File Name: philosophy of art and aesthetics .zip
- Philosophy of the Arts: an introduction to aesthetics 3rd edition
- The Concept of the Aesthetic
- Philosophy of art
Christopher S. Most users should sign in with their email address.
It examines subjective and sensori-emotional values , or sometimes called judgments of sentiment and taste. Aesthetics covers both natural and artificial sources of aesthetic experience and judgment. It considers what happens in our minds when we engage with aesthetic objects or environments such as in viewing visual art, listening to music, reading poetry, experiencing a play, exploring nature, and so on. The philosophy of art specifically studies how artists imagine, create, and perform works of art, as well as how people use, enjoy, and criticize their art.
Philosophy of the Arts: an introduction to aesthetics 3rd edition
This article focuses on the domain of aesthetics and various problems and issues associated with aesthetics. Aesthetics is the branch of philosophy devoted to conceptual and theoretical inquiry into art and aesthetic experience.
This article offers first an outline of the structure of philosophical aesthetics as a whole, and then a selective sketch of the development of Anglo-American aesthetics over the past fifty years, focusing on five central topics: the concept of the aesthetic, the definition of art, the ontology of art, representation in art, and expression in art.
The three foci of aesthetics are labeled as art, aesthetic property , and aesthetic experience. Keywords: aesthetics , aesthetic experience , ontology of art , representation in art , aesthetic property , theoretical inquiry. In this chapter I offer first an outline of the structure of philosophical aesthetics as a whole, and then a selective sketch of the development of Anglo-American aesthetics over the past fifty years, focusing on five central topics: the concept of the aesthetic, the definition of art, the ontology of art, representation in art, and expression in art.
These topics are, of course, also addressed at greater length in corresponding chapters elsewhere in this volume. One may usefully think of the field of philosophical aesthetics as having three foci, through each of which it might be adequately conceived. One focus involves a certain kind of practice or activity or object —the practice of art, or the activities of making and appreciating art, or those manifold objects that are works of art.
A second focus involves a certain kind of property, feature , or aspect of things—namely, one that is aesthetic , such as beauty or grace or dynamism. And a third focus involves a certain kind of attitude, perception , or experience —one that, once again, could be labelled aesthetic. Not surprisingly, there are intimate relations among these three conceptions. For example, art might be conceived as a practice in which persons aim to make objects that possess valuable aesthetic properties, or that are apt to give subjects valuable aesthetic experiences.
Or aesthetic properties might be conceived as those prominently possessed by works of art, or those on which aesthetic experience is centrally directed. Or aesthetic experience might be conceived as the sort of experience that figures centrally in the appreciation of works of art or the aesthetic properties of things, whether natural or man-made.
In any event, the three conceptions can claim to be naturally related in that art, in its creative and receptive dimensions, plausibly provides the richest and most varied arena for the manifesting of aesthetic properties and the having of aesthetic experiences. There is also no denying that contemporary analytic aesthetics is in very large measure the philosophy of art, even if the analysis of aesthetic phenomena outside of or apart from art is by no means neglected.
What might seem to be major concerns of aesthetics that do not immediately fall under one or another of the three conceptions are, first, the aesthetics of nature; second, the theory of criticism; and third, the nature of craft. But on closer inspection, the first of these can be seen to fall comfortably under the second or third conception noted above, and the second and third of these, under the first conception noted above. The aesthetics of nature can be understood to concern itself either with certain distinctive properties of natural phenomena that can be classified as aesthetic, e.
The theory of criticism can be understood as a study of part of the practice of art: that part concerned with the reception of artworks, including their description, interpretation, and evaluation. And craft can be readily conceived as art-related or quasi-artistic activity. Let us now return to the three foci indicated above, which we may simply label art, aesthetic property , and aesthetic experience.
Although, as we have seen, these foci can be put into relation with one another and interdefined in various ways, without some independent anchoring of each it is not clear that more than relative illumination of the aesthetic sphere has been achieved.
