Volume 45, Issue 4, Winter 2007
Schopenhauer on the Values of Aesthetic Experience
In this essay, I argue that Schopenhauer’s view of the aesthetic feelings of the beautiful and the sublime shows how a “dialectical” interpretation that homogenizes both aesthetic concepts and reduces the
discrepancy between both to merely quantitative differences is flawed. My critical analysis reveals a number of important tensions in both Schopenhauer’s own aesthetic theory—which does not ultimately succeed in “merging” Plato’s and Kant’s approaches—and the interpretation that unjustly reduces the value of aesthetic experience to a merely preliminary stage of ethical will-less salvation.