About this topic
Summary This category contains books and articles related to the history of both aesthetics and the philosophy of art.  It includes works that deal directly with the history of the discipline, works that deal with aesthetic concepts as treated by different authors from a  historical perspective, and works that reflect upon the status of the disciple.
Key works While in other philosophical fields, as the general history of philosophy or the history of some other philosophical disciplines, there are a handful of works that could be cited as the key works in the discipline, in the history of aesthetics or of the philosophy of art, it is difficult to point them out. Nevertheless, it is usual to cite, Tatarkiewicz's History of Aesthetics as one of these, although his review of such history ends up in the 1700s. This means that his work ought to be completed with others that either focus in the later development of the discipline (missing, therefore, comprehensiveness) or that also try a full review of the historical development of the field. Among them, we find Beardsley's Aesthetics from Classical Greece to the Present: a short Introduction written from the perspective of analytical philosophy; Bosanquet's A History of Aesthetics originally published in 1892; Gilbert and Kuhn's A History of Esthetics published in 1939; and Aesthetics: The Key Thinkers edited by Alessandron Giovannelli, and very recent (2012).
Introductions Besides the works already mentioned above, any general encyclopedia on aesthetics serves as a good introduction to the problems addressed by the history of aesthetics and of the philosophy of art. In this sense, both Encyclopedia of Aesthetics and The Routledge Companion to Aesthetics can be considered as good starting points.
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  1. The Conquest of Time: The Forgotten Power of Art.Derek Allan - manuscript
    It’s common knowledge that those objects we regard as great works of art have a capacity to survive across time. But that observation is only a half-truth: it tells us nothing about the nature of this power of survival – about how art endures. -/- This question was once at the heart of Western thinking about art. The Renaissance solved it by claiming that great art is “timeless”, “eternal” – impervious to time, a belief that exerted a powerful influence on (...)
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  2. Analytic Aesthetics and the Dilemma of Timelessness.Derek Allan - manuscript
    Explores the failure of analytic aesthetics to examine the question of the capacity of art to transcend time, and its own commitment – seldom explicitly acknowledged – to the assumption that this capacity functions through the traditional, but no longer viable, notion of timelessness inherited from Enlightenment aesthetics.
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  3. Dionysus in India: A Multifaceted Examination Across Past and Present Scholarship.Wesley De Sena - manuscript
    In this paper, I argue that the quest for identifying Dionysus' Indian counterpart is a challenging endeavor, one that can only bear fruit when we shift our focus towards understanding Dionysus as a divine force of nature, which manifests in various ways, aligning with the essence conveyed in the Rig Veda verse mentioned earlier. Drawing from Nietzsche's perspective, where he perceives the Dionysian as an inherent force of nature within humanity, it becomes a more plausible hypothesis to establish a connection (...)
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  4. Ethics and Aesthetics: Alfredo Jaar and the Role of Art in Political Critique.Carolina Drake - manuscript
    Art has a major role in political critique and in the contemporary world of art, ethics, politics, and aesthetics intersect. Using the work of Alfredo Jaar as an example of these intersections, I argue through my reading of Judith Butler, that his art can provide us with better, more egalitarian versions of populations to be perceived as grievable. Once we apprehend grievability, we can affectively apprehend that lives in the context of war and violence are precarious. Here lies the power (...)
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  5. How did the arts originate? The group demarcation and the scientific account.Terence Rajivan Edward - manuscript
    Why did human beings first begin making art? In this paper, I present two accounts of its origins, one of which connects the arts to the desire for group demarcation and another to scientific impulses.
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  6. Twentieth century aesthetics.M. C. Beardsley - forthcoming - Contemporary Aesthetics.
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  7. Truly, Madly, Deeply: Moral Beauty & the Self.Ryan P. Doran - forthcoming - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy.
    When are morally good actions beautiful, when indeed they are? In this paper, it is argued that morally good actions are beautiful when they appear to express the deep or true self, and in turn tend to give rise to an emotion which is characterised by feelings of being moved, unity, inspiration, and meaningfulness, inter alia. In advancing the case for this claim, it is revealed that there are additional sources of well-formedness in play in the context of moral beauty (...)
