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1. Introduction Though Edmund Husserl is without a doubt the central figure of the phenomenoiogical movement, he was primarily occupied with epistemological matters and devoted precious little attention to other areas of philosophy such as aesthetics Among the Munich phenomenologists, who were profoundly influenced by Husserl, there was however considerable interest in this particular area of philosophical inquiry, as indeed there was on the part of their mentor, Theodor Lipps. One of the Munich phenomenologists who conducted investigations in aesthetics was Alois Fischer, whose Habilitionsschrift was entitled Untersuchungen iiber den iisthetischen Wert. EHere I shall critically examine the phenomenological aspects of this work. At the outset we should note that aesthetics on his view is not entirely a phenomenoloNcal discipline. Only that part of aesthetics in which the aesthetic object is investigated is regarded as phenomenolo~lcal, whereas the investigation of aesthetic enjoyment is assigned to psychology and that of aesthetic value to metaphysics. In Fischer's attempt to determine the aesthetic object, however, we find a good deal of psychology and are therefore compelled to raise the old question once again whether phenomenology cannot be anything else but a peculiar kind of psychology, "descriptive" rather than "explanatory" or "genetic" psychology, as Husserl had characterized it in the first edition of the Logische Untersuchungen. 5 Here I shall focus on Fischer's phenomenological aesthetics with precisely this conception of phenomenology in mind, not only because this is indeed the only kind of phenomenology to be found in his aesthetics, but also because no other conception of phenomenology has yet been sufficiently clarified by its pro2 4

J This work was not published, but can be found in the Bayrische Staatsbibliotheek under signature: Ana 345.C.I.3. The part of it which was published, [Fischer 1907], will also be drawn upon here. 2 Untersuchungen iiberden tisthetischen Weft, 19 f. 3 Untersuchungen iiber den tisthetischen Weft, 18 ff. 4 Untersuchungen iiber den tisthetischen Weft, 19. 5 [HUssefl 1984], 24 Axiomathes, Nos. 1-2, 1998, pp. 81-92.



ponents. In the case of Fischer's phenomenological aesthetics there are particularly two phenomena which are given considerable attention, namely the role of empathy (Einfiihlung) in the apprehension of the aesthetic object and the nature of aesthetic enjoyment. In the following I shall critically discuss his attempt to describe these phenomena.

2. Empathy
The aesthetic object can be either something in nature or a work of art. The fact that such objects exist is of course obvious enough, but Fischer's phenomenological aesthetics is concerned with the specifically aesthetic content (Gehalt) of such objects. It is however tempting to say that there is no such content, ff the aesthetic object can be characterized as any object of enjoyment, the notion of aesthetic content becomes altogether superfluous. Against this view Fischer argues: "Neben dem Natur- und Kunstgenuss steht ein grrberer und feinerer Genuss der Sinne, neben dem Sinnengenuss ein Genuss an T~itigkeit, Kraft und Gefahr, an Spiel und Sport ... Wenn nur das Genusserlebnis den Gegenstand zum ~isthetischen stempelte, h~itten wir keine Mrglichkeit, 'schrn' und 'angenehm,' 'ntitzlich' und 'schrn,' 'gut' und 'ntitzlich' usf. zu unterscheiden; denn die Gegenst~inde dieser Pr~idikate sind zugleich immer solche, auf die ein aktuelles Lusterlebnis sich bezieht oder beziehen kann. Das asthetische Wesen ist auch nicht etwas so ~iusserlich zu dem Gegenstand in Beziehung Gesetztes, wie es Genusserlebnisse sein krnnen; ein bestimmter ~isthetischer Charakter kann nicht jedem Gegenstand umgezogen werden, wie ein Gewand, wahrend uns nichts im Wege steht, jeden Gegenstand zu geniessen.''6 The extent to which this argument is convincing, however, will depend on how aesthetic enjoyment is to be characterized. This will occupy us later on. Though Fischer rejects the characterization of the aesthetic object merely in terms of enjoyment, he nonetheless employs a psychological concept in his attempt to determine such an object. The concept in question, namely empathy, is taken from the psychology of Lipps. Since Fischer simply takes this concept for granted, it will serve us well first to consider how it is understood by Lipps. According to him: "'Einfiihlung' tiberhaupt sagt einmal, dass ich 'reich ftihle.' ... Lind zweitens sagt die 'Einftihlung,' dass dies GeftihI an etwas Anderes als Ich, an einen von mir verschiedenen Gegenstand, gebunden ist, oder ftir meinen unmittelbaren Eindmck darin 'liegt. '''7 The difficult point is of course this second

