Why is aesthetics important in philosophy




Philosophical aesthetics, in a common sense, involves thinking about beauty and art. In recent times the subject has expanded to include aesthetic experience in the broadest sense.


Pöltner, Günther: Philosophical Aesthetics, 268 p., Kt., € 24.—, 2008, Urban Taschenbuch 400, basic philosophy course, Kohlhammer, Stuttgart

but is limited to the first, the question of the beautiful - a question that has currently receded into the background, what the author, who comes from the Catholic tradition, regrets and wants to counteract. It offers a walk through the history of philosophy, whereby it is important to him to show how the answers to the questions about the beautiful have changed. The positions of important authors are presented close to the text, with many quotations. Here you can read in a concentrated manner what Plato, Plotinus, Augustin, Baumgarten, Kant, Schelling, Hegel, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Adorno and others wrote about the beautiful. The historical part ends with Adorno, authors after linguistic turn missing - according to Pöltner, the question of beauty has been lost.

A second part contains its own approach, a “new approach to a philosophical aesthetic”, where Pöltner is concerned with “structural moments of the original experience with the beautiful” - a new approach strongly influenced by Heidegger's vocabulary, which Pöltner, born in 1942, represents alone and from one can ask oneself whether it belongs in a "basic philosophy" course.


Not suitable for readers interested in current aesthetics. This, art and aesthetic experience in a broad sense can be found at

Brandstätter, Ursula: Basic questions of aesthetics. Image - music - language - body. 200 p., Kt., € 15.90, 2008, UTB3084, Böhlau, Cologne.


On the other hand, she lacks the whole history of aesthetics and - would probably criticize Pöltner - the question of the beautiful is lost here. Ursula Brandstätter's central question (she is professor for music education at the University of the Arts, Berlin) is whether the many artistic forms have something in common. She pursues it by exploring the epistemological foundations (Chapter 1), separating art from science (Chapter 2), asking what is art (Chapter 4) and what is aesthetic experience (Chapter 3), to then go to your central question (chapter 5) and examine the transformations between the arts (chapter 6).

The book is written in a living language, it is easy to read, also because, unlike Pölnter's, it is less in-depth. The two books, which according to their title actually contain the same topic, have absolutely nothing in common and thus complement each other.


A concise presentation of the history of aesthetics, which leads to the present, and is not limited to the topic of beauty

Stefan Majetschak, Aesthetics for the introduction (178 pp., Ct., 2007, € 13.90, for the introduction, Junius, Hamburg).