David Roberts has always had a keen, sharp and even mischievous eye for paradox, for pointing to what used to be termed in Hegelianese, ‘contradictions’ or ‘dialectics’ of modern society and its forms. Roberts’ keen eye has focused on the paradoxes of aesthetic modernity and the forms that these paradoxes have taken within the historical time consciousness and self-understanding of modernity. This paper will suggest – although only sketchily and in outline – that Roberts’ keen eye notices and reconstructs (...) three paradoxical models or forms of aesthetic modernity: 1. The total work of art of aesthetic modernism; 2. the contemporary postmodern plurality of the present which is captured as musealization; 3. interpretation, play and humour as the open acceptance of the contingency and paradoxes of the present. (shrink)
I address the problem of constructing a sociology of the artwork through analyzing one particular painting-Manet's Olympia. The painting is an acknowledged icon of modernist art and has been variously located in discourses concerning modernity, gender, and sexuality in the modern world. My purpose is to locate this painting and modernist painting generally in the social formation. While the interpretation of a particular work of art plays a central part, here the ground of that interpretation lies in social theory. (...) Modernist art, and Manet's work in particular, is seen as a response to the growing disjunction between "instrumental" and "solidary" social relations-a disjunction fully acknowledged in the development of classical social theory. This changing relationship is reflected in the construction of discourses centered on value and motive. It is argued that Manet's modernism instantiates a spiritual resistance to the corruption of value by motive inherent in modernity and marked by a whole range of sociological discourses-commodification, alienation, rationality, disenchantment, and so forth. I identify a specific cultural configuration at the heart of bourgeois ideology involving gender and social class, and seek to show how Manet's painting subverts and deconstructs this configuration as a discourse of social formation. The semiotic possibilities made available by a modernist "presentational code"-the cultivation of flatness, the suppression of modelling and interaction, the use of dense allusive cultural reference, and the adaption of foreign and exotic pictorial techniques, etc.-are all seen as key to the deconstructive work that the painting accomplishes. (shrink)
A comprehensive reassessment of the concept of mimesis in the history of ancient Greek aesthetics and philosophy of art, with particular attention to Plato, Aristotle, Hellenistic philosophy, and neoplatonism. There is also a wide-ranging review of arguments pro and contra the idea of artistic mimesis from the Renaissance to modern literar theory. The book challenges standard accounts in numerous respects and builds a new dialectical model with which to make sense of the entire history of mimeticist thinking in aesthetics.
Mimesis is one of the oldest, most fundamental concepts in Western aesthetics. This book offers a new, searching treatment of its long history at the center of theories of representational art: above all, in the highly influential writings of Plato and Aristotle, but also in later Greco-Roman philosophy and criticism, and subsequently in many areas of aesthetic controversy from the Renaissance to the twentieth century. Combining classical scholarship, philosophical analysis, and the history of ideas--and ranging across discussion of poetry, painting, (...) and music--Stephen Halliwell shows with a wealth of detail how mimesis, at all stages of its evolution, has been a more complex, variable concept than its conventional translation of "imitation" can now convey. Far from providing a static model of artistic representation, mimesis has generated many different models of art, encompassing a spectrum of positions from realism to idealism. Under the influence of Platonist and Aristotelian paradigms, mimesis has been a crux of debate between proponents of what Halliwell calls "world-reflecting" and "world-simulating" theories of representation in both the visual and musico-poetic arts. This debate is about not only the fraught relationship between art and reality but also the psychology and ethics of how we experience and are affected by mimetic art. Moving expertly between ancient and modern traditions, Halliwell contends that the history of mimesis hinges on problems that continue to be of urgent concern for contemporary aesthetics. (shrink)
Aesthetics and Modernity brings together Agnes Heller's most recent essays on aesthetic genres such as painting, music, literature and comedy, aesthetic reception and embodiment in the context of the continuing pitfalls of modernity. The essays also throw light on Heller's theories of values, emotions and feelings, embodiment, and modernity. Those with an interest in philosophy, critical theory, aesthetics, and social theory will find this collection illuminating, and an essential addition to any philosophy bookshelf.
