Aesthetics

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Aesthetics, or esthetics ( /ɛsˈθɛtɪks, s-, æs-/ ) is a branch of philosophy that deals with the nature of art, beauty and taste and with the creation or appreciation of beauty. [1]

Philosophy Study of general and fundamental questions

Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental questions about existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Such questions are often posed as problems to be studied or resolved. The term was probably coined by Pythagoras. Philosophical methods include questioning, critical discussion, rational argument, and systematic presentation. Classic philosophical questions include: Is it possible to know anything and to prove it? What is most real? Philosophers also pose more practical and concrete questions such as: Is there a best way to live? Is it better to be just or unjust? Do humans have free will?

Art Creative work to evoke emotional response

Art is a diverse range of human activities in creating visual, auditory or performing artifacts (artworks), expressing the author's imaginative, conceptual ideas, or technical skill, intended to be appreciated for their beauty or emotional power. In their most general form these activities include the production of works of art, the criticism of art, the study of the history of art, and the aesthetic dissemination of art.

Beauty characteristic of an animal, idea, object, person or place that provides a perceptual experience of pleasure or satisfaction.

Beauty is the ascription of a property or characteristic to an animal, idea, object, person or place that provides a perceptual experience of pleasure or satisfaction. Beauty is studied as part of aesthetics, culture, social psychology, philosophy and sociology. An "ideal beauty" is an entity which is admired, or possesses features widely attributed to beauty in a particular culture, for perfection. Ugliness is the opposite of beauty.

Contents

In its more technical epistemological perspective, it is defined as the study of subjective and sensori-emotional values, or sometimes called judgments of sentiment and taste. [2] Aesthetics studies how artists imagine, create and perform works of art; how people use, enjoy, and criticize art; and what happens in their minds when they look at paintings, listen to music, or read poetry, and understand what they see and hear. It also studies how they feel about art — why they like some works and not others, and how art can affect their moods, beliefs, and attitude toward life. [3] The phrase was coined in English in the 18th century.

Epistemology A branch of philosophy concerned with the nature and scope of knowledge

Epistemology is the branch of philosophy concerned with the theory of knowledge.

Judgement is the evaluation of evidence to make a decision. The term has four distinct uses:

Feeling is the nominalization of the verb to feel. The word was first used in the English language to describe the physical sensation of touch through either experience or perception. The word is also used to describe experiences other than the physical sensation of touch, such as "a feeling of warmth" and of sentience in general. In Latin, sentire meant to feel, hear or smell. In psychology, the word is usually reserved for the conscious subjective experience of emotion. Phenomenology and heterophenomenology are philosophical approaches that provide some basis for knowledge of feelings. Many schools of psychotherapy depend on the therapist achieving some kind of understanding of the client's feelings, for which methodologies exist.

More broadly, scholars in the field define aesthetics as "critical reflection on art, culture and nature". [4] [5] In modern English, the term aesthetic can also refer to a set of principles underlying the works of a particular art movement or theory: one speaks, for example, of the Cubist aesthetic. [6]

Nature Universe events since the Big Bang 13.8 billion years ago

Nature, in the broadest sense, is the natural, physical, or material world or universe. "Nature" can refer to the phenomena of the physical world, and also to life in general. The study of nature is a large, if not the only, part of science. Although humans are part of nature, human activity is often understood as a separate category from other natural phenomena.

Modern English is the form of the English language spoken since the Great Vowel Shift in England, which began in the late 14th century and was completed in roughly 1550.

Cubism Early-20th-century avant-garde art movement

Cubism is an early-20th-century avant-garde art movement that revolutionized European painting and sculpture, and inspired related movements in music, literature and architecture. Cubism has been considered the most influential art movement of the 20th century. The term is broadly used in association with a wide variety of art produced in Paris during the 1910s and throughout the 1920s.

