What are the best (according to most philosophers) classical philosophical texts on aesthetics?

I have found several ones on the Internet, but I don't know which one to start with first.

  • 2
    'Best' is always a problematic attribute. But if you do not know where to start at all, secondary literature such as the Oxford Handbook are sometimes helpful, as they offer summaries and give more or less authoritative qualifications of 'most influential' or 'historically relevant'.
    – Philip Klöcking
    Commented Oct 15, 2016 at 18:07
  • @PhilipKlöcking, I am only interested in classical texts.
    – user376034
    Commented Oct 15, 2016 at 19:25
  • 2
    The Critique of Judgement by Immanuel Kant (1795) will definitely be considered as 'classical'. Regarding older texts, you should be aware of the fact that virtue (ethics) and aesthetics used to be even more closely intertwined than for Kant.
    – Philip Klöcking
    Commented Oct 15, 2016 at 19:27
  • @PhilipKlöcking, I am not ready for Kant's works yet. Other suggestions, perhaps?
    – user376034
    Commented Oct 15, 2016 at 22:17
  • aesthetics is a hard topic in philosophy (at least to do well). It's going to be hard to find a classical text that is simultaneously accessible and well regarded. A good secondary (contemporary) source to get you started: plato.stanford.edu/entries/beauty
    – virmaior
    Commented Oct 17, 2016 at 1:18

2 Answers 2


The "best" according to me...

Aristotle Poetics

Longinus On the Sublime

Immanuel Kant Critique_of_Judgment

Hegel Lectures_on_Aesthetics

Schiller On the Aesthetic Education of Man







you could try something from danto: an essay like the art world, or a book like after the end of art. you would get quite a lot out of them. or something by richard wollheim - art and its objects. these are quite highly regarded art critics who also had a rigorous philosophical training.

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