From Genius to Taste

Martin Buber’s Aestheticism

In: The Journal of Jewish Thought and Philosophy
Author: Sarah Scott1
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I reconstruct the aestheticism of Martin Buber in order to provide a new way of framing his moral philosophy and development as a thinker. The evolution of Buber’s thought does not entail a shift from aesthetics to ethics, but a shift from one aspect of aesthetics to another, namely, from taking genius to be key to social renewal, to taking taste to be key. I draw on Kantian aesthetics to show the connection between Buber’s aesthetic concerns and his moral concerns, and to defend the notion that a certain aesthetic orientation may be just what is needed for moral response.

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