Reflections on the relationship of aesthetics to politics tend to circle, almost compulsively, around a relatively stable set of conceptual oppositions, inherited from German philosophies of the late 18th century. This essay proposes an expansion of the theoretical terms of the debate by extending the field of transcendental aesthetics into the domain of historical temporalization. Fundamental art-historical categories may thereby be incorporated, philosophically transformed, into ‘aesthetics’ as forms of historical temporalization: avant-garde, modern, contemporary. The essay expounds two theses, in (...) particular: 1. The historical subsumption of the temporality of the avant-garde by the temporality of the modern: the modern stands to the avant-garde as the negation of its politics by the repetition of the new –‘the new as the ever–same’; 2. the historical subsumption of the temporality of the modern by ‘the contemporary’: the contemporary stands to the modern as the negation of the dialectical logic – and hence specifically developmentalist futurity – of the new by a spatially determined, but imaginary co-presencing. One effect of this latter subsumption, it is argued, is a particular, regressive ‘repetition of the national’, at the level of cultural representation, on the terrain of the global. (shrink)
Art In Its Time takes a close look at the way in which art has become integral to the everyday 'ordinary' life of modern society. It explores the prevalent notion of art as transcending its historical moment, and argues that art cannot be separated from the everyday as it often provides material to represent social struggles and class, to explore sexuality, and to think about modern industry and our economic relationships.
Melancholia is a hybrid concept, deployed in feminist and philosophical theories politics and aesthetics, but ‘properly” belonging to neither. This heterogeneity of melancholia as both an aesthetic and a political category allows us to interrogate the interrelationship between gender politics and aesthetics without, however, abolishing their differences. Reinterpreted in the context of a feminist aesthetics, melancholia not only points to art’s origin in the unjust and gendered division of labor and power but also to the ethical and political task of (...) art to bear witness to the mute suffering of women cut off from the signifying possibilities of language. Moving beyond the entrenched oppositions between historicism/subjectivism, subject/object, or formalism /materialism, my own approach to an aesthetics of melancholia in women’s modern novels stresses unpredictable, conflicting migrations of pain between subjects and objects, political oppression and autonomous art, language and affect. (shrink)
The article considers the concept of gustus spiritualis, in particular its possible historical connection with (aesthetic) taste in the seventeenth century. By ‘aesthetic’, I mean a radically modern phenomenon, attitude, sensibility, and so forth, that is, a new type of experience. Its discourse has many keywords; one of them is taste, an inner faculty by which its possessor is able to make sharp and proper distinctions, and simultaneously to enjoy fine delights. Here, I am obliged to confine myself to (...) the interpretation of some Jesuit authors within the wide tradition of gustus spiritualis: St Ignatius of Loyola, St Francis de Sales, Baltasar Gracián, and Dominique Bouhours in sequence. The latter two are usually treated in the historical narratives of aesthetics, which, however, usually take gustus/gusto/goût as if it were a purely secular (moral, political) notion in the seventeenth century, while its theological roots are ignored. Exploring the role of gustus spiritualis in the evolution of (aesthetic) taste can cast light, on the one hand, on the important fact that this entails volition, that is, the determination and enchantment of human desire and hope without constraint; and, on the other, on the historical process of the emergence of a new type of ‘beholder’ with a sensitive attitude to transcendence, and, in the same manner, to his or her worldly life as well; moreover, it is a process in which, simultaneously, the nature of transcendence is transformed into a tastable one. (shrink)
In The Sublime in Modern Philosophy: Aesthetics, Ethics, and Nature, Emily Brady takes a fresh look at the sublime and shows why it endures as a meaningful concept in contemporary philosophy. In a reassessment of historical approaches, the first part of the book identifies the scope and value of the sublime in eighteenth-century philosophy, nineteenth-century philosophy and Romanticism, and early wilderness aesthetics. The second part examines the sublime's contemporary significance through its relationship to the arts; its position with respect (...) to other aesthetic categories involving mixed or negative emotions, such as tragedy; and its place in environmental aesthetics and ethics. Far from being an outmoded concept, Brady argues that the sublime is a distinctive aesthetic category which reveals an important, if sometimes challenging, aesthetic-moral relationship with the natural world. (shrink)
A History of Modern Aesthetics narrates the history of philosophical aesthetics from the beginning of the eighteenth century through the twentieth century. Aesthetics began with Aristotle's defense of the cognitive value of tragedy in response to Plato's famous attack on the arts in The Republic, and cognitivist accounts of aesthetic experience have been central to the field ever since. But in the eighteenth century, two new ideas were introduced: that aesthetic experience is important because of emotional impact - precisely (...) what Plato criticized - and because it is a pleasurable free play of many or all of our mental powers. This book tells how these ideas have been synthesized or separated by both the best-known and lesser-known aestheticians of modern times, focusing on Britain, France and Germany in the eighteenth century; Germany and Britain in the nineteenth; and Germany, Britain and the United States in the twentieth. (shrink)
