Contemporary philosophical aesthetics in China: The Relation between Subject and Object

Eva K W Man*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review


This article presents a historical account and philosophical analysis of the development of philosophical aesthetics in China in its Marxist regime, focusing on the relation between subject and object. It enters into the picture of the search for new philosophical aesthetics in Marxist China and engages the related debates and reforms. The representing four schools of aesthetics in the early decades of the new China are introduced, which were led by Gao Ertai, Cai Yi, Zhu Guangqin and Li Zehou. Each of them presents a different relationship between the subject and the object in the aesthetics process and initiates debates and controversies among themselves. In the 1990s aestheticians of the younger generation suggested a modern aesthetics system in which a new aesthetics notion was reconstructed. The article analyzes the nature and the structure of this notion "ganxing", and demonstrated the struggles in its search for a balance and merge integration among traditional Chinese aesthetics, Contemporary Western philosophies and Marxist aesthetics. Finally, this article also points out the Deweyan influences on the notion which is popular in PRC, and demonstrates that Chinese aesthetics in the contemporary scene has more concerns to add on, which is the application of its new aesthetical thoughts to the rapidly developing art scenes and social changes in contemporary China.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)164-173
Number of pages10
JournalPhilosophy Compass
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2012

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Philosophy


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