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(until the _Henriade_, which slaked the thirsty throats of the critics). Eulogies accorded to the inventors of new styles are connected with these prejudices, so much so, that in the seventeenth century the invention of the _mock-heroic_ poem seemed an important event, and the honour of it was disputed, as though it were the discovery of America. But the works adorned with this name (the _Secchia rapita_ and the _Scherno degli Dei_) were still-born, because their authors (a slight draw-back) had nothing new or original to say. Mediocrities racked their brains to invent, artificially, new styles. The _piscatorial_ eclogue was added to the _pastoral_, and then, finally, the _military_ eclogue. The _Aminta_ was bathed and became the _Alceo_. Finally, there have been historians of art and literature, so much fascinated with these ideas of classes, that they claimed to write the history, not of single and effective literary and artistic works, but of their classes, those empty phantoms. They have claimed to portray, not the evolution of the _artistic spirit_, but the _evolution of classes_.

The philosophical condemnation of artistic and literary classes is found in the formulation and demonstration of what artistic activity has ever sought and good taste ever recognized. What is to be done if good taste and the real fact, put into formulas, sometimes assume the air of paradoxes?

[Sidenote] _Empirical sense of the divisions of classes._

Now if we talk of tragedies, comedies, dramas, romances, pictures of everyday life, battle-pieces, landscapes, seascapes, poems, versicles, lyrics, and the like, if it be only with a view to be understood, and to draw attention in general and approximatively to certain groups of works, to which, for one reason or another, it is desired to draw attention, in that case, no scientific error has been committed. We employ _vocables and phrases_; we do not establish _laws and definitions_. The mistake arises when the weight of a scientific definition is given to a word, when we ingenuously let ourselves be caught in the meshes of that phraseology. Pray permit me a comparison. It is necessary to arrange the books in a library in one way or another. This used generally to be done by means of a rough classification by subjects (among which the categories of miscellaneous and eccentric were not wanting); they are now generally arranged by sizes or by publishers. Who can deny the necessity and the utility of these groupings? But what should we say if some one began seriously to seek out the literary laws of miscellanies and of eccentricities from the Aldine or Bodonian collection, from size A or size B, that is to say, from these altogether arbitrary groupings whose sole object has been their practical use? Well, whoever should undertake an enterprise such as this, would be doing neither more nor less than those who seek out the aesthetic laws of literary and artistic classes.



The better to confirm these criticisms, it will be opportune to cast a rapid glance over analogous and opposite errors, born of ignorance as to the true nature of art, and of its relation to history and to science. These errors have injured alike the theory of history and of science, of Historic (or Historiology) and of Logic.

[Sidenote] _Critique of the philosophy of history._

Historical intellectualism has been the cause of the many researches which have been made, especially during the last two centuries, researches which continue to-day, for _a philosophy of history_, for an _ideal history_, for a _sociology_, for a _historical psychology_, or however may be otherwise entitled or described a science whose object is to extract from history, universal laws and concepts. Of what kind must be these laws, these universals? Historical laws and historical concepts? In that case, an elementary criticism of knowledge suffices to make clear the absurdity of the attempt. When such expressions as a _historical law_, a _historical concept_ are not simply metaphors colloquially employed, they are true contradictions in terms: the adjective is as unsuitable to the substantive as in the expressions _qualitative quantity_ or _pluralistic monism_. History means concretion and individuality, law and concept mean abstraction and universality. If, on the other hand, the attempt to draw from history historical laws and concepts be abandoned, and it be merely desired to draw from it laws and concepts, the attempt is certainly not frivolous; but the science thus obtained will be, not a philosophy of history, but rather, according to the case, either philosophy in its various specifications of Ethic, Logic, etc., or empirical science in its infinite divisions and subdivisions. Thus are sought out either those philosophical concepts which are, as has already been observed, at the bottom of every historical construction and separate perception from intuition, historical intuition from pure intuition, history from art; or already formed historical intuitions are collected and reduced to types and classes, which is exactly the method of the natural sciences. Great thinkers have sometimes donned the unsuitable cloak of the philosophy of history, and notwithstanding the covering, they have conquered philosophical truths of the greatest magnitude. The cloak has been dropped, the truth has remained. Modern sociologists are rather to be blamed, not so much for the illusion in which they are involved when they talk of an impossible science of sociology, as for the infecundity which almost always accompanies their illusion. It is but a small evil that Aesthetic should be termed sociological Aesthetic, or Logic, social Logic. The grave evil is that their Aesthetic is an old-fashioned expression of sensualism, their Logic verbal and incoherent. The philosophical movement, to which we have referred, has borne two good fruits in relation to history. First of all has been felt the desire to construct a theory of historiography, that is, to understand the nature and the limits of history, a theory which, in conformity with the analyses made above, cannot obtain satisfaction, save in a general science of intuition, in an Aesthetic, from which Historic would be separated under a special head by means of the intervention of the universals. Furthermore, concrete truths relating to historical events have often been expressed beneath the false and presumptuous cloak of a philosophy of history; canons and empirical advice have been formulated by no means superfluous to students and critics. It does not seem possible to deny this utility to the most recent of philosophies of history, to so-called historical materialism, which has thrown a very vivid light upon many sides of social life, formerly neglected or ill understood.

[Sidenote] _Aesthetic invasions into Logic._

The principle of authority, of the _ipse dixit_, is an invasion of historicity into the domains of science and philosophy which has raged in the schools. This substitutes for introspection and philosophical analyses, this or that evidence, document, or authoritative statement, with which history certainly cannot dispense. But Logic, the science of thought and of intellectual knowledge, has suffered the most grave and destructive disturbances and errors of all, through the imperfect understanding of the aesthetic fact. How, indeed, could it be otherwise, if logical activity come after and contain in itself aesthetic activity? An inexact Aesthetic must of necessity drag after it an inexact Logic.

Whoever opens logical treatises, from the _Organum_ of Aristotle to the moderns, must admit that they all contain a haphazard mixture of verbal facts and facts of thought, of grammatical forms and of conceptual forms, of Aesthetic and of Logic. Not that attempts have been wanting to escape from verbal expression and to seize thought in its effective nature. Aristotelian logic itself did not become mere syllogistic and verbalism, without some stumbling and oscillation. The especially logical problem was often touched upon in the Middle Ages, by the nominalists, realists, and conceptualists, in their disputes. With Galileo and with Bacon, the natural sciences gave an honourable place to induction. Vico combated formalist and mathematical logic in favour of inventive methods. Kant called attention to _a priori_ syntheses. The absolute idealists despised the Aristotelian logic. The followers of Herbart, bound to Aristotle, on the other hand, set in relief those judgments which they called narrative, which are of a character altogether different from other logical judgments. Finally, the linguists insisted upon the irrationality of the word, in relation to the concept. But a conscious, sure, and radical movement of reform can find no base or starting-point, save in the science of Aesthetic.

[Sidenote] _Logic in its essence._

In a Logic suitably reformed on this basis, it will be fitting to proclaim before all things this truth, and to draw from it all its consequences: the logical fact, _the only logical fact_, is _the concept_, the universal, the spirit that forms, and in so far as it forms, the universal. And if be understood by induction, as has sometimes been understood, the formation of universals, and by deduction the verbal development of these, then it is clear that true Logic can be nothing but inductive Logic. But since by the word “deduction” has been more frequently understood the special processes of mathematics, and by the word “induction” those of the natural sciences, it will be advisable to avoid the one and the other denomination, and to say that true Logic is the Logic of the concept. The Logic of the concept, adopting a method which is at once induction and deduction, will adopt neither the one nor the other exclusively, that is, will adopt the (speculative) method, which is intrinsic to it.

The concept, the universal, is in itself, abstractly considered, _inexpressible_. No word is proper to it. So true is this, that the logical concept remains always the same, notwithstanding the variation of verbal forms. In respect to the concept, expression is a simple _sign_ or _indication_. There must be an expression, it cannot fail; but what it is to be, this or that, is determined by the historical and psychological conditions of the individual who is speaking. The quality of the expression is not deducible from the nature of the concept. There does not exist a true (logical) sense of words. He who forms a concept bestows on each occasion their true meaning on the words.

[Sidenote] _Distinction between logical and non-logical judgements._

This being established, the only truly logical (that is, aesthetico-logical) propositions, the only rigorously logical judgments, can be nothing but those whose proper and exclusive content is the determination of a concept. These propositions or judgments are the _definitions_. Science itself is nothing but a complex of definitions, unified in a supreme definition; a system of concepts, or chief concept.

It is therefore necessary to exclude from Logic all those propositions which do not affirm universals. Narrative judgments, not less than those termed non-enunciative by Aristotle, such as the expression of desires, are not properly logical judgments. They are either purely aesthetic propositions or historical propositions. “Peter is passing; it is raining to-day; I am sleepy; I want to read”: these and an infinity of propositions of the same kind, are nothing but either a mere enclosing, in words the impression of the fact that Peter is passing, of the falling rain, of my organism inclining to sleep, and of my will directed to reading, or they are existential affirmation concerning those facts. They are expressions of the real or of the unreal, of historical or of pure imagination; they are certainly not definitions of universals.

[Sidenote] _Syllogistic._

This exclusion cannot meet with great difficulties. It is already almost an accomplished fact, and the only thing required is to render it explicit, decisive, and coherent. But what is to be done with all that part of human experience which is called _syllogistic_, consisting of judgments and reasonings which are based on concepts. What is syllogistic? Is it to be looked down upon from above with contempt, as something useless, as has so often been done in the reaction of the humanists against scholasticism, in absolute idealism, in the enthusiastic admiration of our times for the methods of observation and experiment of the natural sciences? Syllogistic, reasoning _in forma_, is not a discovery of truth; it is the art of exposing, debating, disputing with oneself and others. Proceeding from concepts already formed, from facts already observed and making appeal to the persistence of the true or of thought (such is the meaning of the principle of identity and contradiction), it infers consequences from these data, that is, it represents what has already been discovered. Therefore, if it be an _idem per idem_ from the point of view of invention, it is most efficacious as a teaching and an exposition. To reduce affirmations to the syllogistic scheme is a way of controlling one’s own thought and of criticizing that of others. It is easy to laugh at syllogisers, but, if syllogistic has been born and retains its place, it must have good roots of its own. Satire applied to it can concern only its abuses, such as the attempt to prove syllogistically questions of fact, observation, and intuition, or the neglect of profound meditation and unprejudiced investigation of problems, for syllogistic formality. And if so-called _mathematical Logic_ can sometimes aid us in our attempt to remember with ease, to manipulate the results of our own thought, let us welcome this form of the syllogism also, long prophesied by Leibnitz and essayed by many, even in our days.

