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.
Abstract The first several chapters of the Bhagavad Git? set themselves a daunting task: to explain how a life of action can be rendered compatible with a life of renunciation of desire. The situation, in fact, is designed to raise the issue in an excruciatingly intense form. As Krsna and Arjuna pause on the verge of the great battle, Arjuna asks how killing people?including his own teachers and members of his own family?in order to secure power and fame, can be (...) squared with his religious and ethical convictions. This paper is an attempt to explicate Krsna's solution of the paradox, not from the point of view of Hindu tradition (in which it has, of course, driven whole movements of thought), but simply as a philosophical problem in its own right. I will argue that the paradox of the Git? suggests a reconstrual of the way we conceive the relation of means and ends in our activities, a reconstrual that can be profitably elucidated through the concept of art. And I will argue that this reconstrual has the potential to change our relations to our world and to one another in a way that is deeply life?affirming. (shrink)
If Joan of Arc were to be reincarnated as an American atheist, she'd be Voltairine de Cleyre. De Cleyre is an almost forgotten figure, but she committed her life to a vision of human liberation, a vision which encompassed even the man who tried to kill her. She was an incandescent writer and an original thinker, though she also lived much of her life in despair to the point of suicide.
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)