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  8. Freedom, Harmony & Moral Beauty.Ryan P. Doran - forthcoming - Philosophers' Imprint.
    Why are moral actions beautiful, when indeed they are? This paper assesses the view, found most notably in Schiller, that moral actions are beautiful just when they present the appearance of freedom by appearing to be the result of internal harmony (the Schillerian Internal Harmony Thesis). I argue that while this thesis can accommodate some of the beauty involved in contrasts of the ‘continent’ and the ‘fully’ virtuous, it cannot account for all of the beauty in such contrasts, and so (...)
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  9. Encyclopedia of Aesthetics, 2d, rev. ed.Michael Kelly (ed.) - forthcoming - Oxford University Press.
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  10. Agricultural as the Image of Aesthetics and Ethics: A Comparative View.Mara Miller - forthcoming - Pursuit of Comparative Aesthetics.
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  11. Aesthetics and Mobility–A Short Introduction into a Moving Field.Ossi Naukkarinen - forthcoming - Contemporary Aesthetics.
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  12. The Continuum Companion to Aesthetics. Ribiero (ed.) - forthcoming
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  13. On the Third Realm. Cultural Literacy and Arts Education.Ralph A. Smith - forthcoming - Journal of Aesthetic Education.
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  14. The Compass of Beauty: A Search for the Middle.Lars Spuybroek - forthcoming - In Maria Voyatzaki (ed.), Architectural Materialisms: Nonhuman Creativity. Edinburgh University Press.
    This chapter is a rethinking of my earlier “The Ages of Beauty” which investigated Charles Hartshorne’s Diagram of Aesthetic Values. The argument is placed in a long history of beauty being considered as the middle between extremes. It slowly develops into a structure not merely of aesthetic experience but of existence itself, making it a competitor of Heidegger’s fourfold.
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  15. International Association of Empirical Aesthetics.Paulina A. Tendera & Jakub Wiśniewski - forthcoming - Estetyka I Krytyka 12 (12):249-252.
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  16. Living Form and Living Criticism.Katie Terezakis - forthcoming - In Michael Thompson (ed.), Georg Lukacs Reconsidered: Essays of Politics, Philosophy, and Aesthetics. Continuu,.
  17. a: Morris Weitz: Problems in Aesthetics an Introductory Boo\ of Rea. dings-in.Gianni-ree Vattimo - forthcoming - Rivista di Estetica.
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  18. Imagining Dinosaurs.Michel-Antoine Xhignesse - forthcoming - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism.
    There is a tendency to take mounted dinosaur skeletons at face value, as the raw data on which the science of paleontology is founded. But the truth is that mounted dinosaur skeletons are substantially intention-dependent—they are artifacts. More importantly, I argue, they are also substantially imagination-dependent: their production is substantially causally reliant on preparators’ creative imaginations, and their proper reception is predicated on audiences’ recreative imaginations. My main goal here is to show that dinosaur skeletal mounts are plausible candidates for (...)
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  19. Kant's Aesthetic Cognitivism: On the Value of Art.Mojca Kuplen - 2024 - London&New York: Bloomsbury Academic.
    Mojca Kuplen connects 18th-century German aesthetics to contemporary theories of self-knowledge in order to highlight the unique cognitive value of art. She does this through revisiting Kant's account of aesthetic ideas, and demonstrating how works of art can increase our understanding of abstract concepts whilst promoting self-knowledge. Addressing some of the most fundamental questions in contemporary aesthetics and philosophy of art, this study covers the value and importance of art, the relationship between art and beauty, the role of knowledge in (...)
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  20. Bolzano on Aesthetic Normativity.Dominic McIver Lopes - 2024 - British Journal of Aesthetics 64 (2):143-156.
