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.
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)
What is music for? How does it work? What can it teach us? Intuitively, we feel there must be answers to such questions, but they tend to be scattered throughout a wide range of different areas of study, from acoustics to music history, from psychology to composition. In this brilliant and thought-provoking book Maconie seeks the answers to these and other fundamental questions about music, integrating music and appropriate scientific research in a new evaluation of his topic. In so doing, (...) he argues passionately for a reappraisal of music, not as mere entertainment, but as something basic to our experience of listening and communicating in sound, and an art which has exerted a profound influence on society. (shrink)
These challenging essays defend Romanticism against its critics. They argue that Romantic thought, interpreted as the pursuit of freedom in concrete contexts, remains a central and exemplary form of both artistic work and philosophical understanding. Marshalling a wide range of texts from literature, philosophy and criticism, Richard Eldridge traces the central themes and stylistic features of Romantic thinking in the work of Kant, Hölderlin, Wordsworth, Hardy, Wittgenstein, Cavell and Updike. Through his analysis he shows that Romanticism is neither emptily literary (...) and escapist nor dogmatically optimistic and sentimental. This is the first serious philosophical defense of the ethical ideals of Romanticism and will appeal particularly to all professionals and students in philosophy, literature and aesthetics who are interested in what, philosophically, literature can show that philosophy cannot say. (shrink)
Since the beginning of the eighteenth century the philosophy of art has been engaged on the project of trying to find out what the fine arts have in common and, thus, how they might be defined. Peter Kivy's purpose in this accessible and lucid book is to trace the history of that enterprise and argue that the definitional project has been unsuccessful. He offers a fruitful change of strategy: instead of engaging in an obsessive quest for sameness, let us explore (...) the differences between the arts. He presents five case studies, three from literature, two from music. With its combination of historical and analytic approaches this is a book for a wide range of readers in philosophy, literary studies, music, and non-academic readers with interests in the arts. (shrink)
These essays showcase the value of the narrative arts in investigating complex conflicts of value in moral and political life, and explore the philosophical problem of moral dilemmas as expressed in ancient drama, classic and contemporary ...
Why do people read novels, go to the theater, or listen to beautiful music? Do we seek out aesthetic experiences simply because we enjoy them--or is there another, deeper, reason we spend our leisure time viewing or experiencing works of art? Aesthetics, the first short introduction to the contemporary philosophy of aesthetics, examines not just the nature of the aesthetic experience, but the definition of art, and its moral and intrinsic value in our lives. Anne Sheppard divides her work into (...) two parts: In the first, she summarizes the major theories defining art and beauty; in the second, she explores the nature of aesthetic evaluation and appreciation. As Sheppard explains, there are three main approaches to defining art, all focused on what art objects share. One proposes that all art imitates something in life, another that it expresses something (such as anger or ecstasy), still another suggests that all art has formal qualities. There is also a fourth which offers that all art shares the quality of beauty. In the second part, which concentrates on literary art, Sheppard explores such philosophic topics as critical judgment, meaning and truth in literature, and the relationship between art and morals. She raises such questions as whether there is one correct interpretation of a work of art and whether art has a moral effect on its audience and, citing specific examples, explores the views that have been put forth. A wide-ranging, intriguing book, which assumes no formal knowledge on the part of its readers, Aesthetics opens the door to a greater understanding and appreciation of art. (shrink)
Literature, like the visual arts, poses its own philosophical problems. While literary theorists have discussed the nature of literature intensively, analytic philosophers have usually dealt with literary problems either within the general framework of aesthetics or else in a way that is accessible only to a philosophical audience. The present book is unique in that it introduces the philosophy of literature from an analytic perspective accessible to both students of literature and students of philosophy. Specifically, the book addresses: the definition (...) of literature, the distinction between oral and written literature and the identity of literary works the nature of fiction and our emotional involvement with fictional characters the concept of imagination and its role in the apprehension of literary works theories of metaphor and postmodernist theory on the significance of the authors' intentions to the interpretationof their work an examination of the relevance of thruth and morality to literary appreciation Lucid and well organised and free from jargon, hilosophy of Literature: An Introduction offers fresh approaches to traditional problems and raises new issues in the philosophy of literature. (shrink)
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)
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)
In this volume, the third in his classic series on art theory, Moshe Barasch traces the hidden patterns and interlocking themes in the study of art, from impressionism to abstract art. Barasch details the immense social changes in the creation, presentation, and reception of art which have set the history of art theory on a vertiginous new course: the decreased relevance of workshops and art schools; the replacement of the treatise by the critical review; and the emerging interrelationship between scientific (...) inquiry and artistic theory. The consequent changes in the ways in which critics as well as artists conceptualized paintings and sculptures were radical, marked by an obsession with intense sensory experiences, psychological reflection on the effects of art, and an attraction to the exotic and alien--making for the most exciting and fertile period in the history of art criticism. (shrink)
