Originally published in 1966, this pivotal work of Mikel Dufrenne revises Kant’ s notion of a priori, a concept previously given insufficient attention by philosophers, to realize a rich understanding that finally does justice to one of Kant’ s most troubling cruxes. Following the Husserlian analytics of phenomenology, Dufrenne postulates a dualistic conception of the a priori as a structure that expresses itself outside the human subject, but also as a virtual knowledge that points to a philosophy of immediate apprehension or feeling. A friend of Paul Ricoeur, with whom he was detained as a prisoner of war during World War II, Dufrenne’ s work until now has been sorely overlooked by American philosophers.
The Phenomenology of Aesthetic Experience (Fr. Phénoménologie de l'expérience esthétique) was first published in 1953. In the first of four parts, Dufrenne distinguishes the "aesthetic object" from the "work of art." In the second, he elucidates types of works of art, especially music and painting. He devotes his third section to aesthetic perception. In the fourth, he describes a Kantian critique of aesthetic experience.
A perennial classic in the SPEP series, the work is rounded out by a detailed "Translator's Foreword" especially helpful to readers in aesthetics interested in the context and circumstances around which the original was published as well as the phenomenological background of the book.