How can we best understand our aesthetic appreciation of sky and space? This essay begins by outlining the nature of spatial experience through some examples. Then it examines how our responses can be shaped by art and myth. Here we see how themes, such as ascension, that were current in prehistory and developed religions, can be reappropriated as components of a justifiable aesthetic experience. However, the task of finding defensible aesthetic responses to space as both experience and abstract idea does (...) present paradoxes. For example, how are we to respond to scientific updates about the ever greater vastness of space? The way forward presented here is to endorse, but not with any sense of uniqueness of misplaced grandeur, our freedom to contemplate with due seriousness both the near and the far and our own capacities, such as imagination and love, as also part of the wonder and mystery of the universe. (shrink)
Aesthetic appreciation of landscape is by no means limited to the sensuous enjoyment of sights and sounds. It very often has a reflective, cognitive element as well. This sometimes incorporates scientific knowledge, e.g.,geological or ecological; but it can also manifest what this article will call 'metaphysical imagination', which sees or seems to see in a landscape some indication, some disclosure of how the world ultimately is. The article explores and critically appraises this concept of metaphysical imagination, and some of the (...) roles it can play in our aesthetic encounters. (shrink)
First published in 1966, The Discipline of the Cave is the first series of a course of Gifford lectures on philosophical issues.. J N Findlay’s lectures use the image of the Cave to show how familiarity is full of restrictions, and involves puzzles and discrepancies unable to be resolved or removed. Such philosophical perplexities may be a result of the misunderstanding and abuse of ordinary ways of thinking and speaking. They may also be a way of ‘drawing us towards being’, (...) providing proof of the absurdity of ordinary thought, speech and experience unless modified and added to in ways which may point beyond it. What may be called a mystical and otherworldly element may need to be introduced into or rendered explicit in all our experience in order to give a viable sense to the most commonplace human utterances and activities. (shrink)
This paper has a twofold structure: both parts concern philosophy's understanding of its data—in the area of aesthetics. The first part considers aesthetics as philosophy of art: the second part considers aesthetics as concerned also with the appreciation of nature.
In some recent theological writing, imagination is presented as a power of the mind with crucial importance for religion, but one whose role has often suffered neglect. Its fuller acknowledgment has become a live issue today. ‘Theologians’, wrote Professor J. P. Mackey, ‘have recently taken to symbol and metaphor, poetry and story, with an enthusiasm which contrasts very strikingly with their all-but-recent avoidance of such matters’ . As well as relevant writings by Eliade and Ricoeur, there have been treatments of (...) religious imagination by Professor John Mclntyre in his Faith, Theology and Imagination and in J. P. Mackey's composite volume entitled Religious Imagination. (shrink)