In The Sublime in Modern Philosophy: Aesthetics, Ethics, and Nature, Emily Brady takes a fresh look at the sublime and shows why it endures as a meaningful concept in contemporary philosophy. In a reassessment of historical approaches, the first part of the book identifies the scope and value of the sublime in eighteenth-century philosophy, nineteenth-century philosophy and Romanticism, and early wilderness aesthetics. The second part examines the sublime's contemporary significance through its relationship to the arts; its position with respect (...) to other aesthetic categories involving mixed or negative emotions, such as tragedy; and its place in environmental aesthetics and ethics. Far from being an outmoded concept, Brady argues that the sublime is a distinctive aesthetic category which reveals an important, if sometimes challenging, aesthetic-moral relationship with the natural world. (shrink)
Nietzsche, Aesthetics and Modernity analyzes Nietzsche's response to the aesthetic tradition, tracing in particular the complex relationship between the work and thought of Nietzsche, Kant, and Hegel. Focusing in particular on the critical role of negation and sublimity in Nietzsche's account of art, it explores his confrontation with modernity and his attempt to posit a revitalized artistic practice as the counter-movement to modern nihilism. Drawing on the full range of his published and unpublished writings, together with his comments on (...) figures as diverse as Wagner, Zola, Delacroix, and Laurence Sterne, it highlights the extent to which Nietzsche counters the culture of his own time with a dialectical notion of aesthetic interpretation and practice. As such, Nietzsche the dialectician articulates a position that proves to be intimately connected to the negative dialects of Theodor Adorno. (shrink)
Ambitious in scope and innovative in concept, this book offers an overview and critique of the conventions surrounding artistic creativity and intellectual endeavour since the outset of 'the broader modernity', which the author sees as beginning with the decline of feudalism and the Church. As a work of intellectual history, it suggests that art and the conventions associated with the artistic constitute a secular institution that has supplanted pre-Reformation theology. Beginning with Luther, Calvin, and Shakespeare and culminating with the Kantian (...) notion of the artist as an 'original genius,' the author reconstructs the steps by which art and creative activity were installed as the redemptive values of a modernity. In the process, the author reads passages from Plato, Proust, Donne, Locke, Berkeley, Hume, Kleist, Rousseau, Melville, Wittgenstein, Benjamin, as well as the graphic works of Holbein, Dürer, Mondrian, and Rothko. (shrink)
Broad in its geographic scope and yet grounded in original archival research, this book situates the inception of modern aesthetic theory – the philosophical analysis of art and beauty - in theological contexts that are crucial to explaining why it arose. Simon Grote presents seminal aesthetic theories of the German and Scottish Enlightenments as outgrowths of a quintessentially Enlightenment project: the search for a natural 'foundation of morality' and a means of helping naturally self-interested human beings transcend their own (...) self-interest. This conclusion represents an important alternative to the standard history of aesthetics as a series of preludes to the achievements of Immanuel Kant, as well as a reinterpretation of several canonical figures in the German and Scottish Enlightenments. It also offers a foundation for a transnational history of the Enlightenment without the French philosophes at its centre, while solidly endorsing historians' growing reluctance to call the Enlightenment a secularising movement. (shrink)
The book explores the forbidden feelings of beauty, admiration, or satisfaction before instances of terror and human pain from eighteenth-century natural disasters to twenty-first-century terrorist destruction. It explores the fascination felt by the subject witnessing major disasters directly or in a mediated fashion. Emmanouil Aretoulakis' makes the challenging proposition that there is, paradoxically, an ethics in the aesthetic appraisal of terror.
