Aesthetics in a persecutory time: introducing Aesthetic Critical Realism

Journal of Critical Realism 19 (4):398-414 (2020)
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Abstract

We are living through a time when simplistic notions of good/bad, right/wrong, and us/them, have come to dominate our encounters with each-other and our planet. Against this ‘persecutory’ backdrop, this paper considers the promise of a more relational and mutually supportive way of living. Introducing Aesthetic Critical Realism (ACR), I present a laminated explanation of ‘aesthetics in a persecutory time’. This is founded on our capacity for aesthetic experience (the emergent experience of being-in-relation with the natural necessity of the world); doing art (giving shareable form to our aesthetic experiences); and caring for culture (as our system(s) of value recognition). Far from being of interest only to artists and the arts, ‘aesthetic reason’ bridges theoretical (scientific/philosophical), practical (political/ethical) and productive (creative/artisanal) knowledge. In living ‘artfully’ we both ‘give and get recognition’, and this is a requirement for human flourishing.

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