But there is nevertheless a strongly cognitivist cast to Wolff's aesthetics. Wolff next defines clarity and distinctness and indistinctness in cognition. This means that at least in principle a purely intellectual or conceptual representation is always a better source of knowledge of its object than is a sensory representation of it. Wolff's successors will struggle to avoid the limitations on the cognitive significance of aesthetic response that follow from his definition of pleasure as a kind of sense perception and the limits he places on the cognitive significance of sense perception.
While Wolff's basic account of pleasure is problematic, he does provide a straightforward account of beauty. This definition enunciates a clear position on the ontological status of beauty, which will often be vexed in the eighteenth century. Beauty is an objective property, founded in the perfection of things, but it is also a relational rather than intrinsic property, for it is attributed to perfection only insofar as there are subjects like us who can perceive it sensorily.
Given perceivers like us, beauty is coextensive with or emergent from perfection, but in a universe without such perceivers perfection would not be equivalent to beauty. Thus far we have considered only Wolff's most abstract definition of perfection and therefore of beauty, namely that it is the coherence of a manifold insofar as we can perceive that through the sensation of pleasure.
When he mentions or discusses specific arts, Wolff invokes more specific conceptions of perfection and thus of the beauties of those arts. In the case of the visual arts of painting and sculpture, Wolff locates their perfection in imitation or veridical representation, while other arts find their perfections in the fulfillment of intended uses.
He uses the examples of painting and architecture in the German metaphysics to illustrate his claim that pleasure arises from the intuition of perfection. For since a painting is nothing other than a representation of a given object on a tablet or flat surface, everything in it is harmonious if nothing can be discerned in it that one does not also perceive in the thing itself,. Wolff's discussion of architecture makes it clear that in order for us to perceive it as beautiful, a building must display both the formal perfection of coherence as well as the substantive perfection of being suitable, indeed comfortable for its intended use.
This locates the harmony or agreement in which perfection always consists in the relation between the intentions of the architect and the building that results from his plans and supervision. However, as he proceeds Wolff makes it clear that the intention of an architect is always to produce a structure that is both formally beautiful as well as useful and comfortable, so the perfection that subsists in the relation between intention and outcome in fact consists in the perfection of both form and utility in the building itself.
These definitions form the basis for a requirement of perfection in the utility of a building. This is the basis for the requirement of formal rather than utilitarian perfection in a building. Throughout the remainder of the treatise, both conceptions of perfection are at work. Wolff does not explicitly extend this complex analysis of perfection to other arts, although it is not difficult to imagine how that extension might go: in painting we might respond to formal features of composition as well as to the accuracy of depiction, in sculpture we might respond to the intrinsic beauty of the marble or bronze as well as to the accuracy of depiction, and so on.
Finally, we must ask about the moral and religious implications of Wolff's contributions to aesthetics. As we have seen, Wolff equates perfection, which is the object of pleasure in all contexts including those subsequently labeled aesthetic, with an objective sense of truth. However, and in this regard most unlike the German aestheticians of the next several generations who are so strongly influenced by him in other regards, he has nothing to say about the arts that are typically paradigmatic for those who ground their aesthetics on the notion of truth rather than that of play, namely literature, especially poetry and drama.
Thus he does not consider the paradox of tragedy, formulated by Du Bos and then discussed by virtually every other eighteenth-century writer on literature, nor does he emphasize the moral benefits of uplifting literature, as so many others do. Indeed, he has nothing explicit to say about the moral benefits of aesthetic experience, nor does he directly consider the religious significance of such experience in any of his discussions of it. Nevertheless, it is clear that aesthetic experience does have religious significance for Wolff, because his philosophy culminates in a religious teleology.
For Wolff, the most perfect and therefore most orderly of all possible worlds exists for a reason, namely to mirror the perfection of God, and sentient and cognizant beings such as ourselves exist for a reason, namely to recognize and admire the perfection of God that is mirrored in the perfection of things in the world and of the world as a whole. The perfection that is added to the natural world through human artistry is also part of the perfection of the world that emanates from and mirrors the perfection of God.
