Descartes vid skiljevägen. Cartesianska perspektiv på estetik


Vetenskapsrådet (VR)



The hypothesis of this project is that René Descartes (1596-1650) explores an aesthetic form of knowledge, without certainty, in his writings on the sensory experience of sleep and dreams as well as in his reflections on emotions, and the encounter with and work on aesthetic artifacts and performances. Thereby the project aims to contribute to the ongoing reevaluation of Descartes. Today,he is seen not only as a philosopher of consciousness. He is also exploring issues of taste and judgement, as well as the epistemological status of imagination, dreams and aesthetic objects, Descartes contributed to what was to become field of aesthetics a century after his death. The project proposes to contribute to a deeper understanding of Descartes through exploring lesser known aspects of his work. The material studied consists, primarily, of Descartes philosophical texts and letters. However, his drawings, music and (possible) ballet will also be considered, as well as early textual documents, fragments and notes. For this reason, relevant archives will be consulted. The interest shown in Descartes engagement in the senes, and actual practice, of the arts, is fairly recent. Therefore, th field in the arts has not been fully researched. Moreover, with the re-discovery and edition of Descartes’ early textual notes known today as `Olympiques´ (Hallyn, 1995), more attention must be paid to Descartes’ interest in sleep and dreams as part of the search for a new path and method. Here, as Jean-Luc Marion argues, he heads towards the “awakening” of the modern philosopher. What still remains to examine, however, is to explore the relation between Descartes reflections on sleep, dreams and imagination, together with his reflections on the passions and aesthetic objects and performances. The project will consider these aspects as two facets of Descartes inquiries into a form of knowledge that cannot reach certainty. It relies on the assumption that Descartes epistemological method of self-inquiry is of relevance not only for the philosophy of mind, but also for the aesthetic subject of the senses. This project involves two scholars, a professor of philosophy and a professor of aesthetics, who will work closely together and exchange discoveries in the archive as well as textual evidence. Cecilia Sjöholm, in "The Art of Cartesian Passions", will focus on Descartes´ multifaceted work on affects and emotions. She proposes that it contributes to an aesthetic form of knowledge through exploring the way affect may contribute to corporal memory as well as imagination, Moreover, affects contribute to the way the subject experiences him/herself, and develop over time. Marcia Cavalcante, in "Descartes on Sleep, Dream and Imagination" will explore the cognitive status of things that appear as if they were "between" determinate states. She proposes that Descartes explores a form of aesthetic knowledge when he describes things as if they can be seized "between" reason and passion.These phenomena can be found both in Descartes’ early writings and in major works.

Marcia Cavalcante - Professor
School of Culture and Education

Forskningsområde / geografiskt område

Institutionen för kultur och lärande Estetik Kritisk kulturteori Konst & kultur


2016 — 2019


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