Our likes and dislikes--our senses and sensibilities--did not fall ready-made from the sky, argues internationally acclaimed author John D. Barrow. We know we enjoy a beautiful painting or a passionate symphony, but what we don't necessarily understand is that these experiences conjure up latent instincts laid down and perpetuated over millions of years. Now, in The Artful Universe, Barrow explores the close ties between our aesthetic appreciation and the basic nature of the Universe, challenging the commonly held view that our (...) sense of beauty is entirely free and unfettered. Barrow argues that the laws of the Universe, its environments and its astronomical appearance, have imprinted themselves upon our thoughts and actions in subtle and unexpected ways. Why do we like certain types of art or music? What games and puzzles do we find challenging? Why do so many myths and legends have common elements? Who created the cornucopia of constellations in the night sky? And why? In this eclectic and entertaining survey, Barrow answers these questions and more as he explains how the landscape of the Universe has influenced the development of philosophy and mythology, and how millions of years of evolutionary history have fashioned our attraction to certain patterns of sound and color. Barrow casts the story of human creativity and thought in a fascinating light, considering such diverse topics as our instinct for language, the origins and uses of color in Nature, why we divide time into intervals as we do, the sources of our appreciation of landscape painting, and whether computer-generated fractal art is really art. Barrow reconsiders the question of whether intelligent extraterrestrial life exists, showing that the benefits (and even the likelihood) that might follow from the discovery of life on other worlds could be very different from what we might have been led to expect. Remarkably, we find that some of the properties of the Universe that are essential for the existence of any form of life play a key role in determining psychological and religious responses to the Cosmos. Drawing on a wide variety of examples, from the theological questions raised by St. Augustine and C.S. Lewis to the relationship between the pure math of Pythagoras and the music of the Beatles, The Artful Universe covers new ground and enters a wide-ranging debate about the meaning and significance of the links between art and science. It will change our view of the creation of art and the way we see the world in which we live. (shrink)
Deconstruction and the Visual Arts brings together a series of new essays by scholars of aesthetics, art history and criticism, film, television and architecture. Working with the ideas of French philosopher Jacques Derrida, the essays explore the full range of his analyses. They are modelled on the variety of critical approaches that he has encouraged, from critiques of the foundations of our thinking and disciplinary demarcation, to creative and experimental readings of visual 'texts'. Representing some of the most innovative thinking (...) in the various arts disciplines, these contributions offer important challenges to existing disciplinary orthodoxies. Also included in this volume is a long interview with Derrida, published here for the first time. (shrink)
Introduction. What are the arts and how do we respond to and evaluate them? -- Pictures : drawing, painting, printmaking, and photography -- Sculpture -- Architecture -- Music -- Literature -- Theatre -- Cinema -- Dance.
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)
This book explores the role of aesthetic experience in our perception and understanding of the holy. Richard Viladesaus goal is to articulate a theology of revelation, examined in relation to three principal dimensions of the aesthetic realm: feeling and imagination; beauty (or taste); and the arts. After briefly considering ways in which theology itself can be imaginative or beautiful, Viladesau concentrates on the theological significance of aesthetic data provided by each of the three major spheres of aesthetic perception and response. (...) Throughout the work, the underlying question is how each of these spheres serves as a source (however ambiguous) of revelation. Although he frames much of his argument in terms of Catholic theology--from the Church Fathers to Karl Rahner, Hans urs von Balthasar, Bernard Lonergan, and David Tracy--Viladesau also makes extensive use of ideas from the Protestant theologian of the arts Gerardus van der Leeuw, and draws insights from such diverse thinkers as Hans Goerg Gadamer, Wolfhart Pannenberg, and Iris Murdoch. His analysis is enlivened by the artistic examples he selects: the music of Mozart as contemplated by Karl Barth, Schoenbergs opera Moses und Aron, the sculptures of Chartres Cathedral, poems by Rilke and Michelangelo, and many others. What emerges from this study is what Viladeseau terms a transcendental theology of aesthetics. In Thomistic terms, he finds that beauty is not only a perfection but a transcendental. That is, any instance of beauty, rightly perceived and rightly understood, can be seen to imply divinely beautiful things as well. In other words, Viladesau argues, God is the absolute and necessary condition for the possibility of beauty. (shrink)
The "only pretension, of which I am tenacious," wrote Hazlitt, "is that of being a metaphysician"; but his metaphysics, and particularly what this book identifies as his power principle, has until now been neglected. This exciting book studies Hazlitt's development of the power principle as a counter to the pleasure principle of the Utilitarians, and examines the revelation of power in his philosophy of discourse, his account of imaginative structure, his theory of genius, and his moral theory.
"Every culture needs to appropriate the universal truth of human suffering," says Fernando Escalante, ". . . to give its own meaning to this suffering, so that human existence is bearable." Originally published in Spanish as La mirada de Dios: Estudios sobre la cultura del sufrimiento, this book is a remarkable study of the evolution of the culture of suffering and the different elements that constitute it, beginning with a reading of Rousseau and ending with the appearance of the Shoah (...) in the Western consciousness--"The memory endures, and this constitutes a fundamental transition for the Western conscience: we have witnessed." Drawing on writings from the Greeks to Cervantes, Voltaire to Nietzsche, and Freud to William James, Escalante combines his considerable knowledge of politics and political theory with a vast array of literary examples to arrive at an intellectual understanding of the history and meaning of suffering. His investigation encompasses the rise of popular politics, the role of messianism in modern nationalism, and the contemporary implications of the Shoah. This book will appeal to a wide audience: students of political theory, humanism, and philosophy, as well as the general reader interested in a glimpse into the mind of a highly original Latin American thinker. (shrink)