Rethinking the Artforms After Hegel

By Richard Dien Winfield

Subjects: Art
Series: SUNY series in Hegelian Studies
Paperback : 9780791427828, 152 pages, December 1995
Hardcover : 9780791427811, 152 pages, December 1995

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Table of contents


1. The Problem of Artistic Style: Conceiving the Particular Forms of Art

Controversies in Moving Beyond the Universal Features of Art
The Artforms as Minimal Particularizations of Art
The Ordering of the Artforms
The Hierarchy of Artforms and the End of Art
The Logical Differentiation of the Forms of Art
The Basic Taxonomy of the Symbolic, Classical, and Romantic Forms of Art

2. The Symbolic Form of Art

Preliminary Difficulties in Characterizing the Symbolic Form of Art
The Role of the Symbol in Symbolic Art
The Content of Symbolic Art


The Construal of the Divine in Symbolic Art
The Construal of Conduct in Symbolic Art


The External Reality, Creation, and Reception of Symbolic Art
The Primacy of Symbolic Art
The Differentiation of Types of Symbolic Art
The Completeness of the Varieties of Symbolic Art

3. The Classical Form of Art

Preliminary Controversies in Conceiving Classical Art
Is the Symbolic Artform the Historical and Conceptual Prerequisite of Classical Art?
The Meaning and Shape of the Classical Form
Hegel's Suspect Limitations upon the Classical Form
The Classical Construal of the Divine and Conduct
The External Reality, Creation, and Reception of Classical Art
The Dissolution of Classical Art

4. The Romantic Form of Art

The Aesthetic Challenge of Modernity and the Problematic of Romantic Art
The Deduction of Romantic Art
The Configuration of Content in Romantic Art
The Romantic Contrual of Religious Representation
The Romantic Contrual of Conduct


Romantic Options in A World of Revolutionary Challenge
Romantic Options in A Post-Revolutionary World


The Formal Independence of Romatic Character
Realism, Irony, and Non-Objectivism: The End of Romantic Art
The Production and Reception of Romantic Art
Romanticism and the End of Art

5. The Challenge of Conceiving the Individual Arts

Prerequisites for a Philosophical Theory of The Individual Arts
Individuating the Arts by Physical Media
Kant's Division by Analogy to Speech
Hegel's Division by Appeal to the Artforms
The Prospects for a Systematic Division of the Arts



Presents a systematic theory of the artforms (symbolic, classical, and romantic), providing a way of addressing contemporary art and sketching a theory of the individual arts.


Winfield develops a systematic theory of the fundamental styles of art, addressing the most neglected area of aesthetics, without which neither cultural divides, artistic periods, nor the fate of art in modernity can be understood. Stylistics thoroughly critiques Hegel's analysis of symbolic, classical, and romantic art in order to conceive the basic modes of artistic style. In so doing, the book presents an alternative to the two most prevalent approaches in aesthetics: the metaphysical mimetic theory pioneered by Plato and Aristotle and the transcendental theory of aesthetic reception pioneered by Hume and Kant and followed by most contemporary theorists. Unlike these two approaches, Stylistics pays due heed to the individuality and unity of meaning and configuration basic to artistic phenomena, making possible a rigorous differentiation of particular forms of artistic style. Because the resulting analysis of style never loses sight of the self-understanding that art provides, Stylistics provides powerful tools for reinterpreting the cultural differences of antiquity and modernity and of East and West.

Richard Dien Winfield is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Georgia. He is the author of Freedom and Modernity and Reason and Justice, both published by SUNY Press, and Systematic Aesthetics; Law in Civil Society; Overcoming Foundations: Studies in Systematic Philosophy; and The Just Economy.


"Winfield's assessment of Hegel's views is accurate and perceptive. He retains that which is helpful, and gives rigorously logical reasons for abandoning outmoded, contingent judgments. " — The Owl of Minerva

"The major strength of Winfield's book comes from his ambition to offer a distinctive view of philosophical aesthetics as developed from Hegel's own treatment of art. He defends a position which claims to avoid transcendental aesthetics on the one hand, and what Winfield calls metaphysical aesthetics on the other. His systematic rethinking of the aesthetic is marked by genuine philosophical seriousness. He constructively contributes to reformulating the Hegelian way of thinking. This book extends the range of Winfield's work as a systematic thinker. " — William Desmond, Loyola College