Introduction: the literary function -- Being constructivist -- Rethinking the performative in pragmatics -- The literary function and the cartographic turn: performative philosophy -- The literary function and society, I: affirmation of immanent aesthetics -- The literary function and society, II: community and subjectification -- The reader and the event of fiction -- Conclusion: degrees of freedom.
Recent philosophical discussion about the relation between fiction and reality pays little attention to our moral involvement with literature. Frank Palmer's purpose is to investigate how our appreciation of literary works calls upon and develops our capacity for moral understanding. He explores a wide range of philosophical questions about the relation of art to morality, and challenges theories that he regards as incompatible with a humane view of literary art. Palmer considers, in particular, the extent to which the values (...) and moral concepts involved in our understanding of human beings can be said to enter into our understanding of, and response to, fictional characters. The scope of his discussion encompasses literary aesthetics, ethics, and epistemology, and he makes extensive reference to literary examples. (shrink)
The paper argues that there is a proper place for literature within aesthetics but that care must be taken in identifying just what the relation is. In characterising aesthetic pleasure associated with literature it is all too easy to fall into reductive accounts, for example, of literature as merely “fine writing”. Belleslettrist or formalistic accounts of literature are rejected, as are two other kinds of reduction, to pure meaning properties and to a kind of narrative (...) realism. The idea is developed that literature—both poetry and prose fiction—invites its own distinctive kind of aesthetic appreciation which far from being at odds with critical practice, in fact chimes well with it. (shrink)
The Picturesque (a set of theories, ideas, and conventions which grew up around the question of how we look at landscape) offers a valuable focus for new investigations into the literary, artistic, social, and cultural history of the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. This volume of essays by scholars from various disciplines in Britain and America incorporates a range of historically and theoretically challenging approaches to the topic. It covers the writers most closely identified with the exposition of the Picturesque (...) as a theory, and also traces the influence and implications of its aesthetic in a variety of fields in the Romantic period, including literary and pictorial works, estate management, and women's fashion. Several essays deal more specifically with radical critiques and appropriations of the Picturesque in the nineteenth century, while in others, its influence is traced beyond traditionally accepted geographical or historical bounds. (shrink)
This book examines the complex and varied ways in which fictions relate to the real world, and offers a precise account of how imaginative works of literature can use fictional content to explore matters of universal human interest. While rejecting the traditional view that literature is important for the truths that it imparts, the authors also reject attempts to cut literature off altogether from real human concerns. Their detailed account of fictionality, mimesis, and cognitive value, founded on (...) the methods of analytical philosophy, restores to literature its distinctive status among cultural practices. The authors also explore metaphysical and skeptical views, prevalent in modern thought, according to which the world itself is a kind of fiction, and truth no more than a social construct. They identify different conceptions of fiction in science, logic, epistemology, and make-believe, and thereby challenge the idea that discourse per se is fictional and that different modes of discourse are at root indistinguishable. They offer rigorous analyses of the roles of narrative, imagination, metaphor, and "making" in human thought processes. Both in their methods and in their conclusions, Lamarque and Olsen aim to restore rigor and clarity to debates about the values of literature, and to provide new, philosophically sound foundations for a genuine change of direction in literary theorizing. (shrink)
This is a paperback edition of what has become an important contribution to aesthetics and the theory of literature. The author analyses in detail how the reader responds to literature and how he begins to evaluate it. Mr Olsen characterizes literature as an institution and thus forges links with contemporary philosophy which sees all human action as ordered and defined by social institutions.
Why do people respond emotionally to works of fiction they know are make-believe? Boruah tackles this question, which is fundamental aesthetics and literary studies, from a totally new perspective. Bringing together the various answers that have been offered by philosophers from Aristotle to Roger Scruton, he shows that while some philosophers have denied any rational basis to our emotional responses to fiction, others have argued that the emotions evoked by fiction are not real emotions at all. In response to (...) this, Boruah contends that fictional emotions are rational because they are based on the same sorts of beliefs that we form about real situations and real people. He illustrates this argument with literary examples ranging from Shakespeare to Tolstoy. (shrink)
In 1764, Kant published his Observations on the Feeling of the Beautiful and the Sublime and in 1790 his influential third Critique , the Critique of the Power of Judgment . The latter contains two parts, the 'Critique of the Aesthetic Power of Judgment' and the 'Critique of the Teleological Power of Judgment'. They reveal a new principle, namely the a priori principle of purposiveness ( Zweckmäßigkeit ) of our power of judgment, and thereby offer new a priori grounds for (...) beauty and biology within the framework of Kant's transcendental philosophy. They also unite the previous two Critiques , the Critique of Pure Reason and the Critique of Practical Reason . Besides contributing to general and systematic aspects within his transcendental philosophy, Kant's aesthetics also offers new insights into old problems. It deals with feeling versus experience, subjectivity versus objectivity, disinterested pleasure, aesthetic universality, free and adherent beauty, the sensus communis , genius, aesthetic ideas, beauty as the symbol of morality, beauty of nature versus beauty of art, the sublime, and the supersensible. In this article I will limit myself to this critical aesthetics of Kant. But I will also discuss the ugly and the possibility of beauty in mathematics and see whether Kant's theory can successfully explain or deal with them. I will also compare his theory with philosophical ideas from a very different tradition, namely from Confucius, not only as a challenge to Kant's theory, but also because there is a growing interest from the Chinese side in combining ideas from Confucius and Kant, an interest that might well become influential in both East and West during the 21st century. (shrink)
Sleepy Hollow : fearful pleasures and the nightmare of history -- Lacan and the beyond of language : from art to ethics -- Brown's Wieland and the ethical circumscription of death -- Heideggerian ethics : the voice of art and the call to being -- Levinas: art and the transcendence of solitude -- Endings : ethics, enigma, and address in The marble faun -- Riven : Badiou's ethical subject and the event of art as trauma.
