Research Article

Bernard Bolzano: On the Concept of the Beautiful - A Philosophical Essay



An introduction to an English translation of Bernad Bolzano’s On the Concept of the Beautiful. A neglected gem in the history of aesthetics, Bolzano’s essay on beauty is best understood when read alongside his other writings and philosophical sources. This introduction is designed to contribute to such a reading. In Part I, I identify and discuss three salient ways in which Bolzano’s account can be misunderstood. As a lack of familiarity with Bolzano’s background assumptions is one source of these misunderstandings, in Part II, I elucidate some of his ideas about the psychological processes involved in the contemplation and enjoyment of beauty. In Part III, I situate Bolzano’s discussion of beauty within the more general framework of his ideas about the nature of philosophy, the relation between philosophy and aesthetics, and the place of the concept of beauty within the latter. Part IV is devoted to Bolzano’s discussion of some of his philosophical antecedents, including Kant. In Part V, I raise some objections to Bolzano’s account and indicate how his advocates might respond to them.
  • Year: 2015
  • Volume: 52 Issue: 2
  • Page/Article: 203-266
  • DOI: 10.33134/eeja.140
  • Published on 25 Nov 2015
  • Peer Reviewed