It is useful at this point to sketch some traditional and current conceptions of the basic content of those three foci. What, in short, is art, or counts as an aesthetic feature, or constitutes an aesthetic experience? One conception of art sees it as specially concerned with perceptible form , with the exploration and contemplation of such form for its own sake. This view has roots in the work of the eighteenth-century German philosopher Immanuel Kant, who thought that the beauty of objects, artworks and natural phenomena alike, consisted in their ability to stimulate the free play of the cognitive faculties in virtue of their pure forms, both spatial and temporal, and without the mediation of concepts.
Another conception of art of long standing sees it as essentially a vehicle of expression or of communication , especially of states of mind or non-propositional contents. The early twentieth-century Italian philosopher Benedetto Croce located the essence of art in the expression of emotion, underlining the indissociability, amounting even to identity, of content and vehicle in such cases. The English philosopher R. Collingwood developed this line further, stressing the way in which the making of works of art was at the same time a way for the artist to articulate or make clear the exact nature of his or her emotional condition.
The Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy advanced a view of art that identified it with emotional communication from one person to another by indirect means, that is, a structure of signs in an external medium. A third conception of art sees it as tied to the mimesis, imitation , or representation of the external world, perhaps in distinctive ways or by distinctive means. This conception of art has very deep roots, and can be located, though with some anachronism, in the earliest works in the canon of aesthetics, the Republic of Plato and the Poetics of Aristotle.
The view, modified so as to allow for representation of matters beyond the visible, finds expression in the aesthetic theories of Lessing, Hegel, and Schopenhauer, among later thinkers. Some more recent conceptions of art view it as the production of objects intended or designed to afford aesthetic experience Beardsley ; as the investing of objects with aboutness or meaning in the context of a specific cultural p.
Aesthetics conceived as the study of aesthetic properties evidently requires some conception of when a property is an aesthetic one. It is widely agreed that aesthetic properties are perceptual or observable properties, directly experienced properties, and properties relevant to the aesthetic value of the objects that possess them; but beyond that the demarcation of the class of aesthetic properties is subject to dispute.
Some of the hallmarks of aesthetic property status that have been proposed are: having gestalt character; requiring taste for discernment; having an evaluative aspect; affording pleasure or displeasure in mere contemplation; being non-conditiongoverned; being emergent on lower-level perceptual properties; requiring imagination for attribution; requiring metaphorical thought for attribution; being notably a focus of aesthetic experience; being notably present in works of art.
In the last two cases, obviously, the demarcation of aesthetic property is thrown back on that of either aesthetic experience or art. Despite debate over the status of the above marks, there is substantial convergence in intuitions as to what perceivable properties of things are aesthetic, as this open-ended list suggests—beauty, ugliness, sublimity, grace, elegance, delicacy, harmony, balance, unity, power, drive, elan, ebullience, wittiness, vehemence, garishness, gaudiness, acerbity, anguish, sadness, tranquillity, cheerfulness, crudity, serenity, wiriness, comicality, flamboyance, languor, melancholy, sentimentality—bearing in mind, of course, that many of the properties on this list are aesthetic properties only when the terms designating them are understood figuratively.
Aesthetics conceived as the study of certain distinctive experiences or states of mind, whether attitudes, perceptions, emotions, or acts of attention, similarly requires some conception of when a state of mind or mental activity is an aesthetic one.
Among the marks that have been proposed as distinguishing aesthetic states of mind from others are: disinterestedness, or detachment from desires, needs and practical concerns; non-instrumentality, or being undertaken or sustained for their own sake; contemplative or absorbed character, with consequent effacement of the subject; focus on an object's form; focus on the relation between an object's form p. Once again, in the last two cases the demarcation of aesthetic experience is thrown back on that of either aesthetic property or art.
Whether these criteria, either individually or in some combination, manage adequately to mark out the boundaries of aesthetic experience as a distinctive state of mind remains a matter of ongoing controversy. For scepticism, see Carroll As is evident from the preceding, among the problems of aesthetics are the interrelated characterizations of the nature of art, the nature of aesthetic properties, and the nature of aesthetic experience.