Criticism and Modernity traces the conditions under which criticism emerges as a socio-cultural practice within the institutionalized forms of European modernity and democracy. It argues that criticism is born out of anxieties about national supremacy in the late seventeenth century, with the consequence that the emergent national cultures of the eighteenth century and since become sites for the regulation of the democratic subject through the academic form of arguments about the proper relations of aesthetics to ethics and politics. The (...) central issue is that of legitimation: how can subjective aesthetic experiences regulate the norms of ethical justice? That question is posed not as an abstract philosophical issue, but rather as a question properly located within the struggles for national culture. -/- The usual Germanic source of modern aesthetics and criticism is here placed in the broader European context, involving contests between England, France, Scotland, Ireland, and the emergent Germany and Italy. Writers addressed include Corneille, Dryden, Molière, Shaftesbury, Hutcheson, Hume, Rousseau, Kant, Schiller, Hegel, Schopenhauer; and, throughout, the legacy of these thinkers is found in the most recent contemporary theory, in work by Agamben, Badiou, Lyotard, MacIntyre, and others. A closing chapter considers the formation of the university across modern Europe, in Vico's Naples, Humboldt's Berlin, Newman's Dublin, Blair's Edinburgh, the France of Alain and Benda, the England of Leavis, as well as our contemporary institutional predicaments. (shrink)
René Girard’s mimetic theory has significantly influenced the fields of comparative literature and cultural studies, as well as sociological anthropology and philosophy. Nevertheless, I argue that a somewhat different line of interpretation, an interdisciplinary one, has not been sufficiently investigated. This involves an interpretation which focuses on the vicissitudes of the mimetic and “victimage” circle not (or not only) in sociological terms, but by analysing their articulation on the level of knowledge. The sociological and epistemological perspectives do not exclude (...) each other, but can be integrated. The main aim of this paper is to clarify this articulation, and to show that integration between these two perspectives is possible only by bringing into play a real ‘literary aesthetics’. The notion of literary aesthetics needs to be considered in both the common and the etymological sense, as a theory of feeling and of experiencing. In doing so, I firstly cover in brief the main stages of Girard’s thought in the light of this perspective, to then focus on the relationship between literary aesthetics and knowledge. Finally I argue that this picture, if seriously considered, could lead to a mystical outcome, and will discuss the possible alternatives to that outcome. (shrink)
This book offers the first full-length study of philosophical dialogue during the English Enlightenment. It explains why important philosophers - Shaftesbury, Mandeville, Berkeley and Hume - and innumerable minor translators, imitators and critics wrote in and about dialogue during the eighteenth century; and why, after Hume, philosophical dialogue either falls out of use or undergoes radical transformation. Philosophical Dialogue in the British Enlightenment describes the extended, heavily coded, and often belligerent debate about the nature and proper management of dialogue; and (...) it shows how the writing of philosophical fictions relates to the rise of the novel and the emergence of philosophical aesthetics. Novelists such as Fielding, Sterne, Johnson and Austen are placed in a philosophical context, and philosophers of the empiricist tradition in the context of English literary history. (shrink)
In his writings Wittgenstein has touched some key aspects of aesthetic experience, of the experience of art, and of the dynamics of culture. Moreover, several lines of research in these fields have emerged and are still emerging from the roots of Wittgenstein's thought. This volume collects a number of essays on these topics by renowned international scholars (such as H.-J. Glock, J. Hyman, S. Majetschak, J. Schulte, A. Voltolini, and W. Vossenkuhl) and younger researchers. Our aim is to document the (...) presence of aesthetics across the development of Wittgenstein's thought and to present Wittgenstein's point of view, and new views inspired by Wittgenstein, on music, literature and poetry, the visual arts, and architecture. (shrink)
This book provides a collection of some 400 passages on music from early Christian literature - New Testament to c. 450 AD - newly translated from the original Greek, Latin, and Syriac. As there are no musical sources of the period, music historians must rely upon remarks about music in literary sources to gain some knowledge of early Christian liturgical music. This volume makes a large and representative collection of the material conveniently available. The passages are arranged chronologically and (...) regionally in eleven chapters with brief commentary. An introduction sets out the major subjects and themes of the original source material. (shrink)