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Publication Details

You Have to Become a Work of Art

(Original title: Musíš sa stať umeleckým dielom)
Filozofia, 74 (2019), 3, 223-237.
Type of work: Articles
Publication language: Slovak

The paper deals with the art of life, which, according to some authors (R. Veenhoven, J. Dohmen), is connected with the skill of leading a good life. The author works with this conception of the art of life as well as with the view of Z. Bauman, according to which the art of life is a (social) fact, and on the basis of this he examines what the art of life means in the context of contemporary socio-cultural conditions, given by individualization as defined by U. Beck. The author points out that while at first sight the development of the art of life as an attempt to lead a good life in the context of an individualized society could be a mark of freedom, the opposite is true and it is concluded that the art of life as a social fact is a social necessity rather than an individual option. In this context, the focus is drawn to the problem that this necessity is not explicitly evident in our practices of a good life, and the article attempts to explain it through the concept of aestheticization. It denotes a strategy in which social demands are not explicitly articulated, yet we fulfill them by our art of living, since the means of achieving them seem to be a matter of individual pleasure. This leads to the conclusion that the art of life as a skill to live a good life does not serve our free self-creation but the functioning of the social system. Therefore, in the final section of the paper, it is considered whether what Bauman calls the art of life is not just a kitsch, and it is suggested that the emphasis should be put on the philosophical understanding of the art of life, which was already known in ancient philosophy and which was investigated by M. Foucault in the last period of his work.


Aestheticization, Art of life, Good life, Individualization, Social fact

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