This article investigates the ways in which discourses and experiences of health and healing have shaped the development of contemporary dance in France. It confronts the problem of how to situate contemporary dance in relation to other dance genres and suggests Robert Desjarlais’ concept of the ‘aesthetic of experience’ as a helpful framework for understanding the ways in which technique and virtuosity operate differently in contemporary dance than in other dance forms. The article is ethnographic and historical and attempts to (...) create a dialogue between dance studies and medical anthropology. The ethnographic and historical material has three parts. First, I offer an analysis of the cultural idiom of illness as blocageand argue that contemporary dancers in Aix-en-Provence experience their work as a form of healing or dÈblocage. Next, I show how two historical and political events in France led to the promotion of dance as a means of social reform: the Situationist art movement of the 1960s and its idea of ‘awakening’ society through public art; and the renovation of the French Ministry of Culture in 1982 and its subsequent promotion of contemporary dance in state-funded community outreach projects in the 1980s. Finally, drawing on rich narratives from fieldwork interviews, I define awareness, expression and presence as the primary technical elements of contemporary dance in Aix-en-Provence, France, in 2002, and explain their relationship to the notion of ‘dance as l'intervention’ that has grown out of the historical context of contemporary dance in France. (shrink)
The paper will discuss the role of the visual in French urban space. It will reveal the close connections between visual and semiotics where the visual dimension is central rather than marginal. We will evaluate altogether the psychological, legal and social impacts of the new shapes of our own environment. Rethinking our public space shapes our identities, unveils the ‘hidden’ powerful discourse behind these new urban models.
Victor Cousin dominated French philosophy for over thirty years from 1815. Manns tracks the progress of his aesthetic theory as far as the first winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1901, René Sully-Proudhomme. The common thread is a family of positions Manns calls "expressionism," to the effect that beauty in physical objects is to be understood as the outer sign of some inner perfection: its origins he finds in Reid on taste. But what in Reid was a (...) cautious attempt to link the pleasure we take in beauty to perfection of character in agents, and especially, in the case of nature, to the more or less evident ingenuity of the Creator's handiwork, becomes in Cousin a metaphysically conjectural claim about the ideal attributes of "the absolute." Manns works hard, without much textual help but with plausible results, to identify the sources of Cousin's thought in Reid, rather than in, say, Hegel, by discussing how his epistemology and metaphysics parallel Reid's common-sense account of perception and the principles of reason. (shrink)
In this study of space and power and knowledge in France from the 1830s through the 1930s, Rabinow uses the tools of anthropology, philosophy, and cultural criticism to examine how social environment was perceived and described. Ranging from epidemiology to the layout of colonial cities, he shows how modernity was revealed in urban planning, architecture, health and welfare administration, and social legislation.
Spoiled Distinctions investigates crises of evaluation in twentieth-century France. Taking Marcel Proust as its central figure, the book theorizes the disorienting force of everyday aesthetic experience. In a series of surprising readings, Hannah Freed-Thall frees Proust from his reputation as the most refined of high modernists. The author of In Search of Lost Time appears here as a journalist and newspaper enthusiast, a literary ventriloquist and connoisseur of popular scandals, and a writer attentive to the unsophisticated phenomenology of the here (...) and now.The final chapters of the book consider the legacy of Proust's experiments with inestimable worth. Authors Francis Ponge, Nathalie Sarraute, and Yasmina Reza also explore the underside of cultural distinction. With Proust, they elaborate modernist variations on the beautiful and sublime--from nuance to the "whatever" and from the awkward to the sickly-sweet. Spoiled Distinctions thus revitalizes the critical discourse on aesthetics. Mapping the intersection of phenomenology, aesthetic theory, and the sociology of culture, the book reveals how enchanting the ordinary can be. (shrink)
The ontological status of theories themselves has recently re-emerged as a live topic in the philosophy of science. We consider whether a recent approach within the philosophy of art can shed some light on this issue. For many years philosophers of aesthetics have debated a paradox in the (meta)ontology of musical works (e.g. Levinson ). Taken individually, there are good reasons to accept each of the following three propositions: (i) musical works are created; (ii) musical works are abstract objects; (iii) (...) abstract objects cannot be created. However it seems clear that, if one wants to avoid inconsistency, one cannot commit to all three. Following up recent developments courtesy of Cameron ([2008a]), we consider how one might respond to the corresponding set of propositions in the (meta)ontology of scientific theories. (shrink)
This is the first study to recognise the broad impact of opera in early-modern French culture._Downing A. Thomas considers the use of operatic spectacle and music by Louis XIV as a vehicle for absolutism; the resistance of music to the aesthetic and political agendas of the time; and the long-term development of opera in eighteenth-century humanist culture. He argues that French opera moved away from the politics of the absolute monarchy in which it originated to address Enlightenment concerns (...) with sensibility and feeling. The book combines close readings of significant seventeenth-century and eighteenth-century operatic works, circumstantial writings and theoretical works on theatre and opera, together with a measure of reception history. Thomas examines key works by Lully, Rameau, and Charpentier, among others, and extends his reach from the late seventeenth century to the end of the eighteenth. (shrink)
