Art and the Absolute
A Study of Hegel's Aesthetics
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Art and the Absolute restores Hegel's aesthetics to a place of central importance in the Hegelian system. In so doing, it brings Hegel into direct relation with the central thrust of contemporary philosophy.
The book draws on the astonishing scope and depths of Hegel's Lectures on Aesthetics, exploring the multifaceted issue of art and the absolute. Why does Hegel ascribe absoluteness to art? What can such absoluteness mean? How does it relate to religion and philosophy? How does Hegel's view of art illuminate the contemporary absence of the absolute? Art and the Absolute argues that these aesthetic questions are not mere theoretical conundrums for abstract analysis. It argues that Hegel's understanding of art can provide an indispensable hermeneutic relevant to current controversies.
Art and the Absolute explores the intricacies of Hegel's aesthetic thought, communicating its contemporary relevance. It shows how for Hegel art illuminates the other areas of significant human experience such as history, religion, politics, literature. Against traditional, closed views, the result is a challenge to re-read Hegel's aesthetic philosophy.
William Desmond is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Loyola College, Baltimore, Maryland.