Carl G. Jung: A solution to the problem of the aesthetic experience
Artistic inspiration and the effect of art on the audience or reader has been a philosophical problem since Plato. It became acute in the Romantic period. Kant in his Critique of Judgment gave an epistemological explanation of the aesthetic experience. Other Romantic writers as well as Kant's successors, Schiller, Schopenhauer, and Nietzsche dealt further with the subject. The procedure of the study has involved a historical review of philosophical writings on aesthetics, including Plato, Plotinus, and the nineteenth century Germans mentioned above. Jung's general psychological theory has been explained. His analysis of the aesthetic experience and other aesthetic views and how they depend on his general system has been examined. Finally, Jung's artistic criticism is discussed and evaluated. Two broad claims are advanced: first, that Jung's explanation of the aesthetic experience is the best solution to this difficult psychological and epistemological problem; second, that Jung is as much Romantic philosopher as psychologist. The conclusions support these two theses. Jung's work seems also to support Kant's position that there is an artistic form of cognition separate from the conceptual thought governed by the categories. Finally, a schema is offered for a system of criticism based on Jung's writings.