The Problem Of The Expressiveness Of Modern Culture: Methodological Aspect


Relevance of the appeal to the expressiveness of modern culture lies in the need to justify it as a category of cultural being and the methodological principle of manifestation and design of the essential features of a person in culture. Theoretical and methodological foundations of the study of the problem of expressiveness presuppose, firstly, its consideration in philosophical, art history, linguistic contexts; secondly, the application of the ontological approach allows to justify the expressiveness as an event of man and the world; thirdly, the complexity of the study of the methodological aspect of expressiveness is associated with the becoming character of modern culture, which allows to determine the event-based nature of expressiveness. The transformation of modern culture forms a new understanding of the interrelation between man and the world, emphasizes the importance of expressiveness as a methodological principle of cultural existence. The methodological significance of the problem of expressiveness is determined by the system-synergetic approach of M.S. Kagan. The connection with art philosophy and the history of philosophy gives rise to new perspectives of consideration of the methodological aspect of expressiveness, influencing the humanitarian paradigm of modernity. The author of the article turns to the analysis of the concepts of B. Croce, S. Langer, T. Adorno, V. S. Solovyov, P.A. Florensky, A. F. Losev to classify the main approaches to the problem and to determine the specificity of the expression of modern culture.

Keywords: Expressivenessmodern culturemethodologyart philosophysystem-synergy approach


Reflection of the expressiveness of modern culture is connected with social creativity and brings this problematic from art criticism and linguistics into a wide socio-cultural context. It is in modern culture, when the consequences of human expression in the world are ambiguous, that expressiveness is a condition of human manifestation in the world. Therefore, the importance of expressiveness as a category and principle of culture cannot be overestimated. Appeal to the cultural-philosophical tradition of expressiveness analysis, highlighting the main approaches to its study determines the originality of modern interpretation of expressiveness.

Problem Statement

The problem of the expressiveness of modern culture implies the allocation of grounds for its analysis. Firstly, this problem can be considered in different contexts (philosophical, art criticism, linguistic). The use of ontological approach in the research leads to the interpretation of expressiveness as a category of culture that connects the concepts in the system "man-world" ( Loginova, 2018).

Secondly, the significance of the ontological approach to the problem of expressiveness in modern culture allows us to treat it as an event of a person and of the world, implying a meeting with the Other, the Other (consciousness, person, perspective, view, etc.), because expressiveness as a manifestation of existence is directed to the Other. The existence of the Other makes it possible to have another point of view as a manifestation of an inhomogeneous, plural being.

Thirdly, the complexity of studying the methodological aspect of expressiveness is related to the specifics of modern culture, which is that the very concept of "modernity" initially presupposes the dialectics of the temporary (existing in time, situational) and the timeless (the impossibility of dividing into modes of present, past and future). The specificity of modern culture is its becoming character, uniting formation and becoming, real and personal, time and space. Proceeding from this, the formation of modern culture allows us to define the event character of expressiveness. This theoretical judgment about modern culture means not only the search for ontological foundations of culture, but also a deeper self-understanding, allowing us to analyze culture and its forms as an unfinished formation.

Research Questions

The subject of the research is expressiveness as a problem of modern culture, considered from cultural and philosophical positions. The analysis of the problem of expressiveness in humanitarian studies leads to the identification of directions in its study: art criticism aspects of expressiveness; expressive means of language are studied by literary critics and linguists; existential-philosophical perspective of expressiveness. The transformation of modern culture contributes to the formation of a new understanding of the relationship between man and culture. In this regard, it seems relevant to substantiate not only the terminological features of expressiveness, but also to define it as a methodological principle of modern culture.

Purpose of the Study

The aim of the work is to determine the methodological aspect of the problem of expressiveness of modern culture, based on the cultural and philosophical tradition of expressiveness analysis. Let's turn to the historical formation of the problem of expressiveness for revealing its specific features.

