Art, Human Rights and Peace: Collaborative Projects

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by Howard Richards

Presented to the IPRA Global Political Economy Commission at
the IPRA General Conference in Sopron, Hungary in July, 2004

Description: How can artists encourage principles of cooperation and sharing? Answer: by making art an integral part of progressive social movements, integrated with dialogue on social issues, with study and with practical work for social change. An exposition of the links to and from art, human rights and peace, found in two seminal books about art, Perpetual Peace by Friedrich Schiller and La Produccion Simbolica by Garcia Canclini.

You in attendance here will likely agree, as much as any people, with our frustrations, our anger and our perceptions of the world situation. You likely share in our conceptions of peace, in our means of peace building, in our hopes and in our moments when we lose hope and give in to despair. So, my diagnosis of the causes of current events is likely to be somewhat different than that of anyone else here. It leads me to ask a specific question about the links to and from art, human rights and peace; it leads me to a specific answer.

My diagnosis of current events is this: the root cause of their violence is the normative framework, legal and moral, of the global market economy. My coauthor and I have debated for this diagnosis at great length and for the methodological and epistemological grounds for assigning to it the status of a scientific analysis confirmed by facts. My question is this—How can artists encourage principles of cooperation and sharing? My answer (in twenty-five carefully chosen words) is—by making art an integral part of progressive social movements, integrated with dialogue on social issues, with study and with practical work for social change.

No one will complain that I am too modest; nevertheless, I am modest enough to believe that I am more likely to have my views heard if I present them as commentaries on recognized great works by other authors. So, I will not argue directly for the diagnosis, question and answer, which I have devised; I explain them only to reveal my bias. My presentation will take the form of an exposition of the links to and from art, human rights and peace, found in two recognized, representative and seminal great books about art, each of which has been reprinted numerous times. One book is implicitly pro-capitalist, while the other is explicitly pro-socialist.

The author of the first of the two books is the German dramatic poet and philosopher Friedrich Schiller. In 1793, He wrote a series of letters about the aesthetic education of humanity addressed to the Danish Prince Friedrich Christian of Schleswig-Holstein. Schiller acknowledges that his views on beauty and art derive for the most part from the philosophy of Kant.1 I will not analyze Schiller’s work alone, but rather Schiller’s work in connection with what Kant writes about peace, in his booklet Perpetual Peace, published shortly after Schiller’s letters.2 Kant’s booklet connects the concept of peace with the central ideas of Kant’s philosophy. The second author is the Marxist social scientist Nestor Garcia Canclini, who published the first edition of a book of sociological studies of art in 1979.3

For Schiller the linkage between art and human rights is that education based on art makes possible respect for human rights. The Kantian philosophy, which Schiller endorses and complements, maintains that respect for human rights produces peace; in a sense, it is peace. For Schiller as for Kant, peace is not natural; war is natural; peace must be founded.4 Schiller and Kant are among the founding fathers of the theories of peace and international relations we know today as the liberal tradition of political analysis, which mainstream scholars like Robert Keohane and Joseph Nye continue to respect.5

Although peace is not natural for Kant, it is possible because humans are rational beings. Rational beings, just because they are rational, are autonomous decision-makers who know that there is a moral law that they are obligated to obey. They are capable of obeying the commands they give themselves as autonomous rational beings and these commands constitute a moral basis for social order. The Kantian commands that rational beings give to themselves, when strictly without contingent commands, are called categorical imperatives. They constitute the first and most essential principles of the moral law and provide the basis for a moral jurisprudence, which is the ethically obligatory law for persons and states.6

Schiller in his letters on aesthetic education argues that art and only art, can make possible this prerequisite for peace articulated by Kant, this disposition to obey the moral commands of reason. As Schiller stated, “No other way exist to make the sensuous man rational than by first making him aesthetic.”7

It is important to bear in mind that Schiller does not favor, indeed he opposes, using art to teach morality.8 The direct effect of a good aesthetic education is not morality itself. It is instead a necessary step toward the kind of morality Schiller adopts from Kant. Beauty frees the soul from domination by sensuality and thus makes it possible to live a life of moral integrity according to Kantian categorical imperatives. Schiller adopts the general framework of Kant’s moral and social philosophy. In this framework in a world where people lived at peace with each other, respecting each other’s rights, respect for moral law would be a psychological force (geistliche) as reliable as the physical force that operates in the laws of nature formulated by Sir Isaac Newton. Where peace is founded, all are secure in the enjoyment of their rights, because it is the settled habit and reliable response of the population as a whole to respect everyone’s rights.

