This is not just an important work on Herder, on the history of aesthetics in the eighteenth-century, or on the “hinge” between eighteenth- and nineteenth-century aesthetics, as Rachel Zuckert puts it. Its sophisticated discussion of Herder's naturalistic method in aesthetics should be of interest to students of contemporary aesthetics and to philosophers interested in naturalism more generally.

Part 1, “Herder's Aesthetics,” lays out Zuckert's interpretation of Herder's naturalism in general and in aesthetics in particular, and addresses the main issues that it raises, above all the tension between relativist and universalist tendencies in Herder's conception of aesthetic value and taste. Part 2, “Explorations,” explores several more specific topics in Herder's aesthetics, namely, his account of the sublime, his innovative account of our experience of sculpture, and his reception of the (in)famous “Ossian” poems of James Macpherson. Here I will focus on the first part...

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