The Art of Second Nature

May 11, 2022, 4:00pm - 6:00pm
SPAH, University of Essex

United Kingdom

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While the concept of “second nature” has received remarkable attention in recent years, the discussion has mainly focused on neo-Aristotelian accounts. In this lecture, I develop a neglected post-Kantian alternative. Instead of focusing solely on the model of habit, this conception shifts our attention to a different paradigm for second nature: the work of art. Following Kant’s account in the third critique, producing a work of art can be understood as the production of an “other nature”, expressive of freedom. As the post-Kantian tradition from Schiller and Hegel to Marx and Nietzsche suggests, the work of art can thus serve as a model for the kind of second nature we require in order to realize an ethical life. Thus, the production of an ethical second nature is not a matter of mere habituation, but a challenging “art”: it is an aesthetic task, a complex dialectical exercise, and a social practice of objectification.

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May 11, 2022, 3:00pm BST

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