The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy

Volume 1, 1998

Aesthetics and Philosophy of the Arts

Hugo Roeffaers
Pages 145-151

Aesthetic Experience and Verbal Art

In this paper I intend to present a philosophical account of what is commonly called verbal or literary art. Starting from the Hegelian conception of language and of the aesthetic experience, I shall argue that literary, and more specifically poetic, discourse can be defined as the verbal completion of an aesthetic experience, and that this distinctive feature marks off literary discourse from other types of discourse, such as scientific and philosophical discourse. In his phenomenological description of the growth of a subject's identity, Hegel situates the birth of language in the transition from consciousness (Verstand) to self-consciousness (Vernunft). In his Philosophy of Fine Art, this transition also marks the locus philosophicus of the artistic experience.