"A first-rate introduction to the field, accessible to scholars working from a variety of disciplinary and theoretical perspectives. Highly recommended... " —Choice "... offers both broad theoretical considerations and applications to specific art forms, diverse methodological perspectives, and healthy debate among the contributors.... [an] outstanding volume."—Philosophy and Literature "... this volume represents an eloquent and enlightened attempt to reconceptualize the field of aesthetic theory by encouraging its tendencies toward openness, self-reflexivity and plurality." —Discourse & Society "All of the authors challenge (...) the traditional notion of a pure and disinterested observer that does not allow for questions of race/ethnicity, class, sexual preference, or gender." —Signs These essays examine the intellectual traditions of the philosophy of art and aesthetics. Containing essays by scholars and by the writer Marilyn French, the collection ranges from the history of aesthetic theory to a philosophical reflection on fashion. The contributions are unified by a sustained scrutiny of the nature of "feminist," "feminine," or "female" art, creativity, and interpretation. (shrink)
_Thinking about Science, Reflecting on Art: Bringing Aesthetics and Philosophy of Science togethe_r is the first book to systematically examine the relationship between the philosophy of science and aesthetics. With contributions from leading figures from both fields this edited collection engages with such questions as: Does representation function in the same way in science and in art? What important characteristic do scientific models share with literary fictions? What is the difference between interpretation in the sciences and in the arts? Can (...) there be a science of aesthetics? In what ways can aesthetics and philosophy of science be integrated? Aiming to develop the interconnections between the philosophy of science and the philosophy of art more broadly and more deeply than ever before this volume not only explores scientific representation by comparison with fiction but extends the scope of interaction to include metaphysical and other questions around methodology in mainstream philosophy of science, including the aims of science, the characterisation of scientific understanding, and the nature of observation, as well as drawing detailed comparisons between specific examples in both art and the sciences. (shrink)
This book presents an innovative analysis of the role of imagination as a central concept in both literary and art criticism. Dee Reynolds brings this approach to bear on works by Rimbaud, Mallarme;, Kandinsky, and Mondrian. It allows her to redefine the relationship between Symbolism and abstract art, and to contribute new methodological perspectives to comparative studies of poetry and painting. The late nineteenth and early twentieth century was a crucial period in the emergence of new modes of representation, and (...) is currently at the forefront of critical enquiry. This is the first book to examine Symbolism and abstraction in this way, and the first to treat these poets and painters together. It is an original contribution to interdisciplinary scholarship in art history, literary history, and comparative aesthetics. (shrink)
In _An Introduction to Kant’s Aesthetics_, Christian Wenzel discusses and demystifies Kant’s Critique of the Power of Judgment, guiding the reader each step of the way and placing key points of discussion in the context of Kant’s other work. Explains difficult concepts in plain language, using numerous examples and a helpful glossary. Proceeds in the same order as Kant’s text for ease of reference and comprehension. Includes an illuminating foreword by Henry E. Allison. Offers twenty-six further-reading sections, commenting briefly on (...) books and articles from the English, German, and French, that are relevant for each topic Provides an extensive bibliography and a chapter summarizing Kant's main points. (shrink)
The French philosopher Jacques Rancière has influenced disciplines from history and philosophy to political theory, literature, art history, and film studies. His research into nineteenth-century workers’ archives, reflections on political equality, critique of the traditional division between intellectual and manual labor, and analysis of the place of literature, film, and art in modern society have all constituted major contributions to contemporary thought. In this collection, leading scholars in the fields of philosophy, literary theory, and cultural criticism engage Rancière’s work, (...) illuminating its originality, breadth, and rigor, as well as its place in current debates. They also explore the relationships between Rancière and the various authors and artists he has analyzed, ranging from Plato and Aristotle to Flaubert, Rossellini, Auerbach, Bourdieu, and Deleuze. The contributors to this collection do not simply elucidate Rancière’s project; they also critically respond to it from their own perspectives. They consider the theorist’s engagement with the writing of history, with institutional and narrative constructions of time, and with the ways that individuals and communities can disturb or reconfigure what he has called the “distribution of the sensible.” They examine his unique conception of politics as the disruption of the established distribution of bodies and roles in the social order, and they elucidate his novel account of the relationship between aesthetics and politics by exploring his astute analyses of literature and the visual arts. In the collection’s final essay, Rancière addresses some of the questions raised by the other contributors and returns to his early work to provide a retrospective account of the fundamental stakes of his project. _Contributors_. Alain Badiou, Étienne Balibar, Bruno Bosteels, Yves Citton, Tom Conley, Solange Guénoun, Peter Hallward, Todd May, Eric Méchoulan, Giuseppina Mecchia, Jean-Luc Nancy, Andrew Parker, Jacques Rancière, Gabriel Rockhill, Kristin Ross, James Swenson, Rajeshwari Vallury, Philip Watts. (shrink)
