Philosophical aesthetics has recently been expanding its purview—with exciting work on everyday aesthetics, somaesthetics, gustatory aesthetics, and the aesthetics of imperceptibilia like mathematics and human character—reclaiming territory that was lost during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, when the discipline begun concentrating almost exclusively on the philosophy of art and restricted the aesthetic realm to the distally perceptible. Yet there remains considerable reluctance towards acknowledging the aesthetic character of many of these objects. This raises an important question—partly made salient again by (...) the ongoing expansion of the aesthetic domain, and partly by the fact that many still seem resistant to this aesthetic diversification—which aestheticians seem to avoid: what, if anything, constrains the scope of beauty or the aesthetic? I argue that form, construed as comprising a degree, however minimal, of experienceable complexity, is necessary and sufficient for an object's candidature for the possession of aesthetic properties. Such a condition serves to discriminate between attempts to expand the scope of the aesthetic that are legitimate and those that are not. If correct, my view suggests that the aesthetic realm, though not limitless, is very broad indeed—but this, I think, is as it should be. (shrink)
In this paper, I want to claim that, in conformity with overall intuitions, there are some aesthetic properties that are perceivable. For they are high-level properties that are not only grasped immediately, but also attended to holistically—just like the grouping properties they depend on and that are responsible for the Gestalt effects or switches through which they are grasped. Yet, unlike such grouping properties, they are holistically attended to in a disinterested modality, where objects and their properties are regarded for (...) their own sake. (shrink)
Psychoanalysis has tended, in its discussions of the entanglements between women, to weight negative aspects--recalcitrant guilt, envy, and rage. This essay seeks to redistribute that balance by adding to the scales a goodly measure of the strength that derives from female-to female intergenerational bonding. The following pages are dedicated to one regal grandmother, two wise daughters, a stepmother who never quite realized that she had become a real mother, and a very real mother who died too young but whose articulate (...) voice can still be heard, softly modulated, throughout these pages. Inspired by a small head of Demeter in Sigmund Freud's collection of antiquities, this essay offers a "thematic" reading of the ancient myth of Demeter and Persephone with the interpolation of selected texts of contemporary fiction that also foreground the relations between mothers and daughters. These include: The Joy Luck Club, Annie John, Lovingkindness, A Rain in the Sun, and The Shawl. (shrink)
Possibly the most celebrated artist of all time, Leonardo da vinci has been examined from every conceivable perspective except a feminist one. A feminist perspective seeks, of course, not only to include women in history but also to expose gender-based conceptual biases that have distorted scholarship. Such a bias has led scholars to ignore an important dimension of Leonardo's art and thought: his unusual valorization of the feminine in a period when the female sex was disparaged, both socially and philosophically. (...) . . . I speak of the metaphysical "female," understood as a creative and powerful force in the universe. In this essay, I shall show that Leonardo presented through art a view of the female sex that was culturally abnormal in the patriarchy of his day: woman understood individually as an intelligent being, biologically as an equal half of the human species, and philosophically as the ascendent principle in the cosmos. His position deserves our attention, for it was distinctive in a period when women were neither politically nor socially empowered to make such a case for themselves. This essay is adapted from a longer article that appeared in The Expanding Discourse: Feminism and Art History, edited by Norma Broad and Mary D. Garrard (HarperCollins, 1992), Chapter 3. (shrink)
Editor's note: Adrian Piper is a conceptual artist whose work from the past twenty-five years has included performances, graphic art, and installation pieces. Always provocative, Piper seeks to challenge viewers' assumptions about the nature of art, aesthetic response, and modes of evaluating by creating art that involves issues of gender and race. Piper uses political art to confront viewers with emotionally charged environments that preclude our maintaining a safe, aesthetically distanced stance toward the subject matter. being forced to confront our (...) own prejudices, both emotionally and aesthetic ally, we undergo a process of change that is both cognitive (evidenced by how our interpretations of the work change and evolve) and affective (resulting in a higher level of social awareness and sensitivity). Thus, according to Piper, political art has "the potential for furnishing a forceful antidote to racism." The following two statements consist of text written by Piper and recorded on audiotapes for two installation pieces, "Four Intruders Plus Alarm Systems" (1980) and "Safe" (1990). (shrink)
