Mikkonen’s new book and his emphasis on understanding should be regarded as an important contribution to the contemporary debate on the cognitive value of literary narratives. As I shall argue, his notion of understanding can also help explain how literature is existentially valuable. In so doing, his account can support a radicalized contemporary neo-cognitivism according to which literature can affect us existentially and lead to a personal transformation. -/- The question about whether literature conveys knowledge h.
Over the last century, performance art has troubled the worlds of art and of philosophical aesthetics, unleashing modes of creativity and criticality that spill outside the customary boundaries of either. One of these modes is that of political activism. Performance art is genetically related to activism due to the shared historical contexts their respective waves have emerged from and responded to. In my article, I make the claim that the relationship between performance art and activism also has much to do (...) with certain significant structural and methodological overlaps between the two. I explore these overlaps against the backdrop of extant philosophical scholarship on performativity, a selection of art historical examples, and a critique of the charge of “performative activism” that has become popular in the last decade. I see the tension between the figurative meaning of the phrase “performative activism” and its literal application to politically charged performance art as a space of philosophical opportunity. A better understanding of performance art and its political import can not only help clear up laypeople’s misconceptions of performativity, but it can also strengthen philosophy’s own position on the subject. (shrink)
In this chapterI discuss beauty and youth in Balinese dance, with special reference to Legong. Legong is the "classic" Balinese dance genre for females and is represented by Balinese to the world as the quintessence of grace, charm, and beauty in their performing arts. . . . Apparently, the notion of beauty that is invoked here is not straightforwardly equivalent to the heterosexual male norms for female sexual attractiveness, which may favor younger women but don't require them to be under (...) twenty. What then is the connection between beauty and youth in Balinese legong? (shrink)
For the generation of feminists who emerged in the 1960s and 1970s, female beauty was suspect, for it simply pandered to male desire. And for the modernist artists of that period, beauty in art had long since been banished. but for Armitage's generation, already empowered by the political gains of feminism on the one hand, and engaged in a postmodernist challenge to the values of artistic modernism on the other, beauty in art and in the female body could once again (...) be appreciated. If Armitage was drawn, as a child, to the beauty and glamour of ballet, her own interventions into the history of the art form have given that beauty a new, more complex face. Her unabashed love of ballet's beauty (especially its female beauty) and its erotic display, combined with her intelligent interrogation of the grounds for that beauty, her historical references, and her witty irreverence, wickedly and triumphantly reclaim the art form for our post-feminist times. (shrink)
Editor's note: Adrian Piper is a conceptual artist whose work from the past twenty-five years has included performances, graphic art, and installation pieces. Always provocative, Piper seeks to challenge viewers' assumptions about the nature of art, aesthetic response, and modes of evaluating by creating art that involves issues of gender and race. Piper uses political art to confront viewers with emotionally charged environments that preclude our maintaining a safe, aesthetically distanced stance toward the subject matter. being forced to confront our (...) own prejudices, both emotionally and aesthetic ally, we undergo a process of change that is both cognitive (evidenced by how our interpretations of the work change and evolve) and affective (resulting in a higher level of social awareness and sensitivity). Thus, according to Piper, political art has "the potential for furnishing a forceful antidote to racism." The following two statements consist of text written by Piper and recorded on audiotapes for two installation pieces, "Four Intruders Plus Alarm Systems" (1980) and "Safe" (1990). (shrink)