6 [Fischer 1907], 10. 7 [Lipps 1906], 1.



one. How are we to understand feelings which are intimately tied to something other than the apprehending ego? Lipps maintains that empathy occurs in conjunction with expression (Ausdruck). In this case we do not merely associate our feelings with the object in question, as we may associate lightning with thunder, neither of which can be said to be the expression of the other, s The expression which is apprehended by empathy is more particularly externalized (gegiussert) or manifested (kundgegeben). If, for instance, I grasp a gesture as an expression of sadness, it is "nicht etwa so, dass ich dieselbe nur einfach tatsiichlich 'darin' sehe, d.h. nur einfach in und mit der Gebarde sie erfasse. Sondem ich erfasse zugleich die Geb/irde als eine solche, in welcher oder durch welche die Trauer kundgegeben wird, oder erfasse die Trauer als eine durch die Geb/irde kundgegebene. ''9 It is of course easy to see how the concept of empathy is relevant to aesthetics, for many works of art, if not all, are pre-eminent among the objects which manifest feelings. According to Fischer, there are three different ways in which an aesthetic object can be apprehended by empathy. The first of these is mechanical and has to do with forces or powers felt in the object. These are "nachgebildet den Eigenheiten des menschlichen Kraft- und Willenslebens. ''t This type of empathy can be found in our apprehension of natural aesthetic objects such as faces, trees, plants, and masses of stone, but also in works of art. A line can stand or lie and also be directed in this or that way. In a picture there can be a balance between lightness and darkness or between foreground and background. Such a balance is not to be construed as a purely mathematical one. It is rather "ein eigentiimlich neues Gleichgewicht, in dem sich die Relativit~it aller Faktoren und Teile eines Kunstwerkes manifestiert."l According to Fischer, we can also apprehend an aesthetic object by means of Stimmungseinfiihlung, which has its roots "in den strebungsfreien, passiven Zust~inden des Jubels, der Angst, der Sehnsucht, der Trauer usf. ''t2 Examples of this can be found in the usage of words as might be found in poetry and other literary works of art. "Klang, Rhythmus, und Bedeutungsgehalt," says Fischer, "wirken zusammen, um die Worte mit jener Aura zu umkleiden, in der ihre lyrische Bedeutsamkeit wurzelt. ''t3 Though he gives no examples of the role played by such empathy regarding natural aesthetic objects, these are of course not difficult to find. Nothing is more common than to find a bright sunny day cheerful and a cloudy or rainy day melancholy. s [Lipps 1906], 23. 9 [Lipps 1906], 24. 1o[Fischer 1907], 15. u [Fischer 1907], 16. J2 [Fischer 1907]. 13[Fischer 1907], 16 f.



The final type of empathy which Fischer identifies in our apprehension of aesthetic objects is "ethically directed." Whenever such objects are grasped as good or evil, it is such empathy which comes into play. T o be sure, this cannot occur unless either the mechanical or the mood-directed empathy is present, for only entities which are, as it were, endowed with power or exhibit certain moods can be regarded as good or evil. However, says Fischer, "durch die ethische Richtung erw~ichst ihnen aber doch eine neue Charakteristik. ''14 Thus it makes a difference whether we apprehend a lion as a kingly beast or as a ferocious predator. "Die ethisierende Einftihlung," Fischer further asserts, "greift nut Naturgebilden gegen~iber Platz, ''z5 and for this reason he does not bother giving examples from art. Regarding this point one may of course have doubts, for even if we leave aside whether a work of art as such is apprehended in the way under consideration, we may certainly apprehend characters in a work of fiction in this way. While Hamlet the play may not be an object of ethically directed empathy, certainly Hamlet the character presented in the play may be such an object. In all of these types of empathy, according to Fischer, there are cases which are conditioned by personal experience and are therefore highly individualized. A certain melody, for instance, may at first sound "trivial," though it might be heard as sad by someone who has heard it before under saddening circumstances. Such a person may moreover hear the melody as sad without even thinking of these circumstances. It is as if the sadness belonged to the melody itself. Cases such as these make it tempting to think that the empathy of the aesthetic content is to be characterized purely in terms of presented feelings. Yet, on closer analysis, Fischer claims, this characterization must be dismissed. ]6 The dismissal thereof is based on a consideration of how feelings are given. They may first of all, says Fischer, simply be experienced or "lived through" (erlebt). In this case they are not given as objects. Furthermore, they may be experienced "absolutely" or "with awareness." If someone becomes agitated in a discussion without noticing it, the feeling of agitation is experienced in the first of these ways. As to the second way, Fischer says the following: "Menschen geraten in Erregung und wissen es auch, nicht etwa nur nachtr~iglich in der Erinnerung, sondern in der Erregung selbst. Dieses 'Wissen' ist von dem 'Wissen u m ein Gegenst/indliches' vrllig verschieden. ''~7 The difference between the awareness in 14[Fischer 1907], 17. t5 [Fischer 1907], 17. 16 The opponent which Fischer specifically names in this regard is Stefan Witasek (Untersuchungen iiber den iisthetischen Wert, p. 53), who was of course a student of Alexius Meinong and was moreover under attack in Fischer's dissertation ([Fischer 1905], 122). As interesting as it would be to enter into the details of Witasek's aesthetics, this lies beyond the scope of the present discussion, especially since Fischer himself does not do so. Nevertheless, I shall partly defend the gist of Witasek's view regarding the issue under consideration. t7 [Fischer 1907], 19.



