Portal:Aesthetics/Selected biography

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Selected biographies list[edit]

Portal:Aesthetics/Selected biography/1

Immanuel Kant (painted portrait).jpg

Immanuel Kant (German pronunciation: [ɪˈmanuɛl kant]; 22 April 1724 – 12 February 1804) was an 18th-century German philosopher from the Prussian city of Königsberg (now Kaliningrad, Russia). He is regarded as one of the most influential thinkers of modern Europe and of the late Enlightenment.

Kant created a new widespread perspective in philosophy which influenced philosophy through to the 21st Century. He also published important works of epistemology, as well as works relevant to religion, law, and history. One of his most prominent works is the Critique of Pure Reason, an investigation into the limitations and structure of reason itself. It encompasses an attack on traditional metaphysics and epistemology, and highlights Kant's own contribution to these areas. The other main works of his maturity are the Critique of Practical Reason, which concentrates on ethics, and the Critique of Judgment, which investigates aesthetics and teleology.

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FWNietzscheSiebe.jpg

Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (October 15, 1844 – August 25, 1900) (German pronunciation: [ˈfʁiːdʁɪç ˈvɪlhəlm ˈniːtʃə]) was a nineteenth-century German philosopher and classical philologist. He wrote critical texts on religion, morality, contemporary culture, philosophy, and science, using a distinctive German language style and displaying a fondness for metaphor and aphorism. Nietzsche's influence remains substantial within and beyond philosophy, notably in existentialism and postmodernism. His style and radical questioning of the value and objectivity of truth have resulted in much commentary and interpretation, mostly in the continental tradition, and to a lesser extent in analytic philosophy. His key ideas include the interpretation of tragedy as an affirmation of life, an eternal recurrence (which numerous commentators have re-interpreted), a rejection of Platonism, and a repudiation of both Christianity and egalitarianism (especially in the form of democracy and socialism).

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Hegel portrait by Schlesinger 1831.jpg

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (German pronunciation: [ˈɡeɔʁk ˈvɪlhɛlm ˈfʁiːdʁɪç ˈheːɡəl]) (August 27, 1770 – November 14, 1831) was a German philosopher, and with Johann Gottlieb Fichte and Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling, one of the creators of German Idealism. Hegel influenced writers of widely varying positions, including both his admirers (Bauer, Feuerbach, Marx, Bradley, Dewey, Sartre, Küng, Kojève, Žižek), and his detractors (Schelling, Kierkegaard, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Peirce, Russell). Hegel developed a comprehensive philosophical framework, or "system", to account in an integrated and developmental way for the relation of mind and nature, the subject and object of knowledge, and psychology, the state, history, art, religion, and philosophy. In particular, he developed a concept of mind or spirit that manifested itself in a set of contradictions and oppositions that it ultimately integrated and united, such as those between nature and freedom, and immanence and transcendence, without eliminating either pole or reducing it to the other. His influential conceptions are of speculative logic or "dialectic," "absolute idealism," "Spirit," negativity, sublation (Aufhebung in German), the "Master/Slave" dialectic, "ethical life," and the importance of history.

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Portal:Aesthetics/Selected biography/4 Arthur Coleman Danto (born 1924) is an American art critic, and professor of philosophy. Danto was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan, in 1924, and grew up in Detroit. After spending two years in the Army, Danto studied art and history at Wayne University (now Wayne State University) and then pursued graduate study in philosophy at Columbia University. From 1949 to 1950, Danto studied in Paris on a Fulbright scholarship under Maurice Merleau-Ponty, and in 1951 returned to teach at Columbia, where he is currently Johnsonian Professor of Philosophy Emeritus.

He is best known for his work in philosophical aesthetics and philosophy of history, though he has contributed significantly to a number of fields. His interests span thought, feeling, philosophy of art, theories of representation, philosophical psychology, Hegel's aesthetics, and the philosophers Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Arthur Schopenhauer.