Etymology

The word aesthetic is derived from the Greek αἰσθητικός (aisthetikos, meaning "esthetic, sensitive, sentient, pertaining to sense perception"), which in turn was derived from αἰσθάνομαι (aisthanomai, meaning "I perceive, feel, sense" and related to αἴσθησις (aisthēsis, "sensation"). [7] Aesthetics in this central sense has been said to start with the series of articles on “The Pleasures of the Imagination” which the journalist Joseph Addison wrote in the early issues of the magazine The Spectator in 1712. [8] The term "aesthetics" was appropriated and coined with new meaning by the German philosopher Alexander Baumgarten in his dissertation Meditationes philosophicae de nonnullis ad poema pertinentibus ("Philosophical considerations of some matters pertaining the poem") in 1735; [9] Baumgarten chose "aesthetics" because he wished to emphasize the experience of art as a means of knowing. Aesthetics, a not very tidy intellectual discipline, is a heterogeneous collection of problems that concern the arts primarily but also relate to nature. [10] even though his later definition in the fragment Aesthetica (1750) is more often referred to as the first definition of modern aesthetics. [11]

Ancient Greek Version of the Greek language used from roughly the 9th century BCE to the 6th century CE

The Ancient Greek language includes the forms of Greek used in Ancient Greece and the ancient world from around the 9th century BCE to the 6th century CE. It is often roughly divided into the Archaic period, Classical period, and Hellenistic period. It is antedated in the second millennium BCE by Mycenaean Greek and succeeded by medieval Greek.

Aesthetics and the philosophy of art

Aesthetics is for the artist as Ornithology is for the birds.

Ornithology study of birds

Ornithology is a branch of zoology that concerns the study of birds. Several aspects of ornithology differ from related disciplines, due partly to the high visibility and the aesthetic appeal of birds.

Some separate aesthetics and philosophy of art, claiming that the former is the study of beauty while the latter is the study of works of art. However, most commonly Aesthetics encompasses both questions around beauty as well as questions about art. It examines topics such as aesthetic objects,  aesthetic experience, and aesthetic judgments. [14] For some, aesthetics is considered a synonym for the philosophy of art since Hegel, while others insist that there is a significant distinction between these closely related fields. In practice, aesthetic judgement refers to the sensory contemplation or appreciation of an object (not necessarily an art object), while artistic judgement refers to the recognition, appreciation or criticism of art or an art work.

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel German philosopher who influenced German idealism

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel was a German philosopher and an important figure of German idealism. He achieved wide recognition in his day and—while primarily influential within the continental tradition of philosophy—has become increasingly influential in the analytic tradition as well. Although Hegel remains a divisive figure, his canonical stature within Western philosophy is universally recognized.

Work of art aesthetic physical item or artistic creation

A work of art, artwork, art piece, piece of art or art object is an aesthetic physical item or artistic creation. Apart from "work of art", which may be used of any work regarded as art in its widest sense, including works from literature and music, these terms apply principally to tangible, portable forms of visual art:

Philosophical aesthetics has not only to speak about art and to produce judgments about art works, but also has to give a definition of what art is. Art is an autonomous entity for philosophy, because art deals with the senses (i.e. the etymology of aesthetics) and art is as such free of any moral or political purpose. Hence, there are two different conceptions of art in aesthetics: art as knowledge or art as action, but aesthetics is neither epistemology nor ethics. [15]

Aestheticians compare historical developments with theoretical approaches to the arts of many periods. They study the varieties of art in relation to their physical, social, and culture environments. Aestheticians also use psychology to understand how people see, hear, imagine, think, learn, and act in relation to the materials and problems of art. Aesthetic psychology studies the creative process and the aesthetic experience. [16]

Aesthetic judgment, universals and ethics

Aesthetic judgment

Aesthetics examines our affective domain response to an object or phenomenon. Judgments of aesthetic value rely on our ability to discriminate at a sensory level. However, aesthetic judgments usually go beyond sensory discrimination.

For David Hume, delicacy of taste is not merely "the ability to detect all the ingredients in a composition", but also our sensitivity "to pains as well as pleasures, which escape the rest of mankind." [17] Thus, the sensory discrimination is linked to capacity for pleasure.

For Immanuel Kant ( Critique of Judgment , 1790), "enjoyment" is the result when pleasure arises from sensation, but judging something to be "beautiful" has a third requirement: sensation must give rise to pleasure by engaging our capacities of reflective contemplation. Judgments of beauty are sensory, emotional and intellectual all at once. Kant (1790) observed of a man "If he says that canary wine is agreeable he is quite content if someone else corrects his terms and reminds him to say instead: It is agreeable to me," because "Everyone has his own (sense of) taste". The case of "beauty" is different from mere "agreeableness" because, "If he proclaims something to be beautiful, then he requires the same liking from others; he then judges not just for himself but for everyone, and speaks of beauty as if it were a property of things."

