bodily co-presence between an onstage dancer and her spectator, though, they always interact with each other in some way. Like modern European dramatic theater, modern European dance theater has introduced ways of keeping these interactions at a minimal level. In fact, the relevant strategies here are just the same: when engaging with a work of classical ballet, we typically sit in a dark auditorium looking at an elevated, lighted stage, and we are expected to behave as we would at any other common theater. So, when attending a performance of Stravinsky’s The Firebird or Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliette at the MET or the Deutsche Oper Berlin, a recipient typically does not feel an immediate urge or obligation to ask herself practical questions, make decisions, or evaluate what she perceives in relation to her own intentions and interests, and therefore tends to lose the sense of herself. What is more, this holds true not only in the case of attending to the performance of such classical works at mainstream venues, but often also in the case of attending to the performance of works by modern or contemporary choreographers, such as Merce Cunningham or Pina Bausch. Due to the fact that it usually is accompanied by the performance of a musical work, and due to the fact that it relies on the presentation of movements, which are captivating by themselves, a dance performance may often even have

Generating Disinterestedness  149 an immersive power similar to the one the screening of a film has. As in the case of dramatic theater, there have been cases of modern or contemporary dance introducing settings meant to diminish this immersive power and to strengthen the feedback loop. Again, though, this does not change the fact that, as an art, dance has its own ways of establishing aesthetic spheres, which a spectator is meant to relate to in a disinterested manner. Music itself is often counted as a performing art as well. The performance of a piece of music consists in the presentation of an organized sequence of sound events. When playing music, musicians often follow a score, thereby presenting a work that already existed. At times, they also play or sing without a score, possibly presenting a new piece. I will not offer a definition of musical works, but instead rely on an intuitive conception, according to which these works are compositions that one may repeatedly perform, such as symphonies, sonatas, or songs. This conception should suffice for my purposes in this section.100 A person may already experience music while reading a score. When talking about our experiences of music, though, we usually talk about experiences we have while actually hearing music being performed; we talk about our auditory relations to actual presentations of organized sequences of sound events. Therefore, I primarily conceive of an experience of music as an experience of such presentations, and consequently take music to be a performing art.101 Peter Kivy rightly pointed out that the performance of a musical work has fulfilled different functions, and that the practice of going to a concert hall in order to listen to a work of music being performed did not really exist before the eighteenth century. The institution of the concert hall made it possible for a recipient to focus on the performance of a musical work alone: The concert hall, the aural version of the art museum (also an eighteenthcentury invention), is a place for doing one thing: listening with rapt, aesthetic attention to (for the most part) absolute music. Music in this social setting is meant to perform but one function: to be the most interesting possible object for that rapt attention. In this setting, all its other past settings and functions have been obliterated.102 Kivy is famous for claiming that one does not truly listen to the performance of a musical work unless one listens to it with close, aesthetic attention, and thinks about what one hears. Thinking about what one hears entails that one forms hypotheses about what sound events might come next, that one is surprised about the occurrence of some events, satisfied by the occurrence of others, and so on. So, if a person really attends to the performance of a musical work as an aesthetic event, she attends to it not with a “mind occupied with thoughts and problems for which the music may serve as soothing background, but a mind occupied with the music.”103

150  Generating Disinterestedness Our experiences of music certainly go far beyond our auditory relations to performances at concert halls. They include all auditory relations to live or mediatized performances of music, as long as these relations make one really attend to these performances as aesthetic events. When a performance, though, just functions as background noise, and a person only hears it while doing something else, such as reading the newspaper, this person does not have an experience of music. Of course, a person does not always lose the sense of herself when experiencing music, even though if she is truly listening, her mind must always be occupied with the music in some way. The conditions of reception, however, that hold in the case of listening to music significantly differ. When dancing Tango, for instance, I definitely must listen to the music, but I also must keep relating to my environment in a practical manner. If I were no longer relating to people as a practical agent while dancing Tango, I could neither lead nor follow my partner, and could not avoid bumping into others on the dance floor. Like other performing arts, though, music has its ways of specifying settings that determine general conditions of reception that make one adopt a nonpractical attitude. Kivy describes the concert hall as an aural version of the art museum. Indeed, the general circumstances of reception holding when we attend to the performance of a musical work at a concert hall resemble the circumstances of reception holding when we attend to works at an art museum, and they even more resemble those holding when we attend to the performance of a play at a common playhouse. On the one hand, then, the recipient at a concert hall, in principle, can feel the performing artists’ acknowledgement of her individual presence, and can interact with what she sees and hears. Even at a concert hall, performing artists and audience members are characterized by their bodily co-presence, and consequently, there always exists some feedback loop between them. On the other hand, though, interactions between performing artists and auditors at a concert hall typically remain at a minimum, due to their clear spatial division from each other, and due to the rules and conventions holding at such a place. These rules and conventions typically forbid all practical intervention and even forbid making a noise. During a classical concert, the musicians on stage, moreover, hardly acknowledge an audience member’s individual presence. A soloist may face the audience and look at them, yet the members of an orchestra usually look at the notes and the conductor. When attending to a classical concert, then, a person usually attends to something that she does not interact with, and that does not acknowledge her individual presence, although both, in principle, is possible. She, therefore, does not relate to what she hears in a practical way, but rather attends to it in a contemplative manner. Consequently, a person tends to lose the sense of herself while listening to a concert.104 When attending a Rock, Pop, or Jazz concert, the situation is different. Rock and Pop musicians often interact with their audiences and acknowledge the presence of individual recipients. However, I take it that the musical

Generating Disinterestedness  151 works qualifying as artworks typically are works of classical music. Therefore, I am primarily interested in the conditions of reception that hold in the case of listening to performances of such works, and these conditions still are, to a large extent, defined by the settings of the modern concert hall. This is not to say that there are no other forms of music, and that one relates to all musical performances as an audience member who cannot affect the sequence of sound events she hears, and therefore must relate to it as something absent. I just claim that being a member of an audience who does not interfere with what she perceptually relates to is still the dominant situation of someone who listens to a work of classical music.105 Moreover, the performance of a musical work often has great immersive power. First, it presents audible movements, which are as captivating as visible ones. Like film, theater, and dance, music further is a temporal art, which determines the temporal structure of our experiences of it. For Kivy, absolute music—that is, classical music without a program—actually is the only art really satisfying “Schopenhauer’s dream of an art that liberates from the Wheel of Ixion,”106 for it has no representational content, and therefore can truly alienate us from our world: “[L]istening to absolute music is, among other things, the experience of going from our world, with all of its trials, tribulations, and ambiguities, to another world, a world of pure sonic structures. . . .”107 I am not sure whether it is true that absolute music has no representational content, but it certainly is true that music unfolds a world, or rather a web of meaningful relations, separated from the world that a listener occupies as a practical agent. More precisely, a listener cannot— or, at least, shall not—intervene with what she hears while attending to a classical concert. This holds true even more so when she listens to a mediatized performance. Today, people most often listen to music via recordings. Under such circumstances, there is a robust barrier between a listener and what she listens to, because she clearly cannot affect a performance that is presented to her via a recording. The relevant conditions of reception here are not all that different from the conditions of reception holding in the case of watching a film. Aside from dramatic theater and dance theater, there also is music theater, which includes the performance of operas and musicals. I will not have a lot to say on music theater, because the general conditions of reception holding in the case of relating to an opera or a musical basically are the same as those holding in the case of relating to the staging of a play or a dance performance. In other words, the same general story that I told with respect to theater and dance can be told with respect to music theater, although the fact that the performance of an opera or a musical includes a musical performance certainly determines its own conditions of reception and leads to an immersive dimension that many dramatic performances do not possess. However, the general point I have been making throughout the second part of this chapter still stands: just as other performing arts, music theater has its ways of determining conditions of reception that make a person relate to

152  Generating Disinterestedness a sphere that she cannot—or, at least, shall not—intervene with, and that, therefore, essentially is absent. More precisely, modern and contemporary operas or musicals typically rely on settings that make a recipient lose the sense of herself, or rather make her adopt a disinterested attitude. §3 Participation and Autonomy At the beginning of the twentieth century, some European theater-makers turned against the rules and conventions of classical bourgeois theater. Max Reinhardt, for instance, experimented with new staging techniques in Berlin, situating the audience around the stage and making the actors move into the space that the spectators occupied. Reinhardt, then, did not conceive of the stage as a picture stage, but instead strengthened the feedback loop between actors and spectators.108 Around the same time that Reinhardt and other artists, such as Erwin Piscator, revolutionized theater in Berlin, other forms of avant-garde theater developed throughout Europe. In Paris, Antonin Artaud introduced his Theater Of Cruelty, which turned against the presentation of a closed, fictional world, and instead was meant to generate heterogeneous, provocative spectacles. Beyond the world of theater, a number of influential avant-garde artists, specifically Dadaists, attempted to erase the traditional distance between (performing) artists and recipients. That is, they rebelled against the paradigm of aesthetic autonomy, and denied to create and present fictional worlds that recipients are excluded from as practical agents. As Peter Bürger has put it: “[T]he historical avant-garde movements negate those determinations that are essential in autonomous art: the disjunction of art and the praxis of life, individual production and individual reception as distinct from the former.”109 In the 1960s and 1970s, artists again began to pursue these goals in new and radical ways. Recipients of happenings or performances by artists such as Allan Kaprow, Richard Schechner, and Marina Abramović often were asked to participate in the spectacles they attended, and therefore surely could not adopt a disinterested attitude. Rather, their individual presence was often acknowledged, they were asked practical questions, had to make decisions, and had to justify them. So, a recipient, or rather a participant, of such performances often fully satisfied the conditions of relating to herself in a practical way. Abramović’s performance Lips of Thomas is an illustrative example.110 On October 24, 1975, Abramović presented Lips of Thomas at a gallery in Austria: the artist first stepped in front of her audience, undressed herself, attached a photograph of herself on a wall, circled the photograph with a five-pointed star, sat down at a table, ate one kilogram of honey, drank a bottle of wine, broke the glass that she had drunken from, cut a five-pointed star into her belly, struck herself with a whip, and lay down on a cross of ice underneath a radiant heater, until members of the audience finally took her off the cross and carried her outside.