Gerhard Richter's groundbreaking study argues that the concept of "afterness" is a key figure in the thought and aesthetics of modernity. It pursues questions such as: What does it mean for something to "follow" something else? Does that which follows mark a clear break with what came before it, or does it in fact tacitly perpetuate its predecessor as a consequence of its inevitable indebtedness to the terms and conditions of that from which it claims to have departed? Indeed, is (...) not the very act of breaking with, and then following upon, a way of retroactively constructing and fortifying that from which the break that set the movement of following into motion had occurred? The book explores the concept and movement of afterness as a privileged yet uncanny category through close readings of writers such as Kant, Kafka, Heidegger, Bloch, Benjamin, Brecht, Adorno, Arendt, Lyotard, and Derrida. It shows how the vexed concepts of afterness, following, and coming after shed new light on a constellation of modern preoccupations, including personal and cultural memory, translation, photography, hope, and the historical and conceptual specificity of what has been termed "after Auschwitz." The study's various analysesacross a heterogeneous collection of modern writers and thinkers, diverse historical moments of articulation, and a range of mediaconspire to illuminate Lyotard's apodictic statement that "after philosophy comes philosophy. But it has been altered by the 'after.'" As Richter's intricate study demonstrates, much hinges on our interpretation of the "after." After all, our most fundamental assumptions concerning modern aesthetic representation, conceptual discourse, community, subjectivity, and politics are at stake. (shrink)
The period that has begun after the last quarter of the 19th century brings an open conflict between the ‘histori- cal’ aspect of modernity and the ‘aesthetical’ one. The situation raises a question about the modern architectural shape’s dependency on architectonic function. Utility, production, profit become the keywords of the ideology; new social utopias and their reflection on the architecture- for-the masses projects emerge. This leads to the urban alienation of the modern man, in spite of the well-intended (...) architectural functionalism and mechanistic comfort, both of them ideologically uphold in order to ensure an easy livelihood for the proletariat. Thus, the late modernity is constrained to retrieve though eclecticism the very values that has denied itself, the mixing of codes that it ‘performs’ nowadays standing for a new ideology, one of “the ending of ideologies”. (shrink)
Written in the American tradition, American Modern: The Path Not Taken describes how four major American thinkers practiced philosophy non-reductively by incorporating the arts and other human activities. Tejera provides a detailed analysis of Peirce, Dewey, Santayana, and Buchler, showing that the importance they placed on the human can cure what is missing in recent philosophy. American Modern will interest philosophers, historians of philosophy, and scholars of American intellectual history.
Using theories by Pierre Bourdieu and the Frankfurt School that causally link art to class interests, this article examines the differential development of modern architecture in the United States and central Europe during the early 20th century. Modern architecture was the aesthetic expression of technocracy, a movement of the new class of professionals, managers and engineers to place itself at the center of rationalized capitalism. The aesthetic of modernism, which glorified technology and instrumental reason, was weak and undeveloped (...) in the US, because this class defined by its cultural capital was quickly integrated into modernizing corporations, where it was compelled to cater to the emerging mass market and drop its distinctive aesthetic. Modern architecture emerged mainly in interwar central Europe, because here industrial modernization was blocked, forcing the new class to pursue an alliance with state managers pushing modernization. Thus unencumbered by the demands of the mass market, modern architects were free to express their machine aesthetic in state-financed housing projects. (shrink)
Sport has become a significant part of the contemporary society culture. There has been developed a system of sciences dealing with sports. Philosophy figures prominently among them and it deals with aesthetic problems of sport. The problem of the aesthetic of sport is really of great importance as; first of all, it creates new fields of aesthetic activity and exerts aesthetic influence upon millions of people. Secondly, sports exert profound influence upon modern architecture, design, performing and fine arts, fashion (...) and lifestyle. Thirdly, sport has become one of important means of preservation and further development of traditions of national cultures and their aesthetic values. The development of sport is mainly determined by its aesthetic essence, therefore it is important to realize thespecific character of its content and avoid applying to it criteria of other kinds of aesthetic activity. The significance of the aesthetic aspect of sport is due to the fact that sport has contributed a lot to the development of human beings, their humanistic and aesthetic ideals, sensual image of a perfect man. The character of the contemporary society sport is complicated and controversial and therefore careful analysis of its content, of its structure and functions is necessary. (shrink)
This article examines the place of emotion in art and religion and the place of both in civilization. Art lies at the 'vanishing point of reason', at the point where reason gives way to emotion. This raises the question of how civilization addresses the non-rational, emotional, superstitious aspects of life. In particular, is modern civilization lacking in the vital warmth which can only come from the life of the emotions and which is essential to its continued existence and vitality? (...) Ending with a discussion of Collingwood's interpretation of T.S. Eliot's The Waste Land, it concludes by arguing that the role of aesthetic experience, together with religion and metaphysics, is of vital service to civilization through its role in overcoming the corruption of consciousness. (shrink)
The article considers some aspects of the problem of both individual and collective identity in the context of the development of different kinds of warfare in modern western society. The elucidation of these relations requires an unexpected application of aesthetic ideas; in particular the notion of the sublime. It is argued that the experience of combat is one possible ‘real’ form of the sublime. It is further suggested, paradoxically, that sublime combat cannot actually be experienced; it is an ‘inexperience’. (...) The historical significance of modern western war literature, thus, is just that it fills the ‘gap’ left by the destructive inexperience of combat and it allows those who endured it, as well as those who did not, to construct a ‘memory’ of the events themselves. (shrink)
First published in 1933. The purpose of this work was to bridge a gap in English philosophical literature by completing the elaborate history of Bosanquet and to stimulate and enrich the whole study of aesthetics by means of his personal destructive and constructive criticism. This title will be of interest to students of philosophy.
A clear and concise account of the relationship between aesthetics and philosophy in Europe during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and the development of aesthetics as a discipline in its own right.