Viewer interpretations of beauty may on occasion be observed to possess two concepts of value: aesthetics and taste. Aesthetics is the philosophical notion of beauty. Taste is a result of an education process and awareness of elite cultural values learned through exposure to mass culture. Bourdieu examined how the elite in society define the aesthetic values like taste and how varying levels of exposure to these values can result in variations by class, cultural background, and education. [18] According to Kant, beauty is subjective and universal; thus certain things are beautiful to everyone. [19] In the opinion of Władysław Tatarkiewicz, there are six conditions for the presentation of art: beauty, form, representation, reproduction of reality, artistic expression and innovation. However, one may not be able to pin down these qualities in a work of art. [20]

Factors involved in aesthetic judgment

Rainbows often have aesthetic appeal. Double-alaskan-rainbow.jpg
Rainbows often have aesthetic appeal.

Judgments of aesthetical values seem often to involve many other kinds of issues as well. Responses such as disgust show that sensory detection is linked in instinctual ways to facial expressions, and even behaviours like the gag reflex. Yet disgust can often be a learned or cultural issue too; as Darwin pointed out, seeing a stripe of soup in a man's beard is disgusting even though neither soup nor beards are themselves disgusting. Aesthetic judgments may be linked to emotions or, like emotions, partially embodied in our physical reactions. For example, the awe inspired by a sublime landscape might physically manifest with an increased heart-rate or pupil dilation; physiological reaction may express or even cause the initial awe.

As seen, emotions are conformed to 'cultural' reactions, therefore aesthetics is always characterized by 'regional responses', as Francis Grose was the first to affirm in his ‘Rules for Drawing Caricaturas: With an Essay on Comic Painting’ (1788), published in W. Hogarth, The Analysis of Beauty, Bagster, London s.d. (1791? [1753]), pp. 1–24. Francis Grose can therefore be claimed to be the first critical 'aesthetic regionalist' in proclaiming the anti-universality of aesthetics in contrast to the perilous and always resurgent dictatorship of beauty. [21] 'Aesthetic Regionalism' can thus be seen as a political statement and stance which vies against any universal notion of beauty to safeguard the counter-tradition of aesthetics related to what has usually been considered and dubbed un-beautiful just because one's culture does not contemplate it, e.g. E. Burke's sublime, what is usually defined as 'primitive' art, or un-harmonious, non-cathartic art, camp art, which 'beauty' posits and creates, dichotomously, as its opposite, without even the need of formal statements, but which will be 'perceived' as ugly. [22]

Likewise, aesthetic judgments may be culturally conditioned to some extent. Victorians in Britain often saw African sculpture as ugly, but just a few decades later, Edwardian audiences saw the same sculptures as being beautiful. Evaluations of beauty may well be linked to desirability, perhaps even to sexual desirability. Thus, judgments of aesthetic value can become linked to judgments of economic, political, or moral value. [23] In a current context, one might judge a Lamborghini to be beautiful partly because it is desirable as a status symbol, or we might judge it to be repulsive partly because it signifies for us over-consumption and offends our political or moral values. [24]

Aesthetic judgments can often be very fine-grained and internally contradictory. Likewise aesthetic judgments seem often to be at least partly intellectual and interpretative. It is what a thing means or symbolizes for us that is often what we are judging. Modern aestheticians have asserted that will and desire were almost dormant in aesthetic experience, yet preference and choice have seemed important aesthetics to some 20th-century thinkers. The point is already made by Hume, but see Mary Mothersill, "Beauty and the Critic's Judgment", in The Blackwell Guide to Aesthetics, 2004. Thus aesthetic judgments might be seen to be based on the senses, emotions, intellectual opinions, will, desires, culture, preferences, values, subconscious behaviour, conscious decision, training, instinct, sociological institutions, or some complex combination of these, depending on exactly which theory one employs.

A third major topic in the study of aesthetic judgments is how they are unified across art forms. For instance, the source of a painting's beauty has a different character to that of beautiful music, suggesting their aesthetics differ in kind. [25] The distinct inability of language to express aesthetic judgment and the role of Social construction further cloud this issue.

Aesthetic universals

The philosopher Denis Dutton identified six universal signatures in human aesthetics: [26]

  1. Expertise or virtuosity. Humans cultivate, recognize, and admire technical artistic skills.
  2. Nonutilitarian pleasure. People enjoy art for art's sake, and do not demand that it keep them warm or put food on the table.
  3. Style. Artistic objects and performances satisfy rules of composition that place them in a recognizable style.
  4. Criticism. People make a point of judging, appreciating, and interpreting works of art.
  5. Imitation. With a few important exceptions like abstract painting, works of art simulate experiences of the world.
  6. Special focus. Art is set aside from ordinary life and made a dramatic focus of experience.