When interpreting works of art, there are many available le theoretical perspectives to which one can appeal. One factor that may influence the choice is what issues are present in the work on wishes to address. In discussing the artwork of Nancy Spiro, I shall illustrate how all three frameworks of sexual difference--experiential difference, positional difference in discourse, and difference as psychoanalysis--can be employed in critiquing works of art. After discussing Spero's work, I shall show how the perspectives can be (...) theoretically compatible. (shrink)
During the early part of the classic Hollywood sound period (1930–60), filmmakers sharpened a standardized way to portray Native American characters in Westerns. Such figures were depicted as disgusting by virtue of being beyond the pale in terms of their “acceptable” moral behavior, as measured by common white sensibilities of the era. This behavior was attributed to their nonwhiteness and therefore presumptively stemmed from their allegedly subhuman, “savage” nature. This stock depiction of Native American characters became one of creatures who (...) communicated by means of silence, war whoops, animal sounds, or unintelligible language, and committed grievous moral transgressions without qualm. In this article I analyze the theoretical structure of such depictions and how these depictions work in terms of typical audience reaction, using recent work in philosophy of film, philosophy of emotion, and cognitive film theory. (shrink)
Poems are not the only things we sometimes call poetic. We experience as poetic also prose passages, as well as films, music, visual art, and even occurrences in daily life. But what is it exactly for something to be poetic in this wider sense? Discussion of the poetic in this sense is virtually nonexistent in the extant analytic literature. The aim of this article is to get a start on trying to come to grips with this phenomenon—the poetic as an (...) aesthetic category that outruns poetry as an art form. It proposes an initial sketch of an account in terms of the fittingness of certain affective reactions to artworks and other things, reactions featuring notably elements of tenderness and elevation. (shrink)
Many hold that aesthetic appreciation is sensitive to the authenticity or genuineness of an object. In a recent body of work, Carolyn Korsmeyer has defended the claim that genuineness itself is an aesthetic property. Korsmeyer’s aim is to explain our aesthetic appreciation of objects that afford a sense of being ‘in touch with the past’. In this paper, I argue that genuineness cannot explain our appreciation of these objects. There is no aesthetic experience of the genuine.
Aesthetics: 50 Puzzles, Paradoxes, and Thought Experiments is a teaching-focused resource, which highlights the contributions that imaginative scenarios—paradoxes, puzzles, and thought experiments alike—have made to the development of contemporary analytic aesthetics. The book is divided into sections pertaining to art-making, ontology, aesthetic judgements, appreciation and interpretation, and ethics and value, and offers an accessible summary of ten debates falling under each section. -/- Each entry also features a detailed annotated bibliography, making it an ideal companion for courses surveying a broad (...) collection of topics and readings in aesthetics. (shrink)
In this paper I explore the production aesthetics that define the sound of most arranged traditional music albums produced in the early 2000s in Istanbul,Turkey. I will focus on two primary aesthetic characteristics, the achievement of which consume much of the labor put into tracking and mix- ing: parlak (“shine”) and büyük ses (“big sound”). Parlak, at its most basic, consists of a pronounced high frequency boost and a pattern of harmonic distortion characteristics,and is often described by studio musicians and (...) engineers in Turkey as an exaggeration of the perceived brightness of the majority of Anatolian folk instruments. Büyük ses, which in basic terms connotes a high density of heterogeneous musical parts,in contrast to parlak has no relation to any known longstanding Anatolian musical performing traditions or timbral aesthetics, and is a recent development in Istanbul-produced record- ings.Parlak