But those broad problems radiate out into many more specific ones, including those making essential reference to particular artforms or aesthetic phenomena. From a concern with the definition of art as such, one moves naturally to a concern with the ontology of art, with the process of artistic creation, with the demands of artistic appreciation, with the concept of form in art, with the role of media in art, with the analysis of representation and expression in art, with the nature of artistic style, with the matter of authenticity in art, and with the principles of artistic interpretation and evaluation.
It is unsurprising, in light of most of these concerns, that the philosophy of art is sometimes conceived of as metacriticism , or the theory of art criticism Beardsley It is necessary to at least touch on some of the problems falling under the concerns just enumerated. The ontology of art centres on the question of exactly what sort of object a work of art is, and how this might vary from artform to artform. Issues about artistic form include those having to do with the defensibilty of formalism as a theory of art, about the different kinds of form manifested in different artforms, and about the relation of form to content and of form to medium see Kivy ; Budd ; Carroll Among the modes of meaning that artworks exhibit, the most important are representation and expression.
Theorists have offered accounts of p. Theorists have offered accounts of artistic expression, usually with special attention to the expression of emotion, in terms of personal expression by the artist, induced empathy with the artist, metaphorical exemplification Goodman , correspondence Wollheim , evocation Matravers , imaginative projection Scruton , expressive appearance Kivy ; Davies , and imagined personal expression Levinson b.
Concerning artistic style, attention has focused on the distinction between individual and period style, on the psychological reality of style, on the interplay between style and representational objective, and on the role that cognizance of style plays in aesthetic appreciation Gombrich ; Wollheim ; Lang Concerning the interpretation of art, attention has focused on the relevance of artists' intentions, on the diversity of interpretive aims, on the debate between critical monism and critical pluralism, on the similarities and differences between critical and performative interpretation, and on the relationship between interpretation and the maximizing of value Currie ; Davies ; Budd ; Goldman ; Levinson d , Stecker In addition to the foregoing, there are problems revolving around a number of concepts relevant to the understanding of many if not all works of art, and which cut across artforms—concepts such as those of intention, fiction, metaphor, narrative, tragedy, genius , and performance.
Next, there are a set of issues that concern the relationships between art and other domains or aspects of human life. Probably the most important are those that can be encapsulated under the rubrics art and emotion, art and knowledge, art and morality , and art and politics.
For example, there is the issue of how we can sensibly have emotions for characters whom we know to be fictional; the issue of whether art can be a vehicle of knowledge and of what kind; the issue of whether art can contribute to moral education; and the issue of whether art is rightly subject to censorship or other forms of societal control.
There are, of course, also problems specific to individual artforms, such as painting, poetry, or photography. For example, there are the issues of whether film is an inherently realistic medium; of whether poetry can be usefully paraphrased; of p.
A concern with the nature of aesthetic properties leads naturally to concerns with realism about such properties, with the supervenience relation between aesthetic properties and the properties on which they appear to depend, with the range of aesthetic properties to be found in the natural world, with the special status of beauty among aesthetic properties, with the difference between the beautiful and the sublime , with the degree of subjectivity or objectivity of judgements of beauty, with the relations between artistic beauty, natural beauty , and human beauty , and with the relationship between the aesthetic properties of artworks and what may be called their artistic properties, e.
Finally, a concern with the nature of aesthetic experience opens up into discussions of the nature of various mental states —e. The British eighteenth-century taste theorists, notably Shaftesbury, Hutcheson, and Burke, helped to shape this more specific meaning by emphasizing a mode of sensory perception not centrally driven by personal desires or concerns, and characterized by an absorption in the object for its own sake.
This line of thinking culminated in the Kantian conception of aesthetic perception as disinterested perception, or perception of something without regard for its real existence or connection to one's interests, but just for the appearances it affords, and the Schopenhauerian conception of aesthetic perception as objective perception, or perception of something in abstraction from its relation to one's will, and thus merely for the type it instantiates.
