The Human Arts and the Natural Laws of Bios Return to Consciousness

  • Piotr Mróz
Part of the Analecta Husserliana book series (ANHU, volume 67)


We would like to propose for general discussion some topics which seem to belong to the perennial subjects of the philosophy of art and concerning the very idea of creativity. There is, we think, a strong relationship between human creativity (the human approach to the world) and its most significant “product”, or end result, namely, the work of art. In at least one of its aspects, human “inventiveness”, to use Croce’s term,1 is (clearly) visible, i.e., the sphere of aesthetics. In our opinion it is the phenomenological and existentialist orientation that sheds penetrating light on the problems of art in very close connection with a series of intentional activities of free and spontaneous human beings. It stands to reason that in the aesthetic theories2 (reconstructed and collated) of first Husserl and then Heidegger, Jaspers, Sartre, Merleau-Ponty and Natanson — who are grouped here into one, unanimous, so to speak, body of art theory — one can easily discern a conspicuous call for a return to the proper area (universe of discourse) of art investigating, the philosophy of art. What we refer to here is a sometimes dramatic if not futile attempt to overcome the paralysing disarray visible in aesthetics as well as in the “praxis” of art since “the great narrations abruptly ceased operating”.3 One of the reasons for this poor state of affairs is (as Jaspers remarked on one occasion) the gradual and constant process of the de-philosophizing of art theory which means or still better meant a total absence of broader and deeper reflection, a complete loss of the philosophical stance. According to both phenomenological and existential philosophers — who devoted much of their attention to these issues and produced many a brilliant page in their oeuvres - it is the rich but evasive phenomenon of art which should become the fundamental domain of all aesthetic analyses and inquiries. Neither traditional thinkers nor aestheticians, still less historians of ideas, could deny that only philosophically oriented aesthetics is capable of playing a crucial part in overcoming “this poor state of affairs”. It may or might lead, more precisely, to a re-introduction, so to speak, of philosophy as the only valuable guide for aesthetic inquiries or descriptions.


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  1. 1.
    See Benedetto Croce, Aesthetics (London: 1972).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    See Guido Morpurgo-Tagliabue, L’Esthétique Contemporaine (Milan: 1960).Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    We here use Francois Lyotard’s term. See La Condition Postmoderne (Paris: 1979).Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    See Mary Warnock, Existentialism (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1978).Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    We here use Camus’ term.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    See Jean-Paul Sartre, L’Être et la Néant (Paris: 1974).Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    See Piotr Mróz, Four Essays in Existentialism (in Polish), (Krakow: 1997).Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    See Karl Jaspers, Way to Wisdom (New York: 1980).Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    See Martin Heidegger, Mróz, Four Essays, op. cit.Google Scholar
  10. 11.
    See Piotr Mróz, Filozofia Sztuki — w ujęciu egzystencjalizmu (Kraków: 1993) (“Philosophy of Art — in Existentalism”).Google Scholar
  11. 12.
    See Jean-Paul Sartre, La Nausée (Paris: 1970).Google Scholar
  12. 13.
    See Jean-Paul Sartre, L’Imagination (Paris: 1981).Google Scholar
  13. 14.

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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2000

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  • Piotr Mróz

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