Thus, in admiring the perfection of art we are performing part of our larger function in the world, namely admiring the perfection of God. The chief aim of the world is this, that we should cognize the perfection of God from it. Now if God would attain this aim, he also had to arrange the world in such a way that a rational being could extract from the contemplation of it grounds that would allow him to infer with certainty the properties of God and what can be known about him. Several sections later, he uses the metaphor of the mirror to describe the relation between God, the world, and we who look at the mirror:.
Now if the world is to be a mirror of the wisdom of God, then we must encounter divine aims in it and perceive the means by which he attains these aims…. And accordingly the connection of things in the world with one another makes it into a mirror of [God's] wisdom…. This might seem to leave no room at all for the human creation of art, which all eighteenth-century writers will conceive of as a production of genius that is the complete opposite of anything mechanical. But for Wolff our ability to produce works of art is another manifestation of the perfection of the world—of which we are a part—and in turn of God.
And no doubt Wolff hardly thought it necessary to spell out the moral benefits of such a recognition. Yet Wolff's conception of perfection was broad enough to include successful adaptation to an intended purpose, and thus in his analysis of our experience of architecture he emphasized our sense of the utility of structures as well as a sensory response to the kind of abstract form that could be considered an object of cognition. But it was the idea that aesthetic experience is a sensory apprehension of truth that dominated in Wolff's most general statements.
After , Wolff's philosophy enjoyed an influence in most parts of Germany similar to that which the philosophy of Locke exercised in most quarters in Britain by then and in France beginning a decade or two later. So the history of German aesthetics after Wolff is a history of the attempt to find room for a fuller account of aesthetic experience within a framework that privileges the idea of cognition, and only gradually was room found for the idea that the free play of our mental powers, including not only imagination but at least for some authors also emotion, could be equally important.
This might be understood as an early form of debate over how much room there is for the free play of imagination in aesthetic experience. Yet in the s and s their debate was intense, not just because Gottsched was a self-important controversialist who clearly enjoyed being on center stage, but also because their debate about the proper scope and power of the imagination was both theoretically interesting and reflected a tectonic shift in German taste.
This shift is away from the French classicism represented by Racine and Corneille to the freer forms of Milton and Shakespeare, which in turn lead to the pan-European romanticism of the later eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. He began teaching philosophy there in , but fled the Prussian draft the next year and settled in the Saxon city of Leipzig, where Leibniz had earlier studied. So Gottsched may never have met Wolff. However, although he eventually held the professorship in logic and metaphysics in Leipzig, Gottsched was also the professor of poetry, and by far the greatest part of his boundless energy was devoted to literature and philology.
The practical aim of the Critical Poetics was to elevate the tone of German popular theater and moderate the Baroque excesses of the upper-class theater by recommending the model of the classical French theater of Racine and Corneille. The theoretical basis of the work was the Wolffian principle that the theater and other forms of poetry Gottsched had little to say about the emerging medium of the novel should be used to convey important moral truths through images that would make them accessible and engaging for a wide audience.
Gottsched, Schriften , p. The improvement of the human heart is not a work which can happen in an hour. It requires a thousand preparations, a thousand circumstances, much knowledge, conviction, experiences, examples and encouragement…. Schriften , p. It would become a central theme of German Enlightenment aesthetics that even if people know the general truths of morality in some abstract way, the arts can make those truths concrete, alive, and effective for them in a way that nothing else can. The manner of writing is, especially in tragedy, noble and sublime, and it has rather a superfluity than a lack of instructive sayings.
Even comedy teaches and instructs the observer, although it arouses laughter. In the first of these chapters, Gottsched defines a poet as one who produces imitations of nature:. A poet is a skilled imitator of all natural things; and this he has in common with painters, connoisseurs of music, etc.
He is however distinguished from these by the manner of his imitation and the means through which he achieves it. The painter imitates nature with brush and colors; the musician through beat and harmony; the poet, however, through a discourse that is rhythmic or otherwise well arranged; or, which is much the same, through a harmonious and good-sounding text, which we call a poem. All of these capacities require cultivation; once they have been cultivated, the artist can better fulfill his double task of imitation: through the imitation of worthy deeds in the medium of his art, he is to encourage his audience to the performance of similarly worthy deeds themselves.
