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Aesthetic Freedom and Democratic Ethical Life: A Hegelian Account of the Relationship between Aesthetics and Democratic Politics

Schaub, Joerg (2019) 'Aesthetic Freedom and Democratic Ethical Life: A Hegelian Account of the Relationship between Aesthetics and Democratic Politics.' European Journal of Philosophy, 27 (1). pp. 75-97. ISSN 0966-8373

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This paper presents a novel Hegelian view of the relationship between aesthetics and democratic politics. My account avoids the drawbacks associated with approaches that (like Rancière’s) reconceive all of the political in aesthetic terms or (like Rockhill’s) reduce the aesthetic to art. Instead, I maintain that the aesthetic is best understood as a distinct relationship of individual freedom. My argument proceeds by highlighting shortcomings of Honneth’s account of democratic Sittlichkeit and then addressing these impasses by integrating aesthetic freedom into the picture. The first two steps of my argument concern the fact that the form of life outlined by Honneth aspires to be a form of free life, yet his account of democratic Sittlichkeit gives rise to two dimensions of unfreedom. The first problem of unfreedom pertains to the scope of freedom. The relationships of freedom incorporated into Honneth’s account fail to turn given social roles into the subject matter of a sufficiently unrestricted practice of freedom. The second problem of freedom concerns conformism. In a final step, I complete my argument that Honneth’s account is unsatisfactory and incomplete by showing that aesthetic freedom is socially valid and thus ought to form part of our accounts of democratic ethical life.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Aesthetic Freedom; Democratic Ethical Life; Axel Honneth; Hegel; Sittlichkeit; Aesthetics and Politics
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities
Faculty of Humanities > Philosophy and Art History, School of
SWORD Depositor: Elements
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 11 Sep 2018 12:47
Last Modified: 06 Jan 2022 13:52

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