What kind of entities are works of art from an ontological point of view? This question has become canonical in the framework of analytic philosophy. One way of answering the puzzle seemed to be conclusive. It is the hypothesis that all, or the majority of artworks can be identified with types embedded into tokens. To begin with, I will survey how the type-token distinction transitioned from semiotics to ontology. Secondly, I will consider how some contemporary art forms contributed to questioning (...) this approach to the ontology of artworks. Lastly, I will suggest how the nature of types and tokens should be reassessed in order to properly describe artworks in their historical and socially construed nature. (shrink)
Aesthetics: 50 Puzzles, Paradoxes, and Thought Experiments is a teaching-focused resource, which highlights the contributions that imaginative scenarios—paradoxes, puzzles, and thought experiments alike—have made to the development of contemporary analytic aesthetics. The book is divided into sections pertaining to art-making, ontology, aesthetic judgements, appreciation and interpretation, and ethics and value, and offers an accessible summary of ten debates falling under each section. -/- Each entry also features a detailed annotated bibliography, making it an ideal companion for courses surveying a broad (...) collection of topics and readings in aesthetics. (shrink)
The topic of this article is the relationship of street art to both the street and the artworld. I take it as significant that philosophers have turned their attention to “street art” and not, say, “urban outdoor art” or “site-specific art in urban settings.” The “street” in street art seems to imply more than a location or geographic modifier. I consider the further significance of the “street” in street art, and the view, argued or assumed, of the street when philosophers (...) discuss street art. My second target in this article is what I have called the “discontinuity thesis.” This is the idea, defended or assumed in some of the most important philosophical writing about street art, that street art represents a radical break with the artworld and is “antithetical” to it. I argue that the discontinuity thesis is mistaken, and that to understand the larger institutional context of street art we must examine the sociology of artworlds. Street art has followed a familiar process and pioneering street artists are best seen as “mavericks” in Howard Becker’s sense. I argue that seeing street artists in this way can help better understand and appreciate their work. (shrink)
Dare una definizione univoca al concetto di “popolo” risulta impresa ardua e problematica, perché si tratta di un soggetto mobile, la cui definizione cambia nel corso della storia ed in relazione al punto di vista delle varie culture.
at seek to identify the necessary and sufficient conditions for a work to count as fiction. She argues that this goal cannot really be achieved; instead, she appeals to the notion of genre to distinguish between fiction and nonfiction. This notion is significantly more flex- ible, since it invites us to identify standard—but not necessary—and counter-standard features of works of fiction in light of our classificatory practices. More specifically, Friend argues that the genre of fiction has the genre of nonfiction—and (...) only that genre—as its con- trast class. I will refer to the particular way in which Friend elaborates this claim as the contrast view. I have, nevertheless, the impression that this view unnecessarily narrows down the array of perspectives and attitudes from which we can approach works of fiction. I will thus develop a line of reasoning to the effect that the contrast view should rather be construed as picking out a particular way of relating to works of fiction that lies at the end of a continuum defined by different degrees of reflectivity and estrangement. This implies that the contrast view is false as a general claim about how we experience works of fiction, even though this view may appropriately de- pict a specific way of approaching such works. (shrink)
In this paper, Douglas Hofstadter’s view of the self as a “strange loop” is used in order to understand how several acting techniques work. As examples of acting techniques I will use the work of Lee Strasberg, Constantin Stanislavski, Stella Adler and Sanford Meisner. I will argue that Douglas Hofstadter’s view of the self as a strange loop allows us to understand how acting works. I will furthermore argue that because Douglas Hofstadter’s view is successful in explaining how different acting (...) techniques work, that is a good indication of its adequacy as a theory of the self. (shrink)
This is my reply to commentators in the symposium on my book, GAMES: AGENCY AS ART. The symposium features commentary by Thomas Hurka, Quill Kukla, and Alva Noe, and originally appeared in Analysis 81 (2).