question and the awareness of the feeling as an object, says Fischer, is that the latter involves predicative judging and the former does not. Now against Fischer's view, that a feeling is either experienced or an object of predicative judgment, one might wish to argue by insisting on a third possibility, namely that the feeling is intuitively (anschaulich) presented. Such an instance may be found in considering what occurs when looking at the final judgment as depicted on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. t8 The feeling which is intuitively presented, according to Fischer's opponent, is the wrath of Christ. This wrath is not experienced by us when we look at the image in question. If we experience anything, it is rather the opposite of anger; that is to say, one may feel humbled or intimidated. Yet, the anger is given far too vividly in order to be regarded as a mere object of predicative judgment, something merely "thought." Faced with this plausible counter-example against his own view, Fischer nonetheless argues that feelings cannot be intuitively presented. A case which on his view exemplifies intuitive presentation is to be found in memory images) 9 If I have seen a violet square and later wish to talk about it, there may be no image which has any resemblance at all to What I have seen. In this case I am merely thinking about the violet square; the presentation of it is non-intuitive. By contrast, I may have an image which resembles the violet square, although it is the violet square itself and not the image which is the object of my presentation. Such a doubling of image and object, Fischer argues further, is not to be found in our presentation of feelings. 2 If, for instance, I think about the anger that I felt at some time in the past, I may do so without feeling any anger whatsoever. In this case the presentation of anger is clearly non-intuitive. If, however, I become so occupied with what made me angry that I become angry again, then the anger becomes something actually experienced and not presented. In either case there is nothing which functions as the memory-image of the past anger. Now against this argument Fischer's opponent may respond that perhaps intuitive presentations of feelings are not something that all of us have and cannot be understood by those who lack them (such as Fischer himself). 2~ Yet, the apprehension of aesthetic objects, Fischer maintains, is universal and therefore cannot be explained by positing certain presentations which some may have and some may lack. In addition to this he argues that the intuitive presentation fails to clarify what it is meant to clarify, namely the vividness with which the aesthetic object is apprehended. 22 Yet, if we return to the example of the depicted wrath of Christ, we see that it is [Fischer 1907], 19 f. 19[Fischer 1907], 20. zo [Fischer 1907], 20 f. 21[Fischer 1907], 21 f. 22[Fischer 1907], 22.



