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By Benedetto Croce

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We have seen that intuition is knowledge, free of concepts and more simple than the so-called perception of the real. Since art is knowledge and form, it does not belong to the world of feeling and of psychic material. The reason why so many aestheticians have so often insisted that art is _appearance_ (_Schein_), is precisely because they have felt the necessity of distinguishing it from the more complex fact of perception by maintaining its pure intuitivity. For the same reason it has been claimed that art is _sentiment_.

Is it to be looked down upon from above with contempt, as something useless, as has so often been done in the reaction of the humanists against scholasticism, in absolute idealism, in the enthusiastic admiration of our times for the methods of observation and experiment of the natural sciences? Syllogistic, reasoning _in forma_, is not a discovery of truth; it is the art of exposing, debating, disputing with oneself and others. Proceeding from concepts already formed, from facts already observed and making appeal to the persistence of the true or of thought (such is the meaning of the principle of identity and contradiction), it infers consequences from these data, that is, it represents what has already been discovered.

Aesthetic content has also been defined as what is _interesting_. That is not an untrue statement; it is merely void of meaning. What, then, is interesting? Expressive activity? Certainly the expressive activity would not have raised the content to the dignity of form, had it not been interested. The fact of its having been interested is precisely the fact of its raising the content to the dignity of form. But the word "interesting" has also been employed in another not illegitimate sense, which we shall explain further on.

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AESTHETIC AS SCIENCE OF EXPRESSION AND GENERAL LINGUISTIC by Benedetto Croce


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