Essex Lectures in Philosophy with Thomas Khurana
The School of Philosophy and Art History hold the Essex Lectures in Philosophy each year. The May 2022 lectures are titled 'The Art of Second Nature'
Lecture I: The Art of Second Nature
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.
Each lecture is one hour, followed by a 45-minute Q&A session.
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