    A theory of aesthetic normativity states what makes it the case that the fact that an item is beautiful is reason to appreciate it. Aesthetic hedonists characteristically hold that the fact that an item is beautiful is reason to appreciate it because anyone always has reason to do what yields pleasure. Bernard Bolzano was an aesthetic hedonist who is best interpreted as offering a mixed theory of aesthetic normativity. The fact that an item is beautiful is reason to appreciate it (...)
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  21. Philosophical Reflection on Beauty in the Late Middle Ages: The Case of Jean Gerson.David Torrijos-Castrillejo - 2024 - Religions 15 (4):434.
    The late Middle Ages witnessed a recapitulation of medieval reflection on beauty. Jean Gerson is an important representative of these philosophical and theological contributions, although he has been largely neglected up to this time. A first dimension of his ideas on beauty is the incorporation of beauty (pulchrum) into the number of transcendentals, i.e., the concepts “convertible” with the notion of being (ens), that is, unity, truth, and goodness (unum, verum and bonum). This article revisits Monica Calma’s study on Gerson’s (...)
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  22. Une transparence révolutionnaire. Le rêve d’une société perméable.Emmanuel Alloa - 2023 - In Charlotte Beaufort & Bertrand Rougé (eds.), Transparence/Transparaître. Presses universitaires de Rennes. pp. 39-63.
  23. An Inivitation to Think: Three Entangled Problems in Plato's Sophist [Een uitnodiging tot denken: Plato's Sofist als kluwen van problemen].Martijn Boven - 2023 - Wijsgerig Perspectief 63 (4):6-15.
    -/- In Plato's work the "Sophist", Socrates, who typically occupies a central position in Plato's dialogues, is assigned a supporting role. This has led some scholars to argue for a shift in Plato's oeuvre, where he distances himself from Socrates and introduces a new main protagonist. However, this new protagonist remains unnamed and is only identified by his social position as Xenos, indicating that he is an outsider and a stranger whose identity is ambiguous. In this article, I argue that (...)
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  24. A Rhythmic Process of Harmonization: Whitehead’s Concept of Aesthetic Experience. [REVIEW]Botond Csuka - 2023 - Espes. The Slovak Journal of Aesthetics 12 (1):138-141.
    Book review of Dadejík, O., Kaplický, M., Ševčík, M., and Zuska, V. (2021) Process and Aesthetics: An Outline of Whiteheadian Aesthetics and Beyond. Prague: Karolinum Press. ISBN 978-80-246-4726-5.
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  25. The Layers of Aesthetic Experience. A Comparison between Fritz Kaufmann and Ernst Cassirer.Antonucci Elio - 2023 - Journal of Aesthetics and Phenomenology 10 (2):195-210.
    The article compares Fritz Kaufmann and Ernst Cassirer’s conceptions of aesthetics, focusing in particular on their characterisation of the experience of apprehension of art objects. Firstly, analysing Kaufmann’s early investigation of the experience of the reception of art images and Cassirer’s observations on art as a symbolic form, it argues that the two philosophers conceptualise the reception of art objects in a similar way, as an experience structured across different layers of meaning constitution that are based on specific functions of (...)
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  26. Introduction to Philosophy: Aesthetic Theory and Practice, edited by Valery Vino. [REVIEW]Lona Gaikis - 2023 - Teaching Philosophy 46 (1):122-124.
  27. Introduction to Design Theory Philosophy, Critique, History and Practice.Michalle Gal - 2023 - London: Routledge.
    ntroduction to Design Theory introduces a comprehensive, systematic, and didactic outline of the discourse of design. Designed both as a course book and a source for research, this textbook methodically covers the central concepts of design theory, definitions of design, its historical milestones, and its relations to culture, industry, body, ecology, language, society, gender and ideology. -/- Demonstrated by a shift towards the importance of the sociocultural context in which products are manufactured and embedded, this book showcases design theory as (...)
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  28. Art and Ethics: Formalism, in James Harold (ed.) The Oxford Handbook of Ethics and Art.Michalle Gal (ed.) - 2023 - London: Oxford University Press.