Generating Disinterestedness  153 Lips of Thomas is a radical example, yet it surely is not the only work of performance art that expected its recipients to make practical decisions and to share some of the responsibility for the ultimate outcome of the performance. Indeed, Abramović forced her recipients to make a very important decision, since every recipient could see that the artist was seriously injuring herself. The recipient was confronted with the question of whether to stop Abramović, call for help, or just wait and watch. Every decision came with a risk. A recipient who just waited risked being accused of failing to stop an act of self-mutilation; a recipient who intervened ran the risk of being accused of having misunderstood the relevant work of art, and of having ended it in an untimely way. Abramović, then, created a personal crisis for each of her recipients. Each of them had to ask herself, “What is to be done here?” And this question, sooner or later, had to be asked on a personal level. At the beginning, a recipient still might have asked herself, “What does the artist want from us?“ or “How should one behave in such a situation?” Yet the more seriously Abramović injured herself, the more urgently a recipient had to ask herself, “What shall I do, given that this woman might kill herself in front of my eyes?” Answering such a question one way instead of another determines what kind of life one intends to live. So, Abramović forced her recipients to make practical decisions about their own lives, and thereby kept them from temporarily losing their sense of self.111 Recent and contemporary performance artists and groups, such as Christoph Schlingensief, SIGNA, and LIGNA, have continued to create events and situations that force recipients to participate in a practical way. There also are installations and artistic spaces, rooms, or buildings that ask recipients to relate to them as practical agents. Take Gregor Schneider’s END, for instance. END was a walkable, outdoor sculpture connected to the Museum Abteiberg in Mönchengladbach, Germany. Visitors could enter the museum via this sculpture from November 2008 until September 2009. Before entering, one had to sign a release form, which explained that one was about to enter a structure with steep staircases and dark passages. Upon entering, one first had to walk through a tunnel-like opening, having to find one’s way in complete darkness, before one could explore various rooms from Schneider’s Haus u r, which had been integrated into the sculpture, and finally enter the museum. I am not suggesting that END did not allow its recipients to have certain contemplative experiences, but it certainly forced one to relate to it as a practical agent as well. At times, the experience of walking through END resembled a bit the experience of walking through a haunted house, forcing one to make decisions about whether to keep walking through the dark opening (even if doing so became frightening or irritating), whether to open certain doors, to enter specific rooms, and so on. So, it seems that a person’s engagement with END was part of her practical life, and not separated from it. Once again, then, we seem to be discussing a work that does not sit well with my aesthetic conception of art. Specifically when taking into consideration a performance such as Lips of Thomas, it becomes rather

154  Generating Disinterestedness questionable whether all artworks ask or expect to be engaged with in an aesthetic manner. One may argue that it just is the point of some works to make it impossible for a person to have an aesthetic experience of what they show or present. This, however, seems to force a choice upon me between two rather unfortunate conclusions: either my aesthetic conception of art is false or some celebrated works of recent and contemporary art do not really qualify as works of art.112 Needless to say, my aim is to avoid both conclusions and to show that the forced choice is a false dilemma. In order to show this, a few points need to be made. First, I deny that the above-mentioned works erase the difference between art and practical life. It is true that many avant-garde and neo-avantgarde artists have created works that ask their recipients to become participants and to intervene with what they perceive. Typically, though, recipients of such works still are aware of the fact that they act within special spheres, separated from the spheres of their ordinary lives. A performance, a happening, or an installation essentially establishes a special realm or situation, thereby often allowing people to behave differently. When following the rules of the game that a happening or performance suggests, a person may, at times, even refrain from relating to the world and to herself as she usually does, and instead may act as an actor on stage, i.e., she may adopt roles very different from the ones she ordinarily adopts, and may start acting according to them. This does not change the fact that she engages with the given performance as a practical agent, yet this agent may be different from the one she is during her ordinary, practical life. In this sense, she still may temporarily lose the sense of herself, because even though she makes practical decisions, she does not relate to her own existence, but rather relates to the existence of someone she temporarily became. Consequently, even our relations to performances that force us to respond in a practical manner may still qualify as disinterested, although in a different sense than our contemplative relations to what other works of art show.113 This answer, however, does not yet really solve the problem, because many performances, happenings, and installations do not establish spheres whose fictional status is strong enough that we start to act in a way unrelated to our own existence. In Chapter Two, I have shown that a person does not lose the sense of herself when playing soccer just because she adopts a role that she does not adopt during her life apart from the soccer field, such as the role of the left defender. Similarly, a person does not lose the sense of herself just because she acts according to roles that she adopts during a performance, unless these roles are radically different from the ones defining her. Moreover, in the case of a performance such as Lips of Thomas, a recipient has to make decisions that affect her own life, and therefore must relate to herself. Even such a performance, however, does not allow the recipient to act as she does in her ordinary life. Ordinarily, we make decisions and perform actions without reflecting on them. At times, we may explicitly deliberate about what to do, yet our decisions and actions hardly

Generating Disinterestedness  155 ever become the topic of our attention as they become it in the context of our engagements with artistic performances or other artworks. When acting within an artistic context, there often is a situation of crisis or disorientation, where we do not know how to behave, as in the case of Lips of Thomas.114 Additionally, our decisions and actions lose all naturalness and immediacy. That is, we become explicitly aware of ourselves as agents who perform actions within a context separated from the contexts of our ordinary life. When walking through END, for instance, I am aware that it is an artistic space. This makes me pay attention not only to what I perceive but also to my own decisions, actions, and feelings. On a different level, then, even our engagements with artworks that attempt to disable an immediately contemplative approach towards them include a contemplative aspect, i.e., they include a contemplative-reflective relation to our very own decisions and actions. Throughout this book, I have argued that one’s engagement with an artwork must include a self-reflective and self-critical moment. The existence of artworks that call for participation on the part of their recipients does not contradict this claim. Besides, one’s practical engagements with such works still are different from one’s usual actions, due to their special, reflective dimension.115 A contemplative-reflective relation towards one’s own actions could qualify as a disinterested one, if it makes one describe and evaluate one’s actions from a perspective that is not one’s own. On a different level, then, not only might reflection and contemplation come back into the picture, but also aesthetic disinterestedness. Moreover, works of art that disable straightforward disinterested engagement often still rely on disinterestedness as the main paradigm constitutive of artistic experiences. By rejecting the notion of disinterestedness, such works call attention to the fact that it is the dominant mode of engagement with art. They intentionally break with an aesthetic paradigm by disabling the capacity to adopt a disinterested state, and by doing so they prove the continuing importance of that very paradigm. Breaking with it just constitutes part of their artistic nature and appeal: “The autonomy of art itself becomes the object of self-reflection in performance as the opposition between art and reality, and between the aesthetic and the non-aesthetic, collapses. The very collapse of these oppositions, their fusion, is to be understood as a performative reflection on and radical questioning of the autonomy of art.”116 So, even in the case of artworks that do not allow for a disinterested experience in a straightforward sense, disinterestedness still may be in the picture, because either these works make it a topic by means of rejecting it or they make one reflect on one’s own behavior in a disinterested manner.117 In conclusion, I wish to comment on the political significance of aesthetic disinterestedness and autonomy. Recent documentas, Venice Biennales, and other influential art exhibitions have made it clear that many artists still, or again, desire to create works that have political relevance. Some even seem to conceive of their works as forms of political intervention, meant to

156  Generating Disinterestedness motivate audiences immediately to perform certain political actions. Such a conception seems to contradict all notions of aesthetic disinterestedness and autonomy. Peter Bürger argues that the “avant-gardist’s protest, whose aim it is to reintegrate art into the praxis of life, reveals the nexus between autonomy and the absence of any consequences.”118 Indeed, the paradigm of aesthetic autonomy does not allow an artwork to function as a kind of immediate political intervention, and a disinterested experience has nothing to do with an immediate political action. In fact, though, I take it to be a huge mistake to politicize art and the experience of it in such a way. If all artists were to follow a paradigm of artistic heteronomy, the power of art would be lost, and art itself would vanish. Art is simply different from politics, which is not to say that an artwork can have no social or political consequences. Therefore, Bürger is wrong to suggest that autonomy necessitates an absence of consequences. The consequences of our aesthetic engagements with works of art, though, never can be immediate, but rather must be the mediated results of the self-reflective play among our capacities that this engagement essentially consists in. Of course, this claim is as old as Schiller’s Letters on Aesthetic Education, and has been defended by all those aestheticians following in Schiller’s footsteps, such as Adorno or Herbert Marcuse. Marcuse explicitly states that the “political potential of art lies only in its own aesthetic dimension. Its relation to praxis is inexorably indirect, mediated, and frustrating. The more immediately political the work of art, the more it reduces the power of estrangement and the radical, transcendent goal of change.”119 Bürger himself ultimately wonders, “whether the distance between art and the praxis of life is not requisite for that free space within which alternatives to what exists become conceivable.”120 My own answer to this question should be obvious by now.

III. Art, History, and Culture At the end of the previous section, I argued that modernist or contemporary artworks that prevent recipients from having straightforwardly disinterested experiences are still related to aesthetic disinterestedness. Of course, this argument was only an addition to my claim that, despite all performative and other types of turns, modernist and contemporary artworks still typically establish aesthetic spheres and unfold fictional worlds, thereby showing something that a recipient cannot—or, at least, shall not—relate to in a practical manner. In other words, I take it that the paradigms of aesthetic disinterestedness and autonomy remain powerful and alive today. One may object, though, that these paradigms were introduced in modern times, and therefore do not apply to ancient, medieval, or even Renaissance art. Consequently, the explanatory value of my account seems limited. Instead of presenting an account of art per se, I, at most, seem to have presented an account of modern, European art. In order to reply to this objection, I first

Generating Disinterestedness  157 argue in favor of the claim that artworks always have had, at least, an aesthetic dimension. Then, I discuss the possible tension between a historical and a transcendental account of autonomy. Bürger distinguishes between three major conceptions of art, namely between “sacral art,” “courtly art,” and “bourgeois art.”121 Since the eighteenth century, at least, the last conception has constituted the main paradigm in the West. The first two constituted dominant paradigms during preceding times. In contrast to works of bourgeois art, works of sacral and courtly art still had in common that they were integrated into their recipients’ practical lives: “As cult and representational objects, works of art are put to a specific use.”122 As aesthetic objects, however, they lose their instrumental value. According to the modern and current paradigm, then, art is autonomous from practical life. As mentioned before, Bürger assumes that the avant-garde artists of the early twentieth century challenged this ­paradigm—ultimately, though, failing to replace it. Bürger has not been the only one to stress that works of art often played an instrumental role. For instance, Danto has it that “art often had useful roles to play as art, didactic, edificational, purgative, or whatever, and the theory [of psychic distance] thus presupposes a degree of detachment available only in special periods of art history. It certainly was no aim of the high baroque to be perceived disinterestedly: its aim was to change men’s souls.”123 In his “The Origin of the Work of Art,” Heidegger, moreover, claims that the ancient Greeks did not relate to their works of art in an aesthetic way. Their artworks rather played a crucial role within their practices, ultimately securing the working of these practices. On the basis of his exploration of ancient art, Heidegger criticizes all aesthetic conceptions of art, and denies that accounts of aesthetic experience and appreciation could be helpful in understanding the nature of art.124 When Heidegger, though, explicates an artwork in terms of a struggle between what he calls “world” and what he calls “earth,” he introduces an aesthetic dimension into the picture: a work opens up a world in the sense of enabling and supporting the existence of certain practices, while it simultaneously shows something that grounds these practices without being collected by them: Standing there, the building holds its place against the storm raging above it and so first makes the storm visible in its violence. The gleam and luster of the stone, though apparently there only by the grace of the sun, in fact first brings forth the light of day, the breadth of the sky, the darkness of night. The temple’s form towering makes visible the invisible space of the air. . . . Tree, grass, eagle and bull, snake and cricket first enter their distinctive shapes and thus come to appearance as what they are. Early on, the Greeks called this coming forth and rising up in itself and in all things φύσις. . . . We call this the earth.125

