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The Founding of Aesthetics in the German Enlightenment

by Stefanie Buchenau

When, in 1735, Alexander Gottlieb Baumgarten added a new discipline to the philosophical system, he not only founded modern aesthetics but also contributed to shaping the modern concept of art or 'fine art'. In The Founding of Aesthetics in the German Enlightenment, Stefanie Buchenau offers a rich analysis and reconstruction of the origins of this new discipline in its wider context of German Enlightenment philosophy. Present-day scholars commonly regard Baumgarten's views as an imperfect prefiguration of Kantian and post-Kantian aesthetics, but Buchenau argues that Baumgarten defended a consistent and original project which must be viewed in the context of the modern debate on the art of invention. Her book offers new perspectives on Kantian aesthetics and beauty in art and science.

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