    This chapter presents the formalist account of the moral status of an artwork as an aesthetically significant and autonomous form, with due emphasis on the Anglo-American art-for-art’s-sake aesthetic, as it developed between 1870 and 1960. The author shows that the formalist art-is-above-morals approach is a substantive moral stance in itself. Formalist aesthetics is usually presented in the literature as evincing a purist indifference to ethics, construing moral properties as external to art, in opposition to the internal pure properties of art’s (...)
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  29. The Myth of the Absent Self: Disinterest, the Self, and Evaluative Self-Consciousness.Keren Gorodeisky - 2023 - In Larissa Berger (ed.), Disinterested Pleasure and Beauty: Perspectives from Kantian and Contemporary Aesthetics. Boston: De Gruyter. pp. 135-166.
    A notorious concept in the history of aesthetics, “disinterest,” has begotten a host of myths. This paper explores and challenges “The Myth of the Absent Self ” [MAS], according to which in disinterested experience, “the subject need not do anything other than dispassionately stare at the object, bringing nothing of herself to the table other than awareness” (Riggle 2016, p. 4). I argue that the criticism of disinterest experience grounded in MAS is skewed by two false assumptions: about the nature (...)
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  30. Dewey and the Aesthetic Unconscious:The Vital Depths of Experience.Casey Haskins - 2023 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 81 (1):120-124.
    It is hard to get very far in discussing aesthetic or religious subjects without invoking some version of the thought that ordinary consciousness is but the tip.
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  31. The significance of Nichtigkeit in Schopenhauer’s account of the sublime.Patrick Hassan - 2023 - In David Bather Woods & Timothy Stoll (eds.), The Schopenhauerian mind. New York, NY: Routledge.
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  32. La Stimmung du paysage dans l’esthétique allemande et les concepts esthétiques chez Wang Fuzhi et Wang Guowei.Fan Jiani - 2023 - Monumenta Serica: Journal of Oriental Studies (2):pp.437-452.
    This article examines the concept of qingjing (sentiment-landscape) and its related aesthetic notions, such as qingjing (sentiment-scene) and yijing (idea-scene) in Wang Fuzhi’s and Wang Guowei’s aesthetic theories. We will compare these categories of aesthetics with the German aesthetic notion of Stimmung from the early Romanticism to Schopenhauer and investigate into parallel evolutions and influence studies. Although Goethe, Schiller, and Schopenhauer do not belong to the group of German Romantics, their conception of Stimmung and the spiritual eye draw on aesthetics (...)
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  33. Gesamtausgabe. Series II: Nachlass. A: Nachgelassene Schriften. Vol. 13: Ästhetische Schriften.Paisley Livingston - 2023 - British Journal of Aesthetics 63 (3):438-442.
    At the time of his death in 1848, Bernard Bolzano had completed two essays in aesthetics, one on beauty and one on the fine arts (Bolzano, 1843, 1849, 2015, 201.
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  34. ‘The way to the head must be opened through the heart’: Enlightenment and Herzensbildung in Schiller.Till Neuhaus & Alexandre Alves - 2023 - Studia Theodisca 30:5-27.
    The following paper discusses Schiller’s interpretation of the German concept of Bildung. Bildung appears to be a central term in Germany’s culture, especially (but not limited to) the educational realm. As Bildung underwent massive transformations and has been re-interpreted multiple times throughout German history, this paper will start with a definitory exercise trying to organize the dynamics surrounding the term. Secondly, a two-fold historical context – firstly regarding the wider political and social dynamics of the time and secondly, a more (...)
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  35. Art as a Shelter from Science.C. Thi Nguyen - 2023 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 97 (1):172-201.
    In our life with science, we trust experts; we form judgements by inference from past evidence. We conduct ourselves very differently in the aesthetic domain. We avoid deferring to aesthetic experts. We form our judgements through direct perception of particulars rather than through inference. Why the difference? I suggest that we avoid aesthetic testimony and aesthetic inference, not because they’re unusable, but because we have adopted social norms to avoid them. Aesthetic appreciation turns out to be something like a game. (...)