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Portal:Aesthetics/Selected biography/5

Schopenhauer.jpg

Arthur Schopenhauer (February 22, 1788–September 21, 1860) was a German philosopher known for his atheistic pessimism and philosophical clarity. At age 25, he published his doctoral dissertation, On the Fourfold Root of the Principle of Sufficient Reason, which examined the fundamental question of whether reason alone can unlock answers about the world. Schopenhauer's most influential work, The World as Will and Representation, emphasized the role of man's basic motivation, which Schopenhauer called will. Schopenhauer's analysis of will led him to the conclusion that emotional, physical, and sexual desires can never be fulfilled. Consequently, Schopenhauer favored a lifestyle of negating human desires, similar to the teachings of Buddhism and Vedanta.

Schopenhauer's metaphysical analysis of will, his views on human motivation and desire, and his aphoristic writing style influenced many well-known thinkers, including Friedrich Nietzsche, Richard Wagner, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Erwin Schrödinger, Albert Einstein, Sigmund Freud, and Karl Kraus.

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Portal:Aesthetics/Selected biography/6 Martin Heidegger (26 September 1889 – 26 May 1976) (German pronunciation: [ˈmaɐ̯tiːn ˈhaɪ̯dɛɡɐ]) was an influential German philosopher. His best known book, Being and Time, is generally considered to be one of the most important philosophical works of the 20th century. Heidegger remains controversial due to his involvement with Nazism.

Heidegger claimed that Western philosophy has, since Plato, misunderstood what it means for something "to be," tending to approach this question in terms of a being, rather than asking about being itself. In other words, Heidegger believed all investigations of being have historically focused on particular entities and their properties, or have treated being itself as an entity, or substance, with properties. A more authentic analysis of being would, for Heidegger, investigate "that on the basis of which beings are already understood," or that which underlies all particular entities and allows them to show up as entities in the first place.[1] But since philosophers and scientists have overlooked the more basic, pre-theoretical ways of being from which their theories derive, and since they have incorrectly applied those theories universally, they have confused our understanding of being and human existence. To avoid these deep-rooted misconceptions, Heidegger believed philosophical inquiry must be conducted in a new way, through a process of retracing the steps of the history of philosophy.

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B.Croce.jpg

Benedetto Croce (Italian pronunciation: [beneˈdetto ˈkroːtʃe]; February 25, 1866 – November 20, 1952) was an Italian critic, idealist philosopher, and politician. He wrote on numerous topics, including philosophy of history and aesthetics, and was a prominent liberal, although he opposed laissez-faire free trade. His influence on Antonio Gramsci is quite notable.

Croce was born in Pescasseroli in the Abruzzo region of Italy. He came from an influential and wealthy family, and was raised in a very strict Catholic environment. Around the age of 18, he turned away from Catholicism and became an atheist, remaining so for the rest of his life. In 1883, an earthquake hit the village of Casamicciola, Ischia, where he was on holiday with his family, destroying the home they lived in. His mother, father, and only sister were all killed, while he was buried for a very long time and barely survived. After the incident he inherited his family's fortune and was able to live the rest of his life in relative leisure, enabling him to devote a great deal of time to philosophy.

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Portal:Aesthetics/Selected biography/8 Richard Arthur Wollheim (5 May, 1923 – 4 November, 2003) was a British philosopher noted for original work on mind and emotions, especially as related to the visual arts, specifically, painting. Wollheim served as the president of the British Society of Aesthetics from 1992 onwards until his death in 2003.

Son of an actress and a theatre impresario, Richard Wollheim attended Westminster School, London, and Balliol College, Oxford (1941-2, 1945-8), interrupted by active military service in World War II.[2] In 1949 he obtained a first in Philosophy, Politics and Economics, and began teaching at University College London, where he became Grote Professor of Mind and Logic and Department Head from 1963 to 1982. He was visiting professor at Harvard University, Columbia University, the University of Minnesota, Graduate Center, CUNY, the University of California-Berkeley, UC Davis and elsewhere. He chaired the Department at UC Berkeley, 1998-2002. On retirement from Berkeley, he served briefly as a guest lecturer at Balliol College. Wollheim gave several distinguished lecture series, most notably the Andrew M. Mellon lectures in Fine Arts, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. (1984), published as Painting as an Art.

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Nominations[edit]

Feel free to add top or high importance aestheticians to the above list. Other Aesthetics-related biographies may be nominated here.

  1. ^ Martin Heidegger, Being and Time, pp. 25–26.
  2. ^ For his own account of his service in Europe during the war, see Wollheim, "Fifty Years On", London Review of Books 23 (23 Je 1994): 3-6.