ABSTRACT George Berkeley is usually not discussed in the canonical histories of modern aesthetics. Similarly, Berkeley scholars do not seem to have paid attention to his possible contribution to modern aesthetics. Berkeley exploited certain theoretical potentials of the emerging aesthetic experience that was invented and formulated especially by his contemporaries like Joseph Addison, Richard Steele and Lord Shaftesbury. He applied these elements in shaping a theologico-aesthetic language in the very same period when Francis Hutcheson and Alexander Baumgarten wrote (...) their widely acclaimed first aesthetic theories in Europe. At the same time, Berkeley advances the linguistic and religious aspects of the modern aesthetic experience not in his theoretical, but in his pragmatical and popularizing writings. Instead of relying on a purely rational theology or a negative theology, he offers an ‘aesthetic’ one based on the model of the beautiful and the sublime. Aesthetically, this meant a re-interpretation and re-configuration of the duality of the beautiful and the sublime – decades before Edmund Burke's Philosophical Enquiry. (shrink)
Using theories by Pierre Bourdieu and the Frankfurt School that causally link art to class interests, this article examines the differential development of modern architecture in the United States and central Europe during the early 20th century. Modern architecture was the aesthetic expression of technocracy, a movement of the new class of professionals, managers and engineers to place itself at the center of rationalized capitalism. The aesthetic of modernism, which glorified technology and instrumental reason, was weak and undeveloped (...) in the US, because this class defined by its cultural capital was quickly integrated into modernizing corporations, where it was compelled to cater to the emerging mass market and drop its distinctive aesthetic. Modern architecture emerged mainly in interwar central Europe, because here industrial modernization was blocked, forcing the new class to pursue an alliance with state managers pushing modernization. Thus unencumbered by the demands of the mass market, modern architects were free to express their machine aesthetic in state-financed housing projects. (shrink)
A History of Modern Aesthetics narrates the history of philosophical aesthetics from the beginning of the eighteenth century through the twentieth century. Aesthetics began with Aristotle's defense of the cognitive value of tragedy in response to Plato's famous attack on the arts in The Republic, and cognitivist accounts of aesthetic experience have been central to the field ever since. But in the eighteenth century, two new ideas were introduced: that aesthetic experience is important because of emotional impact - precisely (...) what Plato criticized - and because it is a pleasurable free play of many or all of our mental powers. This three-volume set tells how these ideas have been synthesized or separated by both the best-known and lesser-known aestheticians of modern times, focusing on Britain, France and Germany in the eighteenth century; Germany and Britain in the nineteenth; and Germany, Britain and the United States in the twentieth. (shrink)
Nietzsche, Aesthetics and Modernity analyses Nietzsche's response to the aesthetic tradition, tracing in particular the complex relationship between the work and thought of Nietzsche, Kant and Hegel. Focusing in particular on the critical role of negation and sublimity in Nietzsche's account of art, it explores his confrontation with modernity and his attempt to posit a revitalized artistic practice as the counter-movement to modern nihilism. Drawing on the full range of his published and unpublished writings, together with his comments on (...) figures as diverse as Wagner, Zola, Delacroix and Laurence Sterne, it highlights the extent to which Nietzsche counters the culture of his own time with a dialectical notion of aesthetic interpretation and practice. As such, Nietzsche the dialectician articulates a position that proves to be intimately connected to the negative dialects of Theodor Adorno. (shrink)
This essay argues that Antony and Cleopatra’s pitting of Egypt against Rome is a cipher of aesthetic resistance to modern rationality. The coordinates are Adornian. Antony’s and Cleopatra’s complex identities elude the disenchanting, nominalist machinery in which diffuse indeterminacy necessitates conceptual imposition. Here, the individuals are essentially dramatized: sensate, embodied selves composed and expressed in relations of passionate recognition. The lovers’ deaths, and especially Cleopatra’s self-conscious theatre, rewrite the ascetic, dominative, and pseudo-theatrical rationality of Octavian Rome. The protest, the (...) passion and singularity, lives mainly through its expressive emphases – such as hyperbole – and the re-functioning of the very dominative roles and norms being opposed. This reflects the restricted but critical – aesthetic – status of early modern drama, and specifies its opposition to the deepening attack on sensate knowing in its world. (shrink)
A clear and concise account of the relationship between aesthetics and philosophy in Europe during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and the development of aesthetics as a discipline in its own right.
All Arts In India Owe Their Roots To The Theoretical Structure Developed By Bharatamuni In His Celebrated Work Natyasastra. His Theory Of Beauty Is Known As The Theory Of Rasa. The Present Volume Has Shown How The Insight Of Bharata Was Developed By The Classical Scholars From Abhinavagupta To Jagannatha Who Propounded The Theories With Names Like Rasa, Alamkara, Riti, Vakrokti, Dhvani Etc. To Employ The Theory Of Beauty From Natya (Drama) To Kavya (Poetry).