and büyük ses became widespread after 2000,accompanying the paradigm shift of Istanbul studios from analog to digital workflows. Parlak and büyük ses are of interest for reasons that transcend music-aesthetics. The successful creation of mixes with parlak and büyük ses necessitates a palpable change in the performance practice of folk music instruments, as well a fundamental reconfiguration of the social structure of music-making, which in turn involves new musical competences and conceptualizations of musical practice. Parlak and büyük ses are not just a result of using a particular set of technologies (i.e., microphones or effects plugins), but instead arise from arduous and detailed arrangement and nonlinear editing work that is made feasible through DAW (digital audio workstation) systems. Although parlak and büyük ses index the transformation of traditional music aesthetics in the context of digital audio recording production, and their production is at the forefront of concerns of the professionals working in the recording studio environment, the terms are never mentioned in published music criticism, and only usually uttered in the studio context at the inception of a project and at the completion of a mix. Considerable preemptive work is done by studio musicians, engineers, and arrangers to avoid the need for the terms to be mentioned at all. (shrink)
Qualitative immediacy (also termed quality in its philosophical sense and aesthetic quality) is of fundamental importance within the pragmatic conception of meaning as interpretive act, and yet it has been virtually ignored by social scientists. The concept is traced through its foundations in Peirce's philosophy, its development in Dewey's theory of aesthetic experience, and its relation to the general pragmatic conception of the self. The importance of the "I" in Mead's view of the self is seen as similar to Firstness (...) in Peirce and aesthetic experience in Dewey. Those turning to qualitative approaches ought to consider qualitative immediacy as a genuine addition to our understanding of human communication. (shrink)
We enjoy sounds. What about silence: the absence of sound? Certainly not all, but surely many of us seek out, attend to, and appreciate silence. But, if nothing is there, then there is nothing to possess aesthetic qualities that might engage aesthetic interest or reward aesthetic attention. This is at least puzzling, perhaps even paradoxical. In this paper, I attempt to dispel the sense of paradox and provide a way to understand aesthetic appreciation of silence. I argue that silence can (...) have an aesthetic character and can sustain the kinds of rich experiences apt for aesthetic assessment and appraisal. (shrink)
In past decades, the subject of atmosphere has gone beyond the physio-meteorological scope and become a new concept of aesthetics. As the primary sensuous reality constructed by both the perceiving subject and the perceived object, atmosphere is neither a purely subjective state nor an objective thing, but essentially is a quasi-object pervaded by a specific emotional quality and a ubiquitous phenomenon forming the foundation of our life experience. In this respect, a decisive factor is not what we perceive but how (...) we perceive. Furthermore, the quasi-objective quality of atmospheric phenomena makes it possible that atmosphere is producible. A practical dimension is thereby, from the outset, included in the consideration of this concept. The aesthetic research into atmosphere initially resulted from the consideration of meteorological phenomena. Olafur Eliasson's “The Weather Project” is exemplary for its artistic practice in this field. With the combination of high-tech and natural elements, the focus of this installation work is not on the weather process itself but on creating a specific atmospheric space to develop viewers' immersive perception of their surroundings. The museum itself is hence transformed into a site providing an immediate, multi-sensory experience. Meanwhile, based on the criticism of the conventional museum institution that mediates or even manipulates art perception, revealing the construction behind the construction is an integral part of the atmospheric design of the Weather Project. This is characterized, on the one hand, by deliberately exposing staging strategies and, on the other hand, by creating unusual settings to enable viewers to reexamine their perceptions in addition to the surroundings shaping them. (shrink)