is tempting to take the side of Fischer's opponent. For given Fischer's view that we either experience a feeling (absolutely or with awareness) or present it in thought, he has little choice but to say that one experiences the wrath of Christ. For given the vividness of the object in question, it is clearly wrong to say that this is nothing more than the object of a predicative judgment. Granted that one experiences it, we must be careful to note that the wrath in question is experienced as the wrath of C h r i s t and not as o u r wrath. Fischer is therefore compelled to say that an object can be experienced in two different senses. I experience my own anger in a sense different from the one in which I experience the depicted wrath of Christ. In the former case "experiencing" means "selfgivenness of an object," whereas in the latter case it means belonging to the apprehending ego (to myself). 23 Now we must consider whether it is preferable to claim that the feeling which belongs to the aesthetic content is self-given, as Fischer does, instead of adopting the opposing view that the feeling is intuitively presented. A difficulty in his claim comes to light when we consider that the feeling in question, e.g. the wrath of Christ, is conveyed by a picture or perhaps by some other means and must not therefore be regarded as self-given. This point becomes particularly evident when we keep in mind that we can apprehend the aesthetic content without in the least believing in the depicted object. A non-Christian can apprehend the depicted wrath of Christ just as vividly as a Christian, as indeed the statue of a Greek god or godess can be apprehended with empathy and therefore as exhibiting feeling of some kind, though the apprehending ego has not the slightest inclination towards pagan belief. Should we therefore say instead that what occurs is an intuitive presentation of a feeling? If we do so, we need to find a way to reply to Fischer's objection against this view. The presupposition that images accompany our intuitive presentation is already a difficult point, but we can avoid entering into a critique of this view by observing that something analogous to the memory-image may occur in the presentation of a feeling, namely that one has a feeling which may be construed as a response. Though one does not experience the wrath of Christ as one's own while viewing the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, one may feel something like awe or humility which makes the presentation of the feeling intuitive. If, however, we consider another example, matters are rather different. A melody can sound sad without evoking sadness on the part of the listener or indeed any other corresponding emotion. Moreover, the sadness is, so to speak, actually "heard" and therefore self-given. We may therefore conclude that in some cases it is better to say that the apprehension of an aesthetic object involves the self-givenness of a feeling, whereas in other cases, contrary to Fischer's view, 23 [Fischer 1907], 27.



a feeling is intuitively presented. Before leaving this discussion of Fischer's determination of the aesthetic object via the concept of empathy, it must be emphasized that he regards the aesthetic content, such as the sadness of a melody or the balance of foreground and background in a painting, as something which really belongs to the object. In this respect the concept in question is given an epistemic value which is likely to meet with considerable resistance by m a n y Y Nonetheless, if we look at his application of this concept from a purely psychological point of view and therefore suspend judgment as to whether empathy is a means of discovering properties in the object, we may grant that it allows us to describe certain experiences which we would otherwise be at a lost to describe. If, for instance, we attempt to describe the experience of the aesthetic object by applying the concept of inner or outer perception, something is left to be desired. I do not perceive the sadness of the melody by inner perception, for I can only perceive my own experiences, including my own sadness, in this way. By outer perception, however, I perceive colors, odors, sounds and the like. The sounds which I perceive may be soft or loud, deep or high-pitched, but never sad. Empathy is peculiar insofar as its object is, as it were, an intermingling of the inner and the outer which may at first glance seem impossible, but which must be admitted by anyone who faithfully describes aesthetic experience. It is of course another matter whether these objects as such really do exist.

3. A e s t h e t i c e n j o y m e n t

Now let us consider what Fischer has to say about aesthetic enjoyment. While the concept of empathy is used by him to determine the aesthetic object in terms of power, mood, and ethical orientation, this does not yet provide us with any insight regarding the way in which such an object is enjoyed. One can, after all, hear a melody as cheerful without feeling cheerful. Whether the melody is heard as melancholy or cheerful, the enjoyment of it and other such objects is something new. Moreover, Fischer regards it not only as something added to the basic empathy which is required in the apprehension of these objects, but also as "den pragnantesten und wichtigsten Fall des Bewusstseins von asthetischen


There is, according to Fischer, a special relation between the enjoyment and value of the aesthetic object. This is emphatically stated in the following passage.

24See e.g. [Stumpf 1939], 367-371.

