Publications: Non-Fiction Articles
"Surrealism and the Movies: From A to Miss Zed." The Life of the Transcendental Ego: Essays in Honor of
William Earle. Eds. Casey, Edward S. and Morano,
Donald V. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1986. Used copies frequently avilable for sale at Amazon.com:www.amazon.com and/or Alibris.com: www.alibris.com
"The Concept of the Self in Husserl and Beyond."
Philosophy Today (Spring 1980).
"Hegel and the End of Art: 150 Years After." CLIO: Interdisciplinary Journal of Literature, History, Philosophy of History 8.3 (1979).
"Where Have All the Heroes Gone?" JGE: The Journal
of General Education xxxi.1, The Pennsylvania State University Press (Spring 1979).
"A Hegelian Critique of Found Art and Conceptual Art." The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism xxxv11.2 (Winter 1978). Also published in Value and the Arts: Proceedings
of the Tenth Conference of Value Inquiry, State University of New York at Geneseo (April 16-17, 1976).
"The Best Strategy for Moving the Premium Business Forward." CTAM Quarterly Journal 1.2 (Spring 1993).
Publications: Non-Fiction Book
A Hegelian Account of Contemporary Art
by William I. Fowkes. Ann Arbor: UMI Research Press, 1980. Used copies frequently avilable for sale at Amazon.com: www.amazon.com and/or Alibris.com: www.alibris.com
Background: In 1980, shortly after I left academia, I was approached by UMI Research Press and asked if I would be interested in having them publish my doctoral dissertation, Hegel's Aesthetics and the Explosion of the Arts: A Hegelian Account of the Arts in the Twentieth Century (1977). As I had already been planning to revise the work, I took this opportunity to complete those revisions. This book was the result. Since leaving academia, I've had few opportunities to check in on the current state of the field of aesthetics--Hegelian or otherwise. Just recently, however, I've discovered to my delight that this book has frequently been cited or referred to in other scholarly works over the years. Long out of print, the book nevertheless occasionally shows up in places like Amazon.com.
Description: This book attempts a confrontation and reconciliation between two presumed adversaries, Hegel's Aesthetics (that is, the mammoth Lectures on Fine Art by the
19th century German philosopher, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, which many consider one of the greatest works in the history of aesthetics) and contemporary art. Hegel's account of art (first
published in 1835) proves to be surprisingly useful in illuminating the arts of the 20th century, while the latter are seen to vindicate -- and sometimes challenge -- many of Hegel's
1. Found Art and Conceptual Art
2. Film and the Classification of the Arts
3. Abstraction in the Theater and Dance
4. The Recovery of the Sensuous World in
5. The End of Art?
Has not Hegel's thesis on the future of art been
refuted by the explosive development of modern art?
- Karsten Harries, "Hegel on the Future of Art,"
The Review of Metaphysics 27, no. 108 (June 1974): 678
It is distressing to realize that the aesthetics of Hegel is known in English-speaking philosophical circles primarily as little more than the doctrine of the death of
art. Whether one attributes this impression to the inaccessibility of an English translation of Hegel's Aesthetics in recent times, prior to the publication of Malcolm Knox's translation in 1975,
or to the irrepressibility of caricatures once they have been widely circulated, its persistence is an embarrassment and has the unfortunate effect of steering people clear of the work. Those who
consider Hegel an unnecessarily difficult philosopher and thus are not particularly eager to examine his work are only too happy to believe the caricature. Why read a philosopher whose aesthetic
view can be refuted by taking a look at the sheer volume of contemporary works of art? However, not only is Hegel's infamous doctrine quite different than supposed, but his great work on
aesthetics is much more than just a presentation of this doctrine. It is a voluminous discussion of the nature of art in all its crucial aspects and an impressively detailed exploration into the
historical development and status of each of the arts.
The source of the caricatured doctrine of the death of art is a discussion of the sense in which art, like any moment in the Hegelian system short of philosophy itself, must ultimately give way to a higher, or spiritually more adequate, moment. The notion is thus no mere empirical one, no mere prediction of what artists will or won't be doing at a certain time. Rather, it is part and parcel of the attempt to differentiate the essence of art from that of other spiritual domains.
More important than the declaration that art ultimately cannot fulfill man's highest spiritual needs is the demonstration of the ways in which art emerges in the first place, realizes its essence (the Ideal of art), and, finally, discloses its limitations in the very act of attempting to transcend them. The most interesting part of the story is the third act. As in the greatest plays, most of the excitement, most of the passion, occurs there. It is my intention in this thesis to show how the third act is still playing itself out in the arts today. The same spirit which lies behind the emergence of romantic art--though mutilated, rambunctious, and disguised--motivates the arts around us. An examination of Hegel's aesthetics, on the one hand, and contemporary art, on the other, will show how each sheds light upon the other. The subtleties of Hegel's account go a long way towards illuminating what is being played out before our eyes; the contemporary arts vindicate many of Hegel's notions.
I have chosen aesthetic phenomena for consideration according to my interests. In a sense, this work is open-ended; other phenomena could be introduced and investigated according to the same procedures employed here. Nevertheless, those phenomena which have been chosen do in fact provide an opportunity for bringing out all the critical aspects of a confrontation between Hegel's aesthetics and the contemporary arts: the uncanny anticipation by Hegel of contemporary phenomena, the Hegelian exposure of misguided energy in some of the arts, the limitations of the System in accounting for the subtleties of contemporary variations in the arts, the sense in which art is in fact played out, and the contemporary challenge to the boundaries of the Hegelian system of the arts.
. . .
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