But precisely because syllogistic is the art of exposing and of debating, its theory cannot hold the first place in a philosophical Logic, usurping that belonging to the doctrine of the concept, which is the central and dominating doctrine, to which is reduced everything logical in syllogistic, without leaving a residuum (relations of concepts, subordination, co-ordination, identification, and so on). Nor must it ever be forgotten that the concept, the (logical) judgment, and the syllogism do not occupy the same position. The first alone is the logical fact, the second and third are the forms in which the first manifests itself. These, in so far as they are forms, cannot be examined save aesthetically (grammatically); in so far as they possess logical content, only by neglecting the forms themselves and passing to the doctrine of the concept.

[Sidenote] _False Logic and true Aesthetic._

This shows the truth of the ordinary remark to the effect that he who reasons ill, also speaks and writes ill, that exact logical analysis is the basis of good expression. This truth is a tautology, for to reason well is in fact to express oneself well, because the expression is the intuitive possession of one’s own logical thought. The principle of contradiction, itself, is at bottom nothing but the aesthetic principle of coherence. It will be said that starting from erroneous concepts it is possible to write and to speak exceedingly well, as it is also possible to reason well; that some who are dull at research may yet be most limpid writers. That is precisely because to write well depends upon having a clear intuition of one’s own thought, even if it be erroneous; that is to say, not of its scientific, but of its aesthetic truth, since it is this truth itself. A philosopher like Schopenhauer can imagine that art is a representation of the Platonic ideas. This doctrine is absolutely false scientifically, yet he may develop this false knowledge in excellent prose, aesthetically most true. But we have already replied to these objections, when we observed that at that precise point where a speaker or a writer enunciates an ill-thought concept, he is at the same time speaking ill and writing ill. He may, however, afterwards recover himself in the many other parts of his thought, which consist of true propositions, not connected with the preceding errors, and lucid expressions may with him follow upon turbid expressions.

[Sidenote] _Logic reformed._

All enquiries as to the forms of judgments and of syllogisms, on their conversion and on their various relations, which still encumber treatises on Logic, are therefore destined to become less, to be transformed, to be reduced to something else.

The doctrine of the concept and of the organism of the concepts, of definition, of system, of philosophy, and of the various sciences, and the like, will fill the place of these and will constitute the only true and proper Logic.

Those who first had some suspicion of the intimate connexion between Aesthetic and Logic and conceived Aesthetic as a _Logic of sensible knowledge_, were strangely addicted to applying logical categories to the new knowledge, talking of _aesthetic concepts, aesthetic judgments, aesthetic syllogisms_, and so on. We are less superstitious as regards the solidity of the traditional Logic of the schools, and better informed as to the nature of Aesthetic. We do not recommend the application of Logic to Aesthetic, but the liberation of Logic from aesthetic forms. These have given rise to non-existent forms or categories of Logic, due to the following of altogether arbitrary and crude distinctions.

Logic thus reformed will always be _formal_ Logic; it will study the true form or activity of thought, the concept, excluding single and particular concepts. The old Logic is ill called formal; it were better to call it _verbal_ or _formalistic_. Formal Logic will drive out formalistic Logic. To attain this object, it will not be necessary to have recourse, as some have done, to a real or material Logic, which is not a science of thought, but thought itself in the act; not only a Logic, but the complex of Philosophy, in which Logic also is included. The science of thought (Logic) is that of the concept, as that of fancy (Aesthetic) is the science of expression. The well-being of both sciences lies in exactly following in every particular the distinction between the two domains.



The intuitive and intellective forms exhaust, as we have said, all the theoretic form of the spirit. But it is not possible to know them thoroughly, nor to criticize another series of erroneous aesthetic theories, without first establishing clearly their relations with another form of the spirit, which is the _practical_ form.

[Sidenote] _The will._

This form or practical activity is the _will_. We do not employ this word here in the sense of any philosophical system, in which the will is the foundation of the universe, the principle of things and the true reality. Nor do we employ it in the ample sense of other systems, which understand by will the energy of the spirit, the spirit or activity in general, making of every act of the human spirit an act of will. Neither such metaphysical nor such metaphorical meaning is ours. For us, the will is, as generally accepted, that activity of the spirit, which differs from the mere theoretical contemplation of things, and is productive, not of knowledge, but of actions. Action is really action, in so far as it is voluntary. It is not necessary to remark that in the will to do, is included, in the scientific sense, also what is vulgarly called not-doing: the will to resist, to reject, the prometheutic will, is also action.

[Sidenote] _The will as an ulterior stage in respect to knowledge._

Man understands things with the theoretical form, with the practical form he changes them; with the one he appropriates the universe, with the other he creates it. But the first form is the basis of the second; and the relation of _double degree_, which we have already found existing between aesthetic and logical activity, is repeated between these two on a larger scale. Knowledge independent of the will is thinkable; will independent of knowledge is unthinkable. Blind will is not will; true will has eyes.

How can we will, without having before us historical intuitions (perceptions) of objects, and knowledge of (logical) relations, which enlighten us as to the nature of those objects? How can we really will, if we do not know the world which surrounds us, and the manner of changing things by acting upon them?

[Sidenote] _Objections and elucidations._

It has been objected that men of action, practical men in the eminent sense, are the least disposed to contemplate and to theorize: their energy is not delayed in contemplation, it rushes at once into will. And conversely, that contemplative men, philosophers, are often very mediocre in practical matters, weak willed, and therefore neglected and thrust aside in the tumult of life. It is easy to see that these distinctions are merely empirical and quantitative. Certainly, the practical man has no need of a philosophical system in order to act, but in the spheres where he does act, he starts from intuitions and concepts which are most clear to him. Otherwise he could not will the most ordinary actions. It would not be possible to will to feed oneself, for instance, without knowledge of the food, and of the link of cause and effect between certain movements and certain organic sensations. Rising gradually to the more complex forms of action, for example to the political, how could we will anything politically good or bad, without knowing the real conditions of society, and consequently the means and expedients to be adopted? When the practical man feels himself in the dark about one or more of these points, or when he is seized with doubt, action either does not begin or stops. It is then that the theoretical moment, which in the rapid succession of human actions is hardly noticed and rapidly forgotten, becomes important and occupies consciousness for a longer time. And if this moment be prolonged, then the practical man may become Hamlet, divided between desire for action and his small amount of theoretical clarity as regards the situation and the means to be employed. And if he develop a taste for contemplation and discovery, and leave willing and acting, to a more or less great extent, to others, there is formed in him the calm disposition of the artist, of the man of science, or of the philosopher, who are sometimes unpractical or altogether blameworthy. These observations are all obvious. Their exactitude cannot be denied. Let us, however, repeat that they are founded on quantitative distinctions and do not disprove, but confirm the fact that an action, however slight it be, cannot really be an action, that is, an action that is willed, unless it be preceded by cognoscitive activity.

[Sidenote] _Critique of practical judgments or judgments of value._

Some psychologists, on the other hand, place before practical action an altogether special class of judgments, which they call _practical_ judgments or judgments _of value_. They say that in order to resolve to perform an action, it is necessary to have judged: “this action is useful, this action is good.” And at first sight this seems to have the testimony of consciousness on its side. But he who observes better and analyses with greater subtlety, discovers that such judgments follow instead of preceding the affirmation of the will; they are nothing but the expression of the already exercised volition. A good or useful action is an action that is willed. It will always be impossible to distil from the objective study of things a single drop of usefulness or goodness. We do not desire things because we know them to be good or useful; but we know them to be good and useful, because we desire them. Here too, the rapidity, with which the facts of consciousness follow one another has given rise to an illusion. Practical action is preceded by knowledge, but not by practical knowledge, or better by the practical: to obtain this, it is first necessary to have practical action. The third moment, therefore, of practical judgments, or judgments of value, is altogether imaginary. It does not come between the two moments or degrees of theory and practice. That is why there exist no normative sciences in general, which regulate or command, discover and indicate values to the practical activity; because there is none for any other activity, assuming every science already realized and that activity developed, which it afterwards takes as its object.

[Sidenote] _Exclusion of the practical from the aesthetic._

These distinctions established, we must condemn as erroneous every theory which confuses aesthetic with practical activity, or introduces the laws of the second into the first. That science is theory and art practice has been many times affirmed. Those who make this statement, and look upon the aesthetic fact as a practical fact, do not do so capriciously or because they are groping in the void; but because they have their eye on something which is really practical. But the practical which they are looking at is not Aesthetic, nor within Aesthetic; it is _outside and beside it_; and although they are often found united, they are not necessarily united, that is to say, by the bond of identity of nature.

The aesthetic fact is altogether completed in the expressive elaboration of the impressions. When we have conquered the word within us, conceived definitely and vividly a figure or a statue, or found a musical motive, expression is born and is complete; there is no need for anything else. If after this we should open our mouths and _will_ to open them, to speak, or our throats to sing, and declare in a loud voice and with extended throat what we have completely said or sung to ourselves; or if we should stretch out and _will_ to stretch out our hands to touch the notes of the piano, or to take up the brushes and the chisel, making thus in detail those movements which we have already done rapidly, and doing so in such a way as to leave more or less durable traces; this is all an addition, a fact which obeys quite different laws to the first, and with these laws we have not to occupy ourselves for the moment. Let us, however, here recognize that this second movement is a production of things, a _practical_ fact, or a fact of _will_. It is customary to distinguish the internal from the external work of art: the terminology seems here to be infelicitous, for the work of art (the aesthetic work) is always _internal_; and that which is called _external_ is no longer a work of art. Others distinguish between _aesthetic_ fact and _artistic_ fact, meaning by the second the external or practical stage, which may and generally does follow the first. But in this case, it is simply a case of linguistic usage, doubtless permissible, although perhaps not opportune.

[Sidenote] _Critique of the theory of the end of art and of the choice of the content._

For the same reasons the search for the _end of art_ is ridiculous, when it is understood of art as art. And since to fix an end is to choose, the theory that the content of art must be _selected_ is another form of the same error. A selection from among impressions and sensations implies that these are already expressions, otherwise, how can a selection be made among what is continuous and indistinct? To choose is to will: to will this and not to will that: and this and that must be before us, they must be expressed. Practice follows, it does not precede theory; expression is free inspiration.

The true artist, in fact, finds himself big with his theme, he knows not how; he feels the moment of birth drawing near, but he cannot will it or not will it. If he were to wish to act in opposition to his inspiration, to make an arbitrary choice, if, born Anacreon, he were to wish to sing of Atreus and of Alcides, his lyre would warn him of his mistake, echoing only of Venus and of Love, notwithstanding his efforts to the contrary.

