[About the book] Comparative aesthetics is the branch of philosophy which compares the aesthetic concepts and practices of different cultures. The way in which the various cultures of the world conceive of the aesthetic dimension of life in general and art in particular is revelatory of profound attitudes and beliefs which themselves make up an important part of the culture in question. This anthology consists of entirely new essays by some of the leading, internationally recognised scholars in the field. The subjects addressed include the influence of Upanişadic thought on the classic Indian tradition in aesthetics and the way in which that tradition continues to have relevance to issues discussed today; how Buddhist thought in general and Zen in particular shape aesthetic attitudes in Japanese culture; how Confucianism affected not only the morality but also the classical aesthetics of China; how different ideas of the self and of human nature affect artistic training and practice in different cultures; how feminism can draw inspiration from classic non-European lines of thought in the area of aesthetics, and how different attitudes to nature underpin a whole range of aesthetic beliefs and attitudes in western and eastern thought. These ideas reveal both deep differences and deep similarities between east and west. No-one seeking to understand the cultures discussed in these essays can ignore their aesthetic dimension, which often holds the key to understanding the deepest motives which have formed them
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