Art and Philosophy
At the peak of romanticism, Friedrich Schlegel claimed with irony: “What goes by the name of the philosophy of art usually lacks one of two things: philosophy – or art” (“In dem, was man Philosophie der Kunst nennt, fehlt gewöhnlich eins von beiden; entweder die Philosophie oder die Kunst.”) (Athenäums-Fragmente und andere Schriften, Kritische Fragmente, [Lyceums-Fragmente] 12, Leipzig 2018). The terms “philosophy” and “art” refer to two completely different aspects of reality (perhaps two different realities?) To concepts that enable thought, on the one hand, and on the other hand to sensory phenomena originating in the creative work of mankind – phenomena allowing us to feel, experience and imagine. However much we concede that philosophy itself contains a certain imaginative potential and includes some kind of experience and that art itself enables thought, still these two kinds of activity remain separate. They are connected but different. Theodor Adorno pointed to the difficulty that aesthetics has to face today: “(…) the difficulty of an aesthetics that would be more than a desperately reanimated branch of philosophy is that of bringing the artist’s closeness to the phenomena into conjunction with a conceptual capacity free of any subordinating concept, free of all decreed judgments… .” (T. Adorno, Aesthetic Theory, G. Adorno and R. Tiedemann (eds.), R. Hullor-Kentor (trans.), Continuum, London 2002, p. 335).
In “Art and Philosophy”, we wish to bring phenomenon and concept closer together so as to investigate various “tensions” arising out of this encounter. We do not aim at “philosophy of art” or the “art of philosophy”, but rather art “and” philosophy – their unity in separation symbolised by the conjunction “and”. Since we do not take as our point of departure any “subordinating concept”, we investigate all kinds of places where art – be it a place of creative work, visual practices, musical, literary or architectural practices – encounters philosophical thought where concepts act as an echo chamber for the sensory presence of phenomena. The journal is in this way is open to a variety of academic discourses and kinds of artistic practice. We want to bring together, but also to separate where necessary – revealing various aspects of the surprising conjunction of phenomena and concepts.
Our journal has already enjoyed a thirty-year tradition. Alicja Kuczyńska was the driving force behind the founding of “Art and Philosophy” and its first edition in 1989. At that time, Professor Kuczyńska was the Director of the Department of Aesthetics in the Institute of Philosophy at Warsaw University. Together with a group of members of the department in the mid-80s, including Professor Iwona Lorenc and Dr hab. Hanna Puszko-Miś, Professor Kuczyńska had begun to develop an academic platform for discussing the current state of aesthetics in Poland and across the world. The idea was to reactivate and continue the mission Władysław Tatarkiewicz had begun. He had founded the journal “Aesthetics” in 1960 as a postwar space for the relatively free exchange of ideas, keeping art and aesthetics separate from ideology. The journal came to an end in 1963 and in its place “Aesthetic Studies” was published [“Studia Estetyczne”] which had a broader program and was launched by Professor Stefan Morawski.
From 1964 to 1990, 23 editions of “Aesthetic Studies” came out and they included articles by Polish authors, reports from conferences and translations of articles of authors from Poland’s neighbouring countries. The first edition of “Art and Philosophy” came out a year before the closure of “Aesthetic Studies”. The journal is indebted to the great commitment in its early years of the editor-in-chief Dr hab. Hanna Puszko. She was followed by Professor Iwona Lorenc and Dr Małgorzata Szyszkowska, who followed through on realising the initial goals of the journal ensuring at the same time the high level of the publications.