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2007 | 1(16) | 35-56

Article title

Freedom beyond the Constraints. Schiller and Moral/Political 'Tyranny of Reason'


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The essay presents in the outline the Schillerian concept of aesthetical freedom from constraints, by situating it in the context of critical confrontation with both radical forms of the Enlightenment anthropology of 'pure humanity', represented on the one hand by Kant's moral philosophy, and on the other by sociopolitical ideals of the French Revolution. From this perspective, the main concepts of Schiller's philosophical aesthetics and anthropology are considered: beauty as the embodiment of the fulfilled 'freedom in the appearance' which by the aesthetic drive of free 'game and play' realizes its infinitely open 'determinability', neutralizing and abolishing all necessities and constraints, but at the same time strictly restricting its scope and normative quality to the ideal, unreal sphere of beautiful 'appearance'. In the conclusion, the internal tension between two projects inherent in the Schillerian concept of freedom is shown: the tension between the aesthetic utopia of 'beautiful humanity' as the philosophical/anthropological absolute and social/pedagogical program of 'aesthetic education' of man - starting from beauty and aiming at 'higher' values over and above aesthetics: cognitive, moral and cultural values.


  • M. J. Siemek, c/o Redakcja 'Przeglad Filozoficzno-Literacki', Uniwersytet Warszawski, Instytut Filozofii, ul. Krakowskie Przedmiescie 3, 00-047 Warszawa, Poland


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