In contrast to the conventional view of Ludwig Feuerbach as a left-wing Young Hegelian, this article argues that his primary contribution to philosophy is to be found in his later ethics, the basis of which may be discerned in his earlier writings. Over and above recent work on Feuerbach's aesthetics, his relation to Herder, and the relationship between aesthetics and ‘theological politics’ in his thought, Feuerbach's philosophy can re-evaluated, in relation to Epicurus and the French libertin tradition, as articulating (...) an ethics of hedonism. In The Essence of Christianity , the Nachlass fragment ‘Elementary Aesthetics’ , and his Principles of the Philosophy of the Future Feuerbach moves towards the vitalist materialist position that culminates in his insight in ‘Against the Dualism of Body and Soul, Flesh and Spirit’ into the world as an ‘aesthetic phenomenon’, thus laying the foundations for his recognition of the centrality of sensuous pleasure to the ethical life. (shrink)
Long considered "the noblest of the senses," vision has increasingly come under critical scrutiny by a wide range of thinkers who question its dominance in Western culture. These critics of vision, especially prominent in twentieth-century France, have challenged its allegedly superior capacity to provide access to the world. They have also criticized its supposed complicity with political and social oppression through the promulgation of spectacle and surveillance. Martin Jay turns to this discourse surrounding vision and explores its often contradictory implications (...) in the work of such influential figures as Jean-Paul Sartre, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Michel Foucault, Jacques Lacan, Louis Althusser, Guy Debord, Luce Irigaray, Emmanuel Levinas, and Jacques Derrida. Jay begins with a discussion of the theory of vision from Plato to Descartes, then considers its role in the French Enlightenment before turning to its status in the culture of modernity. From consideration of French Impressionism to analysis of Georges Bataille and the Surrealists, Roland Barthes's writings on photography, and the film theory of Christian Metz, Jay provides lucid and fair-minded accounts of thinkers and ideas widely known for their difficulty. His book examines the myriad links between the interrogation of vision and the pervasive antihumanist, antimodernist, and counter-enlightenment tenor of much recent French thought. Refusing, however, to defend the dominant visual order, he calls instead for a plurality of "scopic regimes." Certain to generate controversy and discussion throughout the humanities and social sciences, _Downcast Eyes_ will consolidate Jay's reputation as one of today's premier cultural and intellectual historians. (shrink)
Linguistics, Anthropology and Philosophy in the French Enlightenment treats the development of linguistic thought from Descartes to Degerando as both a part of and a determining factor in the emergence of modern consciousness. Through his careful analyses of works by the most influential thinkers of the time, author Ulrich Ricken demonstrates that the central significance of language in the philosophy of the enlightenment is how it reflected and acted upon contemporary understanding of humanity as a whole. Although primarily focused (...) on French thought between 1650 and 1800, the author discusses contemporary developments in England, Germany and Italy and covers an unusually broad range of writers and ideas, including Leibniz, Wolff, Herder and Humboldt. This study places the history of language philosophy within the broader context of the history of ideas, aesthetics and historical anthropology and will be of interest to scholars working in these disciplines. (shrink)
Sensationism, a philosophy that gained momentum in the French Enlightenment as a response to Lockean empiricism, was acclaimed by Hippolyte Taine as "the doctrine of the most lucid, methodical, and French minds to have honored France." The first major general study in English of eighteenth-century French sensationism, _The Authority of Experience_ presents the history of a complex set of ideas and explores their important ramifications for literature, education, and moral theory. The study begins by presenting the main (...) ideas of sensationist philosophers Condillac, Bonnet, and Helvétius, who held that all of our ideas come to us through the senses. The experience of the body in seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, and touching enabled individuals, as John C. O'Neal points out, to challenge the sometimes arbitrary authority of institutions and people in positions of power. After a general introduction to sensationism, the author develops a theory of sensationist aesthetics that not only reveals the interconnections of the period's philosophy and literature but also enhances our awareness of the forces at work in the French novel. He goes on to examine the relations between sensationism and eighteenth-century French educational theory, materialism, and _idéologie_. Ultimately, O'Neal opens a discussion of the implications of sensationist thought for issues of particular concern to society today. (shrink)
This book reevaluates the historical, political, and artistic legacies of twentieth-century France and the French-speaking world, proposing new formulations of the relationships between fiction, aesthetics, and politics for the present century.