Artists such as Thomas Hirschhorn have indicated that there are too many exceptions to Dutton's categories. For example, Hirschhorn's installations deliberately eschew technical virtuosity. People can appreciate a Renaissance Madonna for aesthetic reasons, but such objects often had (and sometimes still have) specific devotional functions. "Rules of composition" that might be read into Duchamp's Fountain or John Cage's 4′33″ do not locate the works in a recognizable style (or certainly not a style recognizable at the time of the works' realization). Moreover, some of Dutton's categories seem too broad: a physicist might entertain hypothetical worlds in his/her imagination in the course of formulating a theory. Another problem is that Dutton's categories seek to universalize traditional European notions of aesthetics and art forgetting that, as André Malraux and others have pointed out, there have been large numbers of cultures in which such ideas (including the idea "art" itself) were non-existent. [27]

Aesthetic ethics

Aesthetic ethics refers to the idea that human conduct and behaviour ought to be governed by that which is beautiful and attractive. John Dewey [28] has pointed out that the unity of aesthetics and ethics is in fact reflected in our understanding of behaviour being "fair"—the word having a double meaning of attractive and morally acceptable. More recently, James Page [29] [30] has suggested that aesthetic ethics might be taken to form a philosophical rationale for peace education.

New Criticism and "The Intentional Fallacy"

During the first half of the twentieth century, a significant shift to general aesthetic theory took place which attempted to apply aesthetic theory between various forms of art, including the literary arts and the visual arts, to each other. This resulted in the rise of the New Criticism school and debate concerning the intentional fallacy. At issue was the question of whether the aesthetic intentions of the artist in creating the work of art, whatever its specific form, should be associated with the criticism and evaluation of the final product of the work of art, or, if the work of art should be evaluated on its own merits independent of the intentions of the artist.

In 1946, William K. Wimsatt and Monroe Beardsley published a classic and controversial New Critical essay entitled "The Intentional Fallacy", in which they argued strongly against the relevance of an author's intention, or "intended meaning" in the analysis of a literary work. For Wimsatt and Beardsley, the words on the page were all that mattered; importation of meanings from outside the text was considered irrelevant, and potentially distracting.

In another essay, "The Affective Fallacy," which served as a kind of sister essay to "The Intentional Fallacy" Wimsatt and Beardsley also discounted the reader's personal/emotional reaction to a literary work as a valid means of analyzing a text. This fallacy would later be repudiated by theorists from the reader-response school of literary theory. One of the leading theorists from this school, Stanley Fish, was himself trained by New Critics. Fish criticizes Wimsatt and Beardsley in his essay "Literature in the Reader" (1970). [31]

As summarized by Berys Gaut and Livingston in their essay "The Creation of Art": "Structuralist and post-structuralists theorists and critics were sharply critical of many aspects of New Criticism, beginning with the emphasis on aesthetic appreciation and the so-called autonomy of art, but they reiterated the attack on biographical criticisms' assumption that the artist's activities and experience were a privileged critical topic." [32] These authors contend that: "Anti-intentionalists, such as formalists, hold that the intentions involved in the making of art are irrelevant or peripheral to correctly interpreting art. So details of the act of creating a work, though possibly of interest in themselves, have no bearing on the correct interpretation of the work." [33]

Gaut and Livingston define the intentionalists as distinct from formalists stating that: "Intentionalists, unlike formalists, hold that reference to intentions is essential in fixing the correct interpretation of works." They quote Richard Wollheim as stating that, "The task of criticism is the reconstruction of the creative process, where the creative process must in turn be thought of as something not stopping short of, but terminating on, the work of art itself." [33]

Derivative forms of aesthetics

A large number of derivative forms of aesthetics have developed as contemporary and transitory forms of inquiry associated with the field of aesthetics which include the post-modern, psychoanalytic, scientific, and mathematical among others.