25 Untersuchungen iiber den gisthetischen Wert, 89.



"Es verhfilt sich mit dem /isthetischen Wert und mit unseren Erlebnissen des Genusses ~ihnlich, wie mit dem Ding in der Sinneswelt, wie mit dem Hans, das vor uns steht, und seinen verschiedenen, unendlich vielen Ansichten. Ansichten sind nicht Teile des Hauses, sie geben oder enthalten immer das ganze Haus, abet eben so wie es ftir einen Standpunkt, eine Entfemung, eine Beleuchtung erscheint; Ansichten sind auch nicht das Hans, obgleich in ihnen allen das Haus steckt, und 'das Haas selbst' vielleicht nur anschaulich ist in einer fortlaufenden Reihe einheitlich verknfipfter Ansichten. So ist es auch mit dem gsthetischen Wen und unserem Genusse. Unsere Akte des Geniessens, unsere Geftihle sind nicht Teile des Wertes; wir erfassen geniessend immer den Wert, den ganzen Wert, aber wir erfassen ihn modifiziert nach Standpunkt und Entfemung, nach Vorbereitung und Sammlung. Solche Wertansichten, wie es unsere Genusserlebnisse sind, sind noch viel reicher und komplizierter bedingt, als die optischen Ansichten eines Sinnen-Dinges.''26 The analogy between modes of enjoyment and perspectives in perceptual experience suggests an extremely objectivist view regarding aesthetic values, but Fischer also maintains that there would be no such values, and indeed no values of any kind at all, if there were no entities which felt pleasure.27 However, here we shall forego further discussion of this more "metaphysical" part of his aesthetics and now turn our attention to his description of the various ways of aesthetic enjoyment. According to Fischer, these are partly determined by modes of consciousness ,, . . . . . ,,28 wle wlr von Gegenst~inden tiberhaupt em Bewusstsem haben. 1) We may, first of all, be conscious of the aesthetic object attentively or unattentively,29 and if attentively, then either reflectively or unreflectively.3 Secondly, we may regard it only in its totality (im Ganzen) or in detail (ira Einzelnen). 3~ Thirdly, it is possible to be consious of it for the first (and perhaps only) time or repeatedly.32 Fourthly, the layman's consciousness of the object differs from the educated person's, e.g. the art critic's or art historian's consciousness.33 Let us now consider these various modes of consciousness in more detail. While Fischer has little to say about the unattentive apprehension of the aesthetic object, as this may occur while casually glancing at paintings in an art museum, the contrast between the two types of attentive apprehension, namely the reflective and non-reflective "ist gross genug, um fundamentale Folgen zu

26 Untersuchungen fiber den iisthetischen Wert , 92. 27 Untersuchungen fiber den iisthetischen Wert, 131 ff. 2s Untersuchungen fiber den iisthetischen Wert, 94. 29 Untersuchungen Liber den iisthetischen Wert, 95. 30 Untersuchungen fiber den itsthetischen Weft, 9 9 ff. ~l Untersuchungen fiber den O.sthetischen Wert, 9 6 ff. 32 Untersuchungen iiber den i~sthetischen Wert, 101 f. 33 Untersuchungen iiber den ~isthetischen Wert, 102.



begingen. Es gibt Kunsttheoretiker und Epochen der Kunst, in denen eine ktihle, niJchterne Art zu geniessen und zu schaffen vorwaltet, in denen man an die Kunstwerke die Anforderungen stellte, die aus beobachtender Auffassung folgen; die Kunstwerke mussten durchsichtig, verst~ndlich sein, technischen Anforderungen geniigen. Andererseits gab es enthusiastische Zeitalter, schw~,'merische Verehrer der Kunst, denen Extase, Hingerissen- und Ersch~ittertsein, zu den ersten Wirkungen dessen gehrrte, was sic Kunst nennen wollten. Es ist keine Frage, dass das Vorwiegen der einen oder der anderen Art von Betrachtung sowohl unseren Kunstgenuss wie (infolgedessen) unsere kunsttheoretischen Anschauungen erheblich zu beeinflussen vermag; sic legen uns schon den Gedanken yon Nuancen des ~ethetischen Geniessens nahe. ''34 In this connection Fischer points out that in reflective apprehension one runs the risk of destroying one's enjoyment altogether and that the abandonment of reflection can by contrast lead to an intensification of enjoyment. It is also clear, says Fischer, that our enjoyment of aesthetic objects is determined by our apprehension of them in their totality or in detail. The artist's own enjoyment of his work of art during the creation of it is indeed dependent on how he regards its details. Yet, the difference in question comes into play in the most banal circumstances, e.g. when we enjoy a piece of furniture as a whole and later come to find it considerably less attractive once we take the details of it into account. This last example is closely related to the division between the apprehension of the asesthetic object for first time and the repeated apprehension thereof. On the one hand, in repetition there is the possibility of becoming deadened (abgestumpft) and thus of diminished enjoyment of the object. On the other hand, says Fischer, there are cases in which the enjoyment thereof is actually enhanced through repitition. Furthermore, he adds, "Wiederholung gibt auch eine gewisse Garantie ffir die Objektivit~it des Eindrucks und Urteils; wir krnnen die erste Bekanntschaft einer Kunstsch6pfung in sehr befangener Stimmung machen; sehen wir ein Werk immer und immer wieder, so krnnen wir als ausgeschlossen betrachten, dass dies stets in der gleichen, subjektiven Verfassung und Situation geschieht. ''3s Here we may be reminded of the analogy between the perspectives of a physical thing and the enjoyment of the aesthetic object. Through repetition we can come to enjoy the aesthetic object more fully and therefore have a better grasp of its value. Finally, regarding the contrast between the enjoyment of the layman and that of the specialist, Fischer claims only: "Der Genuss des Kenners ist kiihler, aber auch erlesener; der des Laien ist intensiv, aber verworren. ''36 This claim, however,
Untersuchungen iiber den gisthetischen Wert, 100. 35 Untersuchungen iiber den gisthetischen Wert, 102. 36 Untersuchungen iiber den gisthetischen Wert.