Steven Halliwell’s book has set a new standard in the scholarship on the philosophical aspects of mimesis. The book is clearly written, extensively researched, and, most importantly, it is a comprehensive analysis of the history and development of the complex, but often oversimplified, notion of mimesis. This is the kind of book scholars are lucky to come across in doing their own research, and a book of this level of achievement is something that we can all use as a model (...) for our own writing. This is undoubtedly the most extensive and useful book on the subject of mimesis available today. (shrink)
Written in the American tradition, American Modern: The Path Not Taken describes how four major American thinkers practiced philosophy non-reductively by incorporating the arts and other human activities. Tejera provides a detailed analysis of Peirce, Dewey, Santayana, and Buchler, showing that the importance they placed on the human can cure what is missing in recent philosophy. American Modern will interest philosophers, historians of philosophy, and scholars of American intellectual history.
Herbert Marcuse is a thinker associated with one of the most radical and totalising critiques of modernity ever produced. Marcuse maintains that contemporary capitalist society is a one-dimensional prison that is capable of perpetuating itself by incorporating any criticism into its logic. Despite this totalisation, Marcuse insists that the realm of aesthetics is capable of escaping the logic of modern capitalism and establishing an alternative society that is grounded in an alternative non-repressive logic. However, it is argued that not (...) only does Marcuse ground this transformation in a specific economic formation thereby ensuring that it is economics not aestheticsthat grounds this social transformation, but his argument is based on a simplistic understanding of the relation between the aesthetic as a means of affecting individual transformation and the aesthetic affecting social transformation. (shrink)
This paper examines the use of “pleasure” as the distinguishing mark of aesthetic experience in post-Kantian philosophy. It shows how the distinctive features of aesthetic experience, such as pleasure, qualify this experience as a platform for social criticism. The key argument is that the autonomy of the aesthetic experience is not “false”, rather it is paradoxical in the strong sense that the fact of its communicative efficacy, which follows from distinctive, “autonomous” aesthetic features, necessarily loads it with functions and expectations (...) that are external to the aesthetic moment. Kant takes a complicated path to qualify aesthetic judgment as disinterested in order that it may eloquently testify for morality. He thereby sets up the cogency of the modern pattern of looking to aesthetic experience as a locus of meaningful communication for ideas that are experientially poor or remote. (shrink)
This interview is inspired the most important working-hypothesis presented in the volume Aesthetic Revolutions and the Twentieth-Century Avant-Garde Movements, edited by Aleš Erjavec, that questions the legitimacy of the distinction between aesthetic and artistic avant-gardes, supported by the relationship of each concept with the modern revolutionary politics. The relevance of this contrast for determining modernity both in its ideological shape and its continuity, in the terms of postmodernity will be criticized in our discussion with professor Erjavec, reflecting on the (...) manner in which the artistic communities representative for Surrealism, Russian constructivism, Situationist International, Dadaism, Italian Futurism, 1960s American Art, as well as for Slovenian, Mexican or Romanian artistic movements of the 20th century opened the path for different democratic or totalitarian political attitudes, practices and ambitions. (shrink)
Sport has become a significant part of the contemporary society culture. There has been developed a system of sciences dealing with sports. Philosophy figures prominently among them and it deals with aesthetic problems of sport. The problem of the aesthetic of sport is really of great importance as; first of all, it creates new fields of aesthetic activity and exerts aesthetic influence upon millions of people. Secondly, sports exert profound influence upon modern architecture, design, performing and fine arts, fashion (...) and lifestyle. Thirdly, sport has become one of important means of preservation and further development of traditions of national cultures and their aesthetic values. The development of sport is mainly determined by its aesthetic essence, therefore it is important to realize thespecific character of its content and avoid applying to it criteria of other kinds of aesthetic activity. The significance of the aesthetic aspect of sport is due to the fact that sport has contributed a lot to the development of human beings, their humanistic and aesthetic ideals, sensual image of a perfect man. The character of the contemporary society sport is complicated and controversial and therefore careful analysis of its content, of its structure and functions is necessary. (shrink)
Rampley's Nietzsche, Aesthetics, and Modernity offers a valuable understanding of Nietzsche's Will to Power as the Will to Form and of the Overman as an artist inspired by the sublime who has overcome the reactive mentality of cultural pessimism by means of "active nihilism." Rampley argues that Nietzsche is a post metaphysical dialectician, building an aesthetic practice based on the productive play of transfigurative immanence that makes and affirms forms. Nietzsche differs from Lyotard and Derrida, Rampley argues, in his commitment (...) to the Dionysian struggle to create. Nevertheless, Rampley's account is based on a problematic derivation, first, of Nietzsche's alleged dialectics from Hegel's and, second, of the Overman's creativity from the limited aestheticism of the sublime. (shrink)
