International Journal of Art & Design Education

Against Integration: Distinguishing Art Theory and Aesthetics

Volume 20.2   2001



As part of a wider project to consider the manner in which philosophical aesthetics can effectively inhabit the world of art practice as a teaching, this essay works both with and against Hegel to identify a fundamental aporia at the heart of the theory/practice matrix. Rooted in the anti-dialogical thought of thinkers such as Nietzsche, Maurice Blanchot and Emmanuel Levinas, this contribution to the debate around inter/multi-disciplinarity returns, paradoxically, to the integrative dialectics of Hegel where, it is argued, the most serious challenge to the facile fusion of theory and practice is launched. Rather than undermining the teaching of theory, this challenge is intended to launch a re-evaluation of the relationship between art theory and aesthetics for the sake of a radical re-orientation of art teaching.