158  Generating Disinterestedness Heidegger stresses here the earth’s sensuousness, which an artwork, such as an ancient temple, reveals. A work of art, then, is not only defined by its specific role within some practical context, but also is defined by the sensuous appearances that it discovers. On my view, and herein I may deviate from Heidegger, an artwork cannot discover or reveal any sensuous appearances without there being a human being to whom this could be revealed, or rather without there being a human being who could experience these appearances. Since I further assume that such experiences are typically accompanied by feelings of pleasure or pain, in the sense that one either wishes to continue having these experiences or wishes to stop having them, I ultimately take it that relating to the sensuous appearances that an artwork introduces means having an aesthetic experience.126 Overall, I find it implausible to assume that during pre-modern times, artworks were not meant to be aesthetically appreciated. Such works may have had sacral or representational functions, but this does not exclude the possibility that they also were meant to satisfy aesthetic purposes. How plausible really is it to assume that works by Michelangelo, Rafael, Leonardo, and many other, older artists were not meant to be appreciated because of their specific aesthetic qualities, including their brilliant compositions, precise figure drawings, captivating colors, and so on? How plausible is it to assume that we merely read all such qualities into these works today?127 As an academic discipline, aesthetics may have started only during the eighteenth century, but it did not start out of the blue. There had been a long tradition of intellectual discourse on the major topics of aesthetics, such as the nature of beauty or sublimity, going back all the way to Plato’s Symposium. The major topics of aesthetics, then, had already been around for many centuries and had been discussed in relation to what later came to be called “the arts.” Aesthetic conceptions of art, as indeed the very concept of art itself, may have been introduced in fairly modern times, yet discussions of the link between the arts and the aesthetic are much older. Furthermore, if one speaks about different conceptions or paradigms of art, one assumes that, however different these conceptions or paradigms may be, they still are of the same thing. In other words, even if artworks in the past primarily had to fulfill sacral, ritual, representational, or political purposes, while artworks today primarily fulfill aesthetic ones, there must be something about all such works that justifies their common denomination. An anti-essentialist may object that artworks from different times do not really share something, but rather stand in genealogical relations towards each other or can be historicized together by constructing certain narratives. However, I take it that genealogical relations are too weak for constituting a class of objects called “artworks,” because ultimately there will be such relations among all sorts of artifacts. Historical narratives, moreover, rely on starting points, whose art status is taken for granted without really being explained, which introduces serious problems, as shown in Chapter One. Therefore, I still take it to be a good working hypothesis to assume that

Generating Disinterestedness  159 everything people tend to call “art,” no matter whether it was produced during ancient, medieval, or modern times, has an aesthetic function, in the sense that it was produced at least partly in order to be appreciated because of the way it looks, sounds, or feels. Of course, this hypothesis does not allow one to make the distinctions that I ultimately make: it does not allow one to distinguish between aesthetic artifacts that qualify as works of entertainment, communication, or decoration and aesthetic artifacts that qualify as works of art. Indeed, my conception of art goes far beyond the modest hypothesis introduced in this paragraph, and nothing I have said so far proves that this conception applies to everything people tend to call “art.” In fact, it is obvious that it does not apply to everything that people tend to call so. According to my conception, art is divided from praxis, and an artwork makes a person critically reflect on her own specific perspective, thereby helping her to reach a richer and more substantial form of self-determination. One may argue that such an account relies on ideas, or rather ideals, of critique and autonomy, which have been introduced only during the time of our modern, European enlightenment. Consequently, one may object that my conception of art depends not only on a particular historical context, but also on a particular socio-cultural one. Indeed, Adorno criticized Kant for describing the exclusion of the aesthetic sphere from the empirical one as a transcendental condition of all art, instead of describing it as a historical phenomenon.128 Similarly, one may object that I, so far, have ignored the socio-historical conditions of my understanding of art and therefore have failed to present an account of art per se. In order to answer to this objection, and in order finally to conclude this chapter, I will make three points. First, it is important to note that there actually is no contradiction between the claim that the account of art I defend has specific socio-historical conditions and the claim that this account states conditions that an artifact has to fulfill in order to qualify as an artwork. Together, both claims imply that no artworks existed before the socio-historical context existed, upon which the modern ideals of critique and autonomy, and consequently my aesthetic conception of art, rely. This, however, is an implication I endorse. In general, we have to distinguish between two ways in which people use the concept “art.” On the one hand, they use it in order to refer to what I have been calling “presentational works,” and then the term may indeed apply to all sorts of historical artifacts, including ancient vases and Paleolithic cave paintings. On the other hand, people use the concept in a more normative sense, referring only to particular presentational works that they ascribe to a specific value. At least since the time of Kant, philosophers have been interested in defining the nature of those works that fall under such a normative concept of art. The specific, normative account that I defend relies on a particular socio-historical context, in the sense that one cannot conceive of art along such lines independently of a context that makes the ideals of critique and autonomy broadly available. Moreover, the works that according to

160  Generating Disinterestedness my conception qualify as artworks cannot exist within a context that does not allow for this conception. Therefore, there were no artworks before the existence of the socio-historical context that makes the ideals of critique and autonomy available, and there are no such works outside of this context today. As a philosopher, I cannot decide when and where this context began to exist, and how dominant it is today. I take it, though, that it began to exist far earlier than the eighteenth century, for ideals of critique and autonomy were already introduced and defended in antiquity, although not yet in their modern, individualistic versions. However, the roots of these modern conceptions go back to Plato’s dialogues, and the roots of art may go back just as far. Just as I cannot decide when the socio-historical context that my conception of art depends on began to exist, I cannot decide how long it will exist. Following Adorno and Marcuse, one could argue that art is needed only as long as the ideals of critique and autonomy are needed, i.e., as long as there are conditions and perspectives to be criticized because of their distorting and oppressive nature. Fortunately, or rather unfortunately, we are far away from such a paradisiac situation. Besides, the danger of egocentricity seems to be an anthropological constant, putting humans always in need of works that make them temporarily disengage themselves from their own specific perspectives. In the conclusion, I will revisit this issue. In any case, as long as there remains a need for radical perspectival shifts and self-criticism, there remains a need for art.129 At times, ideals of critique and autonomy are relativized or called “ideological,” just because they have been most clearly introduced and defended within a modern, European, and bourgeois context. Their introduction depending on a certain context does not turn them into an ideology, though. In order to show that they constitute an ideology, one must show that they are deceptive. What is more, their emergence within a certain context does not imply that they lack universal value and application. In order to develop his particular (philosophical) conceptions of critique and autonomy, Kant may have depended on the existence of a modern, European, and bourgeois culture, but one cannot reject his conceptions just on the basis of pointing this out. If one wishes to reject them, one has to engage with them philosophically, instead of describing them from a sociological or culturetheoretical point of view. The fact that the introduction of such conceptions depends on the existence of a certain context does not prove that these conceptions cannot spell out universal forms related to human dignity and freedom in general.

Notes 1 Kristeller, “The Modern System of the Arts,” 61. 2 Ibid., 4. Kristeller takes it that the locus classicus of the codification of this system is D’Alembert’s introduction to the Encylopédie, published in 1751. See ibid., 41.

Generating Disinterestedness  161 3 See Richard Wollheim, Painting as an Art (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1987), 13. 4 See Noёl Carroll, “The Specificity of Media in the Arts,” The Journal of Aesthetic Education 19, no. 4 (1985), 19. 5 One may object that the characterization of painting, photography, film, literature, music, and so on as artistic practices does not identify the deeper similarities between them, and does not explain why artists choose to make use of them when creating their works. This objection is fair. It should be clear, though, that I am not opposed to further specifying artistic practices as media, presentational systems or, to use a term that Nelson Goodmann famously introduced, “symbol systems.” See Nelson Goodmann, Languages of Art (Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 1976), xii. Such further specifications, however, require further analysis that is not related to my main argument, and which I, therefore, wish to avoid here. 6 See Cavell, The World Viewed, 18–20. 7 See ibid., 20. 8 Ibid., 22. 9 See ibid., 102. 10 Ibid., 72 and 73. 11 See Hugo Münsterberg, The Photoplay: A Psychological Study in Hugo Münsterberg on Film: The Photoplay: A Psychological Study and other Writings, ed. Allan Langdale (London and New York: Routledge), 80 and 120–124. 12 Christian Metz, The Imaginary Signifier, trans. Celia Britton, Annwyle Williams, Ben Brewster and Alfred Guzzetti (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1993), 64. 13 Ibid., 48. 14 Ibid., 94. 15 Christian Metz, Film Language: A Semiotics of the Cinema, trans. Michael Taylor (New York: Oxford University Press, 1974), 10. The term “diegesis” denotes the fictional world in which the events that a work presents occur or in which the facts that a work presents are the case. Metz characterizes a diegesis as “the fiction itself as material content” (Metz, The Imaginary Signifier, 145). When using the terms “diegetic world” and “fictional world,” I am not referring only to strictly fictional worlds. Rather, I take it that a documentary also shows a diegetic or fictional world, due to the fact that it selects certain events, shows them from a specific point of view, and puts them in a particular order. Metz, by the way, recognized that film’s “regime of perception” or its “fictional capacity” had been active in other arts before, which is an important observation in the context of my overall argument in this chapter (119). Walton also notes that “fictional worlds and their contents seem insulated or isolated in some peculiar way from the real world, separated from it by a logical or metaphysical barrier” (Walton, Mimesis as Make-Believe, 191). 16 See Cavell, The World Viewed, 215. 17 See Metz, The Imaginary Signifier, 64. 18 Ibid., 63. 19 See ibid., 61. 20 Ibid., 64. 21 Ibid., 107. 22 One may object that this holds true only with respect to narrative films, which show diegetic worlds. Indeed, I primarily have such films in mind. But there are hardly any films lacking all narrative structure. Stan Brackage’s abstract movies might qualify as examples of such films, but the conditions of reception described above also hold in the case of watching these films, because a recipient still cannot change anything about the visual patterns that they present and cannot feel

