The Status of Art in the Carnets
This chapter demonstrates that Joseph Joubert was not content with simple, explicit refutation, but preferred the more devious strategy of using the vocabulary of writers like Pierre-Jean Georges Cabanis and Charles Bonnet to reinforce a spiritual view of the cosmos. His growing concern with matter, body, and the extension of the physical universe is motivated by the desire to situate such phenomena in the context of divine creation and leads him ultimately into an attempt to determine the ontological status of human creativity and art. As one might expect, such an approach is fraught with unforeseen complexities and is productive of irony: Joubert's defence of the Platonic world view with enemy weapons backfires, as a growing Platonic suspicion of art is undercut by quite distinctive enthusiasm for the creative process itself, which may be related to the Neoplatonic aesthetic examined in this book.
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