The essay explores the special features of French Symbolist aesthetics, which consist of the conceptions of symbolization as correspondence between the spiritual and objective worlds, suggestion, artistic synthesis and synesthesia, beauty, the beautiful and the sublime. The author analyzes the main trends of Symbolist aesthetics in France – the Neoplatonic/Christian and the Solipsistic symbolism – and traces their influence on art. She shows that the attitude toward aesthetic philosophy inherent in French Symbolism turned out to be the backbone (...) for Euro-American culture in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. (shrink)
I propose taking the beautiful and the sublime in Edmund Burke not just as aesthetic but also as theoretical categories which can help us read his constitutional thought in dialectical terms. I suggest indeed that his usage of these categories in the Reflections on the Revolution in France points to a consistently held argument concerning the aporias of early-modern contractarian theories and their influence on the French Revolution. My hypothesis is that for Burke the Revolution is unable to think (...) of any concrete relation between beauty and sublimity, insofar as they can be associated, respectively, with particularity and universality. Furthermore, I underscore how Burke’s defence of partial representation against contractarian representation aims to overcome this impasse. My goal is to demonstrate that Burke raises decisive questions as to the intrinsically anti-democratic effects of the contractarian concept of democracy and is still useful to confront the contemporary crisis of democratic participation. (shrink)
What is the role of the imagination in scientific practice? Here I focus on the nature and role of invitations to imagine in certain scientific texts as represented by the example of Einstein’s Special Relativity paper from 1905. Drawing on related discussions in aesthetics, I argue, on the one hand, that this role cannot be simply subsumed under ‘supposition’ but that, on the other, concerns about the impact of genre and symbolism can be dealt with, and hence present no obstacle (...) to regarding imagination as appropriately belief-like. By applying the framework of ‘semi- propositional representations’ and ‘quasi-truth’ to this case I thereby offer a new unitary framework for understanding the epistemology of scientific imagination. (shrink)
Rather than focusing on German philosophy or the French avant-gardes, as many books on the history of aesthetics do, Teukolsky takes up British responses to modern art controversies, thus providing a unique view on the development of artistic forms and art history. She considers the plentiful archive of Victorian "art writing"-essays addressed to the visual arts- to reveal the key role played by nineteenth-century writers in the rise of modernist Anglo-American aesthetics. Though Victorians are most often associated with realism, (...) certain art writers promoted a formalism that would come to dominate canons of twentieth-century art. Teukolsky analyzes the canonical writing of authors like John Ruskin, Walter Pater, and Oscar Wilde alongside texts belonging to the rich field of Victorian print culture--gallery reviews, scientific treatises, satirical cartoons, advertisements, and early photography monographs among them. Spanning the years 1840 to 1910, her argument also adds substance to our understanding of the transition from Victorianism to modernism, a period of especially lively exchange between artists and intellectuals, here narrated with careful attention given to the historical particularities and real events that stamped their imprint on such interactions. (shrink)
Several prominent philosophers of science, most notably Ron Giere, propose that scientific theories are collections of models and that models represent the objects of scientific study. Some, including Giere, argue that models represent in the same way that pictures represent. Aestheticians have brought the picturing relation under intense scrutiny and presented important arguments against the tenability of particular accounts of picturing. Many of these arguments from aesthetics can be used against accounts of representation in philosophy of science. I rely on (...) Dominic Lopes' recent summary of arguments against various views of picturing and reformulate some of them to fit the philosophy of science context. My specific targets here are Giere and Steven French. I go on to argue that assuming all scientific models and images represent in the same way is not the best guide to understanding scientific practice. (shrink)