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Philosophy and Esthetics. Is beauty in the eye of the beholder? Does art reflect the values of the artist? Can a life be a work of art?. Esthetics Defined. The Esthetic Experience. Descriptive What is it? Pragmatic Is it useful? Emotive Do I like it?. The Object of Esthetic Experience.

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philosophy and esthetics

Philosophy and Esthetics

Is beauty in the eye of the beholder?

Does art reflect the values of the artist?

Can a life be a work of art?

the esthetic experience
The Esthetic Experience
  • Descriptive
    • What is it?
  • Pragmatic
    • Is it useful?
  • Emotive
    • Do I like it?
the object of esthetic experience
The Object of Esthetic Experience
  • Can anything be within the esthetic domain?
  • Is there a line between ‘fine’ and ‘useful’ art?
  • Are there levels of art?
  • Are natural phenomena within the domain of art?
esthetic objects eternal forms
Esthetic Objects & Eternal Forms
  • Plato: the Form of the Good defines all appearances of the good in our experience.
  • All things as they are are subject to esthetic experience.
unified experience
Unified Experience
  • John Dewey: the daily interaction between the ‘live creature’ and ‘ethereal things.’
    • Objects that take on meaning in our actual experience possess the esthetic dimension.
feeling expressionism
Feeling (Expressionism)
  • Benedetto Croce: art is the expression of the artist’s emotion.
    • Art reflects the ‘intuitive’ state of mind of the creator.
    • It is the ‘spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings.’
    • Art is ‘symbolic’ of our feelings.
      • “Music is feeling, not sound.” (Stevens)
      • “Beauty is objectified pleasure.” (Santayana)
existential possiblities
Existential Possiblities
  • The art object is pure possibility.
  • Art is a presentation (not representation).
    • Art is real, not an image of the real.
three controversial issues
Three Controversial Issues
  • Subjectivism vs. Objectivism
    • Are esthetic judgments subjective, objective, or a combination of the two?
  • Art and Knowledge
    • What is the relation between art and epistemology?
  • Art and Morality
    • Should art serve a moral/ethical end?
  • Art objects possess no esthetic qualities—art is in the eye of the beholder.
  • Cultural values determine esthetic experience.
  • Historical conditions, and therefore esthetic judgments are always in flux.
  • Absolutists: The harmony of imagination and universal judgment prove that the esthetic realm is external to us.
  • Pragmatists: The fact that art objects produce esthetic responses proves that they themselves have esthetic quality.
  • Rationalists: Good art pleases everyone, which proves its objective truth.
art and knowledge
Art and Knowledge
  • Can art teach me something of value?
    • My intuitive experience with art teaches me without need of reason
art and morality
Art and Morality
  • Should art serve a social purpose?
  • Should art be a morality-producing enterprise?
  • Should art be subject to censorship?