162  Generating Disinterestedness acknowledged by them. So, even the experience of pure forms projected on a screen typically makes a recipient lose the sense of herself, at least as long as she attends to these patterns and does not instead drift away into daydreaming. One further may object that my analysis only applies to fictional films, such as Vertigo. Again, it is true that I am mostly thinking of such films. Yet even a documentary does not really show our world. Rather, it presents an artistically constructed sequence of events that we cannot relate to practically while perceiving them. This is not to say that the world a documentary shows does not refer to our world, and does not inform us about it, but the same holds true for the world that Vertigo shows. In any case, whether we watch a documentary or a, strictly speaking, fictional film, we attend to something that we cannot interact with in a practical way while attending to it. 23 Metz, The Imaginary Signifier, 106. Also see 117. 24 Ibid., 97. 25 Siegfried Kracauer, Theory of Film: The Redemption of Physical Reality (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1960), 160. 26 Ibid., 159. 27 Ibid., 159 and 160. 28 See Rudolf Arnheim, “Kino und Psychologie” (1949) and “Das Kino und die Masse” (1949) in Rudolf Arnheim, Die Seel in der Silberschicht: Medientheoretische Texte: Photographie—Film—Rundfunk, ed. Helmut H. Diederichs (Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp Verlag, 2004), 273–288. Münsterberg also sounds a lot like Schopenhauer when stating that “[w]e annihilate beauty when we link the artistic creation with practical interests and transform the spectator into a selfishly interested bystander” (Münsterberg, The Photoplay, 137). Contrary to Schopenhauer, Münsterberg defines an artwork as a product of complete harmony and unity that “awakens plenty of impulses but which offers satisfaction to all these impulses in itself” (119). These impulses, though, as well as the direction of one’s attention to the work, must be determined by the work itself (79–88). 29 Metz, The Imaginary Signifier, 43. Metz also takes it that due to its perceptual richness, film produces “an impression of reality much more vivid than does the novel or the theater” (119). 30 Regarding the absorbing quality of movements or motion see Münsterberg, The Photoplay, 75; and Metz, Film Language, 7. 31 David Bordwell, Narration in the Fiction Film, 32. 32 Jean-Louis Baudry compared the situation of a film spectator to the situation of the prisoner in Plato’s cave. Baudry excellently described the somehow regressive state of a recipient at a movie theater, pointing to all the factors that I mentioned: the darkness of the auditorium, the attraction of motion, the passivity of the recipient in terms of her practical involvement and bodily activity. See Jean-Louis Baudry, “Ideological Effects of the Basic Cinematographic Apparatus,” and “The Apparatus: Metapsychological Approaches to the Impression of Reality in Cinema,” in Narrative, Apparatus, Ideology: A Film Reader, ed. Philip Rosen (New York: Columbia University Press, 1986), 286–318. Recently, Christiane Voss has discussed the immersive power of film in detail. See Christiane Voss, “Filmerfahrung und Illusionsbildung. Der Zuschauer als Leihkörper des Kinos,” in . . . kraft der Illusion, ed. Gertrud Koch and Christiane Voss (München: Wilhelm Fink, 2006), 71–86; and Christiane Voss, “Fiktionale Immersion,” Montage AV 17, no. 2 (2008), 69–86. 33 Metz, The Imaginary Signifier, 117. 34 Ibid., 134. 35 See Kracauer, Theory of Film, 166 and 172. 36 See Metz, The Imaginary Signifier, 101; and Voss, “Filmerfahrung und Illusionsbildung,” 119.

Generating Disinterestedness  163 37 Bordwell, Narration in the Fiction Film, 32. Also see Metz, Film Language, 4 and 12. 38 Bordwell, Narration in the Fiction Film, 35–39. 39 Goodman, Languages of Art, 242. 40 Linda Williams, “Introduction,” in Viewing Positions: Ways of Seeing Film, ed. Linda Williams (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1994), 7. 41 Ibid., 4. 42 Vivian Sobchack, “Phenomenology and the Film Experience,” in Williams, Viewing Positions, 54 and 55. 43 For a detailed discussion of moving images, see Noёl Carroll, “Defining the Moving Image,” in Noёl Carroll, Theorizing the Moving Image (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996), 49–74. 44 When speaking of cinema’s dispositif, I rely on a concept introduced by Baudry. See Baudry, “The Apparatus,” 317. According to my account, a film is not necessarily produced on the basis of traditional film technologies. Today, films are typically produced on the basis of digital technologies. This by itself does not yet change the general conditions of reception holding in the case of watching a film, although the rise of digital technologies indeed has created new conditions of reception. 45 Metz already stressed that the filmic state always has particular historical, cultural, and social conditions, and that his theory of spectatorship “concerns only certain geographical forms of the institution itself, those that are valid in Western countries” (Metz, The Imaginary Signifier, 142). 46 See Miriam Hansen, “Early Cinema, Late Cinema: Transformations of the Public Sphere,” in Williams, Viewing Positions, 139. 47 Tom Gunning, “Cinema of Attractions,” in Early Cinema: Space, Frame, Narrative, ed. Thomas Elsaesser and Adam Barker (London: British Film Institute, 1990), 57. 48 For more detailed discussions of early cinema, see Gunning, “Cinema of Attractions,” 57–59; and Hansen, “Early Cinema, Late Cinema,” 136–139. Hansen points out that the “ambition and skills of exhibitors and the performing personnel” at early movie theaters differed to such an extent that different theaters could offer very different performances of the same film (Hansen, “Early Cinema, Late Cinema,” 149). In a sense, then, the screening of a film, including its projection, was evaluated as a live performance. Today, we typically do not expect different exhibitors to show the same film differently. We may prefer one theater to another because of its specific spatial arrangements or atmosphere, but the screening itself is not evaluated. 49 See Bordwell, Narration in the Fiction Film, 156–205; and David Bordwell and Kristin Thompson, Film Art: An Introduction, 6th ed. (New York: McGrawHill, 2001), 402–406. 50 Walton notes that it “is disconcerting, if pleasantly so, to go to a movie and be recognized from the screen. There is something surprising, striking about many asides. They mark an important shift in one’s relation to the fiction” (Walton, Mimesis as Make-Believe, 233). Godard, Farocki, and Bertolucci all share that they had their actors occasionally look into the camera. Moreover, there are other similarities between the early films by Godard and Farocki. I am not suggesting, though, that the mentioned directors used exactly the same strategies and techniques in order to challenge classical cinema. Rather, I claim that they all challenged it in some way. 51 Laura Mulvey, “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema,” Screen 16, no. 3 (1975): 18. 52 Gunning, “Cinema of Attractions,” 61. 53 Hansen, “Early Cinema, Late Cinema,” 149.

164  Generating Disinterestedness 54 Ibid., 152. 55 Some cineastes may object that one cannot watch Weed End or any other film on the screen of a smartphone. Some hardcore cineastes may even argue that a film must be produced on the basis of traditional film technologies. I disagree with both positions, yet I agree that it makes a huge aesthetic difference whether one watches a film at a theater or watches it on a smartphone. Besides, in order to engage really and fully with a film, it may often be necessary to watch it under the intended conditions of reception. For a thorough discussion of the recent changes and transformations of our experiences of film see Francesco Casetti, The Lumière Galaxy: Seven Key Words for the Cinema to Come (New York: Columbia University Press, 2015). 56 When watching the television broadcasting of an event, I also perceive something I hardly can interact with. Practical interaction, however, is not altogether impossible here, and therefore such a broadcasting is not a film. As already mentioned, a film is an organized sequence of moving images that were produced before they are being watched. Traditionally, the screening of a film lasts between ninety and one hundred and twenty minutes, but it can also be much shorter or longer. Every episode of Game of Thrones or Breaking Bad is a film, as is every advertising spot. 57 Danto, The Transfiguration of the Commonplace, 124. 58 Michael Fried, Absorption and Theatricality: Painting and Beholder in the Age of Diderot (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1980), 5. 59 Ibid., 64. 60 Among others, Jean-Paul Sartre defended the idea that pictures essentially look at us. For a concise discussion of this “anthropological account of pictures” see Ludger Schwarte, Pikturale Evidenz: Zur Wahrheitsfähigkeit der Bilder (Paderborn: Wilhelm Fink Verlag, 2015), 42–46. 61 Curtis L. Carter, “Sculpture,” in The Routledge Companion to Aesthetics, ed. Berys Gaut and Dominique McIver Lopes (London and New York: Routledge, 2001), 505. 62 This claim seems to be false in the face of sculptures like Newman’s Broken Obelisk or in face of Gregor Schneider’s walkable sculptures. In the second part of this chapter, I discuss such cases. 63 Rachel Zuckert, “Sculpture and Touch: Herder’s Aesthetics of Sculpture,” The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 67, no. 3 (2009): 293. 64 Ibid., 299. 65 See Edward Winters, “Architecture,” in Gaut and McIver Lopes, The Routledge Companion to Aesthetics, 519; and Roger Scruton, The Aesthetics of Architecture (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1979), 5. 66 Scruton, The Aesthetics of Architecture, 102. When distinguishing between four traditional accounts of architecture, I follow Scruton. For a detailed discussion of these accounts see ibid., 38–59. In contrast to Scruton, though, I speak of cognitivism instead of historicism, because the latter just is a special case of the former. I owe thanks to Paul Guyer for pointing this out to me. 67 Martin Heidegger, “The Origin of the Work of Art,” 21 and 22. 68 Especially David Freedberg has pointed to the great variety and richness of human responses to images. See Freedberg, The Power of Images. 69 Interestingly, even people who are not very religious, but who instead look at the world from a secularized and scientifically minded perspective, sometimes show different responses to images. When such people lose a loved one, for instance, they, at times, develop a new relation to certain photographs of the deceased, i.e., they, at times, start talking to them, or even start kissing them. 70 It might seem strange that I first characterize our relations to what presentational works show as nonpractical and then argue that such relations depend on the existence of certain practices. However, there is no contradiction here. The

