Surrender and Aesthetic Experience

  • Kurt H. Wolff
Part of the Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science book series (BSPS, volume 51)


Like love, surrender is a State of high tension and concentration, an undifferentiated State in which ‘anything can happen’; and its catch is unforeseeable. The painter, for instance, who surrenders as he paints may find his catch to be a painting; or the insight that he is not really a painter but rather a carpenter; or the production of a scientific paper, and innumerable other things. If we think of the case where the catch is a painting, we realize that the artist is a less unconditional surrenderer than the ordinary man. The reason is that, unlike the ordinary man, he surrenders as a maker, as one who makes a work of art; and making injects an element of differentiation into his surrender; it puts a qualification on its unconditionality, at the very least because he has to work with his media that he cannot suspend.1 We shall recall this at certain points of our discussion of aesthetic experience.


Aesthetic Experience Psychical Distance Vintage Book Human Feeling Anchor Book 
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Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company, Dordrecht, Holland 1976

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kurt H. Wolff
    • 1
  1. 1.Brandeis UniversityWalthamUSA

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