White on White/Black on Black is a unique contribution to the philosophy of race. The text explores how 14 philosophers, 7 white and 7 black, philosophically understand the dynamics of the process of racialization.
Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, but it's also in the language we use and everywhere in the world around us. In this elegant, witty, and ultimately profound meditation on what is beautiful, Crispin Sartwell begins with six words from six different cultures - ancient Greek's 'to kalon', the Japanese idea of 'wabi-sabi', Hebrew's 'yapha', the Navajo concept 'hozho', Sanskrit 'sundara', and our own English-language 'beauty'. Each word becomes a door onto another way of thinking about, and (...) looking at, what is beautiful in the world, and in our lives. In Sartwell's hands these six names of beauty - and there could be thousands more - are revealed as simple and profound ideas about our world and our selves. (shrink)
Leni Riefenstahl meets Charlie Chaplin : aesthetics of the Third Reich -- Artphilosophical themes -- Dead Kennedys and Black Flags : artpolitics of punk -- Prehistory of political aesthetics -- Red, gold, black, and green : black nationalist aesthetics -- Arthistorical themes -- Political power and transcendental geometry : Republican classicism in early America.
Perhaps we should entertain the idea that aesthetic properties are no less (but no more) objective than properties like weight or shape. Indeed, the weight and shape of something are themselves aesthetic properties of that thing. And we might speculate or (what the heck) assert that aesthetic properties are no more (but no less) socially constructed than size or material composition, for example. Indeed the size and material composition of something are aesthetic properties of it. We might, that is, live (...) in an aesthetic universe, live embedded in an aesthetic reality. Then, for example, to give a full description of any thing or phenomenon, we would have to resort to aesthetic categories: perhaps there is no natural science, for example, without aesthetics, and vice versa. On a good day, the universe might really, actually, truly be beautiful. (shrink)
First philosophy: reality, truth, and knowledge -- The universe in brief -- Ontology -- Theory of truth -- Epistemology -- Axiology: goodness, beauty, and liberty -- Values as situations -- Ethics -- Aesthetics -- Political philosophy.
Passionate and rollicking personal and intellectual essays by philosopher Crispin Sartwell. Philosopher, music critic, and syndicated columnist Crispin Sartwell has forged a distinctive and fiercely original identity over the years as a cultural commentator. In books about anarchism, art and politics, Native American and African American thought and culture, Eastern spirituality, and American transcendentalism, Sartwell has relentlessly insisted on an ethos rooted in unadorned honesty with oneself and a healthy skepticism of others. This volume of selected popular writings combines music (...) and art criticism with personal memoir about addiction and rebellion, as well as cultural commentary on race, sexuality, cynicism, and the meaning of life. Crispin Sartwell deserves to be recognized as the heir to a distinctively American intellectual legacy. Like the American cynics he lovesTwain, Bierce, Menckenhe is fiercely individualistic, deeply antiauthoritarian, and slavishly aligned with no creed or academic discipline. He uses his significant erudition not to escape the ordinary or himself, but rather to let loose richesof insight, suffering, and beautythrough a relentless examination of life, culture, and reality. Sartwell is also, in my opinion, the best philosophical prose stylist of his generation. His writingcrystalline, vivid, and intoxicatingis an uncontrollable substance. And though Sartwell swaggers, provokes, and sometimes infuriates, he does so with a tacit humility and self-scrutiny, which empowers readers to follow his example and convert their own rage into beauty. Elizabeth Walden, Bryant University Crispin Sartwell is the most important philosophical voice of his generation. He has risen into the public consciousness in the last two decades due to his controversial views on social, political, and cultural subjects. Through television appearances, journalism, and blogging, along with his numerous scholarly books, he has made a reputation as a thinker of serious thoughts. Yet, there is a lightness to his world that is irreverent, fun, and entertaining. These essays reflect some of his best writing from the past fifteen years. They are highly readable, but they are also profound reflections on the subjects that will draw many of us into deeper ponderings about the meaning of life, or, more to the point, the meaning of our lives. Randall Auxier, author of Time, Will, and Purpose: Living Ideas from the Philosophy of Josiah Royce. (shrink)
In seeking insight into the intellectual underpinnings of the current “second culture war” and the emphasis on the campus left on speech repression, this chapter turns back to the first culture war of the late 1980s and early 1990s. In particular, it considers the linguistic constructivism put forward by figures such as Richard Rorty, Hans-Georg Gadamer, and Nelson Goodman at the height of postmodernism. This philosophy attributes great power to words, even regarding language as the material out of which reality (...) is built, and it has become almost common coin, especially in various humanities departments. It motivates the control of expression, but that control is only as legitimate as the metaphysics underlying it—the views about truth, reality, and representation—is plausible. Perhaps the turn in philosophy toward realist metaphysics, among other developments, provides a ray of hope in the politically unanimous academy. (shrink)
Preview: /Commentary: Richard Shusterman, Ars Erotica: Sex and Somaesthetics in the Classical Arts of Love, 436 pages./ Richard Shusterman’s work is remarkable, among other things, for extending the range and power of the discipline of aesthetics, conceived by him as fundamental to many dimensions of human experience. Indeed, he has driven aesthetics into entirely new ranges of phenomena and strategies for research, and also perhaps returned to an ancient sense of the centrality of aesthetic concepts such as beauty to virtually (...) every human endeavor. In many ways, I think, Shusterman is fulfilling John Dewey’s vision as expressed in Art as Experience, as well as spelling out in detail the implications of his own early book Pragmatist Aesthetics, exploring the aesthetic dimensions of all sorts of human activities. Schusterman’s somaesthetics, however, takes what we might call the aesthetics, or ordinary experience, and centers it on the body in a way that Dewey could not have foreseen. The book might have been titled The Aesthetics of Sex, and as soon as he broaches the topic it strikes one that this subject has been remarkably neglected within philosophical aesthetics, or even in Western philosophy as a whole. Considered as dimensions or arenas of human experience, the aesthetic and the erotic, as Shusterman shows in replete multi-cultural detail, are bound up entirely and from the origins in many or even all cultures. (shrink)