Generating Disinterestedness  165 production and screening of movies is connected to various practices, and going to the movies itself is a practice. As paradoxical as it may sound, though, all these practices aim to make an experience possible that essentially is nonpractical. Kendall Walton, by the way, also points to the cultural or social preconditions of our relations to presentational works: “Representations, I have said, are things possessing the social function of serving as props in games of makebelieve. . . .” (Walton, Mimesis as Make-Believe, 69). 71 Wayne C. Booth, The Rhetoric of Fiction (Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1963), 137–138. As I showed in Chapter Two, Gregory Currie defends a similar position. 72 Wolfgang Iser, The Act of Reading: A Theory of Aesthetic Response (London: Routledge, 1978), 131. Also see ibid., 140 and 150. 73 I do not use “literature” as an evaluative term, but rather use it in order to refer to the practice of writing texts that have a narrative and/or poetic form. See Terry Eagleton, Literary Theory: An Introduction, anniversary ed. (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2008), 178. 74 Eagleton, Literary Theory, 66. Of course, this way of describing the act of reading resembles the way that cognitivist film scholars have been describing the act of watching a film. 75 Ibid., 191. 76 Iser, The Act of Reading, 49 and 50. 77 Ibid., 24. 78 Ibid., 156. 79 Ibid., 66. 80 Max Hermann, “Über die Aufgabe eines theaterwissenschaftlichen Instituts,” in Theaterwissenschaft im deutschsprachigen Raum, ed. Helmar Klier (Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1981), 19, cited and translated at Erika Fischer-Lichte, The Transformative Power of Performance, 32. 81 See Fischer-Lichte, The Transformative Power of Performance, 51. 82 Ibid., 32. 83 Ibid., 43. 84 Ibid., 38. 85 Ibid., 155. 86 Ibid., 68. 87 Denis Diderot, “Entretiens sur le Fils naturel,” in Denis Diderot, Oeuvres esthétique, ed. Paul Vernière (Paris: Garnier Frères, 1959), 102, cited and translated at Fried, Absorption and Theatricality, 94. 88 Denis Diderot, “De la Poésie Dramatique,” in Diderot, Oeuvres esthétique, 231, cited and translated at Fried, Absorption and Theatricality, 95. 89 Denis Diderot, “De la Manière,” in Salons, III, ed. Jean Seznec and Jean Adhémar (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1963), 338, cited and translated at Fried, Absorption and Theatricality, 99. 90 Fried, Absorption and Theatricality, 100. 91 Ibid., 78. 92 Regarding modern strategies for disciplining spectators at the theater see Benjamin Wihstutz, “Schiller’s Transformative Aesthetics,” in Transformative Aesthetics, ed. Erika Fischer-Lichte and Benjamin Wihstutz (London and New York: Routledge, 2017). Wihstutz specifically focuses on the situation at Weimar’s court theater during the time when this theater was run by Goethe. 93 Fischer-Lichte, The Transformative Power of Performance, 202. 94 I owe thanks to Benjamin Wihstutz for making me fully aware of this influence. See Wihstutz, “Schiller’s Transformative Aesthetics.” Regarding Schiller’s elaboration of Kantian themes, as well as regarding his disputes with certain aspects of Kant’s philosophy, especially see Frederick Beiser, Schiller as Philosopher: A Re-Examination (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2006), 169–190.

166  Generating Disinterestedness 95 Danto, The Transfiguration of the Commonplace, 21. 96 Theater is a practice that includes more than the staging of dramatic texts. When discussing theater as an art, though, we typically think of such stagings. It should be clear, however, that the work a spectator at the theater engages with is a theatrical performance. Reading a dramatic text is a different experience, which makes one relate to a different work, than watching a staging of this text being performed. In Chapter One, I have already addressed this issue. FischerLichte, by the way, concedes that “[t]he autopoietic feedback loop transfers the spectators into a state which alienates them from their daily environment and its rules and norms without offering any guidelines for a reorientation” (Fischer-Lichte, The Transformative Power of Performance, 179). Moreover, she points out that, since the eighteenth century, it has been argued that the experience of a stage performance may lead to a form of self-oblivion. See ibid., 94. In contrast to Fischer-Lichte, I take it that every theatrical performance offers its own guidelines–or, at least, makes some suggestions–for how to approach it, as indeed every other presentational work does. 97 Francis Sparshott, “Dances: Bodies in Motion, Bodies at Rest,” in The Blackwell Guide to Aesthetics, ed. Peter Kivy (Malden, Oxford, and Carlton: Blackwell Publishing, 2004), 289. 98 Ibid., 278. 99 Ibid., 289. 100 According to Peter Kivy, a work’s score is a set of instructions for the presentation of an organized sequence of sound events, which once presented counts as a performance of the work. Following Nelson Goodman, Kivy further has it that the musical work itself is “the class of its performances; the class of compliants with its score.” See Peter Kivy, Introduction to a Philosophy of Music (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2002), 207. A work’s performances often sound different, because musicians tend to interpret the score differently. Such interpretations, though, can differ only to a certain extent. In order to give a performance of Bach’s Goldberg Variations, a pianist must generally follow the instructions that Bach originally put down when composing this piece. The performance of a musical work, then, is “a sound object produced in accordance with the instructions for performing that are embodied in the score or notation” (ibid., 225). Kivy introduces a compelling definition of musical works, yet Lydia Goehr has raised some legitimate objections against all analytic definitions of musical works, and has pointed to the historical dimensions of the workconcept. See Goehr, The Imaginary Museum of Musical Works. 101 See Kivy, Introduction to a Philosophy of Music, 204. 102 Ibid., 105. 103 Ibid., 81. Also see ibid., 76. 104 In contrast to dancing Tango, dancing at a rave may make one lose the sense of oneself. Besides, a person may lose the sense of herself when playing music in an ecstatic manner. In Chapter Two, I have discussed such cases in relation to Nietzsche’s account of the Dionysian. 105 Some readers may be very irritated by my claim that musical works qualifying as artworks typically are works of classical music. In fact, I do not intend to draw categorical borders here. Given the account of art I have defended in Chapter One, though, I take it to be fairly obvious that works of Rock and Pop music usually are not artworks, although there may be exceptions. Given my account, many cases of classical music probably do not qualify as artworks as well. 106 Kivy, Introduction to a Philosophy of Music, 256. 107 Ibid., 260.

Generating Disinterestedness  167 108 Brecht did not turn as radically against the by then classical conditions of reception holding at modern playhouses. Still under the influence of the idea that theater should primarily be an institution of learning, Brecht did not encourage any direct interactions between his actors on stage and their spectators. See Fischer-Lichte, The Transformative Power of Performance, 171. 109 Peter Bürger, Theory of the Avant-Garde, trans. Michael Shaw (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1984), 53. 110 Regarding the call for participation in recent art also see Claire Bishop, “Introduction,” in Participation: Documents of Contemporary Art, ed. Claire Bishop (London: Whitechapel, 2006), 10–17. 111 For a more detailed discussion of Lips of Thomas see Fischer-Lichte, The Transformative Power of Performance, 15–18, 50 and 171. 112 I take it that Noël Carroll would opt for the first conclusion, since he takes the existence of non-aesthetic art to prove the failure of all aesthetic accounts. See Noël Carroll, “Historical Narratives and the Philosophy of Art,” in Carroll, Beyond Aesthetics, 101. Michael Fried’s polemics against theater, on the other hand, make it sound as if Fried would opt for the second conclusion. In his “Art and Objecthood,” Fried famously writes: “The success, even the survival, of the arts has come increasingly to depend on their ability to defeat theatre.” See Michael Fried, “Art and Objecthood,” in Minimal Art: A Critical Anthology, ed. Gregory Battcock (New York: E.P. Dutton, 1969), 139. 113 I owe thanks to Elisabeth Camp for suggesting this line of thought to me. 114 Fischer-Lichte also speaks of “liminal states” in this context. See Fischer-Lichte, The Transformative Power of Performance, 341. 115 I very much follow here a line of thought introduced by Juliane Rebentisch. See Rebentisch, Theorien der Gegenwartskunst, 69, 70, 78, 79, 134, and 167. 116 Fischer-Lichte, The Transformative Power of Performance, 172. 117 My argument here structurally resembles an argument that Frank Sibley made regarding the dependency of non-aesthetic art on the concept of the aesthetic: “Attempts to produce works that lack aesthetic interest are parasitic on the traditional concept. For it is as much a logical impossibility to intend something that lacks aesthetic interest without having a concept of the aesthetic, as to intend something that has aesthetic interest” (Frank Sibley, “Art or the Aesthetic—Which Comes First?,” in Sibley, Approach to Aesthetics, 138). Adorno made a similar point when arguing that a negation sustains whatever it excludes. See Adorno, Ästhetik, 522. 118 Bürger, Theory of the Avant-Garde, 22. 119 Herbert Marcuse, The Aesthetic Dimension: Towards a Critique of Marxist Aesthetics (Boston: Beacon Press, 1978), xii and xiii. Regarding this issue also see Adorno, Ästhetik, 318. 120 Bürger, Theory of the Avant-Garde, 54. 121 Ibid., 48. 122 Ibid., 48. 123 Danto, The Transfiguration of the Commonplace, 22 and 23. 124 See Heidegger, “On the Origin of the Work of Art,” 19–33. Gadamer follows in Heidegger’s footsteps when criticizing aesthetic conceptions of art. See Gadamer, Truth and Method, 61–101. 125 Heidegger, “On the Origin of the Work of Art,” 21. 126 I rely here on the conception of an aesthetic experience that I introduced in the introduction. For a more detailed discussion of Heidegger’s philosophy of art, see my “Kunst, Wirklichkeit und Affirmation: Gedanken zu Heideggers Kunstwerkaufsatz,” in Affirmation, Transformation und Kritik, ed. Johannes Lang, Michael Lüthy, and Lotte Everts (Bielefeld: Transcript, 2015), 19–45.

168  Generating Disinterestedness 127 Regarding this issue, also see Meyer Shapiro, “On the Aesthetic Attitude in Romanesque Art,” in Meyer Shapiro, Romanesque Art: Selected Papers (New York: George Braziller Inc., 1977), 1–25. 128 See Adorno, Aesthetic Theory, 10. Regarding this issue also see Adorno, Ästhetik, 219, and Bürger, Theory of the Avant-Garde, 24, 36, and 46. 129 In his The Aesthetic Dimension, Marcuse writes: “If art ‘is’ for any collective consciousness at all, it is that of individuals united in their awareness of the universal need for liberation–regardless of their class perception” (Marcuse, The Aesthetic Dimension, 31).