Somaesthetics and Sport (ed. Andrew Edgar, Brill, 2022) is a multifaceted collection of essays: Richard Shusterman’s theoretical framework is robust enough to lend unity to the volume, but it mostly functions as a springboard for the individual papers, never suffocating their theoretical explorations or making the book repetitive or a boring read. The ten essays also communicate with one another through certain recurring notions such as agency, somatic awareness, the Suitsian account of games or the interdisciplinary intertwining of philosophical arguments (...) with the results of sport psychology and physiology. Displaying the various ways Shusterman’s somaesthetics can be used to further the philosophical analysis of the aesthetic experience of watching and doing sports, the volume fills a gap in the scholarship of the aesthetics of sport as well as in the interdisciplinary field of somaesthetics. (shrink)
What is the folk concept of art? Does it track any of the major definitions of art philosophers have proposed? In two preregistered experiments (N=888) focusing on two types of artworks (paintings and musical works), we manipulate three potential features of artworks: intentional creation, the possession of aesthetic value, and institutional recognition. This allows us to investigate whether the folk concept of art fits an essentialist definition drawing on one or more of the manipulated factors, or whether it might be (...) a disjunctive or cluster concept. The results suggest that none of the three manipulated properties are necessary for an object to be art, though some, even by themselves, suffice. The folk concept of art might thus well be a cluster concept instead of an essentialist concept. (shrink)
György Alajos Szerdahely, the first professor of aesthetics in Pest, publishes his Aesthetica in 1778, a work, written in Latin, that not only engages with the eclectic university aesthetics of late-18th-century Germany and Central Europe, but also marks the beginning of the Hungarian aesthetic tradition. Szerdahely proposes aesthetics as the doctrine of taste, a philosophical discipline that can polish our manners and social conduct through a sensual-aﬀective Bildung oﬀered by art experiences. Highlighting his sources in both British criticism and German (...) aesthetics, the paper traces the development of Szerdahely's concept of beauty from beauty as form (uniformity amidst variety) to beauty in motion (sensibility). Initially, Szerdahely argues for unity and variety as the two main constituents of a beautiful object, evoking disinterested contemplation, but he then turns to sensibility as the third necessary condition of beauty: an object becomes aesthetically beautiful only if it has the power to strike the senses (Lux) and stir the aﬀections (Vivacitas), enlivening the whole embodied person. The paper argues that this third principle of sensibility proves to be more emphatic than the ﬁrst two, leading to (1) the aesthetic conception of beauty as an experiential quality; but more interestingly to (2) the incorporation of the element of self-preservation and self-love into aesthetic experience. The reason for the latter development lies in Szerdahely’s anthropological argument, which traces back every aﬀection to the instantaneous apprehension of good or evil concerning ourselves, implying desire (Adpetitus) or aversion (Auersi) in our reactions. (shrink)
This book presents interdisciplinary research on the aesthetics of perfection and imperfection. Broadening this growing field, it connects the aesthetics of imperfection with issues in areas including philosophy, music, literature, urban environment, architecture, art theory, and cultural studies. -/- The contributors to this volume argue that imperfection has value in being open and inclusive. The aesthetics of imperfection is thus typified by organic, unpolished production and the avoidance of perfect finish, instead representing living and natural change, and opposing the consumerist (...) concern with the flawless and pristine. The chapters are divided into seven thematic sections. After the first section, on imperfection across the arts and culture, the next three parts are on imperfection in the arts of music, visual and theatrical arts, and literature. The second half of this book then switches focus to categories in everyday life, and branches this further into body, self, and the person, and urban environments. Together, the chapters promote a positive ethos of imperfection that furthers individual and social engagement and supports creativity over mere passivity. -/- Imperfectionist Aesthetics in Art and Everyday Life will appeal to a broad range of scholars and advanced students working in philosophical aesthetics, literature, music, urban environment, architecture, art theory, and cultural studies. (shrink)