Post-modern aesthetics and psychoanalysis

Example of the Dada aesthetic, Marcel Duchamp's Fountain 1917 Duchamp Fountaine.jpg
Example of the Dada aesthetic, Marcel Duchamp's Fountain 1917

Early-twentieth-century artists, poets and composers challenged existing notions of beauty, broadening the scope of art and aesthetics. In 1941, Eli Siegel, American philosopher and poet, founded Aesthetic Realism, the philosophy that reality itself is aesthetic, and that "The world, art, and self explain each other: each is the aesthetic oneness of opposites." [34] [35]

Various attempts have been made to define Post-Modern Aesthetics. The challenge to the assumption that beauty was central to art and aesthetics, thought to be original, is actually continuous with older aesthetic theory; Aristotle was the first in the Western tradition to classify "beauty" into types as in his theory of drama, and Kant made a distinction between beauty and the sublime. What was new was a refusal to credit the higher status of certain types, where the taxonomy implied a preference for tragedy and the sublime to comedy and the Rococo.

Croce suggested that "expression" is central in the way that beauty was once thought to be central. George Dickie suggested that the sociological institutions of the art world were the glue binding art and sensibility into unities. [36] Marshall McLuhan suggested that art always functions as a "counter-environment" designed to make visible what is usually invisible about a society. [37] Theodor Adorno felt that aesthetics could not proceed without confronting the role of the culture industry in the commodification of art and aesthetic experience. Hal Foster attempted to portray the reaction against beauty and Modernist art in The Anti-Aesthetic: Essays on Postmodern Culture. Arthur Danto has described this reaction as "kalliphobia" (after the Greek word for beauty, κάλλος kallos). [38] André Malraux explains that the notion of beauty was connected to a particular conception of art that arose with the Renaissance and was still dominant in the eighteenth century (but was supplanted later). The discipline of aesthetics, which originated in the eighteenth century, mistook this transient state of affairs for a revelation of the permanent nature of art. [39] Brian Massumi suggests to reconsider beauty following the aesthetical thought in the philosophy of Deleuze and Guattari. [40] Walter Benjamin echoed Malraux in believing aesthetics was a comparatively recent invention, a view proven wrong in the late 1970s, when Abraham Moles and Frieder Nake analyzed links between beauty, information processing, and information theory. Denis Dutton in "The Art Instinct" also proposed that an aesthetic sense was a vital evolutionary factor.

Jean-François Lyotard re-invokes the Kantian distinction between taste and the sublime. Sublime painting, unlike kitsch realism, "... will enable us to see only by making it impossible to see; it will please only by causing pain." [41] [42]

Sigmund Freud inaugurated aesthetical thinking in Psychoanalysis mainly via the "Uncanny" as aesthetical affect. [43] Following Freud and Merleau-Ponty, [44] Jacques Lacan theorized aesthetics in terms of sublimation and the Thing. [45]

The relation of Marxist aesthetics to post-modern aesthetics is still a contentious area of debate.

Recent aesthetics

Guy Sircello has pioneered efforts in analytic philosophy to develop a rigorous theory of aesthetics, focusing on the concepts of beauty, [46] love [47] and sublimity. [48] In contrast to romantic theorists Sircello argued for the objectivity of beauty and formulated a theory of love on that basis.

British philosopher and theorist of conceptual art aesthetics, Peter Osborne, makes the point that "'post-conceptual art' aesthetic does not concern a particular type of contemporary art so much as the historical-ontological condition for the production of contemporary art in general ...". [49] Osborne noted that contemporary art is 'post-conceptual' in a public lecture delivered in 2010.

Gary Tedman has put forward a theory of a subjectless aesthetics derived from Karl Marx's concept of alienation, and Louis Althusser's antihumanism, using elements of Freud's group psychology, defining a concept of the 'aesthetic level of practice'. [50]

Gregory Loewen has suggested that the subject is key in the interaction with the aesthetic object. The work of art serves as a vehicle for the projection of the individual's identity into the world of objects, as well as being the irruptive source of much of what is uncanny in modern life. As well, art is used to memorialize individuated biographies in a manner that allows persons to imagine that they are part of something greater than themselves. [51]

Aesthetics and science

The Mandelbrot set with continuously coloured environment Mandel zoom 00 mandelbrot set.jpg
The Mandelbrot set with continuously coloured environment

The field of experimental aesthetics was founded by Gustav Theodor Fechner in the 19th century. Experimental aesthetics in these times had been characterized by a subject-based, inductive approach. The analysis of individual experience and behaviour based on experimental methods is a central part of experimental aesthetics. In particular, the perception of works of art, [52] music, or modern items such as websites [53] or other IT products [54] is studied. Experimental aesthetics is strongly oriented towards the natural sciences. Modern approaches mostly come from the fields of cognitive psychology or neuroscience (neuroaesthetics [55] ).