Two twentieth-century conceptions in the same vein are Edward Bullough's account of aesthetic perception as involving p. The idea of the aesthetic as marking a distinctively disinterested, objective, distanced, and form-focused manner of perceiving still has currency, but it has detractors as well, including some who are wary of the element of disinterestedness on political grounds, and some who are sceptical of there being any such distinctive manner of perceiving at all.
Discussion of the idea of the aesthetic in analytic aesthetics begins with Urmson While denying that there were any specially aesthetic properties or emotions, Urmson proposed that an evaluation could be considered aesthetic if based primarily on how an object looks or sounds or presents itself to the senses, rather than on how it is actually is, a conception of the aesthetic that does not significantly depart from the Kantian idea of aesthetic judgement as concerned exclusively with appearances.
Also in a Kantian vein is the proposal of Stolnitz , that aesthetic attention be understood as attention that is disinterested, discriminating, sympathetic, and intransitive—that is, not aiming beyond the object but instead terminating on it. The key notion in attempts to theorize the aesthetic by Beardsley, beginning in and continuing into the s, is that of aesthetic experience.
Beardsley characterizes such experience as involving firmly fixed attention, relative freedom from outside concerns, affect without practical import, exercise of powers of discovery, and integration of the self. Such experiences have value in virtue of sharing the unity, intensity, and complexity of the objects—notably artworks—on which they are directed, and such objects have aesthetic value precisely in so far as they have the potential to afford such experiences.
Dickie , represent powerful attacks on traditional conceptions of the aesthetic attitude and aesthetic experience such as those that Stolnitz, Beardsley, and others had proposed. In particular, Dickie tries to show that the putative differentiae of aesthetic perception, such as disinterestedness and distancing, concern only the motivation and not the nature of the perception involved, and that the differences between one case of perception and another can be accounted for entirely in terms of objects and degrees of attention.
Dickie charges that Beardsley's suggestion according to which valuable features of perceptual objects, such as unity, intensity, and p. The debate between Beardsley and Dickie is pursued in Beardsley , Dickie , and Beardsley Despite Dickie's attacks, accounts of what is distinctive about the aesthetic attitude and aesthetic experience continued to be elaborated, often with an emphasis on cognitive elements therein. For instance, Scruton insists that aesthetic experience is necessarily permeated by imaginative thought, that such experience always involves conceptions of objects or their features under certain descriptions.
An object not consciously conceived in one fashion or another cannot, for Scruton, be an object in which one is finding aesthetic, as opposed to merely sensual, satisfaction. And Levinson c proposes an account of aesthetic pleasure in which the cognitive is similarly central: pleasure in an object is aesthetic, says Levinson, when it is grounded in a perception of and reflection on the object's individual character and content, both for themselves and in relation to the structural base on which they rest.
In that light, the core of specifically aesthetic appreciation of an object, whether the product of art or nature, might be said to be a focus on the relation between its perceivable form and its resultant character and content. For recent turns in the debate over distinctive aesthetic states of mind, see Carroll and Goldman Analytic philosophers have also tried to elucidate the concept of the aesthetic by focusing on what counts as an aesthetic property , sometimes going on to explicate other uses of aesthetic in relation to that, for example construing aesthetic perception or experience precisely as perception or experience of aesthetic properties.
In Sibley's view, the distinctive feature of aesthetic concepts is their non-condition-governedness , or non-rule-governedness: that an aesthetic term is true of some object cannot be justifiably inferred from any description of the object in non-aesthetic terms.
The non-condition-governedness of aesthetic concepts does not, however, prevent aesthetic properties from being dependent on and determined by non-aesthetic properties; the relation between those sets of properties, however, remains broadly causal rather than conceptual. Sibley also claimed that a special capacity— taste —was required to perceive aesthetic properties, and so to apply aesthetic concepts correctly. Sibley's analysis was challenged by Cohen , which questioned whether any principled distinction could even be drawn between aesthetic and non-aesthetic properties, and by Kivy , which attempted to show that at least some aesthetic concepts were indeed condition-governed.
