(Professor Kaminsky's lucid exposition is, surprisingly, t...)
Professor Kaminsky's lucid exposition is, surprisingly, the first attempt in English to deal extensively and critically with Hegel's views on art, as outlined in his difficult volumes on that subject. Hegel on Art thus performs a needed service for those interested in either the philosophy or the history of the fine arts. Hegel's idealistic metaphysics was the last European endeavor to construct a universal philosophical system on the traditional pattern, and to modern readers it can easily appear more imposing than useful. But in his examination of art, according to Professor Kaminsky, the German philosopher became "the most empirical of the empiricists," and his observations can be valuable to us quite independent of our commitment to his metaphysics. Moreover, as Professor Kaminsky shows, Hegel's metaphysical framework does give him an advantage not available under the rigorous skepticism of today's positivist or symbolist: he can recognize that art mirrors the world of action, and so can provide it with objective validity. As the author concludes in Hegel's defense: "It may well be that only art can be used to communicate the important episodes that happen to us or others....Without art, we lose one of our great sources of information as to who we are and what we ought to do." "Apart from the metaphysical structure it was designed to support, Professor Kaminsky believes that the Hegelian aesthetic has meaning to aestheticians today. He turns from the generally accepted notion that German idealism found in Hegel is the first significant exponent of the critical history of art to look for meaning in Hegel's exceptional erudition and the 'endless series of problems in art with which Hegel was concerned.' What is most important is that he succeeds in the difficult task of summarizing Hegel's aesthetics in a clear, well-balanced text which follows the historical lines set down by the philosopher. His work is the most extensive study of the subject available in English." -- Library Journal
( Metaphysical questions relating to what exists do not...)
Metaphysical questions relating to what exists do not seem to fade away” notes Jack Kaminsky in this book, which takes as its starting point the Quinian view that we determine what exists by means of the formal systems we construct to explain the world. This starting point, Kaminsky points out, is not novel; philosophers have often tried to construct formal systems, and from these systems they have been able to deduce what can be said to exist. Contemporary formal systems are different from earlier ones, however, because they make more extensive use of the results of linguistics, logic, and mathematics studies. But these contemporary formal systems also must state eventually what their commitments to existence are, and they must be able to show their commitments to be free of paradox, ambiguity, and contradiction. Given these conditions, Kaminsky examines the difficulties inherent in the existence claims of contemporary formal language systems. To do this he uses only a minimum of the technical elements of propositional and first-order quantificational logic. He concludes: many existential commitments are relative to the formal systems of time; some commitments seem to be absolute; and some problemsthose relating to vacuous termsarise only because no distinction is made between humanly constructed objects and naturally constructed objects.
BSS, City University of New York, 1943. Master of Arts, New York University, 1947. Doctor of Philosophy, New York University, 1950.
Assistant instructor New York University, 1949—1950. Instructor University Akron, Ohio, 1950—1951, City University of New York, 1952—1953. Chairman department philosophy State University of New York-Binghamton, 1953—1965, assistant to professor philosophy, 1953—1992.
Emeritus professor, from 1992. Summer fellow State University of New York, 1963—1966, 1967. Planning commissioner Planning Commission Cortland, New York, 1979—1986.
Member ethics committee Cortland Memorial Hospital, 1984—1988. Corporal Infantry United States Army, 1943-1946.
Served to corporal Infantry, United States Army, 1943-1946. Member American Philosophical Association (member fund drive since 1983), New York State Philosophical Association (president 1961-1962). Club: Creighton.
Married Alice Richkin, October 11, 1947.