seems to be unacceptable, for there are obviously some specialists who seem to be much more enthusiastic about the aesthetic objects in their specialized field than we who are only casually acquainted with them. More important for aesthetics are the different modes of consciousness which are proper to enjoyment. Before entering into a discussion of these, Fischer emphasizes that enjoyment is not to be characterized with just as any feeling of pleasure or pleasant mood. In this regard he says: "Das 'Geniessen,' und schon das Geniessen auf primitivster Stufe, ist verschieden von dem dumpfen, einsichtslosen Zustand, den wir kennen, wenn ein Gefiihl, genauer eine Stimmung da ist. Wir sind traurig, niedergeschlagen, und wissen nicht warum; die Stimmung ist wie ein geistiger und krrperlicher Tonus, der alles, was wit tun und denken mrgen, mitf'~bt, ohne dass die Objekte unseres Erlebens und die Art desselben dafiir verantwortlich zu machen w~en. Geniessen wir z.B. den Wohlgeschmack einer Frucht, so schmecken wir mit Aufmerksamkeit und Intensit~it, die Inhalte unserer Geschmacksempfindung besch~tigen uns, wir emeuern sie immer wieder, unterscheiden Nuancen an ihnen, besonders Nuancen, die mit der ldirzeren oder l~ingeren Dauer des Eindrucks zusammenh~tngen. Und 'der Eindruck' - ich meine nicht den einzelnen Moment, sondem den Eindruck, so wie er sich zusammenbaut auf Grund immer wiederholter, immer genauer beobachteter, immer nuancierterer Inhalte - erscheint und steht vor uns nicht nur als eine eigenartige Qualit~it, sondern als eine angenehme Qualitat, nicht nur unterschieden von anderen Geschmackseindriicken, sondern als kontrastierend zu unangenehmen ... 'Geniessen' erweist sich als ein ~iber kiirzere oder l~ngere Zeit ausgedehnter, auf objektivierende Erkenntnisse gegriindeter Akt der wertenden Stellungnahme.''37 Since enjoyment is accordingly characterized as an intentionally directed act, it makes sense to ask about the ways in which it as s u c h is directed at its objects. These ways are identified by Fischer as "1. die sinnlichen Elementargefiihle, 2. die Einffihlungsgefiihle, 3. motorische Komponenten, 4. Rudimente eigener Produktion, 5. kritische Momente.''38 The first of these is to be found, for instance, in the enjoyment of the particular colors in a painting or the particular sounds in a piece of m u s i c . 39 These are the effects of the material which makes up the aesthetic object and can be very prominent in our apprehension of this object, but Fischer insists that there are also some people who are hardly susceptible to such enjoyment, at least as far as visual and auditory sensory contents are concerned. Nonetheless, these people can enjoy the aesthetic object in one of the other four ways which he discerns. Secondly and more importantly, on Fischer's view, it is possible to enjoy such
37 Untersuchungen iiber den ~isthetischen Wert, 103 f. as Untersuchungen iiber den i~sthetischen Wert, p. 106. 39 Untersuchungen i~berden i~sthetischen Wert, 106 f.



