This is the first volume of an impressive project on the relation of art, philosophy and social change. In an on-going argument and review ing several important aesthetic theories Paul Crow ther in this book argues for the idea that aesthetics should be a kind of critical assessment of art w orks' experiential consequences. Although I go along w ith his resistance against postmodernist reasoning, w hich functions as the starting point of his book, beyond that, our w ays often part. My disagreement, how ever, does not annul the evident quality of the argument in this w ork. It is recommended reading material for all those aestheticians w ho are interested in the cognitive and non-cognitive functionality of art w orks and in the possibility of any influence of art on societal change. I w ill now discuss the most crucial steps in Crow ther's argument. Postmodernists claim to have undone the alleged rigidity of modern categories, like that of the autonomous subject, but according to Crow ther they reach this `achievement' by overemphasizing the fluidity of modes of know ledge and experience, and of their status as social constructs, but there may w ell exist flexible constants. Aesthetics can help w ith the analysis of these flexible constants, not by looking for the essences of art or aesthetic experience, but by supplementing our theoretical assessments w ith a critique of art. Crow ther proposes to view aesthetic experiences as w ell as w orks of art as functions of critical aw areness and of body-hold, an historicized version of Merleau-Ponty's much neglected notion of embodiment. Critical aesthetics actualizes the critical aw areness involved in our aesthetic experiences. Art, defined in terms of originality, roots in the body-hold of the artist, w ho moulds his medium to solve technical problems traditional art forms confront him w ith. Postmodernism involves only tw o theses, really. First, contemporary experience and sensibility are analyzed as imbued by the shocks generated by the rapid succession of mechanically reproduced events..
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Mind and World.Huw Price & John McDowell - 1994 - Philosophical Books 38 (3):169-181.
Mind and World.John Mcdowell - 1996 - Philosophical Quarterly 46 (182):99-109.
The Artworld.Arthur Danto - 1964 - Journal of Philosophy 61 (19):571-584.

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