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the colourless signs and labels of everyday life, and help
accepted side by side the most inconsistent propositions. He welcomes even the aesthetic law of the golden section, and applies it to tragedy; the longer segment of the line is the tragic hero ; the punishment which overtakes him (the entire line) exceeds his crime in the same proportion in which he oversteps the common measure (the shorter segment of the line)." It reads almost like a joke. Without direct reference to Baumgarten, a proposal that Æsthetic be reformed and treated as the “science of intuitive knowledge " was made in a miserable little work by one Willy Nef (1898),” who makes the dumb animals share his “intuitive knowledge,” in which he distinguishes a formal side (intuition) and a material side or content (knowledge), and considers the everyday relations between men, their games and their art, as belonging to intuitive knowledge. The English historian of Æsthetic, Bosanquet (1892) tried to find a reconciliation between content and form in unity of expression. “Beauty,” says Bosanquet in the Introduction to his History, “is that which has characteristic and individual expressiveness for sensuous perception or imagination, subject to the conditions of general or abstract expressiveness by the same means.” In another passage he observes : “The difficulty of real AEsthetic is to show how the combination of decorative forms in characteristic representations, by intensifying the essential character immanent in them from the beginning, subordinates them to a central signification which stands to their complex combination as their abstract signification stands to each one of them taken singly.” ” But the problem, as propounded in a way suggested by the antithesis between the two schools (contentism and formalism) of German Æsthetic, is in our opinion insoluble. De Sanctis founded no school of aesthetic science in Italy. His thought was quickly misunderstood and
1 Die Asthetik, § 56.
* Willy Nef, Die Asthetik als Wissenschaft der anschaulichen Erkenntmiss, Leipzig, 1898.
* A History of Æsthetics, pp. 4-6, 372, 391, 447, 458, 466.
mutilated by those who presumed to correct it, and, in fact, only returned to the outworn rhetorical conception of art as consisting of a little content and a little form. Only within the last ten years has there been a renewal of philosophical studies, arising out of discussions concerning the nature of history" and the relation in which it stands to art and science, and nourished by the controversy excited by the publication of De Sanctis' posthumous works.” The same problem of the relation between history and science, and their difference or antithesis, reappeared also in Germany, but without being put in its true connexion with the problem of Æsthetic.” These inquiries and discussions, and the revival of a Linguistic impregnated by philosophy in the work of Paul and some
others, appear to us to offer much more favourable ground
for the scientific development of AEsthetic than can be
found on the summits of mysticism or the low plains of
positivism and sensationalism.
* B. Croce, La storia ridotta sotto il concetto generale dell' arte, 1893 (2nd ed. entitled Il concetto della storia nelle sue relazioni col concetto dell'arte, Rome, 1896); P. R. Trojano, La storia come scienza sociale, vol. i., Naples, 1897; G. Gentile, Il concetto della storia (in Crivellucci's Studi storici, 1889); see also F. de Sarlo, Il problema estetico, in Saggi di filosofia, vol. ii., Turin, 1897; and by same author, I dati dell' esperienza psichica, Florence, 1903, concluding chapter.
* La letteratura italiana nel secolo XIX, edited by B. Croce, Naples, 1896; also Scritti vari, ed. Croce, Naples, 1898, 2 vols.
* H. Rickert, Die Grenzen der naturwissenschaftlichen Begriffsbildung, Freiburg i. B., 1896-1902.
Result of the history of AEsthetic.
HISTORICAL SKETCHES OF SOME PARTICULAR
WE have reached the end of our history. Having passed in review the travail and doubt through which the discovery of the aesthetic concept was achieved, the vicissitudes first of neglect, then of revival and rediscovery to which it was exposed, the various oscillations and failures in its exact determination, the resurrection, triumphant and overwhelming, of ancient errors supposed to be dead and buried ; we may now conclude, without appearing to assert anything unproven, that of Æsthetic in the proper sense of the word we have seen very little, even including the last two centuries' active research. Exceptional intellects have hit the mark and have supported their views with energy, with logic, and with consciousness of what they were doing. It would no doubt be possible to extract many true affirmations leading to the same point of view from the works of non-philosophical writers, art-critics and artists, from commonly received opinions and proverbial sayings; such a collection would show that this handful of philosophers does not stand alone, but is surrounded by a throng of supporters and is in perfect agreement with the general mind and universal common sense. But if Schiller was right in saying that the rhythm of philosophy is to diverge from common opinion in order to return with redoubled vigour, it is evident that such divergence is necessary, and constitutes the growth of science, which is science itself. During this tedious process AEsthetic made mistakes which were
at once deviations from the truth and attempts to reach
History of science and history of the scientific criticism of particular errors.