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The electronic version of Estetika: The Central European Journal of Aesthetics is available at: www.ceeol.com

1/2011

XLVIII (New Series: IV)
Issued: 15th May 2011
Biannual
Founded: 1964
Re-established as an international journal: 2008
ISSN: 0014 –1291
Language: English, German

Communicability and Empathy: The Problem of Sensus Communis in Kester’s Dialogical Aesthetics

http://aesthetics.ff.cuni.cz/archive/281/communicability-and-empathy-the-problem-of-sensus-communis-in-kesters-dialogical-aesthetics

 

In this article, I sketch out and examine the aesthetic basis of an implicit ontological model of community, grounded on dialogical practice, which appears in Grant Kester’s proposal for a dialogical theory of socially engaged contemporary art. I address two distinct but related aspects of Kester’s view on understanding as a constitutive part of dialogical aesthetic experience. First, I endeavour to show that the post-foundational framework of a ‘procedural knowledge’ which he uses to support his theory of aesthetic communication requires a stronger intersubjective ground to ensure the actual empathic understanding of the other dialogical partner. In this respect, I claim that he could be using the Kantian notion of sensus communis in a constitutive rather than in a regulative manner, thus grounding empathy on an ante-predicative level of experiencing alterity. This unorthodox usage of the Kantian aesthetic postulate points towards a particular understanding of sensus communis as the universal communicability of human finitude, which I eventually argue for on the lines of Jean-Luc Nancy’s thinking.