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MIND AND HEGEL ON AESTHETICS

Even after the publication in 2 volumes, Hegel's lectures on Aesthetics, this is a `zone' of Hegel's philosophy that has remained as marginal as it was before once the contrast is made with logic, law, religion, history and phenomenology.This area of Hegel's philosophical system remains the obscurest even when compared with his Philosophy of Nature mainly because of the renewed interest in the latter from the last quarter of 20th c.from the side of scientists. There is hardly any comparable interest from the side of artists and critics towards Hegel's philosophy of aesthetics.Even in works that treat Hegel's philosophy comprehensively, aesthetics is mostly mentioned as illustrating or exemplifying some argument or the other in the field of history, psychology or Philosophy of mind. It appears as an adjunct, if not subordinated to discursiveness or interpretation or argumentation in some field where aesthetics is a part or as co-belonging and very rarely in the sense where aesthetics happens to be the subject of inquiry and the natural sciences or logic is summoned to illustrate , exemplify, etc.However, in the framework of Hegel's philosophical system such is not the case.It is a free subject on its own with the advantage of the `mind's eye'. In the introductory part Hegel spends considerable time to delineate the boundary conditions for a systematic presentation and exposition of aesthetics.

This does not mean that Hegel's aesthetic ideas has been bereft of influence in the field of aesthetics in latter periods.His ideas have had deep effects in architecture, painting , poetry to say the least in terms of externalization by the respective practitioners.In many instances it worked out in a radical, revolutionary sense both in specific fields and in the domain of theory, Even Croce's critical dose of Hegel in his art theory such as articulated in La Critica[1903-1944] proved too radical for general acceptance while it stood ground as the most consistent anti-fascist mouthpiece, all the way to the fall of Mussolini unlike other pre-figured post-modern trends like futurism and the more autonomous though in the service of the powers that were then, trends like expressionism, which was the art form of Italian fascism.Arnold Hauser was deeply indebted to Hegel in his explanation of pre-historic such as in the Paleolithic age's direct experience of nature that makes the boundary between natural facts and representation just a stage above un-differentiation.Merleau-Ponty's dialectic of the seer and the seen in the visible world as well as his notion of the `brute, wild lebensweltas the plane where he finds that meaning of philosophy can be precisely inserted is another Hegelian inspiration, which makes it possible for meaning to get externalized. These are few instances, the latter two being historian and `phenomenologist' and philosopher, of Hegel's influence from aesthetics. We will consider some practitioners of `art' who would self-consciously develop Hegel's notions later. Here the main point being made is that of relative insignificance of Hegel for art theorists and philosophers, if we were to take a count.