This overview opens with a discussion of human holistic and analytic kinds of understanding, comparing eastern and western viewpoints, focusing on their impact for usability studies. Then, the understanding of human groups and the ability to reach group agreements are briefly addressed moving on to a comparative detail regarding their impact on commercial relations. Further on, this allows approaching systems’ design while focusing on culture, moving on to a cross-country research review. Finally, based on a folkloric sketch for Chile, a (...) comparison of some defining characteristics to build a chilean user persona is presented. The text closes with a comparative review that seeks to promote the combination of qualitative and quantitative studies. (shrink)
In this article, I raise a simple but surprisingly vexing question: What makes heavy metal heavy? We commonly describe music as “heavy,” whether as criticism or praise. But what does “heavy” mean? How is it applied as an aesthetic term? Drawing on sociological and musicological studies of heavy metal, as well as recent work on the aesthetics of rock music, I discuss the relevant musical properties of heaviness. The modest aim of this article, however, is to show the difficulty, if (...) not impossibility, of this seemingly straightforward task. I first address the difficulties of identifying the defining features, or “Gestalt,” of heavy metal that would allow us to treat heaviness as a genre concept. Next, I discuss both the merits and the limits of analyzing heaviness in terms of an aesthetics of “noise” in rock music developed in recent philosophy of music. In the remaining sections, I consider other nonaesthetic features relevant to aesthetic judgments of heaviness and show that the term ‘heavy’ is conceptually inarticulable, if not irreducible. This, I conclude, has partly to do with the radically different, sometimes incompatible, musical properties present in the perception of musical heaviness. (shrink)
This paper considers five counterexamples to Mary Douglas's definition of dirt, one of which is extracted from a scene from George Eliot's novel Middlemarch and another from Marilyn Strathern's essay on anthropology at home.
It is a noteworthy disanalogy between contemporary ethics and aesthetics that the fitting-attitude account of value, so prominent in contemporary ethics, sees comparatively little play in aesthetics. The aim of this paper is to articulate what a systematic fitting-attitude-style framework for understanding aesthetic value might look like. In the bulk of the paper, I sketch possible fitting-attitude-style accounts of three central aesthetic values – the beautiful, the sublime, and the powerful – so that the general form of the framework come (...) through. (shrink)
At the heart of Anders Pettersson’s 2017 book, The Idea of a Text and the Nature of Textual Meaning, is his proposed “cluster” definition of a textual work. On this view, a text is a cluster of three kinds of objects: all the physical exemplars of the work, the work’s meaning, and the complex signs that convey that meaning. Pettersson contrasts this with the “ordinary conception” of a text, wherein a text is a unitary object made of the signs and (...) meaning, and each exemplar is an instance of the supervening textual work. The cluster definition is preferable because it is able to overcome contradictions plaguing the ordinary conception and its competitors. This cluster conception of a textual work is both original and deserving of more critical attention. Pettersson not only motivates the view well through his consideration of key examples, but deftly handles the obvious objections. Although the cluster conception is revisionary of our ordinary conception, he makes a strong case. However, I do not focus here on the heart of Pettersson’s work but on something akin to its spleen; Pettersson’s criticism of David Davies’ “Pragmatic Constraint” (PC) on the ontology of artworks. (shrink)
In aesthetics there is a long tradition according to which beauty is the object of love. Is there a way of making sense of aesthetic affect as a kind of love? I suggest that there is by taking up a thought from Frank Sibley, according to whom aesthetic properties reflect non-aesthetic values that “go deep into human life and interests” or that “mean much to us” given the kind of life we live. I show how we might think that aesthetic (...) affect represents its object as embodying life-affirming value. As such we can see aesthetic affect as a kind of love of life. (shrink)
Food has savour: a collection of properties (including appearance, aroma, mouth-feel) connected with the pleasure (or displeasure) of eating. After explaining this concept, and outlining a theory of aesthetic pleasure, I argue that, like paradigm examples of art, savour can be assessed relative to a culturally determined set of norms. Also like paradigm examples of art, the assessment of savour has no objective basis in the absence of such cultural norms. My argument in this paper is part of a larger (...) project in which I develop an account of the pleasure of art. It is a virtue (I claim) of my approach that it permits a much greater diversity of artforms than traditional philosophical aesthetics is inclined to allow. This includes food. (shrink)
