Reference Entry

Dilthey, Wilhelm

Andrew Dobson

in Oxford Art Online

ISBN: 9780199264797
Published online January 2003 | e-ISBN: 9781884446054 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/gao/9781884446054.article.T022790
Dilthey, Wilhelm

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(b Biebrich, Hesse, Nov 19, 1831; d Seis, Tyrol [now Bolzano, Italy], 1911).

German philosopher. He had a profound influence on philosophy in the 20th century, particularly on Martin Heidegger in Germany and José Ortega y Gasset in Spain. He revived the discipline of Hermeneutics, in which it is held that parts of a complex whole can be understood only in terms of that whole. He argued that this was the correct form of investigation of the human world, which he believed to be characterized by just such complex part–whole relationships. One consequence of hermeneutics is that there are no self-evident starting-points or certainties on which to base investigation. In the context of the visual arts, Dilthey believed there to be no timeless aesthetic principles with which to judge technique or content. He held that art was one among many forms of human expression that had to be appreciated in the light of its historical context, although he did suggest that human nature provides a repertory of universal principles that govern aesthetic appreciation. He believed certain colours and lines, and certain relations of symmetry and rhythm to be intrinsically pleasing....

Reference Entry.  366 words. 

Subjects: Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art ; 19th-Century Art ; 20th-Century Art

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