Shaftesbury's Aesthetic Theory Revisited

Title: Shaftesbury's Aesthetic Theory Revisited
Authors: Kubota, Mami
Date: 2015
Abstract: This thesis examines Shaftesbury’s Characteristics of Men, Manners, Opinions, Times (1711), and revisits his concepts of aesthetics and ethics by providing a key to understanding his controversial methodology and definitions of terms. Kubota claims that Shaftesbury's main purpose in writing Characteristics is to defend the concept of innate ideas of beauty and moral goodness against the views of Hobbes and Locke. Not only is Characteristics a significant work of moral and aesthetic theory, but it is Shaftesbury’s attempt to act on his theory and put it into practice. Through describing the place of actual life experiences, he intends to show that the various aspects of the concepts he discusses contribute to the whole or the end of the universe, to realize ultimate beauty. Kubota claims that his challenging use of terminology – in which words have many definitions – may be understood in light of his teleological and dualistic view of humanity. His view of dualism and the dialectic categorization of each term, showing the two opposed or distinct characters of each term and the integrated character of the two, reveals either a partial or an integrated human condition. Thus, he changes the meaning of his terms depending on which level he is discussing. Kubota argues that his concept of an innate moral and aesthetic sense is found in the third character of terms such as the third manner (miscellaneous manner) which is the integrated state of both poetical manner and methodical manner, the third truth (moral truth) which is the integrated state of both poetical manner and historical manner, and the third affection (natural affection) which is the integrated state of self-affection and public-affection. It is only this integrated self which reveals the innate moral sense, in which one can experience and create true beauty, virtue, and enthusiasm, resulting in a state of happiness where one is able to serve both the self and the public good.
CollectionThèses, 2011 - // Theses, 2011 -