One issue for theory is to account convincingly for the value of art and the significance of its specifically aesthetic character. Appeal to imagination, understood along Kantian lines as functioning to construct ‘a second nature from the material supplied by actual nature’, generates suggestive answers to both aspects of the task. The second nature that the artist inventively constructs in fine representation is one in which themes central to the inner life are revealed in ways as unestranging to us as (...) their nature permits; then, in their aesthetic realization we take them into ourselves directly in experience, with concomitant affect. Thereby the values they convey are liable either to become our own or else to modify established ones. Whether they do so stably or not may depend on our having achieved a firmly enough rooted sense of self. Imagination has traditionally been seen as contributing aesthetically to that too in the elaboration of the sublime, as much within the realm of art as in nature itself. Forms of art resisting such modes of reflection will need to look to theory to put something no less vital in their place. (shrink)
[Richard Glauser] Shaftesbury's theory of aesthetic experience is based on his conception of a natural disposition to apprehend beauty, a real 'form' of things. I examine the implications of the disposition's naturalness. I argue that the disposition is not an extra faculty or a sixth sense, and attempt to situate Shaftesbury's position on this issue between those of Locke and Hutcheson. I argue that the natural disposition is to be perfected in many different ways in order to be exercised in (...) the perception of the different degrees of beauty within Shaftesbury's hierarchy. This leads to the conclusion that the exercise of the disposition depends, from case to case, on many different cognitive and affective conditions, that are realised by the collaborative functionings of our ordinary faculties. Essential to Shaftesbury's conception of aesthetic experience is a disinterested, contemplative love, that causes (or contains) what we may call a 'disinterested pleasure', but also an interested pleasure. I argue that, within any given aesthetic experience, the role of the disinterested pleasure is secondary to that of the disinterested love. However, an important function of the disinterested pleasure is that, in combination with the interested pleasure, it leads one to aspire to pass from the aesthetic experience of lower degrees of beauty to the experience of higher ones in the hierarchy. /// [Anthony Savile] (1) If Shaftesbury is to be seen as the doyen of modern aesthetics, his most valuable legacy to us may not so much be his viewing aesthetic response as a sui generis disinterested delight as his insistence on its turning 'wholly on [experience of] what is exterior and foreign to ourselves'. Not that we cannot experience ourselves, or what is our own, as a source of such admiration. Rather our responses, favourable or no, are improperly grounded in any essentially reflexive, or first-personal, ways of taking what engages us. The suggestion is tested against the case of Narcissus. (2) Glauser interestingly emphasizes Shaftesbury's neo-Platonic conception of a hierarchy of aesthetic experience that culminates in the joyful contemplation of God. That hierarchy must be something that is less unitary and systematic than Shaftesbury himself had supposed, even when his emphasis on the tie between aesthetic pleasure and contemplative experience is allowed to extend beyond perception and to encompass episodes of thought itself. (shrink)
Reviews goodman's claims about representation, Expression and identity of works of art. Claims that the underlying nominalist logic effectively prohibits our understanding of these notions (pace goodman) and leaves everything which is of specific artistic and aesthetic interest out of account.