The Landscape of Humanity: Art, Culture and Society (St Andrews Studies in Philosophy and Public Affairs)

The Landscape of Humanity: Art, Culture and Society (St Andrews Studies in Philosophy and Public Affairs)

Anthony O'Hear

Language: English

Pages: 242

ISBN: 1845401123

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

The fourteen essays in this book develop a conception of human culture, which is humane and traditionalist. Focusing particularly on notions of beauty and the aesthetic, it sees within our culture intimations of the transcendent, and in two essays the nature of religion is directly addressed. A number of essays also explore the relation between politics and tradition.

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who have the financial resources to express their whims and dominate the market. This point was not lost on the curators of the 1989 Whitney Biennial who tell us that Capitalism has overtaken contemporary art, quantifying and reducing it to the status commodity. Ours is a system adrift in mortgaged goods and obsessed with accumulation, where the spectacle of art con- 40 The Landscape of Humanity sumption has been laid out in a public forum geared to journalistic hyperbole.17 Are these

is, I say, a key role in architecture for respect for the familiar and the fitting, a role forced on architects because of the way what they do impinges on everyone. Of course, to aim at the familiar, the fitting and the human requires on the part of the architect both a modesty before traditional architectural orders and a recognition of the validity of the practical knowledge which goes with them, neither of which can be found in either the grandiosity of the modernists or the supercilious

approach to life which is neither that of science, with its downgrading of appearance and unattainable thing in itself, nor that of morality with its stern and unfulfillable duties and the endless, apparently pointless suffering to which humanity is subject and demands. For in the experience of beauty we get a sense that, despite the problems of alienation thrown up in different ways by science and morality, we are nevertheless at home in the world. By ‘at home’, I mean that the world is not just

would be encouraged to press for more democracy in their own countries. Critics who expressed doubts about any of this were accused of treating the people of the Middle East in a patronising way, implying that they were not able to do what we in the West have managed for some time. I certainly do not want to appear patronising, nor indeed do I want to reject the idea that democracy conceived in a particular way to be defined in the course of this chapter may ultimately be the best form of

difficulties and the moral defects of collectivism. As time went on, no doubt these ideas entered the intellectual body politic (though to what extent they have been fully absorbed is a question to which we will return). But in the 1940s their enunciation and development was bold intellectually and morally, the more so as they did not depend on any standpoint more contentious than that of a secular liberalism. The Road to Serfdom appeared in 1944 and The Open Society and Its Enemies in 1945.1

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