Conclusion

It was my main objective in this book to prove that works of art typically ask us to adopt a disinterested attitude towards what they show or present. In other words, artworks typically ask us to relate to what they show in a contemplative manner and via perspectives different from our own particular ones. Therefore, our aesthetic engagements with artworks make us temporarily lose our sense of self. In the context of these engagements, though, losing the sense of oneself is only one moment within a threefold nesting, i.e., it is only one moment of a tripartite process that ultimately leads a person critically to reflect on her own specific self. In Chapter One, I explained that one’s aesthetic engagement with an artwork is a free and disinterested play of our powers that aims to construct a meaningful metaperspective, but that, due to the work’s wealth, multiperspectivity, and dialectic structure, does not come to an end, but rather remains an open-ended, yet pleasurable, process of re-articulating and creative synthesizings. Such an experience makes us aware of our capacity to transcend traditional paradigms and conceptual fixations, and to seek after some new and more substantial kind of unity. What is more, it makes us aware of the specificity and contingency of our own perspectives, motivating us to evaluate and criticize them in face of alternative points of view. Adopting a multi-perspectival and pluralistic approach towards the world may have epistemic as well as ethical value; it may even counteract an egocentrism inherent to our human nature.1 Schopenhauer argued that a person essentially is self-centered and tends to believe that her own life is as important as the whole world. For Tugendhat, such an egocentrism bears the risk of despairing in the face of death, for as long as one takes one’s own life to be the most important thing in the world, or rather as long as one does not fully distinguish between the duration and importance of one’s own life, on the one hand, and the duration and importance of the world, on the other, the thought of one’s own death must be terrifying. The only remedy for this terror is to take oneself less seriously, and to push one’s own existence out of the focal point. To achieve this is the goal of mysticism: “Walking the way of mysticism means relativizing or even denying the importance that one’s own wishes have for oneself; that is, it means to transform one’s own self-understanding.”2 Walking the

170 Conclusion way of mysticism further means learning how to have certain forms of contemplative or meditative experiences. Given that such experiences help one to distance oneself from one’s own volitions, and given that this distance is needed in order to live a better life, mysticism can be valuable. In contrast to Schopenhauer, then, Tugendhat does not conceive of a mystical experience as an escapist act of freeing oneself from a life that makes one suffer, or as an act that makes one vanish as a person. Rather, such an experience can make one live a better life, given that it may protect one from falling victim to the existential despair connected to one’s inherent egocentrism.3 Tugendhat and Schopenhauer both suggest that there is a similarity between mystical and aesthetic experiences. Indeed, due to their disinterestedness, our aesthetic engagements with works of art make us temporarily disengage ourselves from our own specific interests and our practical involvements with the world, thereby making us temporarily lose our sense of self. At the same time, they also allow us to perceive things according to different perspectives, yet without arriving at specific world-views. Ultimately, works of art have the power to transform our own ways of perceiving the world, or rather they can motivate us to transform ourselves.4 Throughout this book, I stressed that temporarily losing the sense of oneself, while gaining a sense of the other, allows for a substantial form of self-determination, which I have called “achieving selfhood.” Indeed, how could one determine one’s own perspective towards the world and towards oneself in a critical and reflective manner—how could one really choose a perspective—without making it a topic, without noticing its historical, cultural, and personal contingencies, recognizing alternatives, and feeling one’s own power to go beyond the given? Selfhood is nothing that can be achieved once and for all, but rather is something that has to be achieved again and again, just as one’s freedom has to be repeatedly secured by thinking beyond established paradigms, and criticizing what one takes to be self-evidently clear.5 One may object that my discussion ultimately instrumentalizes art, since I explicate the power of art in terms of what it can do to help us reach certain ideals of self-criticism and autonomy. It is an obvious fact, though, that artworks not only please and fascinate us, but that we ascribe some general value to them. I claim that this value relates to an artwork’s power to induce our capacities into states of free and disinterested play, which include, or rather lead to, self-reflective and self-critical thoughts. The power of art, then, consists in allowing us to have an aesthetic experience that makes free and real thinking possible. The adoption of a disinterested attitude is an essential aspect of such an experience, or rather it is the first moment of a threefold nesting constituting the aesthetic experience of art.

Notes 1 As mentioned before, Kant took it to be a “maxim of common human understanding . . . [t]o think in the position of everyone else; . . .” (CPJ, §40, 5:294). He further claimed that a person should reflect “on his own judgment from a universal

Conclusion  171 stand-point (which he can only determine by putting himself into the stand-point of others) . . .” (5:295). I take it that such a procedure is not only necessary in order to avoid deceptions and illusions, but also in order to avoid moral corruption. That is, I take it to be obvious that the adoption of other people’s perspectives and “thinking in terms of others’ interests” is decisive for one’s development as a moral agent. (Bernard Williams, Morality: An Introduction to Ethics [Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1976], 11.) Richard Rorty famously claimed that we need to recognize our respective contingencies, and that works of art have a role to play in making us recognize them, while pointing out alternative ways of thinking and perceiving. See Rorty, Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity; and Richard Rorty, “Der Roman als Mittel zur Erlösung aus der Selbstbezogenheit,” in Dimensionen ästhetischer Erfahrung, ed. Joachim Küppers and Christoph Menke (Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp Verlag, 2003), 49–66. For a detailed discussion of the relationship between multiperspectivity, objectivity, and knowledge, also see James Conant, “Subjective Thought,” in Cahiers Parisiens, vol. 3, ed. Robert Morrissey (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007), 234–258. 2 Ernst Tugendhat, Egozentrizität und Mystik: Eine anthropologische Studie (München: Verlag C.H. Beck, 2003), 122. 3 For Tugendhat’s accounts of human egocentricity and mysticism see ibid., 6, 87, and 106; and Ernst Tugendhat, Über den Tod (Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp Verlag, 2006), 51–53. 4 For Tugendhat’s discussion of the relation between art, amazement, and mysticism, see ibid., 160. 5 As pointed out in Chapter Three, my conceptions of freedom and self-determination are not only influenced by Kant’s philosophy but also by Heidegger’s account of authenticity and by his conception of phenomenology as a “destructuring of the history of ontology” (BT, §6, 17).

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Index

Abramovic´, Marina 152 – 3 “active passivity” 29 acts of the will (Willensakte) 39 – 44 Adorno, Theodor W.: “active passivity” and 29; aesthetic experience and 7, 49; art and 34 – 5, 49; disinterestedness and 29 – 30; freedom and 30; harmony and 34 – 5; homeostasis and 35; Kant and 28, 30, 159; objective unity of meaning and 29, 35; self-loss and 50 aesthetic experience: Adorno and 7, 49; art and 24 – 39; audience and 5; of beauty 23, 25, 39, 45 – 8, 61, 70; Bell and 74; Bourdieu and 5; Bullough and 48 – 9; circumstances of a given time and 85; concrete selves and 85 – 6; conditions of reception and 133; consequences of 4, 9, 156; in Continental philosophy 2; conversations about 1; creative and amplifying moments in 30; Currie and 77 – 8; Danto and 3; debate and 28; disengagement from our practical relations to things and 48 – 51; disinterestedness and 3, 7, 120, 169 – 70; diversity of 140; as dynamic and dialectic process 73, 126; examples of 1; free play and 4, 7, 9, 30 – 1, 37, 80, 118, 169; Gadamer and 2, 7, 81 – 2; Heidegger and 2, 157 – 8; impact of 4, 9, 156; importance of 1; interests and 73; Kant and 2, 4 – 5, 22, 28, 85, 146; mysticism and 9, 169 – 70; non-practical nature of 8, 118; as open-ended process 3 – 4, 27 – 8; pain and 1 – 2, 36; perspectival shifts and 72, 78,

81 – 2, 84; pleasure and 1 – 2, 33, 36; plurality of humans and 6; practical relations and 94 – 7; prejudices and 82 – 5; of presentational works 38; reconciliation of art’s antagonistic moments and 35 – 6; Schopenhauer and 14 – 15, 39, 44 – 8, 70, 125, 170; selfhood and, achieving 3 – 5, 9, 49 – 50, 73, 77, 86; self-loss and 3, 5, 9, 48 – 51, 94, 107, 113 – 14, 118, 169; sensuous cognition and 1, 37; shared subjectivity of humans and 6; socio-cultural settings and 9, 84, 86; Tugendhat and 170; universal validity and 6; Walton and 77 – 9 aesthetic judgments 19 aesthetic paradigm 120 aesthetic sphere 49, 118 – 20, 156, 159 affect 75 – 81,  127 affective relations 102 – 3, 113 Alexander, F.J. 80 Anthropology from a Pragmatic Point of View (Kant) 15 apperception 23 – 4 architecture: conditions of reception and 137 – 9; disinterestedness and 138; revealing ideas and 47 Arnheim, Rudolf 125 art: Adorno and 34 – 5, 49; aesthetic conceptions of 156 – 8; aesthetic experience and 24 – 39; aesthetic purpose of 9; aesthetic sphere and 49, 118 – 20, 156, 159; antagonistic moments of 35 – 6; artistic practices and 119 – 20; autonomy and 155, 160; bourgeois 157; Bürger and 137; Carroll and 38; categories and 5, 119; concept of 4 – 5; conceptual transfigurations and 72;