Thus far, Gottsched has not made special use of Wolffian terms. In other words, although judgments of taste are made on the basis of clear but indistinct concepts, which is to say sensory perceptions and feelings rather than clear and distinct concepts, they nevertheless. These laws, which are investigated, discovered, and confirmed through lengthy experience and much reflection, are unbreakable and firm, even if someone who judges in accordance with his taste sometimes gives preference to those works which more or less violate them.
Schriften , pp. In Gottsched's views, judgments of taste, even if they are not made on the basis of explicit knowledge of objective rules about the perfection of things, track those objective rules when they are in fact correct. Experts in the relevant art can make those rules explicit.
And what are the rules in accordance with which judgments of taste are tacitly made? The most general rule is simply that art should imitate nature, so that in order to be beautiful art must imitate what is beautiful in nature. Gottsched does not interpret this rule to mean that poets can describe only the actual actions and feelings of actual people; of course poetry can present fables as well as history. But for Gottsched a fable is. Philosophically one could say that it is a piece of another possible world Schriften , p.
In this regard even the fable must still be an imitation of nature with all its perfections. Of course Gottsched's rider that the fable must contain a hidden moral truth means that it must also be consistent with the real rules of moral perfection, and indeed that the point of poetic indulgence in fable or fiction is precisely to make a moral truth alive and forceful to us by showing that it holds even in a possible world that differs from the actual world in certain of its facts but not in its principles. Breitinger —76 taught Greek, Hebrew, logic, and rhetoric, and edited the works of the German Baroque poet Martin Opitz.
The emphasis on the imagination seems to have been the central issue in Bodmer and Breitinger's dispute with Gottsched, which came to a head in Breitinger's own Critische Dichtkunst , published in with a forward by Bodmer. Because they shared with Gottsched the general assumption that art is based on the imitation of nature and has the goal of making important moral truths come alive for us, it is hard to see exactly what divided the two sides in this dispute, but the key seems to lie in their conception of poetic fables.
As we saw, Gottsched believed that a poetic fable describes events in a possible rather than in the actual world, but he insists that the laws of nature and human nature must remain constant: thus a poetic fable can depict a hero who never existed, and make some moral truth alive to us through its depiction of this possible rather than actual hero, but everything about this hero and his world should still be natural. Bodmer and Breitinger, however, as advocates of Shakespeare and Milton, believed that important moral truths could be made alive to us through works of the poetic imagination that depart more drastically from actual nature and history.
Their idea is that the more imaginative inventions of the poets—the Satan of Milton or the Caliban of Shakespeare rather than the more human heroes of Racine and Corneille admired by Gottsched—make moral truths appear more alive precisely by their attention-grabbing departure from the familiar creatures of the real world. Thus Bodmer and Breitinger thought that the moralistic aim of poetry that they accepted in common with Gottsched could be better achieved by a freer use of the imagination in poetry than Gottsched was prepared to allow.
They agreed in their philosophical analysis of the ends of art but disagreed in their empirical assessment of its most effective means. By their advocacy of Milton and Shakespeare, the most imaginative poets of the preceding century, Bodmer and Breitinger prepared the way for subsequent artistic movements that emphasized the freedom of the imagination, even while they continued to work within the conceptual framework of Wolffian perfectionism.
The same is true for two professional philosophers of the time who also worked within the Wolffian framework but took at least one step towards an aesthetic theory that could subsequently give the play of the mental powers equal importance with the sensible representation of truth by treating the aesthetic qualities of representations as parallel to rather than identical with their purely cognitive qualities.
So let us now turn to the innovations of Alexander Gottlieb Baumgarten and his disciple and ally, Georg Friedrich Meier. Meier actually responded directly to Gottsched in a number of polemics, but since his views were based largely—although not entirely—on Baumgarten's, it will be better to treat them together than to treat Meier now. Baumgarten's new name for the discipline did not, however, signify a complete break with earlier philosophical views, that is, with the perfectionist aesthetics of Leibniz and Wolff.