I argue that silence is replete with aesthetic character and that it can be a rewarding object of aesthetic appreciation, assessment, and appraisal. The appreciation of silence might initially seem impossible, for, it might seem, there is nothing there to behold. Taking up this challenge, I attempt to dispel the sense of paradox. I contend that, despite our never actually experiencing absolute silence, there is much to enjoy in the silences that we do experience. I go on to argue that (...) proper appreciation of silence is a two-way street, involving quiet on the outside and stillness on the inside. I conclude by offering some suggestions for how to make the aesthetic appreciation of silence part of a flourishing life. (shrink)
There is little question as to whether there is good boring art, though its existence raises a number of questions for both the philosophy of art and the philosophy of emotions. How can boredom ever be a desideratum of art? How can our standing commitments concerning the nature of aesthetic experience and artistic value accommodate the existence of boring art? How can being bored constitute an appropriate mode of engagement with a work of art as a work of art? More (...) broadly, how can there be works of art whose very success requires the experience of boredom? Our goal in this paper is threefold. After offering a brief survey of kinds of boring art, we: i) derive a set of questions that we argue constitutes the philosophical problem of boring art; ii) elaborate an empirically informed theory of boredom that furnishes the philosophical problem with a deeper sense of the affect at the heart of the phenomenon; and iii) conclude by offering and defending a solution to the problem that explains why and how artworks might wish to make the experience of boredom key to their aesthetic and artistic success. (shrink)
Der Aufsatz ist in zwei Teile gegliedert. Im ersten Teil unterscheide ich das Phänomen der Empathie von ähnlichen Phänomenen. Im zweiten Teil werde ich auf die Bedingungen für Empathie eingehen. In diesem Teil geht es mir darum zu zeigen, dass wir es trotz einiger Unterschiede zwischen Empathie für Mitmenschen und Empathie für Figuren mit demselben Phänomen zu tun haben.
Since the mid-Sixties, philosophers have debated over the aesthetic relevance of authentic art-objects, perfect replicas, and restoration. In particular, a dispute has ensued concerning the cogency of our penchant for original artworks. Originalists argue that authenticity, the quality of an object being of undisputed origin or authorship, is a necessary condition for aesthetic experience, since the appreciation of an artwork presupposes its correct identification. Anti-originalists retort that we have no art-relevant reason to favour originals over visually-indistinguishable duplicates. To this extent, (...) they claim, ‘there is no identification without (prior) evaluation’. In this paper, I re-examine the underpinnings at the core of this discussion. I argue that aesthetic appreciation does not necessarily require judgement of authenticity. However, there are instances in which authenticity does intrude upon aesthetic evaluation, namely when style recognition is involved. In these cases, I propose that errors in historical attribution reduce the impact of the object and jeopardise aesthetic appreciation altogether. (shrink)
The question of whether or not beauty exists in nature is a philosophical problem. In particular, there is the question of whether artworks, persons, or nature has aesthetic qualities. Most people say that they care about their own beauty. Moreover, they judge another person's appearance from an aesthetic point of view using aesthetic concepts. However, aesthetic judgements are not objective in the sense that the experience justifies their objectivity. By analysing Monroe C. Beardsley's theory of the objectivity of aesthetic qualities, (...) I examine whether there are really beautiful and ugly persons in the world. I will criticize the way analytic philosophers judge people and art from an aesthetic perspective. If there are no aesthetic qualities in the world, nobody can judge someone beautiful or ugly without oppression. Aesthetic judgement is exercise of power. (shrink)
What is beautiful or ugly vary from one person another, from time to time and from culture to culture. However, at the same time, people are certain that there are aesthetic properties in the nature, artworks and other persons and, furthermore, they can be perceived by the naked eye. This article argues that experience does not reveal the aesthetic properties of the objects.
