In this paper I want to return to some well-worn ideas; specifically, the attempt to show that there is a distinctive subject-matter of the aesthetic via consideration of the difference between aesthetic and non-aestheticconcepts. The classic exposition of this distinction is Frank Sibley's 'AestheticConcepts'. Sibley claimed that, given a set of relevant terms, there will be widespread non-collusive agreement as to which are aesthetic and which non-aesthetic. Non-aesthetic terms include (...) _'red, noisy, brackish, clammy, square, docile, curved, evanescent, intelligent, faithful, derelict, tardy, freakish'_. Aesthetic terms include _'unified, lifeless, serene, sombre, dynamic, powerful, vivid, delicate, moving, trite, sentimental, tragic'_. Further examples have been given by other philosophers working in the field. Given the widespread agreement, I shall assume there is a distinction of some sort whose nature is open to be discussed. (shrink)
The aesthetic realist interprets many descriptions of music as metaphorical descriptions of aesthetic properties of music. I argue that aesthetic realism requires that nonaesthetic words are used to express both aesthetic and nonaesthetic concepts. But having distinguished the concepts, some plausible account must be given of their relation. A causal account of the relation between the possession of aesthetic and nonaesthetic concepts provides this, since the concepts are distinct but connected. I (...) explore and defend this account. I consider the conditions of aesthetic concept possession and also the appropriation of nonaesthetic words in aesthetic descriptions. (shrink)
Exploring key topics in contemporary aesthetics, this work analyzes the issues that arise from the unique works of Frank Sibley (1923-1996), who developed a distinctive aesthetic theory through a number of papers published between 1955 and 1995. Here, thirteen philosophical aestheticians bring Sibley's insight into a contemporary framework, exploring the ways his ideas foster important new discussion about issues in aesthetics. This collection will interest anyone interested in philosophy, art theory, and art criticism.
Lehrer has argued that in having an aesthetic experience of an art work we come to have ineffable knowledge of what the art object is like. This knowledge is made possible by our ability to conceptualize the art object by means of a process Lehrer calls, "exemplarization", that involves using an experience to craft a general representation of that very experience. I suggest that exemplar concepts function as vehicles of ineffable representation only if they have two features: (i) (...) they are directly referential concepts; and (ii) they are what I call, "lucid concepts.". (shrink)
Bracha Ettinger is an Israeli-born Paris-based artist, analyst and feminist theorist who has produced over the last decade a major theoretical intervention through a tripartite practice. This article offers an expository introduction and overview of core aspects of her theoretical contribution while relating it to major trends in feminist and general cultural theory of subjectivity, hysteria, memory, trauma and the aesthetic. Organized in several parts, each section addresses the developing vocabulary, terminology and significance of her work. With core (...) class='Hi'>concepts are Matrix, metramorphosis, trans-subjectivity, co-poïesis, co-emergence and co-affection, Ettinger’s theory opens out beyond the blind spots of advanced feminist thought. From its independent and original theorization of subjectivity-as-encounter and an-other sexual difference, Bracha Ettinger challenges our attempts to think about femininity associated with the work of Julia Kristeva and Luce Irigaray. Linked to, but distinct from, the philosophical speculations of Deleuze and Levinas, this work creates a transferential theoretical space for Jewish and feminine difference, sexuality, subjectivity and the traumatic residues of modern catastrophe that has major repercussions for cultural, aesthetic, ethical, political and psychoanalytic theory. (shrink)
Ştefan Aug. Doinaş and Basarab Nicolescu, two great spirits related through the generosity of the humanist vision, met, held an epistolary dialogue and had common projects. Doinaş commented upon a few of the innovative concepts proposed by Basarab Nicolescu and he also aesthetically transfigured, in literary pages, certain concepts of transdisciplinarity.
