In this pioneering book, noted international scholars explore the limits and definitions of knowing, thinking, and communicating meaning as we move into the 21st century. Coming from disciplines as diverse as anthropology, philosophy, literature, aesthetics, and art practice, together they work towards reconceiving the boundaries between entrenched domains of knowledge to great effect.
From Plato to Goodman, many philosophers have addressed problems in aesthetics and the philosophy of art. Nevertheless the central issues here have remained ill-defined. In this book, A. L. Cothey overcomes this difficulty by giving a systematic account of the leading philosophical ideas about art and aesthetics from ancient times to the present day. In The Nature of Art , Cothey concludes that the best-known philosophical theories of art fail to satisfy either the pragmatic or the aesthetic criteria required to (...) explain our experience of art. Introducing topics from areas of philosophy such as semantics, theories of cognition and the ethical nature of pleasure and enjoyment, Cothey develops a new theory explaining aesthetic satisfaction, artistic ability and why aesthetic experiences escape articulation. The Nature of Art will force readers to re-examine their views on art, and prove a significant contribution to the new debate onaesthetics. (shrink)
What, if anything, has art to do with the rest of our lives, and in particular with those ethical and political issues that matter to us most? Will art created today be likely to play a role in our lives as profound as that of the best art of the past? A Theory of Art shifts the focus of aesthetics from the traditional debate of "what is art?" to the engaging question of "what is art for?" Skillfully describing the social (...) and historical situation of art today, author Karol Berger argues that music exemplifies the current condition of art in a radical, acute, and revealing fashion. He also uniquely combines aesthetics with poetics and hermeneutics. Offering a careful synthesis of a wide breadth of scholarship from art history, musicology, literary studies, political philosophy, ethics, and metaphysics, and written in a clear, accessible style, this book will appeal to anyone with a serious interest in the arts. (shrink)
The eighteenth and nineteenth centuries witnessed a change in the perception of the arts and of philosophy. In the arts this transition occurred around 1800, with, for instance, the breakdown of Vitruvianism in architecture, while in philosophy the foundationalism of which Descartes and Spinoza were paradigmatic representatives, which presumed that philosophy and the sciences possessed a method of ensuring the demonstration of truths, was undermined by the idea, asserted by Nietzsche and Wittgenstein, that there exist alternative styles of enquiry among (...) which a choice is open. The essays in this book examine the circumstances, features, and consequences of this historical transition, exploring in particular new aspects and instances of the inter-relatedness of content and its formal representation in both the arts and philosophy. (shrink)
The essays in this collection are concerned with the philosophical problems that arise in connection with the understanding and evaluation of literature - such problems as the relationship between the work and the author (authorial intention), between the work and the world (reference and truth), the definition of a literary work, and the nature of literary theory itself. Professor Olsen attacks many of the orthodoxies of modern literary theory, in particular the enterprise to build a comprehensive systematic literary theory. His (...) own work is informed by a consistent perspective: the assumption that literature is a social institution governed by conventions, and that answers to problems of interpretation and appreciation can be found only through an analysis of these conventions. This is an important book for scholars and students of literary theory and philosophy, especially for those who see an ever-increasing cross-fertilization between the two disciplines. (shrink)
In this collection of her provocative essays on Third World art and culture, award-winning filmmaker and theorist Trinh Minh-ha offers new challenges to Western regimes of knowledge. Bringing to her subjects an acute sense of the many meanings of the marginal, Trinh examines Asian and African texts, the theories of Barthes, questions of spectatorship, the enigmas of art, and the perils of anthropology. In one essay, taking off from ideas raised earlier by Zora Neale Hurston, Trinh considers with astonishment the (...) search by Western "experts" for the hidden values of a person or culture, a process of legitimized voyeurism that, she argues, ultimately equates psychological conflicts with depth , while inner experience is reduced to mere personal feeling. When the Moon Waxes Red is an extended argument against reductive analyses, even those that appear politically adroit. Feminist struggle is heterogeneous. The multiply-hyphenated peoples of color are not simply placed in a duality between two cultural heritages; throughout, Trinh describes the predicament of having to live "a difference that has no name and too many names already." She argues for multicultural revision of knowledge so that a new politics can transform reality rather than merely ideologize it. By rewriting the always emerging, already distorted place of struggle, such work seeks to "beat the master at his own game.". (shrink)
Explanation and Value in the Arts offers penetrating studies by art historians, literary theorists, and philosophers, of issues central to explaining works of literature and painting. The first chapters look at the sources of interest in the fine arts and point to the intimate relation between aesthetic and other values. The next contributions develop the interaction between value and explanation in the study of the arts, including considerations of the nature of creativity and the principles for the explanations of works. (...) A final section takes up questions of the role of ideology and the determining role of power. (shrink)