184 Index conversations about 72; courtly 157; critique, ideals of 160; Danto and 3, 157; developments in art world and 38 – 9; diegetic world of 27; distraction from 61 – 2; dynamic nature of 29; film as 25 – 6; formalism and 74; freedom and 23, 27; Heidegger and 139 – 40; historical narratives and 38, 158 – 9; interests and 70 – 5, 86; intermediality and 32; Kant and 2, 27, 71; Lyotard and 34; meta-perspective of 26 – 8, 31, 33, 36, 72 – 3; metaphysical barrier and 139 – 40; modern 30 – 2, 34; normative notion of 4, 9, 159; nostalgia and 34; objective unity of meaning and 29, 35, 73; perceptual relations to 71; performativity and 32; persistence over time and, lack of 37 – 8; perspectival shifts and 72, 78, 81 – 2, 84; Platonic ideas and, revealing 47; politics and 9, 155 – 6; postmodern 13, 32 – 3; power of 5 – 6, 9, 37, 170; praxis versus 8 – 9, 159; redemption and 47 – 8; sacral 157; Schopenhauer and 47 – 8, 71; search for unity and 34; self-conception and, sustainable 34; selfhood and, achieving 50; showing of something absent and 139 – 41; socio-cultural settings and 9, 84, 86; socio-historical conditions of understanding 159 – 60; “spiritual content” of 29; surrealist 31; synthesizing powers and 28 – 9, 35, 86 – 7; totality and, war on 34; value of 5, 170; see also aesthetic experience; conditions of reception; specific type Artaud, Antonin 152 art game 69 artistic practices 119 – 20 artists 80 – 1; see also specific name attitude, adoption of 13 autonomy 6, 8 – 9, 155 – 6,  160 Batteaux, Charles 148 beauty: experiencing 23 – 5, 39, 45 – 8, 61, 70; judgment of 2, 18 – 23, 25; see also aesthetic experience Beethoven’s music 85 Being-in-a-World 79, 103 Being and Time (Heidegger) 102, 104

being-with others 107 Bell, Clive 30, 74 – 5 Berlin State Library 138 Betty (Richter) 32 Beuys, Joseph 32 Birth of Tragedy, The (Nietzsche) 65 – 6 bodies and disinterestedness 75 – 81 bodily acts (Aktionen des Leibes) 41 – 3 Booth, Wayne 26, 141 Bordwell, David 126 Bourdieu, Pierre 2, 5 bourgeois art 157 Breton, André 31 Broken Obelisk (Newman) 36 broken unity of meaning 34 built form 137; see also architecture Bullough, Edward 48 – 9, 81 Bürger, Peter 152, 156 – 7 Camp, Elisabeth 71 – 2, 76 Carroll, Noël 38 Cavell, Stanley 121 – 3 cinema see film Classical Hollywood Cinema 130 – 2,  135 cognition of objects 46 cognitive faculties 40 – 1 cognitivism 74 – 6,  137 cognizability 39 – 44 combining power, pure 23 communicability of cognitive states 21 – 2 communication 107 – 9,  111 Composition VII (Kandinsky) 71 “concept-free synthesis” 28 – 9 concepts and disinterestedness 70 – 5 concerts see music concrete selves and aesthetic experience 85 – 6 conditions of reception: aesthetic experience and 133; architecture and 137 – 9; dance and 148 – 9; disinterestedness and 156 – 7; film and 120 – 34; installation art and 136 – 7; invisible spectator and 121 – 43; literary texts and 141 – 3; music and 149 – 51; non-practical nature of aesthetic experience and 8; paintings and 133 – 5; sculpture and 135 – 6; theater and 120, 143 – 8; visible spectator and 143 – 56 contemplative pleasure 18 – 20 contents and disinterestedness 70 – 5

Index  185 continuity editing and film 130 conversation of gestures 107 correcting judgment 19, 21 courtly art 157 critique, ideals of 160 Critique of the Power of Judgment (Kant) 12, 15 – 16, 20, 81 cultural habits 140 – 1 Currie, Gregory 77 – 8 Dadaism 152 dance 148 – 9 Danto, Arthur 3, 157 Dasein, Heidegger’s existential analytic of 7, 96 – 100, 102 – 5,  107 debate and aesthetic experience 28 dialogical relations with film 127 – 8 Dickie, George: art game and 69; disinterestedness and 2, 7, 60 – 70; illusion and, question of 68 – 70; “Myth of the Aesthetic Attitude” 61; vacuity and, question of 61 – 8 Diderot, Denis 145 – 6 diegetic world 26 – 7, 124, 127, 143, 147 Dionysian 65 – 7 disinterested attitude 22 – 4, 37, 69; see also disinterestedness disinterested experience 21 – 2; see also disinterestedness disinterestedness: Adorno and 29 – 30; aesthetic conceptions of art and 156 – 8; aesthetic experience and 3, 7, 120, 169 – 70; affect and 75 – 81, 127; architecture and 138; beauty and, experience of 2; Bell and 74 – 5; bodies and 75 – 81; Bourdieu and 2; concepts and 70 – 5; conditions of reception and 156 – 7; contemplative relation to the world and 67, 155, 169; contents and 70 – 5; criticisms of 7, 60 – 70; Dickie and 2, 7, 60 – 70; distractedness and 61 – 2; egocentrism and, counteracting 9; emotions and 75 – 81; formalism and 70 – 81; genius and 47; historical narratives and 158 – 9; Hutcheson and 70; interests and 70 – 5; judgment and, question of 86 – 7; Kant and 6 – 7, 12, 29 – 30, 70; meaning of 94 – 5; morality and 23; new and sophisticated account of 3; non-practical nature of 8, 45; paradigms of 8 – 9; as passive state

7; practical relations and 71, 94; relation to performance and 154 – 5; Schopenhauer and 6 – 7, 24, 39, 45, 48 – 51; self-determination and 81 – 7; self-loss and 7, 37, 81 – 7; soccer analogy and 62 – 5, 154; somatic state and 7, 60, 127; twentieth-century notions of 2; Zangwill and 12 disinterested pleasure 2, 17 – 21, 23; see also disinterestedness distractedness 61 – 2 drama, revealing ideas of 47; see also theater Dreyfus, Hubert 105 – 6 Duchamp, Marcel 31 Eagleton, Terry 142 ecstasy, state of 65 – 7 egocentrism 9, 44, 160, 169 Eisenstein, Sergei 26 Elizabethan Theater 146 embodied agent 44 emotions 75 – 81,  102 “empirical apperception” 24 empirical interests of reason 16 END (Schneider) 153, 155 end, concept of 16 engagement with art see aesthetic experience epistemic self-consciousness 97 – 8 experience of art see aesthetic experience Facetime 128 feedback loop 144 – 5 Feldenkrais, Moshe 80 Fichte, Johann Gottlieb 102, 107 fiction 34 – 5; see also specific name film: as art 25 – 6; challenge to dominant paradigm of 131 – 2; changes in viewing 129 – 31; Classical Hollywood Cinema and 130 – 2, 135; conditions of reception and 120 – 34; components of 26; continuity editing and 130; dialogical relation with 127 – 8; diegetic world and 26, 124, 127; dream analogy of 124 – 5; early days of 129; gaze theory and 127; implicit producer of 26 – 7; invisible spectator and 121 – 33; literary texts and 141 – 3; meta-perspective of 26; metaphysical barrier and 121, 124; other visual arts and 133 – 41;

186 Index perceptual nature of 125; practical relations and 124; reasons for viewing 125 – 6; self-loss and 125 – 6, 133; temporal gap in 128; theatrical 134 – 5, 147; Western, classical 26; see also specific name fine arts, modern system of the 119 fine art, theory of (Kant) 25 Fischer-Lichte, Erika 144 – 5 formalism 30, 70, 74 – 5 Foucauldian message 80 Foucault, Michel 52, 91, 116 Foundations of Natural Right (Fichte) 107 Fountain (Duchamp) 31 fourth wall in theater 123 Franzen, Jonathan 32 Freedberg, David 11, 164 freedom 23, 27, 30 Freedom (Franzen) 32 free play: aesthetic experience and 4, 7, 9, 30 – 1, 37, 80, 118, 169; creation and 30; Kant and 22, 24 – 5, 70; sensuous pleasure and 23 Fried, Michael 134 – 5 Fry, Roger 30 functionalism 137 fundamental perspective 13 – 14, 36, 63, 94, 113 Gadamer, Hans-Georg 2, 7, 29, 60, 80 – 5 gaze theory 127 Gehry, Frank 138 Genealogy of Morality, On the (Nietzsche) 81 generalized other 110 genius 47 gestures 107 – 8,  128 gnothi seauton (know thyself) 98 Godard, Jean-Luc 131 Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von 146 Griffith, D.W. 130 Groundwork to the Metaphysics of Morals (Kant) 15 Gunning, Tom 129 Guyer, Paul 17, 24 – 5 habits, cultural 140 – 1 Haneke, Michael 32 harmony 34 – 5 Heidegger, Martin: aesthetic experience and 2, 157 – 8; art and 139 – 40; Being

and Time 102, 104; being-with others and 107; Dasein and, existential analytic of 7, 96 – 100, 102 – 5, 107; ontological structures of humanity and 6; “Origin of the Work of Art, The” 157; relating to objects and 14, 43 – 4; Schopenhauer and 104; self-consciousness and 98 – 9 Hermann, Max 144 hermeneutic experience 81 – 2 historical narratives 38, 158 – 9 homeostasis 35 Hume, David 24 “I” 96, 110 – 12 “I am” statements 100 ideology 160 idiosyncrasy 13, 20, 22 I like America and America likes me (Beuys) 32 illusion, question of 68 – 70 implicit producer 26 – 7 implicit responses 109 – 10 “inner sense” 24 installation art 136 – 7 institutionalized spaces 140 – 1 intellectual pleasure 15 – 16 intentional agent 12 – 13, 43 interested pleasure 2, 15 – 17 interests: aesthetic experience and 73; art and 70 – 5, 86; disinterestedness and 70 – 5; Kant and 15 – 17, 20 – 1; of reason, pure 16, 18; shared, by people 13 intermediality 32 inter-subjective validity 19, 74, 86 – 7,  93 intoxication, state of 65 – 7 invisible spectator: conditions of reception and 121 – 43; film and 121 – 33; literary texts and 141 – 3; other visual arts and 133 – 41 Iser, Wolfgang 141 – 3 I-states 78 judgment: agreement with 22; of beauty 2, 18 – 23, 25; conversations about 1; correcting 19, 21; question of 80, 86 – 7; of taste 2, 12, 21 – 5, 86 universal validity of 7 Kafka, Franz 85 Kandinksy, Wassily 71

Index  187 Kant, Immanuel: Adorno and 28, 30, 159; aesthetic experience and 2, 4 – 5, 22, 28, 85, 146; aesthetic judgments and 19; aesthetic sphere and 159; Anthropology from a Pragmatic Point of View 15; art and 2, 27, 71; beauty and, experiencing 23 – 5, 48, 61, 70; communicability of cognitive states and 21 – 2; “concept-free synthesis” and 28; contemplative pleasure and 18 – 20; conversations about art and 72; Critique of the Power of Judgment 12, 15 – 16, 20, 81; disinterested attitude and 22 – 4; disinterested experience and 21 – 2; disinterestedness and 6 – 7, 12, 29 – 30, 70; disinterested pleasure and 2, 17 – 21; “empirical apperception” and 24; end and, concept of 16; fine art and, theory of 25; free play and 22, 24 – 5, 70; Groundwork to the Metaphysics of Morals 15; idiosyncrasy and 20; “inner sense” and 24; intellectual pleasure and 15 – 16; interested pleasure and 2, 15 – 17; interests and 15 – 17, 20 – 1; judgment of beauty and 18 – 23, 25; judgment of taste and 12, 21 – 5, 86; Metaphysics of Morals, The 18; morality and 23; object-subject relationship and 48; pleasure and 23; practical pleasure and 18; privacy and 20; reason and 15; Schiller and 146; self-consciousness and 46; sensuous pleasure and 15 – 17; sublime and, experiencing the 33 Kaprow, Allan 152 Kivy, Peter 149 – 50 Knausgaard, Karl Ove 32 Kracauer, Siegfried 125 Kristeller, Paul Oskar 119 Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (Picasso) 31 Letters on Aesthetic Education (Schiller) 156 Lips of Thomas (Abramovic´) 152 – 5 literary texts 82 – 3, 141 – 3; see also specific name loss of self see self-loss Lyotard, Jean-François 33 – 4 MacBeth performance 32 magical triangle 123