In the 1970s, Abraham Moles and Frieder Nake were among the first to analyze links between aesthetics, information processing, and information theory. [56] [57]

In the 1990s, Jürgen Schmidhuber described an algorithmic theory of beauty which takes the subjectivity of the observer into account and postulates: among several observations classified as comparable by a given subjective observer, the aesthetically most pleasing one is the one with the shortest description, given the observer's previous knowledge and his particular method for encoding the data. [58] [59] This is closely related to the principles of algorithmic information theory and minimum description length. One of his examples: mathematicians enjoy simple proofs with a short description in their formal language. Another very concrete example describes an aesthetically pleasing human face whose proportions can be described by very few bits of information, [60] [61] drawing inspiration from less detailed 15th century proportion studies by Leonardo da Vinci and Albrecht Dürer. Schmidhuber's theory explicitly distinguishes between what's beautiful and what's interesting, stating that interestingness corresponds to the first derivative of subjectively perceived beauty. Here the premise is that any observer continually tries to improve the predictability and compressibility of the observations by discovering regularities such as repetitions and symmetries and fractal self-similarity. Whenever the observer's learning process (which may be a predictive artificial neural network; see also Neuroesthetics) leads to improved data compression such that the observation sequence can be described by fewer bits than before, the temporary interestingness of the data corresponds to the number of saved bits. This compression progress is proportional to the observer's internal reward, also called curiosity reward. A reinforcement learning algorithm is used to maximize future expected reward by learning to execute action sequences that cause additional interesting input data with yet unknown but learnable predictability or regularity. The principles can be implemented on artificial agents which then exhibit a form of artificial curiosity. [62] [63] [64] [65]

Truth in beauty and mathematics

Mathematical considerations, such as symmetry and complexity, are used for analysis in theoretical aesthetics. This is different from the aesthetic considerations of applied aesthetics used in the study of mathematical beauty. Aesthetic considerations such as symmetry and simplicity are used in areas of philosophy, such as ethics and theoretical physics and cosmology to define truth, outside of empirical considerations. Beauty and Truth have been argued to be nearly synonymous, [66] as reflected in the statement "Beauty is truth, truth beauty" in the poem Ode on a Grecian Urn by John Keats, or by the Hindu motto "Satyam Shivam Sundaram" (Satya (Truth) is Shiva (God), and Shiva is Sundaram (Beautiful)). The fact that judgments of beauty and judgments of truth both are influenced by processing fluency, which is the ease with which information can be processed, has been presented as an explanation for why beauty is sometimes equated with truth. [67] Indeed, recent research found that people use beauty as an indication for truth in mathematical pattern tasks. [68] However, scientists including the mathematician David Orrell [69] and physicist Marcelo Gleiser [70] have argued that the emphasis on aesthetic criteria such as symmetry is equally capable of leading scientists astray.

Computational approaches

In 1928, the mathematician George David Birkhoff created an aesthetic measure M = O/C as the ratio of order to complexity. [71]

Since about 2005, computer scientists have attempted to develop automated methods to infer aesthetic quality of images. [72] [73] [74] [75] Typically, these approaches follow a machine learning approach, where large numbers of manually rated photographs are used to "teach" a computer about what visual properties are of relevance to aesthetic quality. The Acquine engine, developed at Penn State University, rates natural photographs uploaded by users. [76]

There have also been relatively successful attempts with regard to chess[ further explanation needed ] and music. [77] A relation between Max Bense's mathematical formulation of aesthetics in terms of "redundancy" and "complexity" and theories of musical anticipation was offered using the notion of Information Rate. [78]

Evolutionary aesthetics

Evolutionary aesthetics refers to evolutionary psychology theories in which the basic aesthetic preferences of Homo sapiens are argued to have evolved in order to enhance survival and reproductive success. [79] One example being that humans are argued to find beautiful and prefer landscapes which were good habitats in the ancestral environment. Another example is that body symmetry and proportion are important aspects of physical attractiveness which may be due to this indicating good health during body growth. Evolutionary explanations for aesthetical preferences are important parts of evolutionary musicology, Darwinian literary studies, and the study of the evolution of emotion.