In Schiller’s philosophy of art, respect for human rights establishes peace. Kant and Schiller were echoed half a century later in a slogan attributed to Mexican President Benito Juarez who declared, “El respeto al derecho ajeno es la paz“ —Respect for the rights of others is peace.9 Kant, whom Schiller follows, believed that the ever-increasing horror of war would sooner or later motivate humanity to establish peace.10 The possibility of peace is already inherent in the essence of human nature. The essence of human nature is rationality, which commands respect for the autonomy and, therefore, the rights of every rational being.

Schiller finds two major obstacles standing in the way of Kant’s belief that humans are capable of obeying the moral commands of reason: 1) the coarse, sensual brutality of the majority of the members of the human species and 2) the corruption of the educated elites. Concerning the masses, Schiller wrote:

The natural character of man, selfish and violent as it is, aims far more at the destruction than at the preservation of society. Among the lower and more numerous classes we find crude, lawless impulses that have been unleashed by the loosening of the bonds of civil order and are hastening with ungovernable fury to their brutal satisfaction.11

Schiller’s solution to the problem posed by the brutality of the masses is education through art. Aesthetic education will employ beauty that simultaneously projects both charm and dignity to refine coarseness. Warm and tangible images and stories will reinforce the cold purity of the commands of the categorical imperative. Schiller wrote:

Drive away lawlessness, frivolity and coarseness from their pleasure and you will imperceptibly banish them from their actions and, finally, from their dispositions.12

Schiller begins his book by quoting Rousseau: Si est la raison qui fait homme; est le sentiment qui le conduit: Reason makes the man; sentiment moves him. Schiller gives Kant his due, by postulating that Kant’s reason has, indeed, defined the moral law. Schiller then comes to Kant’s rescue by proposing something more powerful than pure reason to move people to obey the law, namely: art. Thus, art will empower the masses to be good by freeing their sentiments from their vices. Schiller proposed an aesthetic education to cure the corruption of the educated elite. They suffer from hyper-scientific curricula.

The civilized classes present to us a still more repugnant spectacle of indolence and a depravity of character, which is all the more shocking since culture itself is the cause of it. The intellectual enlightenment, on which the refined ranks of society, not without justification, pride themselves, reveals on the whole an influence upon the disposition so little ennobling that it rather furnishes maxims to confirm depravity. Selfishness has established its system in the very bosom of our exquisitely refined society and we experience all the contagions and all the calamities of community without the accompaniment of a communal spirit.13

The schooling of the elite members of society strengthens them as specialists but weakens them as persons. Placing art at the center of the curricula of institutions of higher learning will bring balance and rectitude back into the lives of the prosperous and intelligent few who enjoy the privilege of attending them. Thus, if we connect Schiller’s letters on aesthetic education with Kant’s book on perpetual peace, the linkages of art to human rights and peace are:

What is wrong with the picture that Schiller paints for us? In my opinion, there are at least four things wrong:

1. Schiller exaggerates the importance of art for moral education. Contemporary research on moral development is consistent with Schiller’s observation that people who cultivate the arts tend overall to be more ethical as an essential part of being more civilized. However, the principal findings of research point to the importance of two other factors. The first is social interaction with peers. People, especially young people, learn to reason and to behave according to social norms. That occurs because people attempt repeatedly to resolve the interpersonal conflicts that arise in everyday life. The second factor is the participatory dialogue in which the pros and cons of moral issues are discussed.14

These considerations suggest a recommendation for collaborative projects on art, peace and human rights. Art projects should be, or should be combined with, opportunities for social interaction with peers and with opportunities to exchange ideas concerning moral and social issues. The ancient quarrel between Plato and the artists can and should be resolved by art itself playing the role of Socrates who asked the probing questions that produce the cognitive dissonance which leads to the improvement of moral thinking.

