While the current philosophical debate surrounding Hegel’s aesthetics focuses heavily on the philosopher’s controversial ‘end of art’ thesis, its participants rarely give attention to Hegel’s ideas on the nature of beauty and its relation to art. This study seeks to remedy this oversight by placing Hegel’s views on beauty front and center. Peters asks us to rethink the common assumption that Hegelian beauty is exclusive to art and argues that for Hegel beauty, like art, is subject to historical development. Her careful analysis of Hegel’s notion of beauty not only has crucial implications for our understanding of the ‘end of art’ and Hegel’s aesthetics in general, but also sheds light on other fields of Hegel’s philosophy, in particular his anthropology and aspects of his ethical thought.
"Julia Peters' intelligent and interesting book … adds a vital new dimension to the debate." -- Andrew Bowie, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews
"Peters’s interpretation is presented with great clarity and care and admirably combines the virtues of comprehensiveness and concision. In her efforts to unearth the key elements of the Hegelian definition of beauty and open new avenues for assessing beauty’s relevance for art, she has made a significant contribution to the discussion." -- Brent Kalar, Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism
Introduction 1. The Anthropological Roots of Beauty 2. Hegel on Beauty, Nature and Art: Towards a Novel Interpretation 3. The Value of Beauty, Aesthetic Experience and the Aesthetic Human Ideal 4. The Beautiful Character and its Limits 5. Beyond Beauty: The Pain of Inner Division 6. Modern Beauty