A new interpretation of Schiller's aesthetic treatises that places them in the context of the Platonic tradition.
Unravelling the contradictions and complexities of Friedrich Schiller's labyrinthine thought, David Pugh illuminates the inner dynamics of these writings and places them within a wider philosophical and cultural context. Modern discussions tend to focus on Schiller's thought in relation to the Enlightenment, but Pugh argues that his ideas have a greater affinity with ancient and Renaissance thought.
Dialectic of Love analyses the arguments of Schiller's major writings on aesthetics and argues that his philosophical thought, theories, and concepts are characteristic of the Platonic tradition. Schiller's conception of beauty is seen as synthesis, the sublime as separation. Pugh connects these concepts to Aristotle's critique of Plato's theory of ideas, in which Aristotle points out an aporia of chorismos (separation) and methexis (participation). In Schiller's thought, Pugh argues, beauty and the sublime operate primarily as metaphysical relations of methexis and chorismos and only secondarily as aesthetic concepts.
While Schiller, Pugh reveals, is not very well suited for the role of champion of the Enlightenment, he remains a crucial figure in the transmission of the Platonic tradition to modern idealism and in the application of the Platonic metaphysical heritage to nineteenth-century aesthetics.