Stiftelsen för forskning inom områden med anknytning till Östersjöregionen och Östeuropa

Benjamin Höijer and German Idealism. A Revolution in Aesthetics in the Baltic Sea Area

Ämne: Aesthetics
Projektledare: Mats Dahllöv
Startår: 2024
Projekttyp: Postdokprojekt
Beviljade medel: 2 814 000 kr

Benjamin Höijer (1767–1812) is often described as the most brilliant thinker in the history of Swedish philosophy, but he has long been under-researched. This project will carry out the first study that brings his aesthetics into the international research field on German Idealism, the philosophical movement that developed around the Baltic Sea and of which Höijer was a Swedish part. After a pioneering interpretation in my dissertation ”Det absoluta och det gemensamma. Benjamin Höijers konstfilosofi”, I will further explore Höijer’s aesthetics through a comparative reading of the great German philosophers of his time. This will not only provide crucial knowledge about this understudied philosopher, but also new perspectives on what is perhaps the most influential period in the history of aesthetics. The project will explore two general themes: art and politics, and aesthetics and metaphysics. Höijer’s deeply political aesthetics will be read in comparison with Friedrich Schiller’s seminal texts on art and politics, and his critique of a ‘new mythology’ will be compared with this idea in F.W.J. Schelling. Höijer’s ideas on the relation between art and the absolute, where suffering and sympathy are paramount, will be contrasted with Schelling’s and G.W.F. Hegel’s influential and more rationalist account of the relation between aesthetics and metaphysics. In this way, the project will broaden the conception of German Idealism and challenge its conventional geographical scope.