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The Beauty of Social Forms

It is generally known that Georg Simmel's sociology was aesthetic in the Kantian sense of the word. The sociological observer himself has an aesthetic relation to his study object and the participators receive from social interaction a pleasure which is essentially aesthetic by nature. Play, even more than art, acted for Simmel as the model in his analyses of the pure forms – or play-forms – of sociation. In these play-forms of sociation, the conceptually unsolvable kantian antinomy of taste is solved in practice. It is as if Simmel had reminded Immanuel Kant that the sought-after 'community of taste' is being continuously born and, hence, the gap separating the individual from the social is overcome in the numerous forms of social interaction characterising our daily life. There is no need for the kind of aesthetic education of man presumed by Friedrich Schiller. One could even claim that social forms – and only social forms – are beautiful.

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