Se propone una aproximación a las significaciones del argumento estético utilizado en defensa de paisajes y territorios naturales ante intervenciones industriales mayores. Se indaga en algunas variables que entran en juego en este argumento, como la representación de y actitudes hacia la naturaleza, el paisaje, los lugares, el territorio, atendiendo a los ambivalentes efectos que tiene o puede tener la apelación a la belleza paisajística: desde su conversión en fetiche estético para beneficio de las elites que tienen recursos para hacer (...) de su relación con la naturaleza experiencias de postal hasta su perfilamiento como un argumento genuinamente crítico, político y ético, contra una modernidad industrial que ha hecho de la naturaleza (y de los lugares y sus habitantes) objetos de uso desechables. This article proposes an approach to the meanings behind the aesthetic argument used in defense of natural landscapes and territories facing major industrial interventions. It explores some variables that enter into play in this argument, such as the representations of and the attitudes toward nature, landscape, places, territory, paying particular attention to the ambivalent effects that the invocation of landscape beauty has or can have: from its conversion to aesthetic fetish for the elite who have resources to make of their relation with nature postcard experiences, to its profile as a genuinely critical, political and ethical argument against an industrial modernity that has made of nature (and of places and their inhabitants) disposable objects. (shrink)
Illusion is a significant concept in philosophy, art history, literary theory and aesthetics. It has a concrete scientific basis in the perspective of modern cognitive neuroscience. Historically, it has been critically discussed by many philosophers, including Plato, Bacon, Descartes, Kant, and Nietzsche, who considered it to be a distortion of reality. Yet illusion is connected with so many basic aesthetic issues -- such as ambiguity, imagination, and imagery -- that it remains an indispensable concept in modern aesthetics. In (...) the different art media communication of creators with appreciators involves illusory imagery. Its importance is emphasized by Ernst Gombrich in his Art and Illusion, one of the most influential art history texts in the English-speaking world. The concept of illusion becomes the crossing point of classical philosophy and contemporary aesthetics. In this article, the philosophical, psychological and aesthetic bases of illusion will be introduced. In different fields, illusion has different content, but depends on the same psychological mechanisms. The neural mechanisms that underpin aesthetic illusion in contemporary artistic production also function in the modern ideology described by Adorno, Eagleton, and Williams. Not all aesthetic illusions have positive functions, which sometimes leads to distorted cognition and emotional complexity. When it deviates too far from reality, aesthetic illusion contains particular cognitive emotional qualities that conflict with artistic imagery in classical arts. As a bearer of modern aesthetic emotion, it is also shaped by special economic and political situations and always has a kind of ideological character. Thus aesthetic illusion often promotes new configurations of aesthetics and art history. (shrink)
It is a well-known fact that the term ‘subject’ acquired its still predominant meaning only as late as the mid-eighteenth century, and that this led to the formation of the term ‘subjectivity’ at the end of the century. In this recent or ‘modern’ use, the term ‘subject’ is no longer taken just in its grammatical meaning where a subject is that of which something can be predicated, but refers to anything that can say ‘I’. In this sense, the predicate (...) ‘subjectivity’ is not coextensive with, but is confined to, the realm of human beings. There are human beings who are not yet or are no longer subjects, but there are no subjects who are not human beings. Only human beings have the capacity to say ‘I’. This describes the new meaning the term ‘subject’ gains at that moment in the eighteenth century, but it does not yet grasp why this new use of the term ‘subject’ marks the beginning of a new, ‘modern’ way of thinking. For that semantic shift of the word ‘subject’ does not of course mean that subjectivity, referring to the capacity to say ‘I’, was discovered only then and unknown before. Rather, the epochal significance of the new use of the term lies in the fact that—and the way in which—the reference to beings capable of saying ‘I’ is often mixed up in an opaque way with the indication of a quite different determination: namely the specifically modern determination of the subject of reflection. The modern emphasis refers to the subject as the instance or place of a process of reflection in which anything objectively existing or pregiven is dissolved. This is what makes the shift in our speaking of a ‘subject’, some time in eighteenth century philosophical discourse, into a decisive fact for our understanding of modernity: it connects the reference to I-saying beings with the emphasis on a new practice of reflection. (shrink)