an object by means of feelings of empathy (Einfiihlungsgefiihle). 4 When he speaks of these feelings, he means something in addition to the empathy by which, for instance, we hear a melody as sad; what he means is rather exemplified by the enjoyment of the sadness of the melody. It is obvious that enjoyment of this sort is absolutely crucial to aesthetics, for nothing is more common in our apprehension of works of art than to enjoy all sorts of emotions which would otherwise be regarded as undesirable. Not only do people enjoy the sadness of melodies, but also horror and tragedy in stories and plays Hence, the question arises whether there are any emotions which cannot be enjoyed by means of feelings of empathy. "Zuweilen," says Fischer, "hat man das Gefiihl der Entt~iuschung als eine Grenze angesehen ... Der Widerspruch zwischen Genuss und Entt~iuschung scheint auch hinreichend gross. Trotzdem, glaube ich, liegt eine Verwechslung von zwei verschiedenartigen, auch ihrer Stellung nach verschiedenen Enttauschungen vor. Wenn ein Kunstwerk uns entt~iuscht, wenn das, was wir finden, hinter den Erwartungen zuriickbleibt, mit denen wir an das Werk herangehen, oder dieses selbst zu wecken anfing, dannist allerdings diese Entt~uschung mit Kunstgenuss unvertr~iglich; sic ist Mangel des Genusses. Davon verschieden ist das ganz andere Ent~uschungserlebnis, das wir etwa mit dem Helden einer Dichtung teilen. Dieser Schmerz kann als Komponente auch in unsern Genuss eingehen, so gut wie das Grausen oder die Aufregung bei einer spannenden Lektfire. ''4~ If disappointment no less than horror and tragedy can be enjoyed through empathy, it might seem that there could be no limits to what can be enjoyed in this way. The only objects which cannot be empathetically enjoyed, according to Fischer, are one's own bodily sensations In this regard he considers motoric components of aesthetic enjoyment, such as the expressions of grief, anger, and the like on the part of the viewers of a drama. Here one might also include dancing as a way of enjoying music. None of the sensations which result from these motoric components, says Fischer, are essential to the empathetic enjoyment of the aesthetic enjoyment. Indeed, insofar as one is focused on the motoric components of enjoyment, the aesthetic object as such is no longer the object of enjoyment. Another way of enjoying an aesthetic object Fischer includes under the ,,42 heading rudiments of one s own production. Thls ~s to be found m the artist's own enjoyment of producing the work of art. Moreover, on Fischer's view, one can enjoy the aesthetic object in yet another way, namely by taking a critical stand towards it, e.g. when we interpret a poem, a painting, or such a work. Neither of these ways of enjoyment, just like the elementary sensory feelings and
~ ,

4o Untersuchungen iiber den i~sthetischen Wert, 107 ff. 4t Untersuchungen iiber den iisthetischen Wert, 109 f. 42 Untersuchungen iiber den i~sthetischen Wert, 114.



the motoric components, are however given the same importance as the enjoyment of the aesthetic object by means of empathy.

4. Conclusion What emerges in Fischer's phenomenological aesthetics is clearly the view that empathy is absolutely crucial not only to the apprehension of the aesthetic object, but also to the enjoyment of it. While this position certainly has merits, I have argued that in some ways his phenomenological description leaves something to be desired. This was particularly seen in his claim that empathy can never be described as an intuitive presentation of feeling. Perhaps another criticism which can be added here is be found in a consideration of abstract works of art. In the case of these it would seem that empathy plays a much smaller role than it does in the apprehension of other aesthetic objects, especially works of art of other kinds. This is not to say that empathy could play no role at all in the apprehension of abstract works of art, for we may keep in mind that Fischer formulates the notion of mechanical empathy whereby one empathetically grasps power and other phenomena which are analogues of the will. It remains to be seen in the further development of a phenomenological aesthetics whether the notion of empathy can be applied in any other way in s'_'zh cases.

References [Fischer 1905] [Fischer 1907] [Husserl 1984] [Lipps 1906] [Stumpf 1939] A. Fischer, Ueber symbolische Relationen, Munich, Kastner & Callwey. A. Fischer, Zur Bestimmung des i~sthetischen Gegenstandes, Munich, Franz Stein. E. Husserl, Logische Untersuchungen (lst edition), Husserliana XIX/I, edited by U. Panzer, The Hague, Martinus Nijhoff. T. Lipps, ]{sthetik. Psychologie des SchOnen und der Kunst II, Hamburg/Leipzig, Leopold Voss. C. Stumpf, Erkenntnislehre I, Leipzig, Johann Ambrosius Barth.

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