Li Zehou's Aesthetics as a Marxist Philosophy of Freedom

Dialogue and Universalism 13 (11-12):133-140 (2003)
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Abstract

After being largely unknown to non-siniphone philosophers, Li Zehou's ideas are gradually being translated into English, but very little has been done on his aesthetics, which he says is the key to his oeuvre. In the first of three sections of this paper, I briefly introduce the reader to Kant's aesthetics through Li's eyes, in which he develops an implicit notion of aesthetic freedom as political vehicle through the notions of subjectivity, universalization, and the unity of the cognitive faculties. In the second section, I introduce Marx's notions of 'human nature as practice' and 'freedom as practice', as outlined in his early manuscripts. I conclude that Marx's politics take free practice as the highest expression of humanity, which is finally, ideally, self-legislating. In the final section, I present Li's interpretation of Marx as a remedy for Kant, introducing some of Li's specialized vocabulary and demonstrating his final synthesis of Kant and Marx in a notion of aesthetic freedom that presupposes political freedom.

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Brian Bruya
Eastern Michigan University

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