Art has the power to affect our thinking, changing not only the way we view and interact with the world but also how we create it. In Art in Mind , Ernst van Alphen probes this idea of art as a commanding force with the capacity to shape our intellect and intervene in our lives. Rather than interpreting art as merely a reflection of our social experience or a product of history, van Alphen here argues that art is a historical (...) agent, or a cultural creator, that propels thought and experience forward. Examining a broad range of works, van Alphen—a renowned art historian and cultural theorist—demonstrates how art serves a socially constructive function by actually experimenting with the parameters of thought. Employing work from artists as diverse as Picasso, Watteau, Francis Bacon, Marlene Dumas, and Matthew Barney, he shows how art confronts its viewers with the "pain points" of cultural experience-genocide, sexuality, diaspora, and transcultural identity-and thereby transforms the ways in which human existence is conceived. Van Alphen analyzes how art visually "thinks" about these difficult cultural issues, tapping into an understudied interpretation of art as the realm where ideas and values are actively created, given form, and mobilized. In this way, van Alphen's book is a work of art in itself as it educates us in a new mode of thought that will forge equally new approaches and responses to the world. (shrink)
Musical Perceptions is a much-needed text that introduces students of both music and psychology to the study of music perception and cognition. Because the book aims to foster a closer interaction between research in the science and the art of music, both psychologists and musicians contribute chapters on a wide range of topics, including the philosophy of music; research in musical performance; perception of melody, tonality, and rhythm; pedagogical issues; language and music; and neural networks. With their unique ability to (...) introduce musical and psychological concepts to first-time students in the area, Rita Aiello and John Sloboda have edited a volume that will be popular with undergraduate and graduate students taking courses in the perception, psychology, and aesthetics of music. They have prefaced each chapter with an introduction to the chapter's research. This book will also be useful to cognitive and physiological psychologists and music theorists interested in music perception. (shrink)
If opera had existed in Elizabethan London, the world's Top Bard, as W.H. Auden called him, might have become the world's Top Librettist. As Gary Schmidgall shows in this illuminating study, Shakespeare's expressive ways and dramaturgical means are like those of composers and librettists in numerous and often astonishing ways. No wonder that well over two hundred operas have been based on Shakespeare's plays. Ranging widely through the Shakespearean canon and the standard operatic repertory, Schmidgall presents a fascinating comparison, focusing (...) on similarities of expressive style, scenic structure, staging, and performance practice. Shakespeare and Opera offers extended discussions of issues central to both theatrical genres, including their shared demand for virtuoso display, the comparable functions of set speeches and arias, and the similarities of verbal and musical rhetoric, and the charges of unreality and melodrama that have dogged them both. In addition, Schmidgall provides concise essays on the most intriguing Shakespeare-based operas, including works of Verdi, Wagner, Bellini, Rossini, Berlioz, Thomas, Vaughan Williams, Barber, and Britten. He enriches his argument with the insights of the great composers who never set Shakespeare (Mozart, Puccini, and Strauss among them), major observers of the legitimate stage (from Samuel Johnson to Eric Bentley) and the musical stage (from Joseph Addison to Joseph Kerman), as well as the incisive views of influential artists, critics, and performers as diverse as Walt Whitman, H.L. Mencken, and Laurence Olivier. For all who love the stage, Shakespeare and Opera offers endless insight and fascination. Schmidgall's extended comparison of the two dramaturgies provides a fresh perspective on Shakespeare, musical theater, comparative drama, and theater history. (shrink)
This book is an easy-to-read, fun and provocative discussion of how to understand, appreciate, and evaluate film. Written by professor and film guru Michael Gose, the book is loved by students and moviegoers alike.
A characteristic feature of Wagnerian and post-Wagnerian opera is the tendency to link scenes with numerous and often surprisingly lengthy orchestral interludes, frequently performed with the curtain closed. Often taken for granted or treated as a filler by audiences and critics, these interludes can take on very prominent roles, representing dream sequences, journeys and sexual encounters, and in some cases becoming a highlight of the opera. Christopher Morris investigates the implications of these important but strangely overlooked passages. Combining close readings (...) of individual musical texts with an investigation of the critical discourse surrounding the operas, Morris shows how the interludes shed light not only on the representational and narrative capacities of the orchestra, but also on the supposed 'absolute' realm of instrumental music, a concept to which many critics appealed when they associated the interludes with 'purely musical' and 'symphonic' qualities. (shrink)
Most instructors who teach introductory courses in aesthetics or the philosophy of arts use the visual arts as their implicit reference for "art" in general, yet until now there has been no aesthetics anthology specifically orientated to the visual arts. This text stresses conceptual and theoretical issues, first examining the very notion of "the visual arts" and then investigating philosophical questions raised by various forms, from painting, the paradigmatic form, to sculpture, photography, film, dance, kitsch, and other forms on the (...) borders of the visual arts. The selections represent both classical and contemporary views and include sections by artists, art historians, and critics as well as philosophers. A singularly important text for courses in the philosophy of arts or aesthetics, this anthology is designed to enrich the philosophical and critical examination of our beliefs about the visual arts. (shrink)
The effects of Derrida's writings have been widespread in literary circles, where they have transformed current work in literary theory. By contrast Derrida's philosophical writings--which deal with the whole range of western thought from Plato to Foucault--have not received adequate attention by philosophers. Organized around Derrida's readings of major figures in the history of philosophy, Derrida and Deconstruction focuses on and assesses his specifically philosophical contribution. Contemporary continental philosophers assess Derrida's account of philosophical tradition, with each contributor providing a critical (...) study of Derrida's position on a philosopher she or he has already studied in depth These figures include Plato, Meister Eckhart, Descartes, Kant, Hegel, Nietzsche, Freud, Husserl, Heidegger, Sartre, and Foucault. (shrink)