Mae Smethurst’s work has largely aimed to articulate nō theater in Western terms from their early roots, primarily through Aristotle’s On Tragedy. Her detailed examination of the shared structure of the content of these independent and superficially dissimilar arts reveals their mutual intelligibility and effectiveness through shared underlying universals. In this spirit, I outline how Zeami answers Plato’s first challenge to artistic performance, as expressed in Ion where Plato argues that rhapsody is not an art [techné] because it requires no (...) mastery. (Rhapsodes are instead vehicles of the divine.) This challenge to poetic performing arts, that is, to their claim to be arts at all, determines criteria by which we may judge any putative art, including sarugaku and its elevation to nōgaku. Though Zeami was unaware of Plato’s challenge, he nevertheless answers it in a way that brings Plato’s own assumptions and conceptual framework into relief. In this article I outline the first step of Zeami’s reply to Plato, how nō satisfies the criteria for mastery of a subject, with some help from zen master Dōgen. The focus of this article is twofold: 1) an examination of the ways Plato’s conception of a masterable subject entails metaphysical and epistemic tenets that may be revised or rejected in Buddhist tradition, and 2) a study of the means through which the sense of mindlessness that allegedly precludes rhapsody (and kamigakari) from qualifying as art (techné/michi) contrasts with the mushin and isshin of nō (and zazen). (shrink)
Dieser Beitrag handelt von der Empathie in der Kunst. Ich beginne mit einer Reflexion über die Ursprünge des Begriffes und seine Verwendung in der Ästhetik. Es folgt eine Analyse der Empathie im Vergleich zu anderen Formen der Anteilnahme an Kunstwerken. Im dritten Teil untersuche ich die Mechanismen der Empathie in der Kunst und die Funktion der Imagination. Der vierte Teil widmet sich der Bedeutung der Gefühle bei der Empathie für Kunstfiguren. Schließlich thematisiere ich den epistemischen, moralischen und ästhetischen Wert der (...) Empathie für die Kunst. (shrink)
Why do painters paint? Obviously, there are numerous possible reasons. They paint to create images for others’ enjoyment, to solve visual problems, to convey ideas, and to contribute to a rich artistic tradition. This book argues that there is yet another, crucially important but often overlooked reason. -/- Painters paint to feel. -/- They paint because it enables them to experience special feelings, such as being absorbed in creative play and connected to something vitally significant. Painting may even transform the (...) painter’s whole sense of being. Thus, painting is not only about producing art, communicating content, and so on, but also about setting up and inhabiting an experiential space wherein highly valued feelings are interactively enabled and supported. This book investigates how and why this happens by combining psychoanalytical theorization on creativity with philosophical thinking on affectivity. It focuses on creative experience itself, and illuminates the psychological mechanisms and dynamics that underlie the affects at stake. Painters’ own descriptions of how they feel at work are used throughout to give an accurate, true-to-life portrayal of the experience of painting. -/- The strength of the book lies in its open-minded yet critical integration of contemporary psychoanalytic and philosophical thinking, and in its truthfulness to painters’ experiential descriptions of the painterly process. On the whole, it enriches our understanding of artistic creativity and sheds more light on how and why we come to feel the things we do. As such, the book will appeal to philosophers, psychoanalysts, and art researchers alike. (shrink)
This paper undertakes an intersectional reading of visual art through theories of literary interpretation in Sanskrit poetics in close reading with Deleuze's notions of sensation. The concept of Dhvani – the Indian theory of suggestion which can be translated as resonance, as explored in the Rasa – Dhvani aesthetics offers key insights into understanding the mode in which sensation as discussed by Deleuze operates throughout his reflections on Francis Bacon's and Cézanne's works. The paper constructs a comparative framework to review (...) modern and classical art history, mainly in the medium of painting, through an understanding of the concept of Dhvani, and charts a course of reinterpreting and examining possible points of concurrence and departure with respect to the Deleuzian logic of sensation and his notions of time-image and perception. The author thereby aims to move art interpretation's paradigm towards a non-linguistic sensory paradigm of experience. The focus of the paper is to break the moulds of normative theory-making which guide ideal conditions of ‘understanding art’ and look into alternative modes of experiencing the ‘vocabulary’ of art through trans-disciplinary intersections, in this case the disciplines being those of visual art, literature and phenomenology. (shrink)
Even though it’s frequently asserted that we are living in a golden age of scripted television, television as a medium is still not taken seriously as an artistic art form, nor has the stigma of television as “chewing gum for the mind” really disappeared. -/- Philosopher Martin Shuster argues that television is the modern art form, full of promise and urgency, and in New Television, he offers a strong philosophical justification for its importance. Through careful analysis of shows including The (...) Wire, Justified, and Weeds, among others; and European and Anglophone philosophers, such as Stanley Cavell, Hannah Arendt, Martin Heidegger, and John Rawls; Shuster reveals how various contemporary television series engage deeply with aesthetic and philosophical issues in modernism and modernity. What unifies the aesthetic and philosophical ambitions of new television is a commitment to portraying and exploring the family as the last site of political possibility in a world otherwise bereft of any other sources of traditional authority; consequently, at the heart of new television are profound political stakes. (shrink)
The notion of beauty has endured a troublesome history over the last few decades. While for centuries beauty has been considered one of the central values of art, there have also been times when it seemed old-fashioned to even mention the term. The present volume aims to explore the nature of beauty and to shed light its place in contemporary philosphy and art practice.