But Baumgarten nevertheless remained more a Moses who glimpsed the new theory from the shores of Wolffianism than a Joshua who conquered the new aesthetic territory. Baumgarten was the son of a Pietist minister from Berlin, but was orphaned by the time he was eight. He followed his older brother Jacob Sigismund who would become a prominent theologian and historian of religion to Halle when he was thirteen.
The Baumgartens thus arrived in Halle just after Wolff had been expelled and the study of his philosophy banned, although the ban was less strictly enforced at the famous Pietist orphanage and school in Halle the Franckesche Stift where they went first than at the university.
The younger Baumgarten started at the university at sixteen in , and studied theology, philology, poetry, rhetoric, and philosophy, especially Leibniz, whose philosophy unlike that of Wolff had not been banned. He began teaching there himself in , upon the acceptance of his thesis on poetry, and published his Metaphysics in In , the same year as he published his Ethics , he was called to a professorship—or more precisely, ordered to accept it—at another Prussian university, in Frankfurt an der Oder.
Georg Friedrich Meier — , who had been studying with Baumgarten, took over his classes and was himself appointed professor at Halle in Having published the textbooks for his metaphysics and ethics classes which Kant would still use decades later , Baumgarten then returned to aesthetics, and began working on a major treatise in The first volume of his Aesthetica appeared in It was written in Latin, like Baumgarten's other works, and was the first work ever to use the name of the new discipline as a title. The next year, however, Baumgarten's health began to decline, and a second volume of the Aesthetica came out only in , under pressure from the publisher.
The two volumes cover just under a third of Baumgarten's original plan, although they may have included the most original part of the plan. Meanwhile, Meier had been publishing profusely in Halle since the early s, with works in or relevant to aesthetics including a Theoretical Doctrine of the Emotions in , a twenty-five part Evaluation of Gottsched's Poetics collected in book form in , a three-volume Foundations of the Beautiful Sciences from —, and a condensation of the latter, the Extract from the Foundations of the Beautiful Arts and Sciences in Meier also published massive textbooks in logic, metaphysics, and ethics, as well as a memoir of Baumgarten and a German translation of Baumgarten's Latin Metaphysics.
Although Meier thus published his main treatise in aesthetics before Baumgarten did, he claimed it was based on Baumgarten's lectures, and always presented himself as a disciple of Baumgarten. But this work says nothing about in what way the new discipline might be a general science of perception, and analyzes only the nature of poetry and our experience of it.
We will first see what is novel in Baumgarten's theory of poetry, and then turn to his larger work to see what it suggests about the general character of the new discipline. Thus Baumgarten introduces the idea that the sensible imagery a work of art arouses is not just a medium, more or less perfect, for conveying truth, but a locus of perfection in its own right. This is a view that was barely hinted at by Wolff, and not at all in his discussion of imitation as the perfection of mimetic arts, but only in his discussion of mixed arts like architecture, where he took into account the appearance as well as the function of structural elements.
Thus Baumgarten turns what is a vice in scientific knowledge—connoting too many ideas without clearly distinguishing among them—into the paradigm virtue of poetry. What is particularly striking is that he then uses what we might call this quantitative conception of the aim of poetry, that it arouse more and denser rather than fewer and more clearly separated images, as the basis for an argument that poetry should be emotionally affecting.
First he argues that poetry aims to arouse our affects or engage our emotions simply because they are sensible:. Since affects are more notable degrees of pain and pleasure, their sensible representations are given in representing something to oneself confusedly as good or bad, and thus they determine poetic representations, and to arouse affects is poetic.
The same can be demonstrated by this reasoning also: we represent more in those things which we represent as good and bad for us than if we do not so represent them; therefore representations of things which are confusedly exhibited as good or bad for us are extensively clearer than if they were not so displayed, hence they are more poetic. Now such representations are motions of the affects, hence to arouse affects is poetic.
