In his well-known work of art criticism Art of the Modern Age, Jean-Marie Schaeffer offered a lucid and powerful critique of what he identified as the historically dominant thinking about art and aesthetics from the Jena Romantics, to Nietzsche, Heidegger, Adorno, and beyond, which he termed “the speculative theory of art.” Here, in Beyond Speculation, Schaeffer builds from this significant work, rejecting not only the identification of the aesthetic with the work of art, but also the Kantian association of the aesthetic with subjectively universal judgment. In his analysis of aesthetic relations, he opens up a space for a theory of art that is free of historicism and capable of engaging with noncanonical and non-Western arts.
By engaging with the ideas of Arthur Danto, Gérard Genette, Nelson Goodman, George Dickie and Rainer Rochlitz, and evoking a range of aesthetic experience from Proust to King Kong to Japanese temple design, Beyond Speculation makes an original and engaging contribution to the development of the philosophy of culture.
“While Schaeffer is not afraid to do the necessary detail work, he never gets mired in issues of merely scholastic interest.”—F. L. Rush, Bookforum, on Art of the Modern Age