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Mood and TropeThe Rhetoric and Poetics of Affect$
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John Brenkman

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780226673127

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226673431.001.0001

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This is beautiful, or, The Urge to Persuade

This is beautiful, or, The Urge to Persuade

(p.137) 4 This is beautiful, or, The Urge to Persuade
Mood and Trope

John Brenkman

University of Chicago Press

What is required to rethink Kant’s Critique of Judgment in light of Nietzsche’s powerful criticisms? Nietzsche, Heidegger, and Deleuze reject Kant’s notion that the experience of the beautiful entails a claim for everyone else’s agreement. In fact, though, the supposed universal agreement is neither grounded in a standard nor required in principle nor even expected in fact. The particular pleasure in feeling this is beautiful is at the same time a feeling for others’ experience and an urge to persuade. Therein lies the vocation of criticism. Jacques Rancière renders a systematic critique of the “aesthetic regime” inaugurated by Kant, and Nathalie Heinich claims a new “artistic paradigm” negates the very objecthood of art. By contrast, the contemporary artists Tino Sehgal and Rineke Dijkstra probe limit-experiences where the configuration of artwork, aesthetic response, and urge to persuade is captured at the moment of its emergence or its fading. From an appreciation of Kant despite Nietzsche, it is necessary to return to Nietzsche’s typology of the affective sources of artistic creativity to ask: Is it possible to democratize Nietzsche not by leveling art but by grasping its inherent plurality and criticism’s commitment to the ordeal—not the ideal—of universalism?

Keywords:   Critique of Judgment, Immanuel Kant, Friedrich Nietzsche, Jacques Rancière, Nathalie Heinich, Tino Sehgal, Rineke Dijkstra, ordeal of universalism, aesthetic regime, artistic paradigms

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