[Sidenote] _Practical innocence of art._

The theme or content cannot, therefore, be practically or morally charged with epithets of praise or of blame. When critics of art remark that a theme is _badly selected_, in cases where that observation has a just foundation, it is a question of blaming, not the selection of the theme (which would be absurd), but the manner in which the artist has treated it. The expression has failed, owing to the contradictions which it contains. And when the same critics rebel against the theme or the content as being unworthy of art and blameworthy, in respect to works which they proclaim to be artistically perfect; if these expressions really are perfect, there is nothing to be done but to advise the critics to leave the artists in peace, for they cannot get inspiration, save from what has made an impression upon them. The critics should think rather of how they can effect changes in nature and in society, in order that those impressions may not exist. If ugliness were to vanish from the world, if universal virtue and felicity were established there, perhaps artists would no longer represent perverse or pessimistic sentiments, but sentiments that are calm, innocent, and joyous, like Arcadians of a real Arcady. But so long as ugliness and turpitude exist in nature and impose themselves on the artist, it is not possible to prevent the expression of these things also; and when it has arisen, _factum infectum fieri nequit_. We speak thus entirely from the aesthetic point of view, and from that of pure aesthetic criticism.

We do not delay to pass here in review the damage which the criticism of choice does to artistic production, with the prejudices which it produces or maintains among the artists themselves, and with the contrast which it occasions between artistic impulse and critical exigencies. It is true that sometimes it seems to do some good also, by assisting the artists to discover themselves, that is, their own impressions and their own inspiration, and to acquire consciousness of the task which is, as it were, imposed upon them by the historical moment in which they live, and by their individual temperament. In these cases, criticism of choice merely recognizes and aids the expressions which are already being formed. It believes itself to be the mother, where, at most, it is only the midwife.

[Sidenote] _The independence of art._

The impossibility of choice of content completes the theorem of the _independence of art_, and is also the only legitimate meaning of the expression: _art for art’s sake_. Art is thus independent of science, as it is of the useful and the moral. Let it not be feared that thus may be justified art that is frivolous or cold, since that which is truly frivolous or cold is so because it has not been raised to expression; or in other words, frivolity and frigidity come always from the form of the aesthetic elaboration, from the lack of a content, not from the material qualities of the content.

[Sidenote] _Critique of the saying: the style is the man._

The saying: _the style is the man_, can also not be completely criticized, save by starting from the distinction between the theoretic and the practical, and from the theoretic character of the aesthetic activity. Man is not simply knowledge and contemplation: he is also will, which contains in it the cognoscitive moment. Now the saying is either altogether void, as when it is understood that the man is the style, in so far as he is style, that is to say, the man, but only in so far as he is an expression of activity; or it is erroneous, when the attempt is made to deduce from what a man has seen and expressed, that which he has done and willed, inferring thereby that there is a necessary link between knowing and willing. Many legends in the biographies of artists have sprung from this erroneous identification, since it seemed impossible that a man who gives expression to generous sentiments should not be a noble and generous man in practical life; or that the dramatist who gives a great many stabs in his plays, should not himself have given a few at least in real life. Vainly do the artists protest: _lasciva est nobis pagina, vita proba_. They are merely taxed in addition with lying and hypocrisy. O you poor women of Verona, how far more subtle you were, when you founded your belief that Dante had really descended to hell, upon his dusky countenance! Yours was at any rate a historical conjecture.

[Sidenote] _Critique of the concept of sincerity in art._

Finally, _sincerity_ imposed upon the artist as a duty (this law of ethics which, they say, is also a law of aesthetic) arises from another equivoke. For by sincerity is meant either the moral duty not to deceive one’s neighbour; and in that case Is foreign to the artist. For he, in fact, deceives no one, since he gives form to what is already in his mind. He would deceive, only if he were to betray his duty as an artist by a lesser devotion to the intrinsic necessity of his task. If lies and deceit are in his mind, then the form which he gives to these things cannot be deceit or lies, precisely because it is aesthetic. The artist, if he be a charlatan, a liar, or a miscreant, purifies his other self by reflecting it in art. Or by sincerity is meant, fulness and truth of expression, and it is clear that this second sense has nothing to do with the ethical concept. The law, which is at once ethical and aesthetic, reveals itself in this case in a word employed alike by Ethic and Aesthetic.



[Sidenote] _The two forms of practical activity._

The twofold grade of the theoretical activity, aesthetic and logical, has an important parallel in the practical activity, which has not yet been placed in due relief. The practical activity is also divided into a first and second degree, the second implying the first. The first practical degree is the simply _useful_ or _economical_ activity; the second the _moral_ activity.

Economy is, as it were, the Aesthetic of practical life; Morality its Logic.

[Sidenote] _The economically useful._

If this has not been clearly seen by philosophers; if its suitable place in the system of the mind has not been given to the economic activity, and it has been left to wander in the prolegomena to treatises on political economy, often uncertain and but slightly elaborated, this is due, among other reasons, to the fact that the useful or economic has been confused, now with the concept of _technique_, now with that of the _egoistic_.

[Sidenote] _Distinction between the useful and the technical._

_Technique_ is certainly not a special activity of the spirit. Technique is knowledge; or better, it is knowledge itself, in general, that takes this name, as we have seen, in so far as it serves as basis for practical action. Knowledge which is not followed, or is presumed to be not easily followed by practical action, is called pure: the same knowledge, if effectively followed by action, is called applied; if it is presumed that it can be easily followed by the same action, it is called technical or applied. This word, then, indicates a _situation_ in which knowledge already is, or easily can be found, not a special form of knowledge. So true is this, that it would be altogether impossible to establish whether a given order of knowledge were, intrinsically, pure or applied. All knowledge, however abstract and philosophical one may imagine it to be, can be a guide to practical acts; a theoretical error in the ultimate principles of morals can be reflected and always is reflected in some way, in practical life. One can only speak roughly and unscientifically of truths that are pure and of others that are applied.

The same knowledge which is called technical, can also be called _useful_. But the word “useful,” in conformity with the criticism of judgments of value made above, is to be understood as used here in a linguistic or metaphorical sense. When we say that water is useful for putting out fire, the word “useful” is used in a non-scientific sense. Water thrown on the fire is the cause of its going out: this is the knowledge that serves for basis to the action, let us say, of firemen. There is a link, not of nature, but of simple succession, between the useful action of the person who extinguishes the conflagration, and this knowledge. The technique of the effects of the water is the theoretical activity which precedes; the _action_ of him who extinguishes the fire is alone useful.

[Sidenote] _Distinction between the useful and the egoistic._

Some economists identify utility with _egoism_, that is to say, with merely economical action or desire, with that which is profitable to the individual, in so far as individual, without regard to and indeed in complete opposition to the moral law. The egoistic is the immoral. In this case Economy would be a very strange science, standing, not beside, but facing Ethic, like the devil facing God, or at least like the _advocatus diaboli_ in the processes of canonization. Such a conception of it is altogether inadmissible: the science of immorality is implied in that of morality, as the science of the false is implied in _Logic_, the science of the true, and a science of ineffectual expression in Aesthetic, the science of successful expression. If, then, Economy were the scientific treatment of egoism, it would be a chapter of Ethic, or Ethic itself; because every moral determination implies, at the same time, a negation of its contrary.

Further, conscience tells us that to conduct oneself economically is not to conduct oneself egoistically; that even the most morally scrupulous man must conduct himself usefully (economically), if he does not wish to be inconclusive and, therefore, not truly moral. If utility were egoism, how could it be the duty of the altruist to behave like an egoist?

[Sidenote] _Economic will and moral will._

If we are not mistaken, the difficulty is solved in a manner perfectly analogous to that in which is solved the problem of the relations between the expression and the concept, between Aesthetic and Logic.

To will economically is to _will an end_; to will morally is to _will the rational end_. But whoever wills and acts morally, cannot but will and act usefully (economically). How could he will the _rational_, unless he willed it also _as his particular end_?

[Sidenote] _Pure economicity._

The reciprocal is not true; as it is not true in aesthetic science that the expressive fact must of necessity be linked with the logical fact. It is possible to will economically without willing morally; and it is possible to conduct oneself with perfect economic coherence, while pursuing an end which is objectively irrational (immoral), or, better, an end which would be so judged in a superior grade of consciousness.

Examples of the economic, without the moral character, are the Prince of Machiavelli, Caesar Borgia, or the Iago of Shakespeare. Who can help admiring their strength of will, although their activity is only economic, and is opposed to what we hold moral? Who can help admiring the ser Ciappelletto of Boccaccio, who, even on his death-bed, pursues and realizes his ideal of the perfect rascal, making the small and timid little thieves who are present at his burlesque confession exclaim: “What manner of man is this, whose perversity, neither age, nor infirmity, nor the fear of death, which he sees at hand, nor the fear of God, before whose judgment-seat he must stand in a little while, have been able to remove, nor to cause that he should not wish to die as he has lived?”

[Sidenote] _The economic side of morality._

The moral man unites with the pertinacity and fearlessness of a Caesar Borgia, of an Iago, or of a ser Ciappelletto, the good will of the saint or of the hero. Or, better, good will would not be will, and consequently not good, if it did not possess, in addition to the side which makes it _good_, also that which makes it _will_. Thus a logical thought, which does not succeed in expressing itself, is not thought, but at the most, a confused presentiment of a thought yet to come.

It is not correct, then, to conceive of the amoral man as also the anti-economical man, or to make of morality an element of coherence in the acts of life, and therefore of economicity. Nothing prevents us from conceiving (an hypothesis which is verified at least during certain periods and moments, if not during whole lifetimes) a man altogether without moral conscience. In a man thus organized, what for us is immorality is not so for him, because it is not so felt. The consciousness of the contradiction between what is desired as a rational end and what is pursued egoistically cannot be born in him. This contradiction is anti-economicity. Immoral conduct becomes also anti-economical only in the man who possesses moral conscience. The moral remorse which is the proof of this, is also economical remorse; that is to say, pain at not having known how to will completely and to attain to that moral ideal which was willed at the first moment, but was afterwards perverted by the passions. _Video meliora proboque, deteriora sequor_. The _video_ and the _probo_ are here an initial will immediately contradicted and passed over. In the man deprived of moral sense, we must admit a remorse which is _merely economic_; like that of a thief or of an assassin who should be attacked when on the point of robbing or of assassinating, and should abstain from doing so, not owing to a conversion of his being, but owing to his impressionability and bewilderment, or even owing to a momentary awakening of the moral consciousness. When he has come back to himself, that thief or assassin will regret and be ashamed of his inconsequence; his remorse will not be due to having done wrong, but to not having done it; his remorse is, therefore, economic, not moral, since the latter is excluded by hypothesis. However, a lively moral conscience is generally found among the majority of men, and its total absence is a rare and perhaps non-existent monstrosity. It may, therefore, be admitted, that morality coincides with economicity in the conduct of life.

[Sidenote] _The merely economic and the error of the morally indifferent._

There need be no fear lest the parallelism affirmed by us should introduce afresh into the category of the _morally indifferent_, of that which is in truth action and volition, but is neither moral nor immoral; the category in sum of the _licit_ and of the _permissible_, which has always been the cause or mirror of ethical corruption, as is the case with Jesuitical morality in which it dominated. It remains quite certain that indifferent moral actions do not exist, because moral activity pervades and must pervade every least volitional movement of man. But this, far from upsetting the parallelism, confirms it. Do there exist intuitions which science and the intellect do not pervade and analyse, resolving them into universal concepts, or changing them into historical affirmations? We have already seen that true science, philosophy, knows no external limits which bar its way, as happens with the so-called natural sciences. Science and morality entirely dominate, the one the aesthetic intuitions, the other the economic volitions of man, although neither of them can appear in the concrete, save in the intuitive form as regards the one, in the economic as regards the other.

