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Eli I. Lichtenstein
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
  1. The Passions and Disinterest: From Kantian Free Play to Creative Determination by Power, Via Schiller and Nietzsche.Eli I. Lichtenstein - 2019 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 6:249-279.
    I argue that Nietzsche’s criticism of the Kantian theory of disinterested pleasure in beauty reflects his own commitment to claims that closely resemble certain Kantian aesthetic principles, specifically as reinterpreted by Schiller. I show that Schiller takes the experience of beauty to be disinterested both (1) insofar as it involves impassioned ‘play’ rather than desire-driven ‘work’, and (2) insofar as it involves rational-sensuous (‘aesthetic’) play rather than mere physical play. In figures like Nietzsche, Schiller’s generic notion of play—which is itself (...)
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  2.  69
    Artistic Objectivity: From Ruskin’s ‘Pathetic Fallacy’ to Creative Receptivity.Eli I. Lichtenstein - forthcoming - British Journal of Aesthetics:ayaa041.
    While the idea of art as self-expression can sound old-fashioned, it remains widespread—especially if the relevant ‘selves’ can be social collectives, not just individual artists. But self-expression can collapse into individualistic or anthropocentric self-involvement. And compelling successor ideals for artists are not obvious. In this light, I develop a counter-ideal of creative receptivity to basic features of the external world, or artistic objectivity. Objective artists are not trying to express themselves or reach collective self-knowledge. However, they are also not disinterested (...)
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  3.  59
    Classical Form or Modern Scientific Rationalization? Nietzsche on the Drive to Ordered Thought as Apollonian Power and Socratic Pathology.Eli I. Lichtenstein - 2021 - Journal of Nietzsche Studies 52 (1):105-134.
    Nietzsche sometimes praises the drive to order—to simplify, organize, and draw clear boundaries—as expressive of a vital "classical" style, or an Apollonian artistic drive to calmly contemplate forms displaying "epic definiteness and clarity." But he also sometimes harshly criticizes order, as in the pathological dialectics or "logical schematism" that he associates paradigmatically with Socrates. I challenge a tradition that interprets Socratism as an especially one-sided expression of, or restricted form of attention to, the Apollonian: they are more radically disparate. Beyond (...)
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  4.  75
    How Anti-Humeans Can Embrace a Thermodynamic Reduction of Time's Causal Arrow.Eli I. Lichtenstein - forthcoming - Philosophy of Science.
    Some argue that time's causal arrow is grounded in an underlying thermodynamic asymmetry. Often, this is tied to Humean skepticism that causes produce their effects, in any robust sense of 'produce'. Conversely, those who advocate stronger notions of natural necessity often reject thermodynamic reductions of time's causal arrow. Against these traditional pairings, I argue that 'reduction-plus-production' is coherent. Reductionists looking to invoke robust production can insist that there are metaphysical constraints on the signs of objects' velocities in any state, given (...)
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  5.  91
    (Mis)Understanding Scientific Disagreement: Success Versus Pursuit-Worthiness in Theory Choice.Eli I. Lichtenstein - 2021 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 85:166-175.
    Scientists often diverge widely when choosing between research programs. This can seem to be rooted in disagreements about which of several theories, competing to address shared questions or phenomena, is currently the most epistemically or explanatorily valuable—i.e. most successful. But many such cases are actually more directly rooted in differing judgments of pursuit-worthiness, concerning which theory will be best down the line, or which addresses the most significant data or questions. Using case studies from 16th-century astronomy and 20th-century geology and (...)
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  6. Nietzsche Contra Sublimation.Eli I. Lichtenstein - 2020 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 58 (4):755-778.
    Many commentators have claimed that Nietzsche views the “sublimation” (Sublimierung) of drives as a positive achievement. Against this tradition, I argue that, on the dominant if not universal Nietzschean use of Sublimierung and its cognates, sublimation is just a broad psychological analogue of the traditional (al)chemical process: the “vaporization” of drives into a finer or lighter state, figuratively if not literally. This can yield ennobling elevation, or purity in a positive sense—the intensified “sublimate” of an unrefined original sample. But it (...)
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  7. Sensory Force, Sublime Impact, and Beautiful Form.Eli I. Lichtenstein - 2019 - British Journal of Aesthetics 59 (4):449-464.
    Can a basic sensory property like a bare colour or tone be beautiful? Some, like Kant, say no. But Heidegger suggests, plausibly, that colours ‘glow’ and tones ‘sing’ in artworks. These claims can be productively synthesized: ‘glowing’ colours are not beautiful; but they are sensory forces—not mere ‘matter’, contra Kant—with real aesthetic impact. To the extent that it inheres in sensible properties, beauty is plausibly restricted to structures of sensory force. Kant correspondingly misrepresents the relation of beautiful wholes to their (...)
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