ABSTRACT

This chapter is divided into three parts. The first with some general points about the history of aesthetics, and then some further general points about art as a formative activity. Cassirer's second part concentrates on the significance of the relation that exists between art and imagination; and his third part refutes some rival theories to his own. Cassirer begins by, in effect, taking up the story of aesthetics at the point at which he left it in his analyses of Enlightenment aesthetics and Kant's aesthetic theory. The inadequacy of the notion of imitation is, for Cassirer, also highlighted in historical terms through a Rousseau-inspired late eighteenth-century cultural tendency, which sees art as a vehicle primarily for the expression of the artist's emotions. Cassirer has looked at the history of aesthetics and the nature of art as a formative activity, and its origins in the imagination.