2. It is no longer possible to maintain what used to be called a philosophical anthropology: a theory of the universal nature of human beings. There is no universal essence of human nature and in particular, rationality does not constitute such an essence. Human rights cannot be justified by Kant’s argument that every human being has a dignity beyond price because humans are rational beings capable of acting according to law. Michel Foucault made this point when he wrote:

Anthropology constitutes perhaps the fundamental arrangement that has governed and controlled the path of philosophical thought from Kant until our own day. This arrangement is essential, since it forms part of our history; but it is disintegrating before our eyes, since we are beginning to denounce it, in a critical mode. To all those who still wish to talk about man, about his reign or his liberation, to all those who still ask themselves questions about what man is in his essence to all these warped and twisted forms of reflection we can only answer with a philosophical laugh which means, to a certain extent, a silent one.15

It follows that the so-called first generation of human rights, to the extent that as they are based on respecting the dignity of the human person as dignity is defined by reference to the human of his essence, are on shaky ground. Insofar as they purport to be grounded on a philosophy that asserts that it is the universal essence of humanity to be a juridical subject which is the bearer of an inherent capacity to participate in legally defined relationships, just because humans are rational beings by nature destined to be autonomous decision-makers, are grounded on a bogus philosophical foundation. The positive side of this negative result is that it counts in favor of saying that human duties, the complement of rights and the more material and concrete rights, sometimes called second and third generation human, are just as legitimate, important and solid as the formal rights. The official pronouncements of the United Nations which declare that human rights are interdependent and indivisible, so that social rights have the same standing as so-called first generation rights, are strengthened, rather than weakened, by taking away the Kantian metaphysics followed by Schiller.16

From this second defect of Schiller’s philosophy follows a guideline for possible collaborative projects. Art today cannot honestly celebrate a single universal human nature. It can only celebrate diverse cultures and diverse people. Further, when art celebrates human rights, it owes civil rights—on which the UN and the world’s peoples reached consensus earlier—neither more nor less honor than social and economic rights and duties.

3. The particular set of moral commands that Kant deduces from a supposedly universal rational essence of human nature parallels the legal foundations of capitalism.17 Private property is a strict imperative, while solidarity is meritorious but optional. In both Kant and Schiller, selfishness is lambasted, but not as a prelude to an ethic of solidarity. Selfishness is lambasted as a prelude to an ethic of obedience to moral law. Fichte influences Schiller as well, although not as much by Kant and Fichte’s influence is evident in the passages where the function of art education is said to be to bring to fulfillment in its student a well-balanced and powerful free human personality.

The lack of emphasis on solidarity is evidenced in Schiller’s letters on aesthetic education by the absence in all twenty seven letters of any discussion of the capacity of art to evoke sympathy and empathy—of art’s capacity to prevent the cruelty produced by inability to imagine the life of the other.

Schiller fails to mention the role of art in extending human sympathy and disposition to act to relieve one another’s suffering; in addition, he endorses the principle that art should not become tendentious by teaching moral lessons. An artist, such as Tolstoy, who consciously sets out to teach the lesson “Love thy neighbor as thyself,” violates the rule against using art to teach moral lessons that Schiller endorses.18 For Schiller art is the key to promoting public morality because− through the refinement of sentiments that it produces− the rule of reason becomes possible. However, art is concurrently locked behind a closed door. The room where particular moral lessons are taught is closed to art. I think it is relevant to bear this somewhat paradoxical relationship of art to morality in mind when evaluating a sentence like this from Schiller: “In a truly beautiful work of art the content should do nothing, the form everything”.19

Form leads to universal reason; content could lead to more social solidarity than Schiller (or Prince Friedrich Christian) wanted. Schiller proposes an aesthetic education preparing the heart for the entrance of Kant’s strict categorical imperatives. Those imperatives decree respect for principle more than they decree love for persons; they constitute a kind of moral law that assures the smooth functioning of the kind of market economy, which in Schiller’s day had recently taken firm root in Europe. Capitalism was then in the process of becoming global and wherever it went it took with it teachings more or less similar to Kant’s. Those teachings implied that capitalism’s constitutive juridical principles corresponded to universal and rational laws.20 They implied that the diversity and solidarity found in the cultural norms of the colonized peoples represented parochial and unscientific lower stages of civilization.

