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Doing Aesthetics with ArendtHow to See Things$
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Cecilia Sjöholm

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780231173087

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231173087.001.0001

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The Encroachment of Others

The Encroachment of Others

(p.68) 3 The Encroachment of Others
Doing Aesthetics with Arendt

Cecilia Sjöholm

Columbia University Press

Relying on Kantian notions of judgement, Sjöholm explores its relevance and applications in Arendt’s aesthetics. Arendt argues that taste alone cannot be the requisite of judgement. Historically, racism and xenophobia can corrupt taste a pure category, such as the corrupt ideology of the Third Reich. Arendt critiques Kant by arguing that, both, aesthetics operates at the level of appearances and appearances can be corrupted by totalitarian regimes and thought. Perception – which is offered as sedimentation of appearances - informs aesthetics. Narratives solidify a sense of the real community and can similarly pervert perception through ideology. As always, Arendt is historically considering The Third Reich in the background of all theorizing, and Sjöholm is directly engaging with Arendt’s political commitment. Arendt locates the ‘sensus communis’ away from the transcendental logic of Kant, and towards the plurality of the public sphere. Arendt’s ‘sensus communis’ is the solidification of a collective, plural and political body towards a new reality; the integration of plurality of senses through the production of a community

Keywords:   Judgment, Kant, sensus communis, realness, the senses, agency

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