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Baumgarten thus innovates within the formal structure of Wolffian philosophy in order to accommodate a non-cognitivist aspect of the aims of art. Aesthetics is in general the science of sensible cognition. This science concerns itself with everything that can be assigned in more detail to sensible cognition and to its presentation. Now since the passions have a strong influence on sensible cognition and its presentation, aesthetics for its part can rightly demand a theory of the emotions.
However, since Baumgarten himself does not give as much emphasis to the emotional aspect of the experience of art in his Aesthetica as his earlier Meditations might lead us to expect, perhaps because it remained incomplete, we will return to Meier's development of this theme only after we have considered Baumgarten's mature work. It is this liveliness rather than probative clarity which is the basis of aesthetic experience. Baumgarten then defines judgment as the representation of the perfection or imperfection of things. So taste is the ability to judge perfections and imperfections sensibly rather than intellectually.
Thus far, then, Baumgarten has remained within the conceptual framework of Wolff. I cognize the interconnection of some things distinctly, and of others indistinctly, consequently I have the faculty for both. Consequently I have an understanding, for insight into the connections of things, that is, reason ratio ; and a faculty for indistinct insight into the connections of things, which consists of the following: 1 the sensible faculty for insight into the concordances among things, thus sensible wit; 2 the sensible faculty for cognizing the differences among things, thus sensible acumen; 3 sensible memory; 4 the faculty of invention; 5 the faculty of sensible judgment and taste together with the judgment of the senses; 6 the expectation of similar cases; and 7 the faculty of sensible designation.
All of these lower faculties of cognition, in so far as they represent the connections among things, and in this respect are similar to reason, comprise that which is similar to reason analogon rationis , or the sum of all the cognitive faculties that represent the connections among things indistinctly. Baumgarten's departure from Wolff here may be subtle, but his idea is that the use of a broad range of our mental capacities for dealing with sensory representations and imagery is not an inferior and provisional substitute for reason and its logical and scientific analysis, but something parallel to reason.
Moreover, this complex of human mental powers is productive of pleasure, through the sensible representation of perfection, in its own right. Baumgarten has not yet introduced the idea that aesthetic pleasure comes from the free play of our mental powers, but he has relaxed the grip of the assumption that aesthetic response is a straightforward case of cognition. The potential of this idea finally begins to emerge in the Aesthetica.
Aesthetics the theory of the liberal arts, the logic of the lower capacities of cognition [ gnoseologia inferior ], the art of thinking beautifully, the art of the analogon rationis is the science of sensible cognition. Baumgarten's list of synonyms may be confusing, for it includes both traditional and novel designations of his subject matter. He explains in the preface to the second edition of the Metaphysics that he. Vorreden zur Metaphysik , p. Yet it is clear that he means his own new science to be broader in scope than some of the more traditional definitions he brackets: he intends to provide a general science of sensible cognition rather than just a theory of the fine arts or our taste for them.
Although Baumgarten makes some broad claims for the new science, this is not where the novelty of the Aesthetica lies, for at least in the extant part of the work Baumgarten never actually develops this theme.
Instead, the innovation comes at the beginning of the first chapter of the work, when Baumgarten writes that. The aim of aesthetics is the perfection of sensible cognition as such, that is, beauty, while its imperfection as such, that is, ugliness, is to be avoided. Baumgarten's departure from Wolff's formula that beauty is the sensitive cognition of perfection may easily be overlooked, but in his transformation of that into his own formula that beauty is the perfection of sensitive cognition he is saying that beauty lies not—or as his subsequent practice suggests, not just—in the representation of some objective perfection in a form accessible to our senses, but rather—or also—in the exploitation of the specific possibilities of sensible representation for their own sake.
In other words, there is potential for beauty in the form of a work as well as in its content because its form can be pleasing to our complex capacity for sensible representation—the analogon rationis —just as its content can be pleasing to our theoretical or practical reason itself. The satisfaction of those mental powers summed up in the analogon rationis is a source of pleasure in its own right.