Bearing this third defect of Schiller’s views in mind, we should insist that collaborative projects honor the moral heritages of all peoples and honor the artistic heritages associated with them. In particular, collaborative projects should honor those principles of human rights and of human duties, which received short shrift in liberal ethical philosophies like those of Kant, Fichte and Schiller. It should honor those subaltern traditions that deny the universality of property rights, as they were understood in 18th and 19th century capitalist jurisprudence.

4. A fourth error is that Schiller’s aesthetic education project is out of touch with the realities of our times (though it may well have been in touch with the realities of his times). In 1795, it seemed plausible to Schiller to propose a program of aesthetic education to enlightened monarchs, such as Prince Friedrich Christian to whom he dedicated his letters. Enlightened monarchs might commission artists to compose works that would touch with beauty the souls of the masses; they might direct the ministers of education to hire teachers who would put art at the center of all curricula. So, aesthetic education would uplift entire populations morally. Art would turn the people into good citizens in whom respect for human rights was firmly implanted. In this way, art would make peace possible.

Whether or not Schiller’s proposal was plausible then, it is not plausible now in the age of the entertainment industry. Suppose that today we were to engage in an imaginary exercise in quantitative reasoning in which we added up the influence of the public of all the: artists, teachers, museums, art schools, art critics and art merchants. We would find their combined total influence to be small compared with the influence of the mass media. Today there are no enlightened monarchs; if there were any, the edifying effects of any uplifting works of art they might commission would be overwhelmed by the effects of the entertainment industry.

Garcia Canclini, to whom I will now turn, is well aware of the entertainment industry. He points out that around the time he wrote a really major art exhibition in Argentina would attract some 15,000 spectators, while in 1972 there were some three million five hundred thousand television sets in use in Argentina.21 Garcia Canclini holds that it is a mistake to think of artists, in our age or any other, as living in an art world separate from the rest of society. Society, he holds, is a site of social struggle. He writes:

In order that scientific knowledge breaks with the prejudices of common sense, it is indispensable to observe and gather data with a prior conception of the social system, which assigns to aesthetic productions a specific place in the struggle for symbolic power.22

For Garcia Canclini it is impossible to understand art by studying only artists and their works. Art is a complex of social relationships that can only be understood by considering 1) the public that supports art, the critics who build the reputations of artists, 2) the merchants who sell art and 3) the larger societies and historical contexts in which artistic activities are embedded. Garcia Canclini reports on an empirical study of some twenty leading vanguard artists in Buenos Aires in the 1960s. Among them, only three lived exclusively on the income they made as artists. Eight worked in professions not related to art. Six made a living with work related to art, such as making designs for advertisements or for clothing. Six admitted that their families supported them.23

Another empirical study at the same time and place analyzed the public that attended museum exhibitions and art openings where new work was shown. The researchers found it useful to divide the public who came to exhibitions into four groups:

  1. the personal friends and colleagues of the artists,
  2. the art promoters, including critics, gallery owners and museum staff,
  3. people who buy art and
  4. people who just came to look. The fourth group, the largest, came mainly from higher socioeconomic strata, but it was only a small part of those strata. The majority were young. Forty three percent had studied art. Sixty percent either worked in an art-related field or had almost daily contact with people who did.24

When the vanguard artists were asked how their economic situation as artists could be improved, their response was unanimous: by the funding of more prizes and fellowships. As it turned out, in the artistic milieu studied, more prizes and fellowships were indeed forthcoming. Argentina as a whole was in a period of industrial growth. Political and economic powers were shifting in favor of the manufacturers and against the more traditional segments of the upper classes. For a variety of reasons, which Garcia Canclini discusses but which I will not attempt to summarize, Argentine industrialists and multinational corporations and even U.S. government agencies including the CIA, found it worth their while to subsidize certain kinds of art. Most obviously, the plastics manufacturers subsidized training for artists in how to create works of art using plastics as their medium. Plastics, through art, gained the prestige previously reserved to the more traditional materials like wood or leather. The overall result was a major shifting the styles and subjects of Argentine art. There was even a new philosophy of art, a sort of belated third world version of futurism and the Bauhaus, in which the growing industries and the new industrial style in art were celebrated as complementary sides of a new Argentine consciousness. Both heralded a glorious future for the nation.

