Art and Pornography presents a series of essays which investigate the artistic status and aesthetic dimension of pornographic pictures, films, and literature, and explores the distinction, if there is any, between pornography and erotic art. Is there any overlap between art and pornography, or are the two mutually exclusive? If they are, why is that? If they are not, how might we characterize pornographic art or artistic pornography, and how might pornographic art be distinguished, if at all, from erotic art? (...) Can there be aesthetic experience of pornography? What are some of the psychological, social, and political consequences of the creation and appreciation of erotic art or artistic pornography? Leading scholars from around the world address these questions, and more, and bring together different aesthetic perspectives and approaches to this widely consumed, increasingly visible, yet aesthetically underexplored cultural domain. The book, the first of its kind in philosophical aesthetics, will contribute to a more accurate and subtle understanding of the many representations that incorporate explicit sexual imagery and themes, in both high art and demotic culture, in Western and non-Western contexts. It is sure to stir debate, and healthy controversy. (shrink)
Le son musical est vibration, et dépend des instruments utilisés. Être fidèle aux instruments prévus par le compositeur ne répond pas à un simple souci d’authenticité. Notre écoute de l’œuvre musicale dépend des gestes instrumentaux pratiqués par les musiciens (gestes que nous voyons au concert, ou que nous supposons si la musique est enregistrée). Les gestes proprement musicaux (liés à l’expressivité de la musique) sont fonction des gestes effectifs pratiqués par l’instrumentiste. Chaque instrument dispose ainsi d’un véritable répertoire gestuel, plus (...) important quand le bras est engagé (violon) que lorsque ce sont seulement les doigts (flûte à bec). La technique de jeu de l’instrument, sa capacité à produire tel ou tel type d’ornement, jouent un rôle important dans la création musicale. L’orchestre, enfin, peut être considéré comme une sorte de grand corps discontinu dont joue le chef d’orchestre. (shrink)
This is a long-awaited reissue of Jerrold Levinson's 1990 book Music, Art, and Metaphysics, which gathers together the writings that made him a leading figure in contemporary aesthetics. Most of the essays are distinguished by a concern with metaphysical questions about artworks and their properties, but other essays address the problem of art's definition, the psychology of aesthetic response, and the logic of interpreting and evaluating works of art. The focus of about half of the essays is the art of (...) music, the art of greatest interest to Levinson throughout his career. Many of the essays have been very influential, being among the most cited in contemporary aesthetics and having become essential references in debates on the definition of art, the ontology of art, emotional response to art, expression in art, and the nature of art forms. (shrink)
This paper deals with two questions. The first: are titles of artworks constitutive of what such works are? The second: are titles essential properties of artworks? The answer is given by the central thesis: the title slot for a work of art is never devoid of aesthetic potential; how it is filled, or that it is not filled, is always aesthetically relevant.
I here defend hypothetical intentionalism, the view of literary and cinematic interpretation that I endorse, from some recent criticisms, and then illustrate the appeal of the view in connection with a recent film of enigmatic cast.
This essay explores some aspects of the relation between philosophy and music. First, how music can inspire philosophy; second, how philosophy can inspire music. Mathematics as a middle term between music and philosophy, the idea of wholeness in a musical composition or a philosophical text, music as a mode of thought displaying traits such as logic, coherence, and sense—these are some ways in which music and philosophy may be seen to be connected. Also, composers sometimes have explicit recourse to philosophical (...) ideas in advancing their music, there being prominent examples of this in the twentieth century. Lastly, given there is such a thing as the philosophy of music, might there also be the music of philosophy? (shrink)
This essay offers a sketch of what aesthetic appreciation of music fundamentally consists in, underlining both why such engagement counts as aesthetic and why such engagement counts as appreciation, and emphasizing the role of perception of gesture in the grasp of musical expressiveness. The analysis is illustrated by a piece of chamber music of Gabriel Fauré. In the last section of the essay I address some remarks of Roger Scruton on the connection between music and dance, ones whose relevance to (...) the appreciation of music is clear. (shrink)
Contemplating Art is a compendium of writings from the last ten years by one of the leading figures in aesthetics, Jerrold Levinson. The twenty-four essays range over issues in general aesthetics and those relating to specific arts--in particular music, film, and literature. It will appeal not only to philosophers but also to musicologists, literary theorists, art critics, and reflective lovers of the arts.