Among semanticists and philosophers of language, there has been a recent outburst of interest in predicates such as delicious, called predicates of personal taste (PPTs, e.g. Lasersohn 2005). Somewhat surprisingly, the question of whether or how we can distinguish aesthetic predicates from PPTs has hardly been addressed at all in this recent work. It is precisely this question that we address. We investigate linguistic criteria that we argue can be used to delineate the class of specifically aesthetic adjectives. (...) We show that there are, in fact, good motivations for keeping PPTs and aesthetic predicates apart: the semantic structure of the former, but not the latter, entails an experiencer. There are many adjectives whose semantic structure arguably also entails an experiencer, yet which are readily used in expressing aesthetic judgments. Adjectives such as provocative or moving are a case in point, since as adjectives they arguably maintain the experiencer argument from the verb they are derived from. Nevertheless, when we describe, say, a sculpture as provocative, or a theater performance as moving, we clearly make aesthetic judgments. The difficult question, then, is to articulate the relationship between an aesthetic predicate (of which beautiful and ugly are paradigms) and other predicates that just happen to be used in making an aesthetic judgment. Tightly related to this point is the more general question of the relationship between an evaluative predicate and a predicate that occurs in an evaluative judgment. One of our aims is to make some progress in addressing these questions. (shrink)
For the most part, the Aesthetic Theory of Art—any theory of art claiming that the aesthetic is a descriptively necessary feature of art—has been repudiated, especially in light of what are now considered traditional counterexamples. We argue that the Aesthetic Theory of Art can instead be far more plausibly recast by abandoning aesthetic-feature possession by the artwork for a claim about aesthetic-concept possession by the artist. This move productively re-frames and re-energizes the debate surrounding the (...) relationship between art and the aesthetic. That is, we claim Aesthetic Theory so re-framed suggests that the aesthetic might have a central and substantial explanatory role to play within both traditional philosophical enquiries as well as recent and more empirical enquiries into the psychological and cognitive aspects of art and its practice. Finally, we discuss the directions this new work might take—by tying art theory to investigations of the distinctive sensorimotor capacities of expert artists, their specialized aesthetic conceptual schemata, and the ways these distinctive capacities and schemata contribute to the production of artworks. (shrink)
A term expresses a thick concept if it expresses a specific evaluative concept that is also substantially descriptive. It is a matter of debate how this rough account should be unpacked, but examples can help to convey the basic idea. Thick concepts are often illustrated with virtue concepts like courageous and generous, action concepts like murder and betray, epistemic concepts like dogmatic and wise, and aestheticconcepts like gaudy and brilliant. These concepts seem (...) to be evaluative, unlike purely descriptive concepts such as red and water. But they also seem different from general evaluative concepts. In particular, thick concepts are typically contrasted with thin concepts like good, wrong, permissible, and ought, which are general evaluative concepts that do not seem substantially descriptive. When Jane says that Max is good, she appears to be evaluating him without providing much description, if any. Thick concepts, on the other hand, are evaluative and substantially descriptive at the same time. For instance, when Max says that Jane is courageous, he seems to be doing two things: evaluating her positively and describing her as willing to face risk. Because of their descriptiveness, thick concepts are especially good candidates for evaluative concepts that pick out properties in the world. Thus they provide an avenue for thinking about ethical claims as being about the world in the same way as descriptive claims. -/- Thick concepts became a focal point in ethics during the second half of the twentieth century. At that time, discussions of thick concepts began to emerge in response to certain disagreements about thin concepts. For example, in twentieth-century ethics, consequentialists and deontologists hotly debated various accounts of good and right. It was also claimed by non-cognitivists and error-theorists that these thin concepts do not correspond to any properties in the world. Dissatisfaction with these viewpoints prompted many ethicists to consider the implications of thick concepts. The notion of a thick concept was thought to provide insight into meta-ethical questions such as whether there is a fact-value distinction, whether there are ethical truths, and, if there are such truths, whether these truths are objective. Some ethicists also theorized about the role that thick concepts can play in normative ethics, such as in virtue theory. By the beginning of the twenty-first century, the interest in thick concepts had spread to other philosophical disciplines such as epistemology, aesthetics, metaphysics, moral psychology, and the philosophy of law. -/- Nevertheless, the emerging interest in thick concepts has sparked debates over many questions: How exactly are thick concepts evaluative? How do they combine evaluation and description? How are thick concepts related to thin concepts? And do thick concepts have the sort of significance commonly attributed to them? This article surveys various attempts at answering these questions. (shrink)
Call the view that it is possible to acquire aesthetic knowledge via testimony, optimism, and its denial, pessimism. In this paper, I offer a novel argument for pessimism. It works by turning attention away from the basis of the relevant belief, namely, testimony, and toward what that belief in turn provides a basis for, namely, other attitudes. In short, I argue that an aesthetic belief acquired via testimony cannot provide a rational basis for further attitudes, such as admiration, (...) and that the best explanation for this is that the relevant belief is not itself rational. If a belief is not rational, it is not knowledge. So, optimism is false. After addressing a number of objections to the argument, I consider briefly its bearing on the debate concerning thick evaluative concepts. While the aim is to argue that pessimism holds, not to explain why it holds, I provide an indication in closing of what that explanation might be. (shrink)