Garcia Canclini sees the very idea of art is a social construction as well as each particular school or style of art. Art is shaped by the evolution of larger social realities. In many cultures, art is not a recognized category at all. In the modern West, art was at first tied to religion. Its function was to express divinity. In the 18th and 19th centuries, according to Garcia Canclini, art was about beauty. In the 20th century art was not about either divinity or beauty, but rather about enjoyment, or not about anything but the particular art piece itself, or about the questioning of common sense by seeing things differently, or about any of the endlessly proliferating rationales for art that were invented as the century proceeded. Even 20th century art’s refusal to let itself be defined, its horror and honoring of the trite and of the stereotypical, its constant movement which made yesterday’s avant-garde today’s passé, played a role in the larger social order. 20th century art convinced the masses that they did not understand art and could never hope to understand it.25 It kept the people divided by preventing the emergence of shared understandings of shared symbols, which, if they had emerged, might have led to collective action. For Garcia Canclini art, like everything else, is about power. The struggle over art is a struggle for control of the means of production of social symbols.

The linkages between art and peace are as clear for Garcia Canclini as they were for Schiller. Peace will not happen until the working class wins the class struggle and founds a classless society. Artists can help to build a world where peace would be possible by socializing art, as a prelude and complement to the socialization of the means of production generally. Garcia Canclini writes:

However, if we want symbolic practices to be transformative actions it is necessary to socialize art. For the critiques of artists to become more than murmurs among themselves, they must find a space in popular movements and represent those who struggle to abolish the structures that oppress not just artists but all workers. An elementary discovery of sociology is that society is a compact, structured system and that the hegemony of the dominant classes is supported jointly by economic oppression and ideological control. If we act consistently with this knowledge, we will recognize that a new art, a new culture, will emerge to the extent that symbolic practices (of artists, of intellectuals, of scientists) find in the transformative actions of the masses ways to deepen their effects and to have repercussions on all of society.26

What is wrong with the picture Garcia Canclini paints for us? In my opinion, at least two things are wrong with Garcia Cancliniâ’s analysis and proposal. First, Garcia Canclini holds that the idea of power plays too large a role and the wrong role. Artists are supposed to promote peace by influencing the outcome of a struggle for power, while peace requires rather that struggles for power be replaced by adherence to norms. Peace becomes possible when the springs of human action come under the guidance of respect for human rights and for principles of justice. While human life remains a struggle for power, peace remains impossible. Schiller and Kant were on the right track in insisting that some sort of strengthening of the human capacity to act on ethical principles is a necessary condition of the coming into existence of a world where human rights are respected and where there is peace. Although recent research on moral development provides a more scientific understanding of what ethical principles are and what they do, it confirms the insights of traditional philosophers that peace cannot be built on power politics of any kind, but must be built on ethics.

However, other questions need to be asked: Which ethics? Whose justice? Here I agree with Tolstoy, Gandhi, Dr. King and all who hold that peace can only be built with an ethic of human solidarity, an ethic that holds, as Dr. King spoke of it, “There is a world house and we are all sisters and brothers living in it.” 27 There is a difference between the ethics endorsed by Gandhi when he cited the Hindu proverb: Daya dharma ka mool hain: pity and compassion are at the root of ethics and the ethics endorsed by Kant when he made the autonomy of a rational being the supreme principle of ethics.28 The diverse cultures of the world have created countless diverse sets of ethical standards. My view, which I have defended at length elsewhere, is that the types of ethical living most likely to lead to the survival of the species and of the biosphere is closer to the synthesis of tradition and modernity found in Gandhi than to the classic modern ethics of Kant.