Ma Gouvernante (Oppenheim) 31 make-believe, games of 77 – 8 Marcuse, Herbert 156 Mead, George Herbert 8, 107 – 12 Melancholia (film) 32 Menke, Christoph 11, 52, 92, 171 mental stimulations 78 meta-cognitive interpretation 24 – 5 meta-perspective 26 – 8, 31, 33, 36, 72 – 3 metaphysical barrier 121, 124, 139 – 40 Metaphysics of Morals, The (Kant) 18 Metz, Christian 122 – 7, 141 Mill, John Stuart 61 Mind, Self, and Society (Mead) 107, 110 Min kamp (Knausgaard) 32 modernism 30 – 2,  34 moral freedom 23 morality 23 “More of the World Viewed” (Cavell) 122 motives 40 movies see film; specific name movie theaters 140 Mulvey, Laura 131 – 2 Münsterberg, Hugo 122, 125 museums 140 music 85, 149 – 51 mysticism 9, 169 – 70 “Myth of the Aesthetic Attitude” (Dickie) 61 Newman, Barnett 36, 134 Nietzsche, Friedrich 65 – 6, 81 non-practical attitude 45, 81 normative notion of art 4, 9, 159 norm, notion of a 112 novels 37; see also literary texts; specific name objectification of the will 42 – 3 objective unity of meaning 29, 35, 73 object-subject relationship 40 – 1, 48, 68 – 9,  98 “Of the Standards of Taste” (Hume) 24 Oppenheim, Meret 31 “Origin of the Work of Art, The” (Heidegger) 157 Othello 122 – 3

188 Index pain and aesthetic experience 1 – 2, 36 paintings 133 – 5, 147; see also specific name Parerga and Paralipomena (Schopenhauer) 80 participation 152 – 5 perception model of introspection 95 perceptual relations to artworks 71 performance art 2 – 3; see also specific type performativity 32 – 3 perspectival seeing and knowing 81 perspectival shifts 37, 72, 78, 81 – 2, 84 perspective, adoption of 13 – 14, 76 – 7 photographs 121 Picasso, Pablo 31 Piscator, Erwin 152 Platonic ideas, revealing 47 plays see theater pleasure: aesthetic experience and 1 – 2, 33, 36; in the agreeable 20; in the beautiful 18 – 20; contemplative 18 – 20; disinterested 2, 17 – 21, 23; incentive resulting from 19 – 20; intellectual 15 – 16; interested 2, 15 – 17; Kant and 23; Lyotard and 33; notion of an interest and 15; practical 18; sensuous 1 – 2, 15 – 17, 21, 23 plurality of humans 6 politics and art 9, 155 – 6 postmodernism 13, 32 – 3 power, pure combining 23 practical attitude 8 practical pleasure 18 practical relations 71, 94 – 7, 104, 106, 112, 118, 124 practical self-consciousness: practical relations and 104, 106, 112, 118; social conditions of 107 – 14; Tugendhat and 7 – 8, 97 – 107,  111 practices, social 140 – 1 praxis, art versus 8 – 9, 159 prejudices and aesthetic experience 82 – 5 presentational work 25 – 6, 38, 119, 126; see also specific type principle of sufficient reason 40 privacy 20 proportion-theory 137 propositional relations 98 propositional states 13 “psychical distance” 48 pure interests of reason 16, 18

rational agent 13 – 14, 76 reason 15 – 16, 18, 40 reasons of becoming 40 reasons of being 40 reasons of cognition 40 redemption and art 47 – 8 Reich, Wilhelm 80 Reinhardt, Max 152 relating to objects 14 relations: dialogical, with film 127 – 8; perceptual, to artworks 71; practical 71, 94 – 7, 104, 106, 112, 118, 124; propositional 98; self 23 – 4, 95 – 7; theatrical 134 – 5; volitional 42 – 3, 101 – 3,  113 Richter, Gerhard 32 Robinson, Jenefer 75 Rocco e i suoi fratelli (film) 19 sacral art 157 Schechner, Richard 152 Schiller, Friedrich 146, 156 Schneider, Gregor 153 Schopenhauer, Arthur: aesthetic experience and 14 – 15, 39, 44 – 8, 70, 125, 170; artists and 80 – 1; art and 47 – 8, 71; beauty and, experiencing 39, 45 – 8, 61; cognizability and 39 – 44; disengaging from our practical relations to objects and 48 – 51; disinterestedness and 6 – 7, 24, 39, 45, 48 – 51; egocentrism and 169; Heidegger and 104; human existence and 39; metaphysics of 39 – 44; mysticism and 170; object-subject relationship and 40 – 1, 48, 98; Parerga and Paralipomena 80; perception of idea and 44 – 8; redemption and 47 – 8; self-conception and 42 – 3; self-consciousness and 46, 95 – 6; selfhood and, achieving 46; self-loss and 46, 48 – 51; sublime and, experiencing the 39, 45 – 7; thing in itself and 41 – 2; volitional acts and 42 – 3; Wheel of Ixion and 151; will and 39 – 44 sculpture 135 – 6, 153, 155 Seel, Martin 9 – 10, 55 – 6, 59, 89 self-conception 34, 42 – 3 self-consciousness: actions and 100 – 1; affective relations and 102 – 3, 113; choice and 100 – 1; communication and 110; consciousness and 97

Index  189 developing 109; epistemic 97 – 8; Fichte and 96, 102; Heidegger and 98 – 9; indirect manner of 111; Kant and 46; Mead and 107 – 11; Schopenhauer and 46, 95 – 6; self-referential relations and 106; social interactions and 111 – 12; theoretical 97 – 8; volitional relations and 101 – 3, 113; see also practical self-consciousness Self-Consciousness and Self-Determination (Tugendhat) 96 self-criticism 6, 86 self-determination 50, 81 – 7, 98, 105, 112 – 13, 159, 170; see also selfhood, achieving selfhood, achieving 50, 95, 105, 109, 111 – 12, 170; aesthetic experience and 3 – 5, 9, 49 – 50, 73, 77, 86; continuous process of 170; disinterested attitude and 69; fundamental perspective and 113; Schopenhauer and 46; self-loss and, alternating between 81, 126 self-loss: Adorno and 50; aesthetic experience and 3, 5, 9, 48 – 51, 94, 107, 113 – 14, 118, 169; disinterestedness and 7, 37, 81 – 7; dreaming and 107; film and 125 – 6, 133; fundamental perspective and, disengaging from one’s 94; literary texts and 141; Schopenhauer and 46, 48 – 51; selfhood and, alternating between achieving 81, 126; social roles and 63 self-relations 23 – 4, 79, 95 – 7 self-revelation 106 sense of self see self-consciousness sensibility 40 sensuous cognition 1, 37 sensuous pleasure 15 – 17, 23 sentences 97 shared subjectivity of humans 6 Skype 128 Sobchack, Vivian 127, 143 soccer analogy 62 – 5, 154 social behaviorism 108 – 9 social interactions 107 – 9, 111 – 12 social practices 140 – 1 social roles 63 socio-cultural settings 9, 84, 86 “solace of good forms” 33 – 4 somatic state 7, 60, 127 spaces, institutionalized 140 – 1

space-theory 137 Sparshott, Francis 148 “spiritual content” 29 spontaneity, pure 23 stage performance see theater Stolnitz, Jerome 14, 43 – 4 subject-object relationship 40 – 1, 48, 68 – 9,  98 sublime, experiencing the 33, 39, 45 – 7 surrealism 31 synthesizing agent 13 – 14 synthesizing powers 28 – 9, 35, 86 – 7 taste, judgment of 2, 12, 21 – 5, 86 texts, understanding 82 – 3; see also Literary texts theater: autonomy and 155 – 6; conditions of reception and 120, 143 – 8; Diderot and 145 – 6; diegetic world and 147; Elizabethan 146; feedback loop and 144 – 5; Fischer-Lichte and 144 – 5; fourth wall in 123; Hermann and 144; as institution of learning 146; magical triangle in 123; music 151 – 2; other performing arts and 148 – 52; participation and 152 – 6; staging techniques and, experimenting with 152; visible spectator and 144 – 8; Weimar court 146; Western 146 – 7 Theater Of Cruelty (Artaud) 152 theatrical film and paintings 134 – 5,  147 theatrical relations 134 – 5 theoretical self-consciousness 97 – 8 they-self 104 thing in itself 41 – 2 totality, war on 34 Trial, The (Kafka) 85 truth, search for 112 Tugendhat, Ernst: aesthetic experience and 170; affective relations and 102 – 3; being-with others and 107; egocentrism and 169; emotions and 102; epistemic self-consciousness and 97 – 8; “I” and 112; moods and 102; mysticism and 170; practical relations and 104; practical self-consciousness and 7 – 8, 97 – 107, 111; Self-Consciousness and Self-Determination 96; self-determination and 105, 112; sentences and 97; theoretical self-consciousness and 97 – 8

190 Index understanding 40 unity of meaning 29, 35, 73 universal validity 6 – 7, 21, 82 utilitarianism 61 vacuity, question of 61 – 8 validity: inter-subjective 19, 74, 86 – 7, 93; universal 6 – 7, 21, 82 Van Bladeren, Gerard Jan 134 Vertigo (film) 123 Virgin Mary picture 140 visible spectator: autonomy and the 155 – 6; conditions of reception and 143 – 56; other performing arts and the 148 – 52; participation and the 152 – 5; theater and the 144 – 8 visual arts 135; see also specific type “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema” (Mulvey) 131 vocal gestures 107 – 8

volitional acts and relations 42 – 3, 101 – 3,  113 von Trier, Lars 32 Wallon, Henri 125 Walton, Kendall L. 77 – 9 Week End (film) 131 – 2 Weimar court theater 146 Western film, classical 26 Western theater 146 – 7 White Ribbon, The (film) 32 Who’s Afraid of Red, Yellow and Blue III (Newman) 134 will (Wille) 39 – 44 World Viewed, The (Cavell) 121 – 33 World as Will and Representation, The (Schopenhauer) 39 Zangwill, Nick 12 Zuckert, Rachel 136