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the colourless signs and labels of everyday life, and help
others (non-artists) to catch a glimpse of what they them-
selves see, employing for this purpose colours, forms,
rhythmic connexions of words, and those rhythms of life
and breath even more intimate to man, the sounds and
notes of music.
A healthy return to Baumgarten, a revival and correc-
tion of the old philosopher's theories in the light of later
discoveries, might perhaps have given Æsthetic some
assistance, after the collapse of the old idealistic meta-
physic, towards thinking the concept of art in its uni-
versality and discovering its identity with pure and
true intuitive knowledge. But Conrad Hermann, who
preached the return to Baumgarten in 1876, did bad
service to what might have been a good cause. According
to him AEsthetic and Logic are normative sciences; but
Logic does not contain, as does AEsthetic, “a definite
category of external objects exclusively and specifically
adequate to the faculty of thought "; and on the other
hand “the products and results of scientific thought are
not so external and sensibly intuitive as those of artistic
invention.” Logic and AEsthetic alike refer not to the
empirical thinking and feeling of the soul, but to pure and
absolute sensation and thought. Art constructs a repre-
sentation standing midway between the individual and
the universal. Beauty expresses specific perfection, the
essential or, so to speak, the rightful (seinsollend) character
of things. Form is “the external sensible limit, or mode
of appearance of a thing, in opposition to the kernel of
the thing itself and to its essential and substantial content.”
Content and form are both aesthetic, and the aesthetic
interest concerns the entirety of the beautiful object.
The artistic activity has no special organ such as thought
possesses in speech. The aesthetician, like the lexico-
grapher, has the task of compiling a dictionary of tones
and colours and of the different meanings which may
possibly be attached to them.” We can see that Hermann
1 Conrad Hermann, Die Asthetik in ihrer Geschichte und als wissen-
schaftliches System, Leipzig, 1876. * Die Asthetik, etc., passim.

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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

B. Bosanquet.

Æsthetic of
expression :
present state.

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.



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
it : such were the hedonism of the sophists and rhetoricians
of antiquity and of the sensationalists of the eighteenth
and second half of the nineteenth century; the moralistic
hedonism of Aristophanes, of the Stoics, of the Roman
eclectics, of the mediaeval and Renaissance writers; the
ascetic and logical hedonism of Plato and the Fathers of
the Church, of some mediaeval and even some quite
modern rigorists; and finally, the aesthetic mysticism
which first appeared in Plotinus and reappeared again
and again until its last and great triumph in the classical
period of German philosophy. In the midst of these
variously erroneous tendencies, ploughing the field of
thought in every direction, a tenuous golden rivulet seems
to flow, formed by the acute empiricism of Aristotle, the
forceful penetration of Vico, the analytical work of
Schleiermacher, Humboldt, De Sanctis and others who
echoed them with weaker voice. This series of thinkers
suffices to remind us that aesthetic science no longer
remains to be discovered ; but at the same time the fact
that they are so few and so often despised, ignored or
controverted, proves that it is in its infancy.
The birth of a science is like that of a living being :
its later development consists, like every life, in fighting
the difficulties and errors, general and particular, which
lurk in its path on every side. The forms of error are
numerous in the extreme and mingle with each other and
with the truth in complications equally numerous : root
out one, another appears in its stead ; the uprooted ones
also reappear, though never in the same shape. Hence
the necessity for perpetual scientific criticism and the
impossibility of repose or finality in a science and of an
end to further discussion. The errors which may be
described as general, negations of the concept of art itself,
have been touched on from time to time in the course
of this History; whence it may be gathered a simple
affirmation of the truth has not always been accompanied
by any considerable recapture of enemy territory. As to
what we have called particular errors, it is clear that

History of science and history of the scientific criticism of particular errors.

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