Which ethics? An important part of my answer to the question is that peace requires social norms that facilitate cooperation and sharing. It requires a rule of law that organizes the processes of commodity exchange to serve the ends of use, in sustainable harmony with the biosphere. In these respects, Garcia Canclini, following Marx and the traditional writers on ethics cited by Marx, is right. Schiller, following Kant, was right to say that the rule of force must be replaced by the rule of law, but wrong to endorse Kant’s 18th century liberal philosophy of law. Peace is impossible without a social democracy in which material economic rights belong to everybody. It is incompatible with the universal and rigid respect for property rights that Kant believed to be required by the pure rational form of law.

Schiller implicitly wanted artists to persuade people to adore the prevailing European jurisprudence of his day, which the colonial powers were then in the process of imposing on Africa and Asia. It was a jurisprudence, which protected the private ownership of the means of production. It passed itself off as a high and civilized jurisprudence required by moral law. I do not advocate the opposite that artists cultivate the adoration of the public ownership of the means of production. I favor a pragmatic ethics and a pragmatic jurisprudence, for which the bottom line is a mixed social democratic economy functioning for the good of all. Secondly, I see a flaw in Garcia Cancliniâ’s approach that too little importance is assigned to art as imaginative play. For Schiller the lucid qualities of art explain how it works its magic, converting gross sensual animals into free personalities capable of understanding and following duty. Play means freedom. “The moral condition,” Schiller writes, “can be developed only from the aesthetic, not from the physical condition.”29 To get from the physical to the aesthetic it is necessary to loosen up the imagination in imaginative play.

Perhaps because Garcia Canclini is concerned to show that his political views of art have a firm scientific basis, he is inclined to under-emphasize the role of the imaginative play of the artist’s mind. He distrusts individualism and he distrusts any suggestion that artists work from inspiration. What appears to naive essayists as the imaginary creation of an inspired individual, Garcia Canclini suggests, will always turn out, upon sober scientific investigation, to be conditioned by social life at a given time and place.30 Garcia Canclini is not a determinist; he begins his book quoting Sartre’s remark that although Marxist analysis may help us understand the poetry of Paul Valery by pointing out that Valery was petit bourgeois, Marxism has a harder time explaining why every petit bourgeois is not a great poet like Valery. Nonetheless, even though he is not a determinist, Garcia Cancliniâ’s very insistence on seeing artistic works in social context tends to make him less sympathetic than he should be to the idea that artists can dream up alternative worlds on the strength of their capacity for inventive fantasy.

Especially today, artists have a role to play in enlarging the realm of what is possible by enlarging the realm of what can be imagined. If another world is possible, as the slogan of the World Social Forum has it, then creative exercises visualizing alternative and better worlds may be necessary steps in getting from where we are to that other and better world. Garcia Canclini gives as an example of desirable collaboration of artists with activists a project called Tucuman Arde (Tucuman burning), carried out by artists who collaborated with social activists in the city of Tucuman, Argentina.31 Unfortunately, in my view of it, the contribution of the artists was entirely about making people more aware of suffering and injustice. Another and complementary example might demonstrate that just because art is able to play imaginative games, artists can also contribute to making people more aware of alternative and better possible social realities. Let me now summarize my suggestions for collaborative projects.

Resources

1. Friedrich Schiller, On the Aesthetic Education of Man (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1954) p. 24. A recent German edition: Friedrich Schiller, Uber die asthetische Erziehung des Menschen (Munchen: Wilhelm Fink Verlag, 1967)

2. Immanuel Kant, Perpetual Peace. (London: S. Sonnenschein, 1903) German edition: Zum Ewigen Frieden(Leipzig: Insel-Verlag, 1917, first published 1795) A more recent translation into English is included as an appendix to Carl Friedrich, Inevitable Peace (New York: Greenwood Publishers, 1969) p. 241-281. The references below to Kant’s text are to Friedrich’s translation.