Los valores fascistas calaron, de un modo u otro, en todas las manifestaciones del arte italiano de entreguerras. Sin embargo, no todas las manifestaciones del arte fascista fueron el resultado de nacionalismo exacerbado, provincialismo y aislacionismo. Los conceptos de ‘romanità’, ‘italianità’, ‘latinità, o ‘mediterraneità’, que caracterizaban la producción cultural italiana de esos años, actuaron originalmente como matriz de estilos diferentes y susceptibles de diversas interpretaciones.
Este artículo ofrece una introducción histórica a la teoría y la práctica situacionista en conexión con la arquitectura funcionalista, las economías urbanas, ejemplos de acción política contracultural y su reincorporación a las lógicas de organización tecnocrática de las ciudades. Ello permite definir, desde una perspectiva histórica, algunas claves interpretativas de los rasgos ideológicos y económicos fundamentales de los sistemas urbanos contemporáneos, lo cual, a su vez puede establecer un contexto desde el que reflexionar sobre las posibilidades actuales de un urbanismo (...) socialmente comprometido. (shrink)
Western art gardens have enjoyed a chequered relationship with philosophical aesthetics. At different times, they have been both lauded and rejected as exemplars of art, and, for most of the last 150 or so years, they have been largely ignored. However, during the last 25 years, there has been a welcome resurgence of philosophical interest in such gardens. This study situates the work stemming from this revival of interest in its historical context and assesses its adequacy in accounting for gardens (...) in accordance with a range of pan-art criteria. The study argues that contemporary philosophical accounts of gardens are inadequate in some important ways, particularly with respect to gardens’ temporality, ontology, and arthood, and the ways in which gardens are experienced. In response to the arguments of Amie Thomasson, Dominic McIver Lopes, and some other contemporary philosophers, which advocate philosophical accounts of individual arts rather than pan-art accounts, the study develops a partial, new account of gardens that aims to remedy the perceived inadequacies in existing accounts. The new account claims that gardens are singular, not multiple, artworks and that they have an identity not unlike that possessed by humans and other animals; that, metaphorically speaking, our garden experiences may be helpfully illuminated by the application of theories developed in the context of contemporary, improvisatory dance; and that the “ordinariness” of many of gardens materials may be better understood in terms of Arthur Danto’s claim that esse est interpretari, that is, that meaning and value derive from the interpretative process. The new account also proposes personhood as a potentially useful heuristic for understanding how gardens are experienced and understood. The concept of “garden,” and the related constitutive garden aspects, features, and issues are established at the opening of the study with reference to an actual garden. Thereafter, the sources on which the study draws, and which it critiques, are all archival. They include recent philosophical monographs by Mara Miller (The Garden as Art), Stephanie Ross (What Gardens Mean), and David Cooper (A Philosophy of Gardens), and a range of historical and other contemporary monographs and papers written by philosophers, garden historians, and landscape architects and theorists. (shrink)
When I see a tree through my window, that particular worldly tree is said to be ‘in’, ‘on’, or ‘before’ my mind. My ordinary visual link to it is ‘intentional’. How similar to this link are the links between me and particular worldly trees when I see them in photographs, or in paintings? Are they, in some important sense, links of the same kind? Or are they links of importantly different kinds? Or, as a third possibility, are they at once (...) links of the same important kind and also links of importantly different sub-kinds within that kind? This paper takes up these taxonomical questions. After fleshing out (a bit) the characterisation of these different subject-object links, I explain and expand upon an approach to answering the taxonomical questions originally set out by Kendall Walton. I then follow this approach a certain distance, connecting it with the question of how to mark the boundary between perception and cognition. My investigations support the conclusion that the three types of links just described are not importantly different in kind. (shrink)
