Aesthetics: The Key Thinkers
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Aesthetics: The Key Thinkers offers a comprehensive historical overview of the field of aesthetics. Eighteen specially commissioned essays introduce and explore the contributions of those philosophers who have shaped the subject, from its origins in the work of the ancient Greeks to contemporary developments in the 21st Century.
The book reconstructs the history of aesthetics, clearly illustrating the most important attempts to address such crucial issues as the nature of aesthetic judgment, the status of art, and the place of the arts within society. Ideal for undergraduate students, the book lays the necessary foundations for a complete and thorough understanding of this fascinating subject.
meaning, and that truth and knowledge need not be found only in literal descriptions of the world. Hence, aesthetics has become a privileged place for investigations of the conveyance of meaning and truth by means of metaphor, fiction, or expression, brought about by both linguistic and nonlinguistic means. Further, like analytic philosophy in general, analytic aesthetics has become eclectic, open to the ideas and methods of other disciplines and programs, especially scientific ones: psychology
central works as addressing an important problem of human life in an especially successful way, then how, if at all, can we speak of works of art as members of a clear and identifiable kind? Perhaps the word “art” is nothing more than an honorific term that is empty of descriptive content. Though he addresses these central questions about the nature and value of modern fine art, or free art, Hegel’s approach to them is strikingly different from that of many modern philosophers of art. To begin
deep intellectual connection. This notion is borne out not only by their extensive correspondence, which continued until Benjamin’s death, but also by such empirical data as the fact that Adorno taught the first university seminar on Benjamin as early as the 1930s and that he, in his 1933 book Kierkegaard: Constructions of the Aesthetic, relies heavily on Benjamin’s complex and far-reaching notion of allegory as the latter had developed it in his 1928 Origin of the German Mourning Play. The
content of an encounter with the aesthetic is neither its transmission of this or that content, nor its revelation of a communicable message. Rather, the aesthetic remains to be understood in terms of the specific and formal ways in which it resists appropriation and instrumentalization. We thus encounter the aesthetic, particularly in the domain of writing, in a series of hieroglyphs that demand to be read but that also refuse to yield their full meaning. Pointing to the ways in which “the
need a more nuanced account of projection than the one he proposed, in The Thread of Life, for moral value, where what is projected is “archaic bliss,” “love satisfied.” Wollheim’s work on aesthetics was not confined to general or analytic aesthetics but encompassed what he termed substantive aesthetics. His contribution to substantive or applied aesthetics is dominated by the massive work that is perhaps his masterpiece, devoted to what was his favorite art, Painting as an Art (1987). It