3. Nestor Garcia Canclini, La Produccion Simbolica, 6th ed. (Mexico: Siglo Veintiuno Editores, 1998, first edition 1979)

4. Kant, op.cit. p. 249.

5. Keohane and Nye set out to correct some of the exaggerations of realism in international relations as expounded by Hans Morgenthau, in Politics among Nations, 4th ed. (New York: Knopf, 1967) Morgenthau explicitly attacked Kant as the leading exponent of a liberal idealism that obstructed the scientific study of international politics. In reacting against Morgenthau, seeking to synthesize realism and liberalism, Keohane and Nye do not explicitly defend Kant against Morgenthau’s critique. They do, however, propose a somewhat liberal and Kantian concept of complex interdependence which holds that regimes founded, in part, on somewhat voluntary agreements, on shared interests and on principles of legitimacy, do partly explain the behavior of nations and other international actors; and, they propose the related concept that military force is not always decisive, or even useful. Robert Keohane and Joseph Nye, Power and Interdependence, 3rd ed. (New York: Longman, 2001) The concept of complex interdependence is clearly liberal rather than realist. Op. cit. p. 275. With respect to the authors’ relationship to Morgenthau, see the preface to the first edition, reprinted at op. cit. p. viii-x.

6. Kant, op. cit. p. 266-281

Seek ye first the kingdom of pure practical reason and of its righteousness and your end: the well-being of eternal peace, will be added unto you.

Kant op. cit. p. 273

7. Schiller, op. cit. p. 108

8. Schiller, op. cit. p. 107

9. “No less self-contradictory is the notion of a fine instructive (didactic) or improving (moral) art, for nothing is more at variance with the concept of beauty than that it should have a tendentious effect upon the character.” I have not found this slogan printed, but only engraved on statues of Benito Juarez in Mexican cities. His writings and speeches express the thought if not the phrase. Juarez was a dyed-in-the-wool liberal, whose constant objective was to establish the rule of law in environments plagued by turbulent militarism. See Benito Juarez, Documentos, Discursos, Correspondencia (Mexico: Secretaria de Patrimonio Nacional, 1964)

10. Kant, Perpetual Peace, op. cit., p. 262-265. See also Carl Friedrich’s essay at p. 27-49 of the same volume, “War as a Problem of Government, Kant’s Essay on Eternal Peace and the United Nations Charter;” and Covell, Charles. Kant and the Law of Peace (Hampshire, Houndmills Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1998)

11. Schiller, op. cit. p. 30, p. 35.

12. Schiller, op. cit. p. 54.13.

13. Schiller, op. cit. p. 35, p. 36.

14. Edwin Fenton, “Moral Education, the Research Findings.” In Peter Scharf, ed., Readings In Moral Education (Minneapolis: Winston Press, 1978) p. 52-60

15. Michel Foucault, The Order of Things: an Archaeology of the Human Sciences (New York: Pantheon, 1970) p. 343. I agree with Foucault that it is appropriate to cite Kant as a classic source of the sort of anthropology, which implies respect for human persons and thus for rights. It should be noted, however, that historically secular justifications of human rights, as distinct from justifications that depend on religious belief, derive less from Kant than from relatively unsophisticated philosophers and political leaders who reached similar conclusions via less exact reasoning.

See Lynn Avery Hunt, The French Revolution and Human Rights: a Brief Documentary History (Boston: Bedford Books, 1996); see William Sweet, Philosophical Theory and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Ottawa: University of Ottawa Press, 2003). Evidently, all of the Enlightenment philosophers and leaders were influenced by the social and economic context of early modern European culture. Thus, Wallerstein is able to place the growth of the ideals associated with the French Revolution in the context of the material realities of Europe in the 18th century. Immanuel Wallerstein, The Second Era of Great Expansion of the Capitalist World-Economy, 1730 - 1840s (San Diego: Academic Press, 1989); See also some of the essays in Jurgen Habermas, The Inclusion of the Other: Studies in Political Theory (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1989)

16. Paul Hunt, Reclaiming Social Rights: International and Comparative Studies (Aldershot UK: Dartmouth, 1996)

Article 5 of the 1993 Vienna Declaration and Plan of Action states:

All are universal, indivisible and interdependent and interrelated. The international community must treat human rights globally in a fair and equal manner, on the same footing and with the same emphasis. While the significance of national and regional particularities and various historical, cultural and religious backgrounds must be borne in mind, it is the duty of States, regardless of their political, economic and cultural systems, to promote and protect all human rights and fundamental freedoms.