What does this mean in practice? Here Baumgarten is importing the traditional rhetorical concepts of inventio , dispositio and elocutio into his system, and conceiving of the latter two, the harmony of the thoughts and the harmony of the expression with the thoughts, as the dimensions in which the potentials for pleasure within our distinctively sensible manner of representing and thinking are realized. He thus recognizes those aspects of works of art, which were touched upon only in passing by Wolff and Gottsched, as sources of pleasure internal to works of art that are equally significant with the pleasure that arises from the content of works, considered as representations of perfections outside of the works themselves.
As it happened, Baumgarten did not live to complete even the first of these three parts. Further, the material he did complete suggests that he may have been more successful in making conceptual space for the appreciation of the particularly sensible aspects of art than in substantively changing how art is actually experienced. Nevertheless, some of Baumgarten's categories of aesthetic qualities are important.
However, in his classroom lectures on the Aesthetica , Baumgarten particularly emphasized the moral magnitude of the subject matter of works of art as a major source of our pleasure in them, and there mentions that works of art will therefore be touching, that is to say, emotionally moving. Baumgarten stressed that the moral content of a work of art is only one source of beauty, and that a work of art can be beautiful without any moral grandeur.
What is important here, finally, is the moral standing of what is contained in the work of art, not the actual morality of the artist himself. Baumgarten did not extensively develop his comment that art must be touching, but this became central to Meier's aesthetics. Thus in the emotions the soul is sensitive of the strength of its powers, that is, of its perfection. It must therefore necessarily be gratified with its own strength.
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It must be joyous when it feels as much as it can. Living cognition becomes alive through the sensible representations. The lower powers of the soul, the desires and aversions, constitute the life of a cognition. Everything that leaves our powers in peace when we cognize it is a dead cognition. Art aims for the opposite. Indeed, Meier continues that it is by arousing our passions that art achieves its goal of a clear but confused, that is, manifold but densely packed, cognition. For Meier, moving our emotions is not just some small part of the beauty of art, as Baumgarten seems to suggest.
Instead, the arousal of our emotions, even ones that considered by themselves should be disagreeable, is the strongest source of the pleasure at which art aims because it is the most intense form of mental activity. With his connection of the pleasure in experiencing emotions to the pleasure of experiencing mental activity as such he brought Wolffian aesthetics a step closer to contemporary British aesthetics. Meier thereby prepared the way for the tremendous influence that British aesthetics would have in Germany by the end of the s.
But while Meier stressed the activity of the mind and Baumgarten argued that aesthetic experience is based in an analogue of reason, not reason itself, neither was quite ready to introduce the idea of the free play of our mental powers as the fundamental source of our pleasure in aesthetic experience. That idea would be decisively introduced into German aesthetics only with Kant's unique synthesis of the preceding German tradition with the British tradition.
Before that was to happen, however, the ideas, emphasized more by Meier although already suggested by Baumgarten, that art aims at arousing our emotions and at the pleasurable activity of the mind, and at the former as an instance of the latter, would be further developed by an intervening generation of German thinkers. Let us now turn to some of those. In a review of Meier's Extract from the Foundations of all fine Arts and Sciences , Moses Mendelssohn —86 rejected what he took to be the excessively abstract and a priori method of Baumgarten and Meier, writing that:.
Just as little as the philosopher can discover the appearances of nature, without examples from experience, merely through a priori inferences, so little can he establish appearances in the beautiful world, if one can thus express oneself, without diligent observations. The securest path of all, just as in the theory of nature, is this: One must assume certain experiences, explain their ground through an hypothesis, then test this hypothesis against experiences from a quite different species, and only assume those hypotheses to be general principles which have thus held their ground; one must finally seek to explain these principles in the theory of nature through the nature of bodies and motion, but in aesthetics through the nature of the lower powers of our soul.
Review of Meier, pp. He certainly does, but what he aims to do is to show that the perfections that can be realized in aesthetic experience are both more positive and more complicated than those recognized by Baumgarten. Mendelssohn's analysis of the complexity of aesthetic experience places more emphasis on the powers of mind and body involved in such experience than on the objective perfections that art may represent or nature contain. His account further prepares the ground for the full-blown theory of aesthetic experience as based in a play of our powers that will subsequently be achieved by Kant and Schiller.