[Sidenote] _Critique of utilitarianism and the reform of Ethic and of Economic._

This combined identity and difference of the useful and of the moral, of the economic and of the ethic, explains the fortune enjoyed now and formerly by the utilitarian theory of Ethic. It is in fact easy to discover and to show a utilitarian side in every moral action; as it is easy to show an aesthetic side of every logical proposition. The criticism of ethical utilitarianism cannot escape by denying this truth and seeking out absurd and inexistent examples of _useless_ moral actions. It must admit the utilitarian side and explain it as the concrete form of morality, which consists of what is _within_ this form. Utilitarians do not see this within. This is not the place for a more ample development of such ideas. Ethic and Economic cannot but be gainers, as we have said of Logic and Aesthetic, by a more exact determination of the relations that exist between them. Economic science is now rising to the animating concept of the useful, as it strives to pass beyond the mathematical phase, in which it is still entangled; a phase which, when it superseded historicism, was in its turn a progress, destroying a series of arbitrary distinctions and false theories of Economic, implied in the confusion of the theoretical with the historical. With this conception, it will be easy on the one hand to absorb and to verify the semi-philosophical theories of so-called pure economy, and on the other, by the introduction of successive complications and additions, and by passing from the philosophical to the empirical or naturalistic method, to include the particular theories of the political or national economy of the schools.

[Sidenote] _Phenomenon and noumenon in practical activity._

As aesthetic intuition knows the phenomenon or nature, and philosophic intuition the noumenon or spirit; so economic activity wills the phenomenon or nature, and moral activity the noumenon or spirit. _The spirit which desires itself_, its true self, the universal which is in the empirical and finite spirit: that is the formula which perhaps defines the essence of morality with the least impropriety. This will for the true self is _absolute liberty_.



[Sidenote] _The system of the spirit._

In this summary sketch that we have given, of the entire philosophy of the spirit in its fundamental moments, the spirit is conceived as consisting of four moments or grades, disposed in such a way that the theoretical activity is to the practical as is the first theoretical grade to the second theoretical, and the first practical grade to the second practical. The four moments imply one another regressively by their concretion. The concept cannot be without expression, the useful without the one and the other, and morality without the three preceding grades. If the aesthetic fact is alone independent, and the others more or less dependent, then the logical is the least so and the moral will the most. Moral intention operates on given theoretic bases, which cannot be dispensed with, save by that absurd practice, the jesuitical _direction of intention_. Here people pretend to themselves not to know what at bottom they know perfectly well.

[Sidenote] _The forms of genius._

If the forms of human activity are four, four also are the forms of genius. Geniuses in art, in science, in moral will or heroes, have certainly always been recognized. But the genius of pure Economic has met with opposition. It is not altogether without reason that a category of bad geniuses or of _geniuses of evil_ has been created. The practical, merely economic genius, which is not directed to a rational end, cannot but excite an admiration mingled with alarm. It would be a mere question of words, were we to discuss whether the word “genius” should be applied only to creators of aesthetic expression, or also to men of scientific research and of action. To observe, on the other hand, that genius, of whatever kind it be, is always a quantitative conception and an empirical distinction, would be to repeat what has already been explained as regards artistic genius.

[Sidenote] _Non-existence of a fifth form of activity. Law; sociality._

A fifth form of spiritual activity does not exist. It would be easy to demonstrate how all the other forms, either do not possess the character of activity, or are verbal variants of the activities already examined, or are complex and derived facts, in which the various activities are mingled, or are filled with special contents and contingent data.

The _judicial_ fact, for example, considered as what is called objective law, is derived both from the economic and from the logical activities. Law is a rule, a formula (whether oral or written matters little here) in which is contained an economic relation willed by an individual or by a collectivity. This economic side at once unites it with and distinguishes it from moral activity. Take another example. Sociology (among the many meanings the word bears in our times) is sometimes conceived as the study of an original element, which is called _sociality_. Now what is it that distinguishes sociality, or the relations which are developed in a meeting of men, not of subhuman beings, if it be not just the various spiritual activities which exist among the former and which are supposed not to exist, or to exist only in a rudimentary degree, among the latter? Sociality, then, far from being an original, simple, irreducible conception, is very complex and complicated. This could be proved by the impossibility, generally recognized, of enunciating a single sociological law, properly so-called. Those that are improperly called by that name are revealed as either empirical historical observations, or spiritual laws, that is to say judgments, into which are translated the conceptions of the spiritual activities; when they are not simply empty and indeterminate generalizations, like the so-called law of evolution. Sometimes, too, nothing more is understood by sociality than social rule, and so law; and thus sociology is confounded with the science or theory of law itself. Law, sociality, and like terms, are to be dealt with in a mode analogous to that employed by us in the consideration of historicity and technique.

[Sidenote] _Religiosity._

It may seem fitting to form a different judgment as to _religious_ activity. But religion is nothing but knowledge, and does not differ from its other forms and subforms. For it is in truth and in turn either the expression of practical and ideal aspirations (religious ideals), or historical narrative (legend), or conceptual science (dogma).

It can therefore be maintained with equal truth, both that religion is destroyed by the progress of human knowledge, and that it is always present there. Their religion was the whole patrimony of knowledge of primitive peoples: our patrimony of knowledge is our religion. The content has been changed, bettered, refined, and it will change and become better and more refined in the future also; but its function is always the same. We do not know what use could be made of religion by those who wish to preserve it side by side with the theoretic activity of man, with his art, with his criticism, and with his philosophy. It is impossible to preserve an imperfect and inferior kind of knowledge, like religion, side by side with what has surpassed and disproved it. Catholicism, which is always coherent, will not tolerate a Science, a History, an Ethic, in contradiction to its views and doctrines. The rationalists are less coherent. They are disposed to allow a little space in their souls for a religion which is in contradiction with their whole theoretic world.

These affectations and religious susceptibilities of the rationalists of our times have their origin in the superstitious cult of the natural sciences. These, as we know and as is confessed by the mouth of their chief adepts, are all surrounded by _limits_. Science having been wrongly identified with the so-called natural sciences, it could be foreseen that the remainder would be asked of religion; that remainder with which the human spirit cannot dispense. We are therefore indebted to materialism, to positivism, to naturalism for this unhealthy and often disingenuous reflowering of religious exaltation. Such things are the business of the hospital, when they are not the business of the politician.

[Sidenote] _Metaphysic._

Philosophy withdraws from religion all reason for existing, because it substitutes itself for religion. As the science of the spirit, it looks upon religion as a phenomenon, a transitory historical fact, a psychic condition that can be surpassed. Philosophy shares the domain of knowledge with the natural disciplines, with history and with art. It leaves to the first, narration, measurement and classification; to the second, the chronicling of what has individually happened; to the third, the individually possible. There is nothing left to share with religion. For the same reason, philosophy, as the science of the spirit, cannot be philosophy of the intuitive datum; nor, as has been seen, _Philosophy of History, nor Philosophy of Nature_; and therefore there cannot be a philosophic science of what is not form and universal, but material and particular. This amounts to affirming the impossibility of _metaphysic_.

The Method or Logic of history followed the Philosophy of history; a gnoseology of the conceptions which are employed in the natural sciences succeeded natural philosophy. What philosophy can study of the one is its mode of construction (intuition, perception, document, probability, etc.); of the others she can study the forms of the conceptions which appear in them (space, time, motion, number, types, classes, etc.). Philosophy, which should become metaphysical in the sense above described, would, on the other hand, claim to compete with narrative history, and with the natural sciences, which in their field are alone legitimate and effective. Such a competition becomes in fact a labour spoiling labour. We are _antimetaphysical_ in this sense, while yet declaring ourselves _ultrametaphysical_, if by that word it be desired to claim and to affirm the function of philosophy as the autoconsciousness of the spirit, as opposed to the merely empirical and classificatory function of the natural sciences.

[Sidenote] _Mental imagination and the intuitive intellect._

In order to maintain itself side by side with the sciences of the spirit, metaphysic has been obliged to assert the existence of a specific spiritual activity, of which it would be the product. This activity, which in antiquity was called _mental or superior imagination_, and in modern times more often _intuitive intellect or intellectual intuition_, would unite in an altogether special form the characters of imagination and of intellect. It would provide the method of passing, by deduction or dialectically, from the infinite to the finite, from form to matter, from the concept to the intuition, from science to history, operating by a method which should be at once unity and compenetration of the universal and the particular, of the abstract and the concrete, of intuition and of intellect. A faculty marvellous indeed and delightful to possess; but we, who do not possess it, have no means of proving its existence.

[Sidenote] _Mystical aesthetic._

Intellectual intuition has sometimes been considered as the true aesthetic activity. At others a not less marvellous aesthetic activity has been placed beside, below, or above it, a faculty altogether different from simple intuition. The glories of this faculty have been sung, and to it have been attributed the fact of art, or at the least certain groups of artistic production, arbitrarily chosen. Art, religion, and philosophy have seemed in turn one only, or three distinct faculties of the spirit, now one, now another of these being superior in the dignity assigned to each.

It is impossible to enumerate all the various attitudes assumed by this conception of Aesthetic, which we will call _mystical_. We are here in the kingdom, not of the science of imagination, but of imagination itself, which creates its world with the varying elements of the impressions and of the feelings. Let it suffice to mention that this mysterious faculty has been conceived, now as practical, now as a mean between the theoretic and the practical, at others again as a theoretic grade together with philosophy and religion.

[Sidenote] _Mortality and immortality of art._

The immortality of art has sometimes been deduced from this last conception as belonging with its sisters to the sphere of absolute spirit. At other times, on the other hand, when religion has been looked upon as mortal and as dissolved in philosophy, then the mortality, even the actual death, or at least the agony of art has been proclaimed. These questions have no meaning for us, because, seeing that the function of art is a necessary grade of the spirit, to ask if art can be eliminated is the same thing as asking if sensation or intelligence can be eliminated. But metaphysic, in the above sense, since it transplants itself to an arbitrary world, is not to be criticized in detail, any more than one can criticize the botany of the garden of Alcina or the navigation of the voyage of Astolfo. Criticism can only be made by refusing to join the game; that is to say, by rejecting the very possibility of metaphysic, always in the sense above indicated.

As we do not admit intellectual intuition in philosophy, we can also not admit its shadow or equivalent, aesthetic intellectual intuition, or any other mode by which this imaginary function may be called and represented. We repeat again that we do not know of a fifth grade beyond the four grades of spirit which consciousness reveals to us.



