On Formativity: Art as Praxis


Luigi Pareyson’s concept of formativity is one of his most relevant and original concepts. In this paper I will give a short exposition of this concept in Pareyson’s Estetica and try to show how it can account, better as other object-, subject-, target- oriented theories, even of some features of contemporary art. The very relevant innovation that we can find in this concept is the shift from a concept of art as poiesis—as it is in Aristotle, namely, as a production of an object—to the concept of art as praxis, that is, as an activity which involves the entire doing of the artist. As a doing that invents the form of doing, formativity appears as a kind of schematism that operates, not only without concept, as it is in Kant’s Critique of Judgement, but even without object. The thesis here suggested is that formativity can be understood as a transcendentalism of invention.

Keywords: Pareyson, aesthetics; formativity, work of art, invention, poiesis, praxis

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