Represented as the face of Venice, the houses of the Grand Canal were used during the Renaissance to support the portrayal of the Venetian Republic's unique structure of governance. Paolo Paruta's dialogue, Della perfettione della vita politica, a work of political theory on the Venetian Republic, is one such text used here to examine how in a changing context of modernization, architecture has been presented as a representation of state. Paruta's use of architecture as a representation of state was conceptually (...) different from those earlier writers such as Gasparo Contarini who presented the uniqueness of Venice's social qualities through its orderly governance and law. Fundamental to Paruta's incorporation of architecture to the conceptualization of Venice was Daniele Barbaro's interpretation of Vitruvius’ representation of the body-of-state, being reflected in the architectural makeup of the city. However, Vitruvius’ text, De architectura, described the monarch's body reflected in the architecture and urban strategies of the late Roman Republic. Paruta's use of the text and of Daniele Barbaro aimed to transfer these values to the Venetian Republic and its social formations. Subtly forging links between the radicalism of Doge Andrea Gritti's renovatio programmes and the power struggles of the young patricians, Paruta's aim for architecture was to support the preservation of Venetian values as distinct from those of Rome. Indications are that Paruta's message was understood. To examine the comprehensibility of Paruta's political propositions, his terms and arguments are analysed in the context of three different architectural composition types used in Venetian houses of the mid-sixteenth century. (shrink)
In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:The Role of Glass in Interior Architecture:Aesthetics, Community, and PrivacyMatthew Ziff (bio)Design education seeks to infuse students with knowledge, skills, and attitudes, regarding the design of the built environment. In the areas of knowledge and attitude, sophistication and competence are developed through both practice (largely carried out in the design studio environment), and engagement with critical analysis (largely carried out in seminar classes and traditional lecture format class environments). (...) For design students the world of design is both to be known and understood, and to be created, at their own studio desk. In order to both know and create design, students often behave like nocturnal predators, seeking what is necessary in a mode that is often unobserved, and then returning to digest their catch, to produce responsive and synthetic work. One arena in which design students find rich fields of information is that of material characteristics. Materials used in the design and construction of the built environment form a significant portion of the skeleton of a designer's body of knowledge, skills, and attitudes toward design. A current hotbed of material character and application is that of the world of glass. This essay is an exploration of some of the issues that the architectural uses of glass raise from the point of view of design student exploration.Materials evoke physical and psychological responses. Human beings are complex creatures and an individual's response to specific material applications can be unpredictable. Even so, it is reasonable to expect that there are shared attitudes that form the basis for responses to the physical character of the built environment. From delight, to confusion, materials used in the architecture of things large and small, from buildings to fountain pens, contain literal meaning, or expression of method, as well as possible symbolic and cultural meaning. The contemporary use of glass, particularly in interior architecture, presents a vivid arena for emotional and intellectual stimulation and response. [End Page 10]Glass planes that are sheer, opaque, translucent, colorful, brittle, imposing in mass, irregular in surface texture, flawlessly smooth, deformed through casting or by application of pressure and heat, are being used to create spaces that convey ambiguous relationships between private experience and public display. What is an ambiguous relationship? It is one to which a reasonable response is a high degree of uncertainty regarding the course of action one might take, or in the degree of understanding of the context one can develop. To know that the stair in the train station leads to track 4 is a condition that can be created by the use of unambiguous design; a visual connection from where one has to make a choice of paths to follow to the destination, track 4, creates a clear understanding of where track 4 is to be found. If track 4 can be seen from the position at which a choice is required, then certainty, clarity, is possible, if not probable. Visual connection is exactly what clear glass allows, and provides, yet ambiguity results because of the physical, hard barrier, transparency aside. "I can see track 4, but I cannot get there". The clarity provided by being able to see through glass, or even by being able to see light coming through translucent glass, is not sufficient to offset the uncertainty, or the mixed message, of not being able to get there, to touch what we can see.Glass in interiors offers a tactile and sensory titillation; the excitement of knowing that with a single swing of a hammer, or an umbrella handle, the beautiful sheet of curved frosted lemon ice colored tempered glass can be shattered into fragments.Windows have long been the predominant interior and exterior architectural element in which glass has played a major role. The glass used in Windows on the World, the famous restaurant atop the World Trade Center, destroyed during its collapse, and the glass used in a simple double hung window in a one story ranch house each share architectural duties of providing view from inside to outside, light transmission from outside to inside, heat gain, and acoustical isolation. Human eyes are sometimes described as "windows to the soul," which suggests the ability to... (shrink)