[Sidenote] _The characteristics of art._

It is customary to give long enumerations of the characteristics of art. Having reached this point of the treatise, having studied the artistic function as spiritual activity, as theoretic activity, and as special theoretic activity (intuitive), we are able to discern that those various and copious descriptions mean, when they mean anything at all, nothing but a repetition of what may be called the qualities of the aesthetic function, generic, specific, and characteristic. To the first of these are referred, as we have already observed, the characters, or better, the verbal variants of _unity_, and of _unity_ in _variety_, those also of _simplicity_, of _originality_, and so on; to the second of these, the characteristics of _truth_, of _sincerity_, and the like; to the third, the characteristics of _life_, of _vivacity_, of _animation_, of _concretion_, of _individuality_, of _characteristicality_. The words may vary yet more, but they will not contribute anything scientifically new. The results which we have shown have altogether exhausted the analysis of expression as such.

[Sidenote] _Inexistence of modes of expression._

But at this point, the question as to whether there be various _modes or grades_ of expression is still perfectly legitimate. We have distinguished two grades of activity, each of which is subdivided into two other grades, and there is certainly, so far, no visible logical reason why there should not exist two or more modes of the aesthetic, that is of expression.–The only objection is that these modes do not exist.

For the present at least, it is a question of simple internal observation and of self consciousness. One may scrutinize aesthetic facts as much as one will: no formal differences will ever be found among them, nor will the aesthetic fact be divisible into a first and a second degree.

This signifies that a philosophical classification of expressions is not possible. Single expressive facts are so many individuals, of which the one cannot be compared with the other, save generically, in so far as each is expression. To use the language of the schools, expression is a species which cannot in its turn perform the functions of genus. Impressions, that is to say contents, vary; every content differs from every other content, because nothing in life repeats itself; and the continuous variation of contents follows the irreducible variety of expressive facts, the aesthetic syntheses of the impressions.

[Sidenote] _Impossibility of translations._

A corollary of this is the impossibility of _translations_, in so far as they pretend to effect the transference of one expression into another, like a liquid poured from a vase of a certain shape into a vase of another shape. We can elaborate logically what we have already elaborated in aesthetic form only; but we cannot reduce that which has already possessed its aesthetic form to another form also aesthetic. In truth, every translation either diminishes and spoils; or it creates a new expression, by putting the former back into the crucible and mixing it with other impressions belonging to the pretended translator. In the former case, the expression always remains one, that of the original, the translation being more or less deficient, that is to say, not properly expression: in the other case, there would certainly be two expressions, but with two different contents. “Ugly faithful ones or faithless beauties” is a proverb that well expresses the dilemma with which every translator is faced. In aesthetic translations, such as those which are word for word or interlinear, or paraphrastic translations, are to be looked upon as simple commentaries on the original.

[Sidenote] _Critique of rhetorical categories._

The division of expressions into various classes is known in literature by the name of theory of _ornament_ or of _rhetorical categories_. But similar attempts at classification in the other forms of art are not wanting: suffice it to mention the _realistic and symbolic forms_, spoken of in painting and sculpture.

The scientific value to be attached in Aesthetic and in aesthetic criticism to these distinctions of _realistic and symbolic_, of _style and absence of style_, of _objective and subjective_, of _classic and romantic_, of _simple and ornate_, of _proper and metaphorical_, of the fourteen forms of metaphor, of the figures of _word_ and of _sentence_, and further of _pleonasm_, of _ellipse_, of _inversion_, of _repetition_, of _synonyms and homonyms_, and so on; is _nil_ or altogether negative. To none of these terms and distinctions can be given a satisfactory aesthetic definition. Those that have been attempted, when they are not obviously erroneous, are words devoid of sense. A typical example of this is the very common definition of metaphor as of _another word used in place of the word itself_. Now why give oneself this trouble? Why take the worse and longer road when you know the shorter and better road? Perhaps, as is generally said, because the correct word is in certain cases not so _expressive_ as the so-called incorrect word or metaphor? But in that case the metaphor becomes exactly the right word, and the so-called right word, if it were used, would be _but little expressive_ and therefore most improper. Similar observations of elementary good sense can be made regarding the other categories, as, for example, the generic one of the ornate. One can ask oneself how an ornament can be joined to expression. Externally? In that case it must always remain separate. Internally? In that case, either it does not assist expression and mars it; or it does form part of it and is not ornament, but a constituent element of expression, indistinguishable from the whole.

It is not necessary to dwell upon the harm done by these distinctions. Rhetoric has often been declaimed against, but although there has been rebellion against its consequences, its principles have been carefully preserved, perhaps in order to show proof of philosophic coherence. Rhetoric has contributed, if not to make dominant in literary production, at least to justify theoretically, that particular mode of writing ill which is called fine writing or writing according to rhetoric.

[Sidenote] _Empirical sense of the rhetorical categories._

The terms above mentioned would never have gone beyond the schools, where we all of us learned them (certain of never finding the opportunity of using them in strictly aesthetic discussions, or even of doing so jocosely and with a comic intention), save when occasionally employed in one of the following significations: as _verbal variants _of the aesthetic concept; as indications of the _anti-aesthetic_, or, finally (and this is their most important use), in a sense which is no longer aesthetic and literary, _but merely logical_.

[Sidenote] _Use of these categories as synonyms of the aesthetic fact._

Expressions are not divisible into classes, but some are successful, others half-successful, others failures. There are perfect and imperfect, complete and deficient expressions. The terms already cited, then, sometimes indicate the successful expression, sometimes the various forms of the failures. But they are employed in the most inconstant and capricious manner, for it often happens that the same word serves, now to proclaim the perfect, now to condemn the imperfect.

An instance of this is found when someone, criticizing two pictures–the one without inspiration, in which the author has copied natural objects without intelligence; the other inspired, but without obvious likeness to existing objects–calls the first _realistic_, the second _symbolic_. Others, on the contrary, pronounce the word _realistic_ about a strongly felt picture representing a scene of ordinary life, while they talk of _symbolic_ in reference to another picture representing but a cold allegory. It is evident that in the first case symbolic means artistic, and realistic inartistic, while in the second, realistic is synonymous with artistic and symbolic with inartistic. How, then, can we be astonished when some hotly maintain that the true art form is the symbolic, and that the realistic is inartistic; others, that the realistic is the artistic, and the symbolic the inartistic? We cannot but grant that both are right, since each makes use of the same words in senses so diverse.

The great disputes about the _classic_ and the _romantic_ are frequently based upon such equivokes. Sometimes the former was understood as the artistically perfect, and the second as lacking balance and imperfect; at others, the classic was cold and artificial, the romantic sincere, warm, efficacious, and truly expressive. Thus it was always possible to take the side of the classic against the romantic, or of the romantic against the classic.

The same thing happens as regards the word _style_. Sometimes it is affirmed that every writer should have style. Here style is synonymous with form or expression. Sometimes the form of a code of laws or of a mathematical work is said to be devoid of style. Here the error of admitting diverse modes of expression is again committed, of admitting an ornate and a naked form of expression, because, since style is form, the code and the mathematical treatise must also, strictly speaking, have each its style. At other times, one hears the critics blaming someone for “having too much style” or for “writing a style.” Here it is clear that style signifies, not the form, nor a mode of it, but improper and pretentious expression, which is one form of the inartistic.

[Sidenote] _Their use to indicate various aesthetic imperfections._

Passing to the second, not altogether insignificant, use of these words and distinctions, we sometimes find in the examination of a literary composition such remarks as follow: here is a pleonasm, here an ellipse, there a metaphor, here again a synonym or an equivoke. This means that in one place is an error consisting of using a larger number of words than is necessary (pleonasm); that in another the error arises from too few having been used (ellipse), elsewhere from the use of an unsuitable word (metaphor), or from the use of two words which seem to express two different things, where they really express the same thing (synonym); or that, on the contrary, it arises from having employed one which seems to express the same thing where it expresses two different things (equivoke). This pejorative and pathological use of the terms is, however, more uncommon than the preceding.

[Sidenote] _Their use in a sense transcending aesthetic, in the service of science._

Finally, when rhetorical terminology possesses no aesthetic signification similar or analogous to those passed in review, and yet one is aware that it is not void of meaning and designates something that deserves to be noted, it is then used in the service of logic and of science. If it be granted that a concept used in a scientific sense by a given writer is expressed with a definite term, it is natural that other words formed by that writer as used to signify the same concept, or incidentally made use of by him, become, _in respect to_ the vocabulary fixed upon by him as true, metaphors, synecdoches, synonyms, elliptic forms, and the like. We, too, in the course of this treatise, have several times made use of, and intend again to make use of such terms, in order to make clear the sense of the words we employ, or may find employed. But this proceeding, which is of value in the disquisitions of scientific and intellectual criticism, has none whatever in aesthetic criticism. For science there exist appropriate words and metaphors. The same concept may be psychologically formed in various circumstances and therefore be expressed with various intuitions. When the scientific terminology of a given writer has been established, and one of these modes has been fixed as correct, then all other uses of it become improper or tropical. But in the aesthetic fact exist only appropriate words. The same intuition can only be expressed in one way, precisely because it is an intuition and not a concept.

[Sidenote] _Rhetoric in the schools._

Some, while they admit the aesthetic insufficiency of the rhetorical categories, yet make a reserve as regards their utility and the service they are supposed to render, especially in schools of literature. We confess that we fail to understand how error and confusion can educate the mind to logical clearness, or aid the teaching of a science which they disturb and obscure. Perhaps it may be desired to say that they can aid memory and learning as empirical classes, as was admitted above for literary and artistic styles. But there is another purpose for which the rhetorical categories should certainly continue to be admitted to the schools: to be criticized there. We cannot simply forget the errors of the past, and truth cannot be kept alive, save by making it fight against error. Unless a notion of the rhetorical categories be given, accompanied by a suitable criticism of these, there is a risk of their springing up again. For they are already springing up with certain philologists, disguised as most recent _psychological_ discoveries.

[Sidenote] _The resemblances of expressions._

It would seem as though we wished to deny all bond of likeness among themselves between expressions and works of art. The likenesses exist, and owing to them, works of art can be arranged in this or that group. But they are likenesses such as are observed among individuals, and can never be rendered with abstract definitions. That is to say, these likenesses have nothing to do with identification, subordination, co-ordination, and the other relations of concepts. They consist wholly in what is called a _family likeness_, and are connected with those historical conditions existing at the birth of the various works, or in an affinity of soul between the artists.

[Sidenote] _The relative possibility of translations._

It is in these resemblances that lies the _relative_ possibility of translations. This does not consist of the reproduction of the same original expressions (which it would be vain to attempt), but in the measure that expressions are given, more or less nearly resembling those. The translation that passes for good is an approximation which has original value as a work of art and can stand by itself.



Passing on to the study of more complex concepts, where the aesthetic activity is found in conjunction with other orders of facts, and showing the mode of this union or complication, we find ourselves at once face to face with the concept of _feeling_ and with the feelings which are called _aesthetic_.

