Liverpool, UK: Liverpool Hope University Press (2008)

Alexandra Mouriki
University of Patras
More and more these days it is asked whether aesthetics is still possible. A question that, given the context and phrasing, seems to direct us towards its answer. Conferences and meetings, books and journal specials examine the issue of aesthetics, talk about rediscovery or return of aesthetics. Well known philosophers and aestheticians underscore the need to reconsider the foundations of aesthetics and set new directions for aesthetics today (Berleant, 2004) or attempt to expand aesthetics beyond aesthetics–like Welsch, for example who tries to extend aesthetics beyond art to society and the life-world (Welsch, 1997). Others underline the need to revisit the aesthetic experience (Shusterman, 1999; Iseminger, 2002, Fenner, 1996) and examine the relevance or irrelevance of the aesthetic with art (Carroll, 2001). It seems that it is strongly recommended to turn to aesthetics on the condition however to carefully re-approach the meaning and import of the term in the present situation. The aesthetic that Passmore condemned as “dreary”(Passmore, 1954), the one Sparshott considered a formless conception, vague and loose in application (Sparshott, 1982), the same that Danto emphatically argues that has nothing to do with the definition of art or arts in general (Danto, 1981) returns to claim its rightful place in the fields of philosophy and critical theory (Levine, 1994, Michaud, 1999), as well as artistic creation. And one cannot but wonder: what does this return mean? What was the degree of aesthetics decline that we need to discuss about recovery or for new implementations of aesthetics?
Keywords aesthetics, art, definition of art, Kant, aesthetics today
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