Op cit. p. 16.5. See also C. Flinterman, "Three Generations of Rights", in Human Rights in a Pluralist World. J. Berting et al , eds., (Westport: Meckler, 1990) For more perspectives on the logical and legal grounds on which human rights have been justified see Katherine Donovan and Gerry Rubin, eds., Human Rights and Legal History (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000). See alsoJohnson, M. Glen and Symonides, Janusz, The Universal Declaration of Human Rights: a History of its Creation and Implementation (Paris: UNESCO, 1998)

17. See the discussion in Howard Richards, A Philosophy of Peace and Justice: letters from Quebec (San Francisco and London: International Scholars Press, 1996) p. 251-269. In Kant’s Foundations of Metaphysics of Morals he gives three and only three, examples of strict moral duty to others, each of which corresponds to a principle of commercial law, namely not to incur a debt without intending to pay it, to respect property rights and to respect other people’s freedom. Immanuel Kant, Foundations of the Metaphysics of Morals. (translation by Lewis White Beck, Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1969) I agree generally with the communitarian critics of Kant described by Thomas McCarthy in his contribution to Jonas Boldman and Mathias Lotz-Baldwin, eds., Perpetual Peace: Essays on Kant’s Cosmopolitan Ideal (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1997) See also Binmore’s argument for “de-Kanting ethics” in Ken Binmore, Playing Fair: Game Theory and the Social Contract, Volume 1 (Cambridge MA: MIT Press, 1994)

18. Leo Tolstoy, What is Art? (London: Oxford University Press, 1932) Aylmer Maude, Tolstoy on Art. (London: H. Milford, 1924)

19. Schiller, op. cit. p. 106. Schiller’s emphasis of form in art parallels Kant’s emphasis on form in morals. Using a formal criterion for right and wrong permits Kant to deduce from his premises a very strict morality in the sense that there are no exceptions to its commands. There cannot be any, because no empirical evidence that might be cited in favor of making an exception is relevant to an a priori formal criterion. However, Kant’s morality is not comprehensive enough to include a strict duty of charity.

20. See, for example, the account of the colonial imposition of modern Western principles of property and contract (the very principles that are strict categorical imperatives in Kant’s philosophy) on traditional villages in South Asia in Gunnar Myrdal, Asian Drama, Vol. 2 (New York: Twentieth Century Fund, 1968) p. 1031-1047

21. Garcia Canclini, op. cit. note 3 above. p. 116, p. 103

22. Canclini, op. cit. p. 48

23. Canclini, op. cit. p. 127

24. Canclini, op. cit. p. 131-32

25. For a more perspectives on the interactions between social context and rationales for art in the 20th century, see the second half of Terry Eagleton, The Ideology of the Aesthetic (Oxford: Blackwell, 1990)

26. Canclini, op. cit. p. 151.

27. Martin Luther King Jr., Where do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community (Boston: Beacon Press, 1968)

28. Gandhi, M. K., ed. by Anthony J. Parel, Hind Swaraj and Other Writings (Cambridge UK: Cambridge University Press, 1997) p. 88 and Immanuel Kant, op. cit. n. 17 above. It follows that Raghavan Iyer was mistaken in regarding Gandhi’s ethics as a Kantian ethics. See also Raghavan Iyer, The Moral and Political Thought of Mahatma Gandhi (New York: Oxford University Press,1973)

29. Schiller, op. cit. p. 110, 130

30. Canclini, op. cit. p. 11

31. Canclini, op. cit. p. 133-35

Keywords: aesthetic education, aesthetic, anthropology, art, beauty, categorical imperatives, complex interdependence, cooperation, Dr. King, economic rights, ethics, freedom, force, Gandhi, Garcia Canclini, human action, human rights, imaginative play, jurisprudence, justice, Kant, moral commands of reason, moral law, morality, normative framework, peace, philosophical anthropology, physical, Plato, power, pro-capitalist, property rights, property, pro-socialist, rational beings, respect for human rights, rule of law, Schiller, selfishness, sensuality, sharing, social change, social democracy, Socrates, solidarity, Tolstoy, violence

 

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