One important aspect of Nussbaum´s thesis on the moral value of literature concerns the power of literature to enhance our ability to empathise with other minds. This aspect will be the focus of the current article. My aim is to reflect upon this question regarding the moral value of our empathy for fictional characters. The article is structured in two main parts. I will first examine the concept of “empathy” and distinguish between empathy for human beings and empathy for fictional (...) characters. I will call the latter “literary empathy”. In the second part of the paper I will examine the arguments for and against the double thesis that reading literature enhances our ability to feel empathy, and that feeling empathy prompts altruistic behaviour. (shrink)
Even though it’s frequently asserted that we are living in a golden age of scripted television, television as a medium is still not taken seriously as an artistic art form, nor has the stigma of television as “chewing gum for the mind” really disappeared. -/- Philosopher Martin Shuster argues that television is the modern art form, full of promise and urgency, and in New Television, he offers a strong philosophical justification for its importance. Through careful analysis of shows including The (...) Wire, Justified, and Weeds, among others; and European and Anglophone philosophers, such as Stanley Cavell, Hannah Arendt, Martin Heidegger, and John Rawls; Shuster reveals how various contemporary television series engage deeply with aesthetic and philosophical issues in modernism and modernity. What unifies the aesthetic and philosophical ambitions of new television is a commitment to portraying and exploring the family as the last site of political possibility in a world otherwise bereft of any other sources of traditional authority; consequently, at the heart of new television are profound political stakes. (shrink)
The notion of beauty has been and continues to be one of the main concerns of aesthetics and art theory. Traditionally, the centrality of beauty in the experience of art was widely accepted and beauty was considered one of the key values in aesthetics. In recent debate, however, the significance of the notion of beauty has been discussed controversially. Especially in the second half of the twentieth century, the role of beauty was strongly challenged both by artists and in philosophy (...) and theory of art. Beauty was no longer a central value, but just one aesthetic feature among many others. In recent years, however, the notion of beauty has been re-evaluated, some even speak of a “comeback of beauty”. Against this background it is one of the main tasks and challenges of contemporary aesthetics to develop a more profound understanding of the nature of beauty, its different forms and dimensions, and its place in art theory and practice – and in human life. In the contributions to this volume, leading scholars in the field explore the significance of the notion of beauty, its key aspects, and its relevance in various aesthetic disciplines. The questions addressed in the volume can be summarized in the following three headings: What is beauty? What is beautiful? How does the value of beauty relate to other aesthetical values? The volume contains a selection of invited contributions, including: María José Alcaraz León, Hanne Appelqvist, Allen Carlson, Noël Carroll, Stephen Davies, Richard Eldridge, John Gibson, Peter Lamarque, Catrin Misselhorn, Otto Neumaier, Elisabeth Schellekens, Maria Elisabeth Reicher-Marek, Sonia Sedivy, Davide dal Sasso, and Lisa Kathrin Schmalzried -/- . (shrink)
The notion of beauty has endured a troublesome history over the last few decades. While for centuries beauty has been considered one of the central values of art, there have also been times when it seemed old-fashioned to even mention the term. The present volume aims to explore the nature of beauty and to shed light its place in contemporary philosphy and art practice.
