The Quest for Certainty in the Age of Aesthetics

  • Stefan Niklas University of Cologne
Keywords: Age of Aesthetics, Quest for Certainty, Ernst Cassirer, Eckart Förster, intuitive understanding, cassical aesthetics, aesthetic certainty


In this paper I suggest conceiving the "Age of Aesthetics" and its theoretic attempts form Baumgarten to Hegel and from Lessing to Schiller as a quest for certainty within the utterly uncertain field of the sensuous. Though this quest may not be an exclusive trait of that age, I claim it is essential for understanding the driving forces of classical aesthetics. Drawing largely from Ernst Cassirer's reconstructions, I also try to link my conseption of the Age of Aesthetics to the recently discussed problem of intuitve understanding as articulated by Eckart Förster. Finally, I am giving a speculative outlook on the notion of "aesthetic certainty".

Author Biography

Stefan Niklas, University of Cologne
Postdoctoral researcher at the a.r.t.e.s. Research Lab, University of Cologne