Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht

To be quiet for a moment

   
             
 
    Essays    
   

1.

Whether Art has anything to do with the production and acquisition of Knowledge (»Erkennntis« is the word) does not strike me as a very good question - for it will produce an infinity of answers all of which, to make things worse, will be acceptable. Each and every answer will depend, as always, on how you previously define »Kunst« and »Erkenntnis« - but as, in this specific case, the two concepts in question are huge (both in the sense of being charged with rich histories and of being very fuzzy) you might end up with an »anything goes« situation - which is the emblematic situation for what I call ‚the misery of constructivism«. Now while this (the »anything goes«) may be good enough for the genre of Festschrift, I thought that Siegfried deserved better. Better (in the sense of more interesting) is the question how one wants to have the relation between Art and (the production / acquisition of) Knowledge. This way, I admit, it turns into an inevitably personal question - and to answer it just for myself will not imply a quest for the world to agree with me. Why do I say, then, that the question is more interesting as a personal question? Who would care about how I want to have this relationship between Art and Knowledge? Well, first of all it turns out to be interesting to me because, believe it or not, as I am writing along I realize that I have never asked myself this question. Also (and as opposed to the initial, general question which would have entangled me in endless definitions and in an intellectual agenda of the ‚conditions of the possibility«-type), the personal question obliges me - more immediately at least than the general question - to talk about aesthetic experience »itself«.

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