This paper considers the question of how immoral elements in instances of humour affect funniness. Comic ethicism is the position that each immoral element negatively affects funniness and if their cumulative effect is sufficient, then funniness is eliminated. I focus on Berys Gaut’s central argument in favour of comic ethicism; the merited response argument. In this journal, Noël Carroll has criticized the merited response argument as illegitimately conflating comic merit with moral merit. I argue that the merited response argument, and (...) hence comic ethicism more generally, is vulnerable to Carroll’s criticism only if the comic ethicist fails to distinguish between three closely-related but distinct concepts; humour, amusement and funniness. By providing separate accounts of these three concepts, I explain how Carroll’s criticism is unsuccessful. In summary, accepting my distinctions between humour, amusement and funniness makes it clear that comic ethicism is the right position. (shrink)
I take up Kant's remarks about a " transcendental deduction" of the "concepts of space and time". I argue for the need to make a clearer assessment of the philosophical resources of the Aesthetic in order to account for this transcendental deduction. Special attention needs to be given to the fact that the central task of the Aesthetic is simply the "exposition" of these concepts. The Metaphysical Exposition reflects upon facts about our usage to reveal our (...) commitment to the idea that these concepts refer to pure intuitions. But the legitimacy of these concepts still hangs in the balance: these concepts may turn out to refer to nothing real at all. The subsequent Transcendental Exposition addresses this issue. The objective validity of the concepts of space and time, and hence their transcendental deduction, hinges on careful treatment of this last point. (shrink)
In the Critique of the Power of Judgment, Kant offers a theory of artistic expression in which he claims that a work of art is a medium through which an artist expresses an ‘aesthetic idea’. While Kant’s theory of aesthetic ideas often receives rather restrictive interpretations, according to which aesthetic ideas can either present only moral concepts, or only moral concepts and purely rational concepts, in this article I offer an ‘inclusive interpretation’ of (...) class='Hi'>aesthetic ideas, according to which they can present not only moral and purely rational concepts but also empirical concepts and emotions related to our ordinary experience. Although this latter class of experience-oriented aesthetic ideas has been neglected, I argue that recognizing the role it plays in Kant’s account is crucial for understanding his views not only of artistic production and our experience of art but also of the value he takes art to have for our ordinary experience of the world, others, and our own selves. What is more, insofar as the inclusive interpretation brings to light Kant’s acknowledgement of the close connection between experience and art, it reveals that his overall view of art is more plausible than is often thought, and recommends it as worthy of further consideration. (shrink)
In his influential paper, ‘General Criteria and Reasons in Aesthetics’, Frank Sibley outlines what is taken to be a generalist view (shared with Beardsley) such that there are general reasons for aesthetic judgement, and his account of the behaviour of such reasons, which differs from Beardsley's. In this paper my aim is to illuminate Sibley's position by employing a distinction that has arisen in meta-ethics in response to recent work by Jonathan Dancy in particular. Contemporary research involves two related (...) yet distinct debates: (i) that between the particularist and the generalist on the status of moral principles; and (ii) that between holists and atomists on the nature of reasons. This division of labour has no correlate within the aesthetic particularism–generalism debate, and I will show how the ideas developed in relation to meta-ethics illuminate a difficulty with Sibley's view. I argue that we should understand Sibley as subscribing to both particularism and a version of holism about aesthetic reasons. (shrink)
Paul Crowther provides interpretations of key concepts in Kant’s Critique of Aesthetic Judgment, indicating (particularly in very informative footnotes) how his views compare with those of other Kant commentators such as Paul Guyer, Rachel Zuckert, Béatrice Longuenesse, Henry Allison, Donald Crawford, Robert Wicks and others. One might be inclined to ask whether yet another interpretation of Kant’s third critique was needed, yet compared to his other two critiques, Kant’s Critique of Judgment can still be regarded as the neglected (...) sibling. Its relevance to his system as a whole and in particular to his moral theory is still under appreciated. However, if one is after a study of Kant’s third critique along these lines, this is not the place to find it. Crowther has his philosopher of art hat firmly in place in the writing of this study. Even so, adopting this approach Crowther shows us that there is still work to be done. Crowther takes the core of Kant’s thesis and argues that its implications extend far beyond what Kant could have envisaged. (shrink)
Frank Sibley's ideas have been particularly influential among contemporary philosophers interested in aesthetics. Most studies, however, have focused only on his earlier works. In this essay, I explore Sibley's account of the adjectives ‘beautiful’ and ‘ugly’, paying particular attention to three papers that have only recently been published and that have not yet received adequate attention. In particular, I discuss his account of the adjective ‘beautiful’, which relies on the controversial notion of an aesthetic ideal. In addition, I discuss (...) an account of how aesthetic judgements may change in relation to our coming to know the kind of object being judged and whether, as Sibley maintains, ‘beautiful’ and ‘ugly’ are asymmetric in the sense specified by the author. (shrink)