But in his emphasis on the role of the body as well as the mind in aesthetic experience, Mendelssohn goes beyond his successors. Mendelssohn followed his rabbi from Dessau to Berlin at the age of fourteen.
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At twenty-one, he became a tutor in the home of a Jewish silk manufacturer, at twenty-five his accountant, subsequently his manager, and finally a partner in the business, in which he would work full-time for the rest of his life. But by twenty-five Mendelssohn had also mastered not only literary German but Greek, Latin, French, and English as well as a vast range of literature and philosophy in all those languages. He had also become friends with the critic and playwright Gotthold Ephraim Lessing and the writer and publisher Friedrich Nicolai, and begun an active publishing career.
In , before he turned twenty-six, Mendelssohn published Philosophical Dialogues on the model of Shaftesbury, On Sentiments , and, with Lessing, Pope, a Metaphysician! The next year he published Thoughts on Probability and a translation of Rousseau's second discourse On the Origins of Inequality.
From to he collaborated with Lessing and Nicolai on the Library of Fine Sciences and Liberal Arts , for which he wrote two dozen reviews of new works in aesthetics and literature, and from to he contributed nearly one hundred reviews to Nicolai's Letters concerning the newest Literature , discussing works not only in aesthetics and literature but also metaphysics, mathematics, natural science, and politics Gesammelte Schriften , vol.
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Conservation Land Management. On 9 September , U2 announced their thirteenth studio album, Songs of Innocence , at an Apple product launch event, and released it digitally the same day to all iTunes Store customers at no cost. He suffered fractures of his shoulder blade, humerus , orbit , and pinky finger,  leading to uncertainty that he would ever be able to play guitar again. In , U2 worked on their next studio album, Songs of Experience , which was intended to be a companion piece to Songs of Innocence.
In , the group staged a tour marking the 30th anniversary of The Joshua Tree , on which they performed the album in its entirety at each show. Songs of Experience was released on 1 December The personal nature of the lyrics reflects a "brush with mortality" that he had during the album's recording.
Since their inception, U2 have developed and maintained a distinctly recognisable sound, with emphasis on melodic instrumentals and expressive, larger-than-life vocals. Bono has nurtured his falsetto operatic voice  and has exhibited a notable lyrical bent towards social, political, and personal subject matter while maintaining a grandiose scale in his songwriting. In addition, the Edge has described U2 as a fundamentally live band. Despite these broad consistencies, U2 have introduced brand new elements into their musical repertoire with each new album.
U2's early sound was influenced by bands such as Television and Joy Division , and has been described as containing a "sense of exhilaration" that resulted from the Edge's "radiant chords" and Bono's "ardent vocals". With their influence, both albums achieved a "diverse texture". In the s, U2 reinvented themselves as they began using synthesisers, distortion , and electronic beats derived from noise music , dance , and hip-hop on Achtung Baby ,  Zooropa , and Pop. U2's lyrics are known for their social and political commentary, and are often embellished with Christian and spiritual imagery.
The first was written about the Troubles in Northern Ireland,  while the last concerns the struggle of a group of women whose children were killed or forcibly disappeared at the hands of the El Salvadoran government during the country's civil war. Bono's personal conflicts and turmoil inspired songs like " Mofo ", " Tomorrow " and " Kite ". An emotional yearning or pleading frequently appears as a lyrical theme,  in tracks such as " Yahweh ",  " Peace on Earth ", and " Please ".
Much of U2's songwriting and music is also motivated by contemplations of loss and anguish, coupled with hopefulness and resilience, themes that are central to The Joshua Tree. U2 have used tours such as Zoo TV and PopMart to caricature social trends, such as media overload and consumerism, respectively. While the band and its fans often affirm the political nature of their music, U2's lyrics and music have been criticised as apolitical because of their vagueness and "fuzzy imagery", and a lack of any specific references to actual people or characters.
