Let me take a whack at the question you ask, "Why is the aesthetic
necessarily unethical?" The answer to this question is complex and is not
easily answered or understood. But it is a good question.
I don't think SK ever says that aesthetics is to be left behind. Some of the
people on this forum seem to think that is the case but SK doesn't say that.
What he says about the aesthetic has to do with relative and absolute ends.
The aesthetic person encountered in the first half of Either-Or makes
aesthetic pursuits absolute ends. That is, there are no ends or goals that
are higher for these people, goals or ends that the aesthetic point to as in
your example. They simply pursue pleasure or learning as the goal of their
lives. The illustration that you give is of aesthetics that points beyond
itself to something higher so it is not aesthetics as SK describes it. SK's
point is that the aesthete is operating at a low level of life and that
there is more to be developed, namely the ethical and the spiritual.
I hope this helps and welcome to the group. If you have more questions or
ideas please join in. You don't need to apologize about quality of your
questions. They are needed here.
]On Behalf Of Jeffrey Burns
Sent: Tuesday, September 27, 2005 11:06 AM
Subject: [Kierkegaardian] The esthetic
I am new here. Actually I am both new here and quite new to
kierkegaardian things so I hope everyone is not going to jump on me
for I ask irrelevant questions...
Anyway here is my question:
Why is the esthetic necessarily unethical ?
I ask that because while I am reading Either/Or, I get the feeling K.
sets the esthetical into opposition to the ethical and I don't quite
If someone has painted a very beautiful portrait of a child, can't we
say that that he has done is esthetical?
Is his painting unethical? If so why ? Is it that K. means ? If not
what does he mean ?
Now, really I would appreciate some help on that, for I don't quite
get it. What is necessarily unethical with the esthetical?
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