The discourse on kitsch has changed tone. The concept, which in the early 20th century referred more to pretentious pseudo-art than to cute everyday objects, was attacked between the World Wars by theorists of modernity (e.g. Greenberg on Repin). The late 20th century scholars gazed at it with critical curiosity (Eco, Kulka, Calinescu). What we now have is a profound interest in and acceptance of cute mass-produced objects. It has become marginal to use the concept to criticize pseudo-art. Scholars who (...) write about kitsch are no longer against it (Anderson, Olalquiaga). And since the 2000s, art students have been telling us that they “love kitsch”. The contemporary concept is strongly attached to certain colors (pink) and materials (porcelain). In this article I aspire to find some keys on how to view the history and contemporary state of the concept. My hypothesis is that the change in the use of the concept has at least partly to do with changes in the concept of art, which has lately, this is my hypothesis, become sufficiently decentralized from its original roots and boundaries (upper class, male, ethnically Central European). (shrink)
Do claims of taste function as validity claims? Our ordinary use of aesthetic notions suggests as much. When I assert that Rodin’s Camille Claudel is ‘beautiful’ I mean my claim to be, in a sense, correct. I expect others to concur and if they do not I think that they are mistaken. But am I justified in attributing an error to the judgment of someone who, unlike me, does not find Rodin’s Camille Claudel beautiful? Not obviously. For it looks, on (...) the other hand, that my assertion “The sculpture of Camille Claudel is beautiful” is not an assertion about a property of that sculpture, not, that is, about a feature of the world which exists for others as well as for me. Quite the opposite, I seem to base my claim on a subjective response, on a certain feeling of mine. I maintain that the sculpture of Camille Claudel is ‘beautiful’ because it produces a particular effect upon me, namely it pleases me aesthetically. But how can the feeling of pleasure, being a subjective response on my part, serve as a normative ground for a claim? (shrink)
Dieses Buch ist eine bewusst systematisch orientierte Einführung in die grundlegendsten Fragen der philosophischen Ästhetik. Es richtet sich in erster Linie an Studierende der Philosophie, aber auch an interessierte Laien und Vertreter/innen anderer Disziplinen. Zusammenfassungen, Übungsaufgaben und Literaturhinweise am Ende jedes Kapitels machen es auch für das Selbststudium geeignet. Aus dem Inhalt: I. Was ist philosophische Ästhetik? – Auf der Suche nach einer Definition der philosophischen Ästhetik – Die Gegenstände der philosophischen Ästhetik – Die Fragen der philosophischen Ästhetik – Die (...) Methoden der philosophischen Ästhetik II. Das ästhetische Erlebnis und die ästhetische Einstellung – Die Bestandteile ästhetischer Erlebnisse – Die subjektive und die objektive Erklärung der ästhetischen Erfahrung – Interesselosigkeit und psychische Distanz – Einwände gegen die Theorie der Interesselosigkeit und der psychischen Distanz III. Ästhetische Eigenschaften, ästhetische Werturteile und ästhetische Gegenstände – Ästhetische Eigenschaften und ästhetische Prädikate – Ästhetischer Realismus versus ästhetischer Anti-Realismus – Nonkognitivismus, Subjektivismus, Naturalismus – Das Erkennen ästhetischer Wertqualitäten IV. Die Ontologie des Kunstwerks – Was für eine Art von Gegenständen sind Kunstwerke? – Die Abstraktheit literarischer und musikalischer Werke – Sind Werke der bildenden Kunst materielle Gegenstände? – Fiktive Gegenstände und dargestellte Welten V. Was ist Kunst? – Die Darstellungstheorie – Die Ausdruckstheorie – Der kunstästhetische Formalismus – Die Institutionstheorie – Die Theorie der Familienähnlichkeit – Kunst als ästhetische Kommunikation. (shrink)
In his 'Of the Standard of Taste' David Hume seems to make the paradoxical claim that even though the sentiments an agent feels in response to an artwork are subjective and unique, and it cannot be said that such sentiments are either correct or incorrect, there is a standard upon which art can be judged, which is at least partly determined by these sentiments.
I propose a definition of the uncanny: an anxious uncertainty about what is real caused by an apparent impossibility. First, I outline the relevance of the uncanny to art and aesthetics. Second, I disambiguate theoretical uses of ‘uncanny’ and establish the sense of the term that I am interested in—namely, an emotional state directed towards particular objects in the world which are characteristically eerie, creepy, and weird. Third, I look at Edgar Allan Poe’s ‘The Fall of the House of Usher’ (...) as a means of drawing out the conditions that I claim are essential to uncanny experiences, and then elaborate the terms of my proposed definition. Finally, I show how the definition accounts for two paradigmatic kinds of uncanny phenomena: cases of ‘uncanny resemblances’, which include twins, doppelgangers, and very lifelike representations of the human body; and unlikely coincidences of events. (shrink)