[Sidenote] _Various significances of the word feeling._

The word “feeling” is one of the richest in meanings. We have already had occasion to meet with it once, among those used to designate the spirit in its passivity, the matter or content of art, and also as synonym of _impressions_. Once again (and then the meaning was altogether different), we have met with it as designating the _non-logical_ and _non-historical_ character of the aesthetic fact, that is to say pure intuition, a form of truth which defines no concept and states no fact.

[Sidenote] _Feeling as activity._

But feeling is not here understood in either of these two senses, nor in the others in which it has nevertheless been used to designate other _cognoscitive_ forms of spirit. Its meaning here is that of a special activity, of non-cognoscitive nature, but possessing its two poles, positive and negative, in _pleasure_ and _pain_. This activity has always greatly embarrassed philosophers, who have attempted either to deny it as an activity, or to attribute it to _nature_ and to exclude it from spirit. Both solutions bristle with difficulties, and these are of such a kind that the solutions prove themselves finally unacceptable to anyone who examines them with care. For of what could a non-spiritual activity consist, an _activity of nature_, when we have no other knowledge of activity save as spiritual, and of spirituality save as activity? Nature is, in this case, by definition, the merely passive, inert, mechanical and material. On the other hand, the negation of the character of activity to feeling is energetically disproved by those very poles of pleasure and of pain which appear in it and manifest activity in its concreteness, and, we will say, all aquiver.

[Sidenote] _Identification of feeling with economic activity._

This critical conclusion ought to place us in the greatest embarrassment, for in the sketch of the system of the spirit given above, we have left no room for the new activity, of which we are now obliged to recognize the existence. But activity of feeling, if it be activity, is not specially new. It has already had its place assigned to it in the system which we have sketched, where, however, it has been indicated under another name, as _economic_ activity. What is called the activity of feeling is nothing but that more elementary and fundamental practical activity, which we have distinguished from ethical activity, and made to consist of the appetite and desire for some individual end, without any moral determination.

[Sidenote] _Critique of hedonism._

If feeling has been sometimes considered as organic or natural activity, this has happened precisely because it does not coincide either with logical, aesthetic, or ethical activity. Looked at from the standpoint of these three (which were the only ones admitted), it has seemed to lie _outside_ the true and real spirit, the spirit in its aristocracy, and to be almost a determination of nature and of the soul, in so far as it is nature. Thus the thesis, several times maintained, that the aesthetic activity, like the ethical and intellectual activities, is not feeling, becomes at once completely proved. This thesis was inexpugnable, when sensation had already been reduced confusedly and implicitly to economic volition. The view which has been refuted is known by the name of _hedonism_. For hedonism, all the various forms of the spirit are reduced to one, which thus itself also loses its own distinctive character and becomes something turbid and mysterious, like “the shades in which all cows are black.” Having effected this reduction and mutilation, the hedonists naturally do not succeed in seeing anything else in any activity but pleasure and pain. They find no substantial difference between the pleasure of art and that of an easy digestion, between the pleasure of a good action and that of breathing the fresh air with wide-expanded lungs.

[Sidenote] _Feeling as a concomitant to every form of activity._

But if the activity of feeling in the sense here defined must not be substituted for all the other forms of spiritual activity, we have not said that it cannot _accompany_ them. Indeed it accompanies them of necessity, because they are all in close relation, both with one another and with the elementary volitional form. Therefore each of them has for concomitants individual volitions and volitional pleasures and pains which are known as feeling. But we must not confound what is concomitant, with the principal fact, and take the one for the other. The discovery of the truth, or the satisfaction of a moral duty fulfilled, produces in us a joy which makes our whole being vibrate, for, by attaining to those forms of spiritual activity, it attains at the same time that to which it was _practically_ tending, as to its end, during the effort. Nevertheless, economic or hedonistic satisfaction, ethical satisfaction, aesthetic satisfaction, intellectual satisfaction, remain always distinct, even when in union.

Thus is solved at the same time the much-debated question, which has seemed, not wrongly, a matter of life or death for aesthetic science, namely, whether the feeling and the pleasure precede or follow, are cause or effect of the aesthetic fact. We must enlarge this question, to include the relation between the various spiritual forms, and solve it in the sense that in the unity of the spirit one cannot talk of cause and effect and of what comes first and what follows it in time.

And once the relation above exposed is established, the statements, which it is customary to make, as to the nature of aesthetic, moral, intellectual, and even, as is sometimes said, economic feelings, must also fall. In this last case, it is clear that it is a question, not of two terms, but of one, and the quest of economic feeling can be but that same one concerning the economic activity. But in the other cases also, the search can never be directed to the substantive, but to the adjective: aesthetic, morality, logic, explain the colouring of the feelings as aesthetic, moral, and intellectual, while feeling, studied alone, will never explain those refractions.

[Sidenote] _Meaning of certain ordinary distinctions of feelings._

A further consequence is, that we can free ourselves from the distinction between values or feelings _of value_, and feelings that are merely hedonistic and _without value_; also from other similar distinctions, like those between _disinterested_ feelings and _interested_ feelings, between _objective _feelings and the others that are not _objective_ but simply _subjective_, between feelings of _approval_ and others of _mere pleasure_ (_Gefallen_ and _Vergnuegen_ of the Germans). Those distinctions strove hard to save the three spiritual forms, which have been recognised as the triad of the _True_, the _Good_, and the _Beautiful_, from confusion with the fourth form, still unknown, yet insidious through its indeterminateness, and mother of scandals. For us this triad has finished its task, because we are capable of reaching the distinction far more directly, by welcoming even the selfish, subjective, merely pleasurable feelings, among the respectable forms of the spirit; and where formerly antitheses were conceived of by ourselves and others, between value and feelings, as between spirituality and naturality, henceforth we see nothing but difference between value and value.

[Sidenote] _Value and disvalue: the contraries and their union._

As has already been said, the economic feeling or activity reveals itself as divided into two poles, positive and negative, pleasure and pain, which we can now translate into useful, and useless or hurtful. This bipartition has already been noted above, as a mark of the active character of feeling, precisely because the same bipartition is found in all forms of activity. If each of these is a _value_, each has opposed to it _antivalue or disvalue_. Absence of value is not sufficient to cause disvalue, but activity and passivity must be struggling between themselves, without the one getting the better of the other; hence the contradiction, and the disvalue of the activity that is embarrassed, contested, or interrupted. Value is activity that unfolds itself freely: disvalue is its contrary.

We will content ourselves with this definition of the two terms, without entering into the problem of the relation between value and disvalue, that is, between the problem of contraries. (Are these to be thought of dualistically, as two beings or two orders of beings, like Ormuzd and Ahriman, angels and devils, enemies to one another; or as a unity, which is also contrariety?) This definition of the two terms will be sufficient for our purpose, which is to make clear aesthetic activity in particular, and one of the most obscure and disputed concepts of Aesthetic which arises at this point: the concept of the _Beautiful_.

[Sidenote] _The Beautiful as the value of expression, or expression and nothing more._

Aesthetic, intellectual, economic, and ethical values and disvalues are variously denominated in current speech: _beautiful, true, good, useful, just_, and so on–these words designate the free development of spiritual activity, action, scientific research, artistic production, when they are successful; _ugly, false, bad, useless, unbecoming, unjust, inexact_ designate embarrassed activity, the product of which is a failure. In linguistic usage, these denominations are being continually shifted from one order of facts to another, and from this to that. _Beautiful_, for instance, is said not only of a successful expression, but also of a scientific truth, of an action successfully achieved, and of a moral action: thus we talk of an _intellectual beauty_, of a _beautiful action_, of a _moral beauty_. Many philosophers, especially aestheticians, have lost their heads in their pursuit of these most varied uses: they have entered an inextricable and impervious verbal labyrinth. For this reason it has hitherto seemed convenient studiously to avoid the use of the word beautiful to indicate successful expression. But after all the explanations that have been given, and all danger of misunderstanding being now dissipated, and since, on the other hand, we cannot fail to recognize that the prevailing tendency, alike in current speech and in philosophy, is to limit the meaning of the vocable _beautiful_ altogether to the aesthetic value, we may define beauty as _successful expression_, or better, as _expression_ and nothing more, because expression, when it is not successful, is not expression.

[Sidenote] _The ugly, and the elements of beauty which compose it._

Consequently, the ugly is unsuccessful expression. The paradox is true, that, in works of art that are failures, the beautiful is present as _unity_ and the ugly as _multiplicity_. Thus, with regard to works of art that are more or less failures, we talk of qualities, that is to say of _those parts of them that are beautiful_. We do not talk thus of perfect works. It is in fact impossible to enumerate their qualities or to designate those parts of them that are beautiful. In them there is complete fusion: they have but one quality. Life circulates in the whole organism: it is not withdrawn into certain parts.

The qualities of works that are failures may be of various degrees. They may even be very great. The beautiful does not possess degrees, for there is no conceiving a more beautiful, that is, an expressive that is more expressive, an adequate that is more than adequate. Ugliness, on the other hand, does possess degrees, from the rather ugly (or almost beautiful) to the extremely ugly. But if the ugly were _complete_, that is to say, without any element of beauty, it would for that very reason cease to be ugly, because in it would be absent the contradiction which is the reason of its existence. The disvalue would become nonvalue; activity would give place to passivity, with which it is not at war, save when there effectively is war.

[Sidenote] _Illusions that there exist expressions which are neither beautiful nor ugly._

And because the distinctive consciousness of the beautiful and of the ugly is based on the contrasts and contradictions in which aesthetic activity is developed, it is evident that this consciousness becomes attenuated to the point of disappearing altogether, as we descend from the more complicated to the more simple and to the simplest cases of expression. From this arises the illusion that there are expressions which are neither beautiful nor ugly, those which are obtained without sensible effort and appear easy and natural being so considered.

[Sidenote] _True aesthetic feelings and concomitant or accidental feelings._

The whole mystery of the _beautiful_ and the _ugly_ is reduced to these henceforth most easy definitions. Should any one object that there exist perfect aesthetic expressions before which no pleasure is felt, and others, perhaps even failures, which give him the greatest pleasure, it is necessary to advise him to pay great attention, as regards the aesthetic fact, to that only which is truly aesthetic pleasure. Aesthetic pleasure is sometimes reinforced by pleasures arising from extraneous facts, which are only casually found united with it. The poet or any other artist affords an instance of purely aesthetic pleasure, during the moment in which he sees (or has the intuition of) his work for the first time; that is to say, when his impressions take form and his countenance is irradiated with the divine joy of the creator. On the other hand, a mixed pleasure is experienced by any one who goes to the theatre, after a day’s work, to witness a comedy: when the pleasure of rest and amusement, and that of laughingly snatching a nail from the gaping coffin, is accompanied at a certain moment by real aesthetic pleasure, obtained from the art of the dramatist and of the actors. The same may be said of the artist who looks upon his labour with pleasure, when it is finished, experiencing, in addition to the aesthetic pleasure, that very different one which arises from the thought of self-love satisfied, or of the economic gain which will come to him from his work. Examples could be multiplied.