King , Lou Reed and Luciano Pavarotti. And for me, the most important door he opened was the one with Brian Eno behind it. Since the early s, the members of U2—as a band and individually—have collaborated with other musicians, artists, celebrities, and politicians to address issues concerning poverty, disease, and social injustice. Bono and his wife Ali, invited by World Vision , later visited Ethiopia where they witnessed the famine first hand. Bono would later say this laid the groundwork for his Africa campaigning and some of his songwriting. These events greatly influenced The Joshua Tree album, which was being recorded at the time.
The band dedicated their song " Walk On " to Burma 's pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi , who had been under house arrest since Since , Bono's campaigning has included Jubilee with Geldof, Muhammad Ali , and others to promote the cancellation of third-world debt during the Great Jubilee. In late , following Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita , the Edge helped introduce Music Rising , an initiative to raise funds for musicians who lost their instruments in the storm-ravaged Gulf Coast.
At the 3rd iHeartRadio Music Awards in April , U2 were honored with the Innovator Award for "their impact on popular culture and commitment to social causes. Several authors and activists who publish in politically left journals such as CounterPunch have decried Bono for allowing his celebrity to be co-opted by an association with political figures such as Paul Wolfowitz ,  as well as his "essential paternalism". The members of U2 have undertaken side projects, sometimes in collaboration with some of their bandmates.
Kelly and Mary J. Blige for a successful gospel song called "Lean on Me". Aside from musical collaborations, U2 have worked with several authors. American author William S. Burroughs had a guest appearance in U2's video for " Last Night on Earth " shortly before he died. In , Bono appeared in the film Across the Universe and performed songs by the Beatles. They are the only group to attain number-one albums in the US in the s, s, s, and s.
The band's 1, weeks spent on the UK music charts ranks 13th all-time. Rolling Stone placed U2 at number 22 on its list of " The Greatest Artists of All Time ",  while ranking Bono the 32nd-greatest singer,  the Edge the 38th-greatest guitarist,  and Mullen the 96th-greatest drummer. U2 received their first Grammy Award in for The Joshua Tree , and they have won 22 in total out of 47 nominations, more than any other group.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Four-member Irish rock band, from Dublin. This article is about the Irish rock band. For other uses, see U2 disambiguation. Feedback —77 The Hype — See also: Timeline of U2. We couldn't believe it. I was completely shocked. We weren't of an age to go out partying as such but I don't think anyone slept that night Really, it was just a great affirmation to win that competition, even though I've no idea how good we were or what the competition was really like.
But to win at that point was incredibly important for morale and everyone's belief in the whole project. The wild beauty, cultural richness, spiritual vacancy and ferocious violence of America are explored to compelling effect in virtually every aspect of The Joshua Tree —in the title and the cover art, the blues and country borrowings evident in the music Indeed, Bono says that 'dismantling the mythology of America' is an important part of The Joshua Tree ' s artistic objective.
Buzzwords on this record were trashy, throwaway, dark, sexy, and industrial all good and earnest, polite, sweet, righteous, rockist and linear all bad. It was good if a song took you on a journey or made you think your hifi was broken, bad if it reminded you of recording studios or U The band emerged from the lemon during encores, although it occasionally malfunctioned. Main article: List of awards and nominations received by U2.
Main articles: U2 discography and songs. Main article: List of U2 concert tours. CBS News.
Retrieved 25 May Marlowe, Lara 7 June The Irish Times. Retrieved 8 October Morse, Steve 7 March The Boston Globe. Browning, Boo 27 February The Washington Post. McNally, Charlie 17 April — 1 May Retrieved 3 January Smith, C. Orange County Register.
Books by or in collaboration with IFMC/ICTM
Smith, Andrew 23 March The Sunday Times. Mueller, Andrew May Uncut Legends. Archived from the original on 10 August Retrieved 18 June Dentler, Matt 30 October The Daily Texan. Breimeier, Russ. Salem Web Network. Archived from the original on 19 March Retrieved 23 March Carter, Geoff 27 April The Las Vegas Sun. Anderson, Kyle 4 October Shuster, Fred 27 October Los Angeles Daily News.
Lengel, Kerry 26 April The Arizona Republic. Bray, Ryan 30 October Consequence of Sound. Retrieved 22 December Gill, Andy 27 October The Independent. Moon, Tom 29 October