Cambridge, USA: Wiley-Blackwell (1992)
Pragmatism is experiencing a powerful revival. But the new pragmatism has not yet expressed itself in a new aesthetic, and not since Dewey's Art as Experience has there been a comprehensive pragmatist treatment of this field. Shusterman's bold and lively book fills the gap by proposing a pragmatist aesthetics for our current postmodern condition. Pragmatist Aesthetics treats the traditionally central topics of aesthetics: the definition of art, aesthetic experience and value, form and unity, interpretation, and the cognitive and moral worth of art. But it also directs philosophical aesthetics towards a much wider and more socially pertinent agenda by considering such contemporary issues as the institutionalization and cultural oppression of art, the aesthetic legitimacy of popular culture, and the ethical art of living beauty through the stylization of conduct and the aesthetic construction of the self. Gracefully but vigorously argued, Pragmatist Aesthetics is an important book which breaks new ground and liberates new areas and directions for philosophical inquiry. Its wide-ranging breadth and accessible style will appeal to all readers with an interest in contemporary philosophy, aesthetics and cultural studies.