[Sidenote] _Critique of apparent feelings._

A category of _apparent_ aesthetic feelings has been formed in modern Aesthetic. These have nothing to do with the aesthetic sensations of pleasure arising from the form, that is to say from the work of art. On the contrary, they arise from the content of the work of art. It has been observed that “artistic representations arouse pleasure and pain in their infinite variety and gradations. We tremble with anxiety, we rejoice, we fear, we laugh, we weep, we desire, with the personages of a drama or of a romance, with the figures in a picture, or with the melody of music. But these feelings are not those that would give occasion to the real fact outside art; that is to say, they are the same in quality, but they are quantitively an attenuation. Aesthetic and _apparent_ pleasure and pain are slight, of little depth, and changeable.” We have no need to treat of these _apparent feelings_, for the good reason that we have already amply discussed them; indeed, we have treated of them alone. What are ever feelings that become apparent or manifest, but feelings objectified, intensified, expressed? And it is natural that they do not trouble and agitate us passionately, as do those of real life, because those were matter, these are form and activity; those true and proper feelings, these intuitions and expressions. The formula, then, of _apparent feelings_ is nothing but a tautology. The best that can be done is to run the pen through it.



As we are opposed to hedonism in general, that is to say, to the theory which is based on the pleasure and pain intrinsic to Economy and accompanies every other form of activity, confounding the content and that which contains it, and fails to recognize any process but the hedonistic; so we are opposed to aesthetic hedonism in particular, which looks upon the aesthetic at any rate, if not also upon all other activities, as a simple fact of feeling, and confounds the _pleasurable of expression_, which is the beautiful, with the pleasurable and nothing more, and with the pleasurable of all sorts.

[Sidenote] _Critique of the beautiful as that which pleases the higher senses._

The aesthetic-hedonistic point of view has been presented in several forms. One of the most ancient conceives the beautiful as that which pleases the sight and hearing, that is to say, the so-called superior senses. When analysis of aesthetic facts first began, it was, in fact, difficult to avoid the mistake of thinking that a picture and a piece of music are impressions of sight or of hearing: it was and is an indisputable fact that the blind man does not enjoy the picture, nor the deaf man the music. To show, as we have shown, that the aesthetic fact does not depend upon the nature of the impressions, but that all sensible impressions can be raised to aesthetic expression and that none need of necessity be so raised, is an idea which presents itself only when all the other ways out of the difficulty have been tried. But whoso imagines that the aesthetic fact is something pleasing to the eyes or to the hearing, has no line of defence against him who proceeds logically to identify the beautiful with the pleasurable in general, and includes cooking in Aesthetic, or, as some positivist has done, the viscerally beautiful.

[Sidenote] _Critique of the theory of play._

The theory of _play_ is another form of aesthetic hedonism. The conception of play has sometimes helped towards the realization of the actifying character of the expressive fact: man (it has been said) is not really man, save when he begins to play; that is to say, when he frees himself from natural and mechanical causality and operates spiritually; and his first game is art. But since the word _play_ also means that pleasure which arises from the expenditure of the exuberant energy of the organism (that is to say, from a practical act), the consequence of this theory has been, that every game has been called an aesthetic fact, and that the aesthetic function has been called a game, in so far as it is possible to play with it, for, like science and every other thing, Aesthetic can be made part of a game. But morality cannot be provoked at the intention of playing, on the ground that it does not consent; on the contrary, it dominates and regulates the act of playing itself.

[Sidenote] _Critique of the theories of sexuality and of the triumph._

Finally, there have been some who have tried to deduce the pleasure of art from the reaction of the sexual organs. There are some very modern aestheticians who place the genesis of the aesthetic fact in the pleasure of _conquering_, of _triumphing_, or, as others add, in the desire of the male, who wishes to conquer the female. This theory is seasoned with much anecdotal erudition, Heaven knows of what degree of credibility! on the customs of savage peoples. But in very truth there was no necessity for such important aid, for one often meets in ordinary life poets who adorn themselves with their poetry, like cocks that raise their crests, or turkeys that spread their tails. But he who does such things, in so far as he does them, is not a poet, but a poor devil of a cock or turkey. The conquest of woman does not suffice to explain the art fact. It would be just as correct to term poetry _economic_, because there have been aulic and stipendiary poets, and there are poets the sale of whose verses helps them to gain their livelihood, if it does not altogether provide it. However, this definition has not failed to win over some zealous neophytes of historical materialism.

[Sidenote] _Critique of the Aesthetic of the sympathetic. Meaning in it of content and form._

Another less vulgar current of thought considers Aesthetic to be the science of the _sympathetic_, of that with which we sympathize, which attracts, rejoices, gives us pleasure and excites admiration. But the sympathetic is nothing but the image or representation of what pleases. And, as such, it is a complex fact, resulting from a constant element, the aesthetic element of representation, and from a variable element, the pleasing in its infinite forms, arising from all the various classes of values.

In ordinary language, there is sometimes a feeling of repugnance at calling an expression beautiful, which is not an expression of the sympathetic. Hence the continual contrast between the point of view of the aesthetician or of the art critic and that of the ordinary person, who cannot succeed in persuading himself that the image of pain and of turpitude can be beautiful, or, at least, can be beautiful with as much right as the pleasing and the good.

The opposition could be solved by distinguishing two different sciences, one of expression and the other of the sympathetic, if the latter could be the object of a special science; that is to say, if it were not, as has been shown, a complex fact. If predominance be given to the expressive fact, it becomes a part of Aesthetic as science of expression; if to the pleasurable content, we fall back to the study of facts which are essentially hedonistic (utilitarian), however complicated they may appear. The origin, also, of the connexion between content and form is to be sought for in the Aesthetic of the sympathetic, when this is conceived as the sum of two values.

[Sidenote] _Aesthetic hedonism and moralism._

In all the doctrines just now discussed, the art fact is posited as merely hedonistic. But this view cannot be maintained, save by uniting it with a philosophic hedonism that is complete and not partial, that is to say, with a hedonism which does not admit any other form of value. Hardly has this hedonistic conception of art been received by philosophers, who admit one or more spiritual values, of truth or of morality, than the following question must necessarily be asked: What should be done with art? To what use should it be put? Should a free course be allowed to its pleasures? And if so, to what extent? The question of the _end of art_, which in the Aesthetic of expression would be a contradiction of terms, here appears in place, and altogether logical.

[Sidenote] _The rigoristic negation, and the pedagogic justification of art._

Now it is evident that, admitting the premisses, but two solutions of such a question can be given, the one altogether negative, the other restrictive. The first, which we shall call _rigoristic_ or _ascetic_, appears several times, although not frequently, in the history of ideas. It looks upon art as an inebriation of the senses, and therefore, not only useless, but harmful. According to this theory, then, it is necessary to drive it with all our strength from the human soul, which it troubles. The other solution, which we shall call _pedagogic_ or _moralistico-utilitarian_, admits art, but only in so far as it concurs with the end of morality; in so far as it assists with innocent pleasure the work of him who leads to the true and the good; in so far as it sprinkles with dulcet balm the sides of the vase of wisdom and of morality.

It is well to observe that it would be an error to divide this second view into intellectualist and moralistico-utilitarian, according to whether the end of leading to the true or to what is practically good, be assigned to art. The task of instructing, which is imposed upon it, precisely because it is an end which is sought after and advised, is no longer merely a theoretical fact, but a theoretical fact become the material for practical action; it is not, therefore, intellectualism, but pedagogism and practicism. Nor would it be more exact to subdivide the pedagogic view into the pure utilitarian and the moralistico-utilitarian; because those who admit only the individually useful (the desire of the individual), precisely because they are absolute hedonists, have no motive for seeking an ulterior justification for art.

But to enunciate these theories at the point to which we have attained is to confute them. We therefore restrict ourselves to observing that in the pedagogic theory of art is to be found another of the reasons why it has been erroneously claimed that the content of art should be _chosen_ with a view to certain practical effects.

[Sidenote] _Critique of pure beauty._

The thesis, re-echoed by the artists, that art consists of _pure beauty_, has often been brought forward against hedonistic and pedagogic Aesthetic: “Heaven places All our joy in _pure beauty_, and the Verse is everything.” If it is wished that this should be understood in the sense that art is not to be confounded with sensual pleasure, that is, in fact, with utilitarian practicism, nor with moralism, then our Aesthetic also must be permitted to adorn itself with the title of _Aesthetic of pure beauty_. But if (as is often the case) something mystical and transcendental be meant by this, something that is unknown to our poor human world, or something spiritual and beatific, but not expressive, we must reply that while applauding the conception of a beauty, free of all that is not the spiritual form of expression, we are yet unable to conceive a beauty altogether purified of expression, that is to say, separated from itself.



[Sidenote] _Pseudo-aesthetic concepts, and the aesthetic of the sympathetic._

The doctrine of the sympathetic (very often animated and seconded in this by the capricious metaphysical and mystical Aesthetic, and by that blind tradition which assumes an intimate connection between things by chance treated of together by the same authors and in the same books), has introduced and rendered familiar in systems of Aesthetic, a series of concepts, of which one example suffices to justify our resolute expulsion of them from our own treatise.

Their catalogue is long, not to say interminable: _tragic, comic, sublime, pathetic, moving, sad, ridiculous, melancholy, tragi-comic, humoristic, majestic, dignified, serious, grave, imposing, noble, decorous, graceful, attractive, piquant, coquettish, idyllic, elegiac, cheerful, violent, ingenuous, cruel, base, horrible, disgusting, dreadful, nauseating_; the list can be increased at will.

Since that doctrine took as its special object the sympathetic, it was naturally unable to neglect any of the varieties of this, or any of the combinations or gradations which lead at last from the sympathetic to the antipathetic. And seeing that the sympathetic content was held to be the _beautiful_ and the antipathetic the _ugly_, the varieties (tragic, comic, sublime, pathetic, etc.) constituted for it the shades and gradations intervening between the beautiful and the ugly.

[Sidenote] _Critique of the theory of the ugly in art and of the ugly surmounted._

Having enumerated and defined, as well as it could, the chief among these varieties, the Aesthetic of the sympathetic set itself the problem of the place to be assigned to the _ugly in art_. This problem is without meaning for us, who do not recognize any ugliness save the anti-aesthetic or inexpressive, which can never form part of the aesthetic fact, being, on the contrary, its antithesis. But the question for the doctrine which we are here criticizing was to reconcile in some way the false and defective idea of art from which it started, reduced to the representation of the agreeable, with effective art, which occupies a far wider field. Hence the artificial attempt to settle what examples of the ugly (antipathetic) could be admitted in artistic representation, and for what reasons, and in what ways.

