How Immanuel Kant Undercut Classical Culture and Led to Postmodernism | Stephen Hicks | The Cave of Apelles

Stephen Hicks is a professor of philosophy at Rockford University, U.S. and the author of several books, including the best-seller Explaining Postmodernism, which details the philosophical roots of today’s cultural climate. Mr. Hicks highlights Immanuel Kant’s role in undermining objectivity and reason, showing how his ideas remain the corner stone of Post Modernism and “Fine Art” to this day.

Giving an overview of Kant’s aesthetics, metaphysics and epistemology, the conversation further explains how this cocktail necessarily cripples classically minded people:
If we cannot know reality then the act of painting it becomes naive. If nothing is objective then we cannot trust the rules of any craft and if nothing is universal then we become estranged from the mythic perspective.

You can listen to Hicks’ lecture How Art Became Ugly or check out his appearances on various podcasts including his own Open College Podcast.
His official YouTube-channel is CEE Channel (Center for Ethics and Entrepreneurship).

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Chapter markers:
00:30 Introducing Stephen Hicks
01:13 “Explaining Postmodernism” & the Enlightenment
04:59 The “Counter-Enlightenment” defense of irrationality
08:54 Dissolving reason and the individual
12:46 Postmodern philosophers
15:58 Arthur Danto, Clement Greenberg & Jackson Pollock
17:35 Kant’s Metaphysics: we cannot know reality as it is
23:34 No voluptuous women, no muscular men
26:12 Turning concepts against themselves
27:07 Kant’s Epistemology and the devaluation of classical painting
33:31 Quotation mark bonanza
35:30 Munch’s green sky
40:01 Modernistic art: a grooming ground for Kantianism
41:26 The representational project must be abandoned
43:21 Kant’s Aesthetics: the sublime
49:15 The sublime lets us access “real reality”
50:50 Romantic art and the sublime
52:59 Anti everything & the greatest compliment ever!
55:20 Kant undercuts the possibility of being classical
56:38 Jack Unterweger: a mass murderer genius?
59:58 Expressionism and Cubism: products of Kant?
1:03:08 Originality hinders your development
1:07:03 Aesthetic indifference negates the eternal perspective
1:10:59 Thou shalt not make any “graven image”
1:14:44 Disintegration and destruction of classical values
1:19:23 “Spirituality” or “reality”?
1:22:35 Read Kant to break out of the modernist box
1:30:05 The painter who stopped painting after reading Kant
1:30:33 Aristotle is the greatest philosophical genius of all time

This episode featured Stephen Hicks and Jan-Ove Tuv and was filmed and edited by Bork Nerdrum.
The centerpiece was a reproduction of Johann Christoph Frisch’s 1768 oil painting of Immanuel Kant.

Fergus Ryan
Matthias Proy
Børge Moe

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  • Apelles was asked why he touched and retouched his pictures with so much care, to which he replied:
    "I paint for eternity"