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Aesthetic Critique of Morality: On the Ethical Implications of Aesthetic Temporality (2020-2021)

Sebastian Tränkle, Research Area 3: "Future Perfect"
Associated Research Project (post-doc)

This post-doc project will contribute to the project "Premodern Anthologies" by working on a concept of aesthetic form, highlighting the relationship of its temporal and its ethical implications. The conflict-ridden relationship between art und morality within the history of philosophy serves as point of departure: on the one hand, ever since Plato’s condemnation of the poets, philosophy has time and again subjugated art to moral claims. On the other hand, modern thinkers like Friedrich Nietzsche or Oscar Wilde have interpreted aesthetic experience as genuinely critical of the forms of morality prevailing within society. Inspired by such accounts, the project examines formal strategies of both literary and philosophical texts. It aims at showing how textual strategies like fragmentation and reconfiguration modify temporality, for instance by rearranging the relation of past and future. Furthermore, the project asks how said temporal modifications in philosophical genres such as aphorism and dialogue aspire to undermine moral claims. An inquiry into the relations between the realms of art and ethics, it opens up a perspective on the constitution of temporal communities.