The process of optimizing psychical distance to achieve the best possible aesthetic effect has been well-known among philosophers of art ever since Edward Bullough formulated the concept in 1912. Although it is typically analyzed as a one-way process, it nevertheless becomes a reciprocal or intersubjective process when the object of our aesthetic perception is our “other.” This is equally true for animal “others” as for our fellow human “others.” Anything animate can fix us in its gaze and thereby prompt or (...) even force us toward self-confrontation as an object of someone or something else’s perception. This reciprocity may be manifest as a sort of psychological pas de deux between the two confronting subjects, each confronting the other as object, each recognizing the other as subject, and each confronting its own self as recognizer of this relationship and recipient of this attention. The level of our awareness of our being an object for some “other” subject has a proportionately significant impact on our aesthetic perception of this “other, ” i.e., the fact that an “other” perceives us adds a dimension of “unnatural” intersubjectivity which changes our aesthetic appreciation of that “other.”. (shrink)
Presents the basic elements of the philosophy of religion tradition in a new and provocative way as original philosophical narrative interspersed with rich selections from Plato, Boethius, Thomas Aquinas, Anselm, Pascal, Descartes, Paley, Leibniz, Hume, Hegel, Kant, Mill, Stephen, Royce, James, and Clifford. The history and concepts of philosophy of religion emerge more clearly through this integration and interrelation of classical texts with modern summary and interpretation.