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  36. ‘In a Witches’ World’: Hegel and the Symbolic Grotesque.Beatriz de Almeida Rodrigues - 2023 - Hegel Bulletin:1-24.
    In his Lectures on Fine Art (1835), Hegel emphasizes the grotesque character of Indian art. Grotesqueness results, in his view, from a contradiction between meaning and shape due to the incongruous combination of spiritual and material elements. Since Hegel's history of art is teeming with examples of inadequacy between meaning and shape, this paper aims to distinguish the grotesque from other types of artistic dissonance and to problematize Hegel's ascriptions of grotesqueness to ancient Indian art. In the first part of (...)
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  37. Descriptive Formalism and Evaluative Formalism in Kant’s Theory of Music: A Response to Young.Tiago Sousa - 2023 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 81 (3):378-382.
    In his article “Kant’s Musical Antiformalism” (Young 2020), with additional clarifications (Young 2021),1 James O. Young argues that Kant is an “antiformalist.”.
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  38. Kant and the Claims of the Empirical World (by Ido Geiger). [REVIEW]Lorenzo Spagnesi - 2023 - Society of German Idealism and Romanticism Review 6 (1):109-114.
  39. Art, Affectivity, and Aesthetic Value: Geiger on the Role of Emotions in Aesthetic Appreciation.Íngrid Vendrell Ferran - 2023 - Journal of Aesthetics and Phenomenology 10 (2):143 - 159.
    This paper explores Moritz Geiger’s work on the role of emotions in aesthetic appreciation and shows its potential for contemporary research. Drawing on the main tenets of Geiger’s phenomenological aesthetics as an aesthetics of value, the paper begins by elaborating his model of aesthetic appreciation. I argue that, placed in the contemporary debate, his model is close to affective models which make affective states responsible for the apprehension of the aesthetic value of an artwork, though Geiger also makes important concessions (...)
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  40. Cavendish’s Aesthetic Realism.Daniel Whiting - 2023 - Philosophers' Imprint 23 (15):1-17.
    In this paper, I offer a new interpretation of Margaret Cavendish’s remarks on beauty. According to it, Cavendish takes beauty to be a real, response-independent quality of objects. In this sense, Cavendish is an aesthetic realist. This position, which remains constant throughout her philosophical writings, contrasts with the non-realist views that were soon after to dominate philosophical reflections on matters of taste in the early modern period. It also, I argue, contrasts with the realism of Cavendish’s contemporary, Henry More. While (...)
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  41. Not Circular: Hume's "Of the Standard of Taste".Mark Windsor - 2023 - Hume Studies 48 (1):7-29.
    One of the gravest charges that has been brought against Hume’s essay “Of the Standard of Taste” is that of circularity. Hume is accused of defining good art in terms of “true judges,” and of defining true judges in terms of their ability to judge good art. First, I argue that Hume avoids circularity since he offers a way of identifying good art that is logically independent of the verdict of true judges. Second, I argue that this clarifies an enduring (...)
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  42. Schopenhauer's Aesthetic Ideology.Michel-Antoine Xhignesse - 2023 - In David Bather Woods & Timothy Stoll (eds.), The Schopenhauerian mind. New York, NY: Routledge. pp. 127-40.
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  43. On Wittgenstein’s Notion of a Surveyable Representation: Rituals, Aesthetics, and Aspect-Perception.Nir Ben-Moshe - 2022 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 100 (4):825-838.
    I demonstrate that analogies, both explicit and implicit, between Wittgenstein’s discussions of rituals, aesthetics, and aspect-perception, have important payoffs in terms of understanding his notion of a “surveyable representation” (übersichtliche Darstellung) as it applies to phenomena that are not exclusively grammatical in nature. In particular, I argue that a surveyable representation of certain anthropological and aesthetic facts allows us to see, qua form of aspect-perception, internal relations and formal connections, so that the inner nature of a ritual or the solution (...)
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  44. La conversione tragica in Hume.Filippo Contesi - 2022 - Odradek 8 (2).