In the theory and practice of art expressiveness is formed in the terminology of "expressiveness" in the 20th century. But earlier, in the epoch of romanticism, the doctrine of artistic expressiveness is formed, connected with the teaching of romantics about genius. Under the influence of Fichte's philosophy, romantics gradually built a theory that was new for that time, which implied an unusual interpretation of the attitude of art to reality, which also implied a different understanding of the nature of artistic creativity.

The ability of human consciousness to create imaginary worlds of itself, the ability to poetically transform the world of empirical reality, was treated in romanticism as evidence of genius. The inner world of genius was believed to be true in contrast to the real world, and, accordingly, the meaning of poetry was the expression of this true world. Divine and infinite involvement testified to the truth of the inner world, in which man found refuge, as opposed to the empirical reality, the collision with which forced to discover human conditionality, limitations and mortality. In his works, Schlegel fragmentally outlines the contours of the universalist doctrine of romantic poetry. Developing the theme of the rapprochement of poetry and philosophy, the German philosopher addresses the problem of the essence of romantic poetry, seeing it in its eternal formation and incompleteness, reflecting on the movement and expression of the poetic beginning in the inner world of the creator and in the work of art.

In the teachings of Schelling ( 2003), the idea of artistic expression as a manifestation of poetic genius acquires philosophical consistency and completeness. Comparing the creative power of genius with the creative power of nature, the philosopher limits the imitative ability of art, recognizing only the common moment of existence of "eternally creating the princes of the world" for art and nature.

The extreme degrees of art's possibilities in his task are, according to Shelling, from imitation of forms of nature to abstract idealization. These extremities are rejected by the German philosopher, who acknowledges that the main task of art, which is synthetic in nature, is "to reveal a common unity". By comparing the creations of nature with the works of art, the philosopher discovers the insufficiency of nature, since any creation of nature only rises to true perfection for a moment. Art in its direction of development moves from "plasticity" to " pictoriality", from the sensual to the spiritual, carrying out a full and valid expression of ideas and elevating the spirit over matter.

Schelling ( 2003) uses the methodological method of "construction", which allows not only to fix the opposites (content and form, subjective and objective, etc.), but also to unite by discovering in them the identity and indistinctness. Therefore, art in the whole variety of forms of concrete works contains the whole variety of the world

Having defined the place of art in the universe, Schelling ( 2003) thus clarifies its inner necessity and metaphysical meaning as the end of the world spirit. The peculiarity of art is the indistinguishability of opposites (subjective and objective, spirit and nature, inner and outer). Thus, the meaning of expressiveness in the romantic tradition is argued by the following problems: understanding artistic creativity as an expression of the unique, unique, creative self and idealized national unity; poeticizing thinking as a process of dominance of the inner world of poetic genius over the outer world; universal nature of art as an indissoluble unity of binary oppositions (subjective and objective, real and ideal, human and nature); the mythological essence of art as a universe, the eternal matter of all forms. The legacy of the romantic tradition was continued in the basic concepts of expressiveness in art. Further development of the problem of expressiveness will take place in the aesthetic aspect ( Jacquette, 2014).

Research Methods

The methodological significance of the problem of expressiveness is determined by the approach actively used in the middle of the last century by Kagan ( 1997). The philosopher defines it as a system-synergetic one ( Kagan, 1997), aimed at the integration of theoretical and empirical material and reflecting the paradigmatic changes of modern culture. The importance of this approach lies in the fact that, firstly, it allows us to identify the general nature of transformations of contemporary culture; secondly, to determine the interrelation of different forms of contemporary culture: thirdly, to determine the specificity of the expressiveness of modern culture.

The system-synergistic approach allows a wide interpretation of the phenomena under study and defines the main areas of research: subject, functional and historical: the subject area of research is addressed to the individual. In modern culture, a transition to multidimensional models is planned, in which expressiveness is a form of human manifestation in the world ( Šuvaković, 2016); when studying the functioning of culture, emphasis is placed on expressiveness as procedurality, dynamism of meaning ( Bychkov, 2015); the historical dimension takes into account the cultural context, unites synchronous and diachronic models of explanation of culture. The study of the methodological aspect of expressiveness in contemporary culture is not a self-sufficient task, as the connection with art philosophy, history of philosophy generates new perspectives of its consideration, which influence the humanitarian paradigm of modernity ( Hainge, 2016; Ross, 2006).


German romantics have identified the problem of artistic expression as a contradictory relationship between art and reality.

In the 20th century, there was a tendency to define an independent position for expressiveness in art, to define it as a general philosophical concept, recognizing its revelation of hidden moments and deep meanings.

The analysis of the cultural-philosophical tradition allowed us to identify the main existing approaches to the study of the problem of expressiveness:

  • 1. The transcendental idealism of the Italian neohegelian Crocèe ( 2000). For a philosopher, the basic concept is the spirit and the initial phase of his development – the aesthetic level of "expression". Developing the Hegelian tradition, Crocèe understands this phase of development of the spirit as eternally renewed. The philosopher criticized his contemporary aesthetics as well as the concept of art itself, expanding the boundaries of art to the sphere of direct life experience. Art was conceived by the Italian philosopher as a set of "successful expressions", which implied the existence of the field of art as constantly renewed and renewed literally with every new view of the artist, even on the works already created. The boundaries of aesthetics as a science of such "successful expressions" have been extended to the sphere of linguistics. The relationship between aesthetics and linguistics in theory Crocèe ( 2000) pointed to the emergence of aesthetics from the theoretical point of self-closure, in which art was interpreted as a "special form of activity", to the field of linguistics as a field of "expression". In order to identify the links between art and "primary expressions", this approach became fruitful; it was used by a number of philosophers and linguists both in the 20th century and later.

  • 2. The phenomenological theory "expressive forms" is built in a dialogue with the philosophical systems of Whitehead ( 1917). The problem of cognition of the world is introduced into the problem field of aesthetics, and art (in particular, music) is the object of theoretical knowledge. The knowledge of the world as its construction with the help of symbolic forms required the use of the category of "symbol" understood as the ability to reflect on something without resorting to the precondition of the real existence of the object, but with the use of rational, a priori forms. Creating the theory of representative symbolism, Langer develops the problem of the dialectical relationship between feeling and form in art. In addressing the views of his predecessors and in the polemic of contemporary criticism of its concept, Langer proposes the concept of "expressive form".

  • 3. Adorno ( 2001) defines the aesthetics of the fragmented, in which the fragmentary " not a random phenomenon, the detail, and in particular the fragment is part of the total work to which it opposes" (p. 40). A fragment is a methodological principle of the system, which, despite its fragmented presentation, has many logical interrelations and semantic lines. One such line is the "visibility – expression – expressiveness" bundle. Visibility, as a reproduction of reality, has a certain flaw, absent in the expression. The work of art is such due to the fact that it does not coincide with the depicted reality, introducing some new semantic shade.

The work of art as "abstraction" from the empirical world has a form as an additional quality that does not exist in visible reality. This form marks the boundary between appearance and expression. Art that subjectively expresses objective reality and offers things a possible "language" of the form for the "expression" of their "language-free" essence is called expressive.

Such an approach to comprehending art in the field of aesthetic theory inevitably leads to the use of fragmentarity, paradoxicality, various apores and requires a "paradoxical" form of presentation. The philosopher insists on the fragmentary nature as the main position of his theory. This means that the potential of the approach to the solution of the "apores of expression" (internal and external world, subjective and objective) is applicable only to fragments of aesthetic theory, but not to the whole system.

  • 4. Ontology of the unity of Bulgakov et al. ( 2011). Although the systems of these philosophers are different, the general significance of this approach is to substantiate humanist values that relate to the fundamental problems of human existence. The idea of unity that emerged from the tradition of Christianity has given Russian philosophy a direction to consider the issue of expressiveness as a relationship between the inner and outer world. Thus, in Solovyov's philosophy, the mutual discovery of two layers of existence, the actualization of existentiality and the constant feeling of being transcendental beyond the everyday boundaries of the world, makes expressiveness an ontological category.

In Frank's (2010) aesthetic conception of the incomprehensible as a characteristic of being, expressiveness completes and models the becoming meaning. It is expressiveness, which is understood extremely broadly as the assertion of man in the world, that gives a work of art the status of independence in relation to the objectively existing reality. In the theoretical constructions of the Russian philosopher, expressiveness connects the dichotomous existence of the real and transcendental, eternal and earthly, being a condition of truly human being, recreating the "incomprehensible".

Losev ( 2003) builds an aesthetic theory based on the principle of expressiveness, which forms the categories of expressive series (first and foremost, eidos, myth, symbol, personality, name). The formation of the categories takes place due to the symbolic character of expressiveness, which correlates meaning with the non-touched reality.

The source of Florensky's ( 1996) philosophy is the original meaning of philosophy as a surprise before the true being, generating a cognition, which brings in the Truth. For the construction of metaphysics, the philosopher turns to the problem of a concrete one that has the character of the embodiment (expression) of the world in a sensual form. Internal and external, the phenomenon and novels are for the Florentine side of any phenomenon of reality. As a philosopher, he sees his task in determining the attitude of these parties.

This understanding of metaphysics in Florensky ( 1996) corresponded to the aspirations of the world philosophical thought from abstract construction of systems to concrete experience of man, the justification of the ontological approach. Philosophers are brought together by the application of etymological interpretations in search of the original meaning of the concepts, the understanding of the relationship between the language of poetry and philosophy. Florensky's ( 1996) philosophical poetics turns the emptiness of nonexistence into the reality of the subject world through the name.


Addressing the analysis of the concepts of Crocee (expressiveness as an expression of the spirit in the primary form), Langer (expression of feelings symbolically), Adorno (expressiveness as a critique of the inexpressive and recognition of the expressiveness of the fragmented), Solovyov (expressiveness as an expression of unity), Florensky (expressiveness as an expression of the antinomicity of cultural phenomena), Losev (expressiveness as a human measure) contributes to the separation of the methodological aspect of the problem of expression of modern culture:

  • expressiveness is a necessary form of human interaction and being, the essence of which forms the representation of a measure of humanity in the product of creativity in a personally unique form in a unique space-time. It is a characteristic of expressiveness as a category of culture, considered from the position of universality;

  • as a general certainty, expressiveness has a structure: some primordial (the spiritual essence of a man), eidos as a unity of truth, welfare and validity of a man, a myth about the world and himself, a special symbol, a person and its name. This is a characteristic of the analytical certainty of the category of expressiveness;

  • as a reflexion of aesthetic-artistic thinking, expressiveness is related to representativeness, as an image of the essence or on the contrary, the negation of the essence in the image;

  • expression is a category of art that models specific means of expression in the form of the language of art;

  • expressiveness is a category of communication between an artist and a recipient in a certain type of culture (in the West, the existentialism of a person in identity is expressed, and in Russian culture, the existence);

  • expressiveness – the intersection of the interaction between man and the world, movement and rest, self-disclosure and self-knowledge, image and primordial image; the event-based expressiveness lies in the manifestation of the inner state of culture in the outer;

  • expressiveness as a principle is aimed at the self-actualization and self-disclosure of a person through his interaction with the world of culture, striving to realize his creative beginning.


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31 October 2020

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Loginova, M. V. (2020). The Problem Of The Expressiveness Of Modern Culture: Methodological Aspect. In D. K. Bataev (Ed.), Social and Cultural Transformations in the Context of Modern Globalism» Dedicated to the 80th Anniversary of Turkayev Hassan Vakhitovich, vol 92. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 2099-2105). European Publisher.