[Derek Matravers] Jerrold Levinson maintains that he is a realist about aesthetic properties. This paper considers his positive arguments for such a view. An argument from Roger Scruton, that aesthetic realism would entail the absurd claim that many aesthetic predicates were ambiguous, is also considered and it is argued that Levinson is in no worse position with respect to this argument than anyone else. However, Levinson cannot account for the phenomenon of aesthetic autonomy: namely, that we cannot be put in (...) a position to make an aesthetic judgement by testimony alone. Finally, Levinson's views on the ontology of aesthetic properties are considered and found wanting. /// [Jerrold Levinson] Being an aesthetic realist is hard work. Derek Matravers has raised a number of concerns for the brand of aesthetic realism that I have defended in the past, and that I continue to defend, albeit with modification. Much turns on the nature of aesthetic properties, and on the reasons for acknowledging their existence. I here try to provide further illumination on both scores, suggesting in particular that many aesthetic properties can be viewed as manifest higher-order ways of appearing. Toward the end of my discussion the question of whether or not aesthetic properties are response-dependent is addressed, and I offer the tentative conclusion that some are, and some are not. (shrink)
Jerrold Levinson maintains that he is a realist about aesthetic properties. This paper considers his positive arguments for such a view. An argument from Roger Scruton, that aesthetic realism would entail the absurd claim that many aesthetic predicates were ambiguous, is also considered and it is argued that Levinson is in no worse position with respect to this argument than anyone else. However, Levinson cannot account for the phenomenon of aesthetic autonomy: namely, that we cannot be put in a position (...) to make an aesthetic judgement by testimony alone. Finally, Levinson's views on the ontology of aesthetic properties are considered and found wanting. (shrink)
In this paper I address the issue of narrativity in music. The central question is the extent to which pure instrumental music in the classical tradition can or should be understood as narrative, that is, as narrating a story of some kind. I am interested in the varying potential and aptness for narrative construal of different sorts of instrumental music, and in what the content of such narratives might plausibly be thought to be. But ultimately I explore, at greater length, (...) an alternative way of construing musical process, namely, as dramatic rather than narrative in nature, following the lead of two musicologists, Anthony Newcomb and Fred Maus. After a comparison of the respective merits of narrative and dramatic construals of music, the paper concludes with an illustrative reading, in dramatic mode, of part of the opening movement of Schubert's Piano Sonata in A minor, D. 845. (shrink)
The Oxford Handbook of Aesthetics brings the authority, liveliness, and multi-disciplinary scope of the Handbook series to a fascinating theme in philosophy and the arts. Jerrold Levinson has assembled a hugely impressive range of talent to contribute 48 brand-new essays, making this the most comprehensive guide available to the theory, application, history, and future of the field. This Handbook will be invaluable to academics and students across philosophy and all branches of the arts, both as the reference work of choice (...) and as a stimulus to new research and creativity. (shrink)
In this short paper I begin by underlining the sense in which my intentional-historical theory of art, first proposed in 1979, attributes to art a certain irreducible historicality. I next defend the theory, in broad outline, against a number of objections that have been raised against it in the past ten years. I conclude with some remarks on the similarities and differences between ordinary artefact concepts and the concept of an artwork.
Exploring key topics in contemporary aesthetics, this work analyzes the issues that arise from the unique works of Frank Sibley (1923-1996), who developed a distinctive aesthetic theory through a number of papers published between 1955 and 1995. Here, thirteen philosophical aestheticians bring Sibley's insight into a contemporary framework, exploring the ways his ideas foster important new discussion about issues in aesthetics. This collection will interest anyone interested in philosophy, art theory, and art criticism.
This major collection of essays stands at the border of aesthetics and ethics and deals with charged issues of practical import: art and morality, the ethics of taste, and censorship. As such its potential interest is by no means confined to professional philosophers; it should also appeal to art historians and critics, literary theorists, and students of film. Prominent philosophers in both aesthetics and ethics tackle a wide array of issues. Some of the questions explored in the volume include: Can (...) art be morally enlightening and, if so, how? If a work of art is morally better does that make it better as art? Is morally deficient art to be shunned, or even censored? Do subjects of artworks have rights as to how they are represented? Do artists have duties as artists and duties as human beings, and if so, to whom? How much tension is there between the demands of art and the demands of life? (shrink)