Art and Spirituality, 10 August

A summary of our second discussion on 10 August appears at the bottom of this section.

Philosophical subcategory=AESTHETICS and METAPHYSICS

Bees and . . . Beuys: Rudolph Steiner, Anthroposophy and the avant-garde in art.
Session Two, Discussion Preview

Who was Rudolph Steiner?
Rudolph Steiner (Wikipedia)
Defending Steiner (website)
Steiner Books (website)

Upon opening the following pdf files, right click on the first page, then choose ‘Rotate clockwise’:

Excerpts from Bees, Lectures by Rudolph Steiner:
Introduction (Gunther Hauk)
Afterword (David Adams) From Queen Bee to Social Sculpture: The Artistic Alchemy of Joseph Beuys

Joseph Beuys: Actions, Vitrines, Environments, Tate Modern, Spring 2005
Exhibition pamphlet

Article from Journal of Philosophy, v.61, issue 19, 1964, pp.571-584
The Artworld
by Arthur Danto
A paper given at the American Philosophical Association Eastern Division Sixty-First Annual Meeting, October 15, 1964

Excerpt from Occultism in Avant Garde Art: The Case of Joseph Beuys (John F. Moffitt)
Chapter 5 (partial) and Chapter 6

Excerpt from The Great Philosophers (Jeremy Stangroom and James Garvey)
Arthur Schopenhauer

Session 2 summary on Aesthetics
Bees In Philosophy: Aesthetics–Bees and Beuys


3 thoughts on “Art and Spirituality, 10 August

  1. Jack Grassby on August 11, 2013 at 10:59 am said: Edit
    I found the last session most interesting and entertaining, particularly the latter part which sought to address issues of metaphysics and ontology. Bill’s account of Schopenhauer’s ‘Will’ was most illuminating. This led to the idea that our ontology was an expression of our innate necessity to think in terms if some underlying transcendental reality such as Schoppener’s Will, Kant’s Numenon and Hegel’s Reason. However, On reflection I wonder if we miss the point if we forget that all of this is contingent on our human cognitive and sense processes and that access to a ‘real’ reality is not only not possible but also, as Nietzsche put it, nonsensical. In other word it’s all just human psychology. Perhaps we should forget our metaphysics and, like the bees, just get on with it. Jack

    • I could not agree with you more, Jack! However, Steiner’s view on bees and Beuys’ inspiration for his avant-garde artwork were both seeped in metaphysics–as was also Plato’s philosophy and his peculiar uses of the bee as metaphor; Kierkegaard also quite clearly had an Ideal metaphysical conception behind his theory of beauty and classical art in his “Either/Or” book that we touched upon in the discussion; so did Kant and Schopenhauer for that matter! Therefore, it is necessary, do you not think, to consider the historical canonical development or evolution of philosophy–and how this incorporated bees as metaphors–before we can get to postmodernist thinking and feel confident enough to debunk and dismiss all metaphysics as an irrelevancy? Besides: the organisers of the national art project, of which this short series of philosophical discussions forms a regional part, wanted such an historical survey, I am afraid! I promise, however, that we will be dealing with contemporary issues soon when we examine the thorny question of intelligence and consciousness of bees in discussion four!


  2. I understand, Peter, that Plato and his pals had a thing about metaphysics and that that the idea has permeated philosophical discourse since then. However, we have been encouraged by postmodern thinkers to question the status of all our views of ontology and epistemology and to question the questioner – as well as the question. The linguistic philosophers, for example, posit that language is the genesis of what we think of as ‘reality’, and Witters, in his Tractatus, finds metaphysical discourse ultimately ‘nonsense’. However, if the ‘organisers of this project want a historical account then I reckon that whoever pays the piper …Nevertheless, if Poetry is to be the subject for the next group meeting, then I guess it will be difficult to avoid the linguistic questions (e.g if bees have language) and the discussion should prove interesting.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s