The answer was: that the ugly is admissible, only when it can be _overcome_, an unconquerable ugliness, such as the _disgusting_ or the _nauseating_, being altogether excluded. Further, that the duty of the ugly, when admitted in art, is to contribute towards heightening the effect of the beautiful (sympathetic), by producing a series of contrasts, from which the pleasurable shall issue more efficacious and pleasure-giving. It is, in fact, a common observation that pleasure is more vividly felt when It has been preceded by abstinence or by suffering. Thus the ugly in art was looked upon as the servant of the beautiful, its stimulant and condiment.

That special theory of hedonistic refinement, which used to be pompously called the _surmounting of the ugly_, falls with the general theory of the sympathetic; and with it the enumeration and the definition of the concepts mentioned above remain completely excluded from Aesthetic. For Aesthetic does not recognize the sympathetic or the antipathetic In their varieties, but only the spiritual activity of the representation.

[Sidenote] _Pseudo-aesthetic concepts belong to Psychology._

However, the large space which, as we have said, those concepts have hitherto occupied in aesthetic treatises makes opportune a rather more copious explanation of what they are. What will be their lot? As they are excluded from Aesthetic, in what other part of Philosophy will they be received?

Truly, in none. All those concepts are without philosophical value. They are nothing but a series of classes, which can be bent in the most various ways and multiplied at pleasure, to which it is sought to reduce the infinite complications and shadings of the values and disvalues of life. Of those classes, there are some that have an especially positive significance, like the beautiful, the sublime, the majestic, the solemn, the serious, the weighty, the noble, the elevated; others have a significance especially negative, like the ugly, the horrible, the dreadful, the tremendous, the monstrous, the foolish, the extravagant; in others prevails a mixed significance, as is the case with the comic, the tender, the melancholy, the humorous, the tragi-comic. The complications are infinite, because the individuations are infinite; hence it is not possible to construct the concepts, save in the arbitrary and approximate manner of the natural sciences, whose duty it is to make as good a plan as possible of that reality which they cannot exhaust by enumeration, nor understand and surpass speculatively. And since _Psychology_ is the naturalistic discipline, which undertakes to construct types and plans of the spiritual processes of man (of which, in fact, it is always accentuating in our day the merely empirical and descriptive character), these concepts do not appertain to Aesthetic, nor, in general, to Philosophy. They must simply be handed over to Psychology.

[Sidenote] _Impossibility of rigoristic definitions of them._

As is the case with all other psychological constructions, so is it with those concepts: no rigorous definitions are possible; and consequently the one cannot be deduced from the other and they cannot be connected in a system, as has, nevertheless, often been attempted, at great waste of time and without result. But it can be claimed as possible to obtain, apart from philosophical definitions recognised as impossible, empirical definitions, universally acceptable as true. Since there does not exist a unique definition of a given fact, but innumerable definitions can be given of it, according to the cases and the objects for which they are made, so it is clear that if there were only one, and that the true one, this would no longer be an empirical, but a rigorous and philosophical definition. Speaking exactly, every time that one of the terms to which we have referred has been employed, or any other of the innumerable series, a definition of it has at the same time been given, expressed or understood. And each one of these definitions has differed somewhat from the others, in some particular, perhaps of very small importance, such as tacit reference to some individual fact or other, which thus became especially an object of attention and was raised to the position of a general type. So it happens that not one of such definitions satisfies him who hears it, nor does it satisfy even him who constructs it. For, the moment after, this same individual finds himself face to face with a new case, for which he recognizes that his definition is more or less insufficient, ill-adapted, and in need of remodelling. It is necessary, therefore, to leave writers and speakers free to define the sublime or the comic, the tragic or the humoristic, on every occasion, as they please and as may seem suitable to their purpose. And if you insist upon obtaining an empirical definition of universal validity, we can but submit this one:–The sublime (comic, tragic, humoristic, etc.) is _everything_ that is or will be so _called_ by those who have employed or shall employ this _word_.

[Sidenote] _Examples: definitions of the sublime, the comic, and the humoristic._

What is the sublime? The unexpected affirmation of an ultra-powerful moral force: that is one definition. But that other definition is equally good, which also recognizes the sublime where the force which declares itself is an ultra-powerful, but immoral and destructive will. Both remain vague and assume no precise form, until they are applied to a concrete case, which makes clear what is here meant by _ultra-powerful_, and what by _unexpected_. They are quantitative concepts, but falsely quantitative, since there is no way of measuring them; they are, at bottom, metaphors, emphatic phrases, or logical tautologies. The humorous will be laughter mingled with tears, bitter laughter, the sudden passage from the comic to the tragic, and from the tragic to the comic, the comic romantic, the inverted sublime, war declared against every attempt at insincerity, compassion which is ashamed to lament, the mockery not of the fact, but of the ideal itself; and whatever else may better please, according as it is desired to get a view of the physiognomy of this or that poet, of this or that poem, which is, in its uniqueness, its own definition, and though momentary and circumscribed, yet the sole adequate. The comic has been defined as the displeasure arising from the perception of a deformity immediately followed by a greater pleasure arising from the relaxation of our psychical forces, which were strained in anticipation of a perception whose importance was foreseen. While listening to a narrative, which, for example, should describe the magnificent and heroic purpose of a definite person, we anticipate in imagination the occurrence of an action both heroic and magnificent, and we prepare ourselves to receive it, by straining our psychic forces. If, however, in a moment, instead of the magnificent and heroic action, which the premises and the tone of the narrative had led us to expect, by an unexpected change there occur a slight, mean, foolish action, unequal to our expectation, we have been deceived, and the recognition of the deceit brings with it an instant of displeasure. But this instant is as it were overcome by the one immediately following, in which we are able to discard our strained attention, to free ourselves from the provision of psychic energy accumulated and, henceforth superfluous, to feel ourselves reasonable and relieved of a burden. This is the pleasure of the comic, with its physiological equivalent, laughter. If the unpleasant fact that has occurred should painfully affect our interests, pleasure would not arise, laughter would be at once choked, the psychic energy would be strained and overstrained by other more serious perceptions. If, on the other hand, such more serious perceptions do not arise, if the whole loss be limited to a slight deception of our foresight, then the supervening feeling of our psychic wealth affords ample compensation for this very slight displeasure.–This, stated in a few words, is one of the most accurate modern definitions of the comic. It boasts of containing, justified or corrected, the manifold attempts to define the comic, from Hellenic antiquity to our own day. It includes Plato’s dictum in the _Philebus_, and Aristotle’s, which is more explicit. The latter looks upon the comic as an _ugliness without pain_. It contains the theory of Hobbes, who placed it in the feeling of _individual superiority_; of Kant, who saw in it a _relaxation of tension_; and those of other thinkers, for whom it was _the contrast between great and small, between the finite and the infinite_. But on close observation, the analysis and definition above given, although most elaborate and rigorous in appearance, yet enunciates characteristics which are applicable, not only to the comic, but to every spiritual process; such as the succession of painful and agreeable moments and the satisfaction arising from the consciousness of force and of its free development. The differentiation here given is that of quantitative determinations, to which limits cannot be assigned. They remain vague phrases, attaining to some meaning from their reference to this or that single comic fact. If such definitions be taken too seriously, there happens to them what Jean Paul Richter said of all the definitions of the comic: namely, that their sole merit is _to be themselves comic_ and to produce, in reality, the fact, which they vainly try to define logically. And who will ever determine logically the dividing line between the comic and the non-comic, between smiles and laughter, between smiling and gravity; who will cut into clearly divided parts that ever-varying continuity into which life melts?

[Sidenote] _Relations between those concepts and aesthetic concepts._

The facts, classified as well as possible in the above-quoted psychological concepts, bear no relation to the artistic fact, beyond the generic that all of them, in so far as they designate the material of life, can be represented by art; and the other accidental relation, that aesthetic facts also may sometimes enter into the processes described, as in the impression of the sublime that the work of a Titanic artist such as Dante or Shakespeare may produce, and that of the comic produced by the effort of a dauber or of a scribbler.

The process is external to the aesthetic fact In this case also; for the only feeling linked with that is the feeling of aesthetic value and disvalue, of the beautiful and of the ugly. The Dantesque Farinata is aesthetically beautiful, and nothing but beautiful: if, in addition, the force of will of this personage appear sublime, or the expression that Dante gives him, by reason of his great genius, seem sublime by comparison with that of a less energetic poet, all this is not a matter for aesthetic consideration. This consists always and only in adequation to truth; that is, in beauty.



[Sidenote] _Aesthetic activity and physical concepts._

Aesthetic activity is distinct from practical activity but when it expresses itself is always physical accompanied by practical activity. Hence its utilitarian or hedonistic side, and the pleasure and pain, which are, as it were, the practical echo of aesthetic values and disvalues, of the beautiful and of the ugly. But this practical side of the aesthetic activity has also, in its turn, a _physical_ or _psychophysical_ accompaniment, which consists of sounds, tones, movements, combinations of lines and colours, and so on.

Does it _really_ possess this side, or does it only seem to possess it, as the result of the construction which we raise in physical science, and of the useful and arbitrary methods, which we have shown to be proper to the empirical and abstract sciences? Our reply cannot be doubtful, that is, it cannot be affirmative as to the first of the two hypotheses.

However, it will be better to leave it at this point in suspense, for it is not at present necessary to prosecute this line of inquiry any further. The mention already made must suffice to prevent our having spoken of the physical element as of something objective and existing, for reasons of simplicity and adhesion to ordinary language, from leading to hasty conclusions as to the concepts and the connexion between spirit and nature.

[Sidenote] _Expression in the aesthetic sense, and expression in the naturalistic sense._

It is important to make clear that as the existence of the hedonistic side in every spiritual activity has given rise to the confusion between the aesthetic activity and the useful or pleasurable, so the existence, or, better, the possibility of constructing this physical side, has generated the confusion between _aesthetic_ expression and expression _in the naturalistic sense_; between a spiritual fact, that is to say, and a mechanical and passive fact (not to say, between a concrete reality and an abstraction or fiction). In common speech, sometimes it is the words of the poet that are called _expressions_, the notes of the musician, or the figures of the painter; sometimes the blush which is wont to accompany the feeling of shame, the pallor resulting from fear, the grinding of the teeth proper to violent anger, the glittering of the eyes, and certain movements of the muscles of the mouth, which reveal cheerfulness. A certain degree of heat is also said to be the _expression_ of fever, as the falling of the barometer is of rain, and even that the height of the rate of exchange _expresses_ the discredit of the paper-money of a State, or social discontent the approach of a revolution. One can well imagine what sort of scientific results would be attained by allowing oneself to be governed by linguistic usage and placing in one sheaf facts so widely different. But there is, in fact, an abyss between a man who is the prey of anger with all its natural manifestations, and another man who expresses it aesthetically; between the aspect, the cries, and the contortions of one who is tortured with sorrow at the loss of a dear one, and the words or song with which the same individual portrays his torture at another moment; between the distortion of emotion and the gesture of the actor. Darwin’s book on the expression of the feelings in man and animals does not belong to