    According to Hume, the pleasures that appreciators experience from good tragedies are critically accounted for by the unpleasantness associated with the events that those tragedies represent. This account appeals to a process of conversion of the unpleasant into the pleasant. Two of the more prominent contemporary interpretations of Hume’s conversion process – respectively advanced by Malcolm Budd (1991) and Alex Neill (1998) – put forward two contrasting views of the role of unpleasantness in Hume’s view of the pleasures of tragedy. (...)
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  45. Espacio semiotizado de la Verdadera relación de la Conquista del Perú (1534) de Francisco de Xerez.Jesús Miguel Delgado Del Aguila - 2022 - Espergesia. Revista Literaria y de Investigación 9 (2):29-33.
    Este trabajo se enfoca en examinar el espacio de la Plaza de Cajamarca (Perú) para someterlo al análisis semiótico que propone el autor Jacques Fontanille. Este abordaje permitirá designar la correspondencia que existe entre la historia colonial que se halla documentada en el texto Verdadera relación de la Conquista del Perú (1534) de Francisco de Xerez con su valor simbólico (sacralización), que se obtiene al efectuar la interpretación adecuada de los conceptos de Mircea Eliade al referirse a lo sagrado, en (...)
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  46. Ugliness Is in the Gut of the Beholder.Ryan P. Doran - 2022 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 9 (5):88-146.
    I offer the first sustained defence of the claim that ugliness is constituted by the disposition to disgust. I advance three main lines of argument in support of this thesis. First, ugliness and disgustingness tend to lie in the same kinds of things and properties (the argument from ostensions). Second, the thesis is better placed than all existing accounts to accommodate the following facts: ugliness is narrowly and systematically distributed in a heterogenous set of things, ugliness is sometimes enjoyed, and (...)
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  47. Why Joseph Margolis Has Never Been an Analytic Philosopher of Art.Roberta Dreon & Francesco Ragazzi - 2022 - JOLMA - The Journal for the Philosophy of Language, Mind, and the Arts 3 (2):333-364.
    In this paper, we support a continuistic reading of Joseph Margolis' philosophy, defending the claim that in the 1970s, Margolis tackled the issues suggested by the analytic philosophy of art from an original theoretical perspective and through conceptual tools exceeding the analytical framework. Later that perspective turned out to be a radically pragmatist one, in which explicitly tolerant realistic claims and non-reductive naturalism converged with radical historicism and contextualism. We will endorse this thesis by focusing on two important concepts appearing (...)
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  48. Reading Into It or Hearing It Out? Cavell on Modernism and the Art Critic's Hermeneutical Risk.Robert Engelman - 2022 - In Greg Chase, Juliet Floyd & Sandra Laugier (eds.), Cavell's Must We Mean What We Say? at 50. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. pp. 121-134.
    In this essay, I examine how Cavell's discussion of the challenges and attendant risks faced by artworks to be genuine rather than "fraudulent" informs his discussion of the challenges and attendant risks faced by art critics to offer interpretations rather than misinterpretations of artworks. Moreover, I clarify how this relation between Cavell's philosophy of art and his philosophy of criticism is mediated by his discussion of modernism. For Cavell, modernism does not so much introduce challenges for artworks as exacerbate them. (...)
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  49. Merely Methodological Naturalism in Aesthetics: A Proposed Revision of Zuckert’s Herder Interpretation.Naomi Fisher - 2022 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 80 (2):224-228.
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  50. The Inauguration of Formalism: Aestheticism and the Productive Opacity Principle.Michalle Gal - 2022 - Journal of Comparative Literature and Aesthetics 2 (24):20-30.
    This essay presents the Aestheticism of the 19th century as the foundational movement of modernist-formalist aesthetics of the 20th century. The main principle of this movement is what I denominate “productive opacity”. Aestheticism has not been recognized as a philosophical aesthetic theory. However, its definition of artwork as an exclusive kind of form—a deep, opaque form—is among the most precise ever given in the discipline. This essay offers an interpretation of aestheticism as a formalist theory, referred to here as “deep (...)
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