Susanne Katherina Langer (born on 20 December 1895) was an American philosopher of art, who said that:
“Art is the objectification of feeling, and the subjectification of nature.” (1)
“Art is the creation of forms symbolic of human feeling.” (2)

Langer thought that the ability to use symbols underlies all human knowing and understanding and it is what distinguishes us from animals. While animal life is dominated by feeling, human feeling is mediated by conceptions, symbols, and language.

As for the language, she believed that “The notion of giving something a name is the vastest generative idea that ever was conceived” (3)

(1) L’arte è l’oggettivazione del sentimento e la soggettivazione della natura.

(2) L’arte è la creazione di forme simboliche del sentimento umano.

(3) L’idea di dare un nome a qualcosa è l’idea generativa più vasta mai concepita.

39 thoughts on “Symbols

  1. Love the quotes! In particular the second one. However, the third one reminded me, how powerful words and the symbols behind those words are. Even sign language is not universal and has its own dialects and signs for each individual language. To give someone and something a name seems to be a fundamental need to humans. Otherwise, he/she/it remains nameless and we seem to have difficulties addressing our feelings, thoughts, etc. with this someone or something.

    Liked by 4 people

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