Many writers, even those who acknowledge aesthetic properties as a distinct class and non-condition-governedness and supervenience as marks p.
The problem of the demarcation of aesthetic properties from non-aesthetic properties, exacerbated by Cohen's critique, has generated a fair amount of discussion. It is widely agreed that aesthetic properties are perceptual properties, dependent on lower-level perceptual properties, directly experienced rather than inferred, and linked in some way to the aesthetic value of the objects possessing them.
In addition, most would follow Sibley in finding aesthetic properties to be non-conditiongoverned. But beyond that, matters are open to dispute.
Some of the further marks of aesthetic property status that have been proposed are: having regional character Beardsley ; being value-tending or value-contributing Beardsley ; being implicitly evaluative Goldman ; being evaluatively relevant Levinson b ; being the subject of terminal attributions Kivy ; and requiring imaginative or metaphorical thought for their attribution Scruton ; Gaut Despite debate over these marks, there is substantial intuitive convergence as to what perceivable properties of things are aesthetic, as noted earlier.
The Concept of the Aesthetic
Skip to search form Skip to main content You are currently offline. Some features of the site may not work correctly. DOI: Sheppard Published Art. This book provides an accessible introduction to aesthetics, especially in relation to literature, and is particularly useful for readers new to literary theory and contemporary philosophy. Anne Sheppard discusses what it is that all works of art have in common - what gives them their value as art - and asks, wisely, whether there can ever be one correct interpretation of a work of art.
For the most part, aesthetic theories have divided over questions particular to one or another of these designations: whether artworks are necessarily aesthetic objects; how to square the allegedly perceptual basis of aesthetic judgments with the fact that we give reasons in support of them; how best to capture the elusive contrast between an aesthetic attitude and a practical one; whether to define aesthetic experience according to its phenomenological or representational content; how best to understand the relation between aesthetic value and aesthetic experience. The skepticism expressed by such general questions did not begin to take hold until the later part of the 20th century, and this fact prompts the question whether a the concept of the aesthetic is inherently problematic and it is only recently that we have managed to see that it is, or b the concept is fine and it is only recently that we have become muddled enough to imagine otherwise. Adjudicating between these possibilities requires a vantage from which to take in both early and late theorizing on aesthetic matters. The concept of the aesthetic descends from the concept of taste. Why the concept of taste commanded so much philosophical attention during the 18th century is a complicated matter, but this much is clear: the eighteenth-century theory of taste emerged, in part, as a corrective to the rise of rationalism, particularly as applied to beauty, and to the rise of egoism, particularly as applied to virtue.
This article focuses on the domain of aesthetics and various problems and issues associated with aesthetics. Aesthetics is the branch of philosophy devoted to conceptual and theoretical inquiry into art and aesthetic experience. This article offers first an outline of the structure of philosophical aesthetics as a whole, and then a selective sketch of the development of Anglo-American aesthetics over the past fifty years, focusing on five central topics: the concept of the aesthetic, the definition of art, the ontology of art, representation in art, and expression in art. The three foci of aesthetics are labeled as art, aesthetic property , and aesthetic experience. Keywords: aesthetics , aesthetic experience , ontology of art , representation in art , aesthetic property , theoretical inquiry.
philosophy of art and everyday aesthetics. Knut Ove Eliassen's “Quality de/wp-content/uploads/ /09/Fricke_und_uicheritagegarden.org Fricke, Christel. /9.
Philosophy of art
Philosophy of art , the study of the nature of art, including concepts such as interpretation, representation and expression, and form. It is closely related to aesthetics , the philosophical study of beauty and taste. The philosophy of art is distinguished from art criticism , which is concerned with the analysis and evaluation of particular works of art. It may be primarily analytical , as when a certain passage of poetry is separated into its elements and its meaning or import explained in relation to other passages and other poems in the tradition.
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