Living (with) Art: The African Aesthetic Worldview as an Inspiration for the Western Philosophy of Art

  • Heinz Kimmerle
Part of the Einstein Meets Margritte: An Interdisciplinary Reflection on Science, Nature, Art, Human Action and Society book series (EMMA, volume 9)

In the thought of the African peoples south of the Sahara, art is not something that can be dealt with as a separately existing subject. In the daily life of these peoples, art is not an autonomous area of its own, but it permeates all areas of life and more specifically, moral behavior. This is due to the fact that in these societies, as far as they stick to their traditional way of life, a separation of art from other areas of life has not — or as Jürgen Habermas would put it: not yet — taken place.2 The conception of Habermas is more adequate to the traditional way of life in those societies than the earlier position of cultural anthropologists, but also his conception cannot do right to this specific way of life. In a confrontation of mythical and modern conceptions of the world, Habermas tries to overcome what he calls the former discussion (between L. Lévy-Bruhl and E.E. Evans Pritchard and others) in which for the mythical understanding of the world in general more simple, primitive concepts were presupposed. Habermas differentiates within the mythical understanding an objective, socially cultural, and subjective relation to the world. However, he maintains the evolutionist basic idea of the former discussion. According to Habermas' opinion, the rationalization of the conception of the world (Weltbildratio-nalisierung) in the sense of Max Weber leads to progresses in differentiation between things and persons and within the latter sphere between the socially cultural and the individual area. Through these progresses, the animistic and mythical conception of the world, which was not able to make these differentiations, has been overcome.

Keywords

Defend Nigeria Ethos 

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Notes and References

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  • Heinz Kimmerle

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