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Title: Aesthetics and geometry in Proclus, Spinoza, Leibniz, Kant and Bergson
Author: Rawes, Margaret S. H.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3509 4092
Awarding Body: Goldsmiths, University of London
Current Institution: Goldsmiths College (University of London)
Date of Award: 2004
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The thesis proposes a series of 'forgotten' aesthetic geometries that are retrieved from metaphysical philosophy. Organised into five chapters, the discussion identifies geometric methods and figures in a series of selected texts from Neoplatonic, post-Cartesian and Kantian thinking. Chapter 1 situates the argument in an examination of Kant's Critical philosophy and identifies two kinds of aesthetic and geometric procedure that are constructed in the first and third Critiques. In the Critique of Pure Reason (1781/1787) Kant constructs geometry as both pure 'cognition' (i. e. as intuition) and sense-perception (i. e. space). In the Critique ofJudgment (1790), however, geometry is a procedure that is generated by the imagination and the reflective subject as a form of aesthetic judgment. Geometric procedure becomes, therefore, an aesthetic act of construction that reflects the irreducible unity of the thinking subject and is reconfigured in relation to intuition, limit and unlimit, the soul, imagination and space and time. This discussion provides the context through which the aesthetic geometric methods and figures in the writings of Proclus, Spinoza, Leibniz and Bergson are explored. Chapter 2 reveals the synthetic figure of the fold from Proclus' (410-485AD) procedure of 'unfolding' a divine geometry from Euclid's Elements. Chapter 3 proposes an aesthetic 'comportment' that generates a 'passage' through Spinoza's geometric text, the Ethics (1677). Chapter 4 examines the analytic and aesthetic geometric figure of the 'plenum', which is constructed from an intensive corporeal and incorporeal magnitude in Leibniz's 'Monadology' (1714). Chapter 5 proposes that Bergson's text, Matter and Memory (1896), reinstates intuition as a 'natural geometry' or 'life' in the figure of the 'envelope'. The thesis explores, therefore, a geometric tradition in which Kantian aesthetics looks both backwards and forwards, and each method and figure represents a different 'recollection' of its potential.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral