By Benedetto Croce
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Extra resources for AESTHETIC AS SCIENCE OF EXPRESSION AND GENERAL LINGUISTIC
It has been said with reason that even fairies and sprites must have verisimilitude, that is to say, be really sprites and fairies, coherent artistic intuitions. " As we have already remarked in passing, this word possible is synonymous with that which is imaginable or may be known intuitively. Everything which is really, that is to say, coherently, imagined, is possible. But formerly, and especially by the theoreticians, by verisimilar was understood historical credibility, or that historical truth which is not demonstrable, but conjecturable, not true, but verisimilar.
Historical laws and historical concepts? In that case, an elementary criticism of knowledge suffices to make clear the absurdity of the attempt. When such expressions as a _historical law_, a _historical concept_ are not simply metaphors colloquially employed, they are true contradictions in terms: the adjective is as unsuitable to the substantive as in the expressions _qualitative quantity_ or _pluralistic monism_. History means concretion and individuality, law and concept mean abstraction and universality.
The logical or scientific form, as such, excludes the aesthetic form. He who begins to think scientifically has already ceased to contemplate aesthetically; although his thought will assume of necessity in its turn an aesthetic form, as has already been said, and as it would be superfluous to repeat. The error begins when we try to deduce the expression from the concept, and to find in the thing substituting the laws of the thing substituted; when the difference between the second and the first step has not been observed, and when, in consequence, we declare that we are standing on the first step, when we are really standing on the second.