Applied aesthetics

As well as being applied to art, aesthetics can also be applied to cultural objects, such as crosses or tools. For example, aesthetic coupling between art-objects and medical topics was made by speakers working for the US Information Agency [80] Art slides were linked to slides of pharmacological data, which improved attention and retention by simultaneous activation of intuitive right brain with rational left. It can also be used in topics as diverse as mathematics, gastronomy, fashion and website design. [81] [82] [83]

Criticism

The philosophy of aesthetics as a practice has been criticized by some sociologists and writers of art and society. Raymond Williams, for example, argues that there is no unique and or individual aesthetic object which can be extrapolated from the art world, but rather that there is a continuum of cultural forms and experience of which ordinary speech and experiences may signal as art. By "art" we may frame several artistic "works" or "creations" as so though this reference remains within the institution or special event which creates it and this leaves some works or other possible "art" outside of the frame work, or other interpretations such as other phenomenon which may not be considered as "art".[ citation needed ]

Pierre Bourdieu disagrees with Kant's idea of the "aesthetic". He argues that Kant's "aesthetic" merely represents an experience that is the product of an elevated class habitus and scholarly leisure as opposed to other possible and equally valid "aesthetic" experiences which lay outside Kant's narrow definition.[ citation needed ]

Timothy Laurie argues that theories of musical aesthetics "framed entirely in terms of appreciation, contemplation or reflection risk idealizing an implausibly unmotivated listener defined solely through musical objects, rather than seeing them as a person for whom complex intentions and motivations produce variable attractions to cultural objects and practices". [84]

See also

Related Research Articles

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Immanuel Kant was an influential German philosopher in the Age of Enlightenment. In his doctrine of transcendental idealism, he argued that space, time, and causation are mere sensibilities; "things-in-themselves" exist, but their nature is unknowable. In his view, the mind shapes and structures experience, with all human experience sharing certain structural features. He drew a parallel to the Copernican revolution in his proposition that worldly objects can be intuited a priori ('beforehand'), and that intuition is therefore independent from objective reality. Kant believed that reason is the source of morality, and that aesthetics arise from a faculty of disinterested judgment. Kant's views continue to have a major influence on contemporary philosophy, especially the fields of epistemology, ethics, political theory, and post-modern aesthetics.

Jean-François Lyotard French philosopher

Jean-François Lyotard was a French philosopher, sociologist, and literary theorist. His interdisciplinary discourse spans such topics as epistemology and communication, the human body, modern art and postmodern art, literature and critical theory, music, film, time and memory, space, the city and landscape, the sublime, and the relation between aesthetics and politics. He is best known for his articulation of postmodernism after the late 1970s and the analysis of the impact of postmodernity on the human condition. He was a director of the International College of Philosophy which was founded by Jacques Derrida, François Châtelet, Jean-Pierre Faye and Dominique Lecourt.

Alexander Gottlieb Baumgarten was a German philosopher. He was a brother to theologian Siegmund Jakob Baumgarten (1706–1757).

<i>Critique of Judgment</i> 1790 book by Immanuel Kant

The Critique of Judgment, also translated as the Critique of the Power of Judgment, is a 1790 book by the German philosopher Immanuel Kant. Sometimes referred to as the "third critique," the Critique of Judgment follows the Critique of Pure Reason (1781) and the Critique of Practical Reason (1788).

Sublime (philosophy) quality of greatness

In aesthetics, the sublime is the quality of greatness, whether physical, moral, intellectual, metaphysical, aesthetic, spiritual, or artistic. The term especially refers to a greatness beyond all possibility of calculation, measurement, or imitation.

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Aesthetics of music branch of philosophy that deals with the nature of art, beauty and taste in music

Aesthetics of music is a branch of philosophy that deals with the nature of art, beauty and taste in music, and with the creation or appreciation of beauty in music. In the pre-modern tradition, the aesthetics of music or musical aesthetics explored the mathematical and cosmological dimensions of rhythmic and harmonic organization. In the eighteenth century, focus shifted to the experience of hearing music, and thus to questions about its beauty and human enjoyment of music. The origin of this philosophic shift is sometimes attributed to Baumgarten in the 18th century, followed by Kant. Through their writing, the ancient term aesthetics, meaning sensory perception, received its present-day connotation. In recent decades philosophers have tended to emphasize issues besides beauty and enjoyment. For example, music's capacity to express emotion has been a central issue.

This is an alphabetical index of articles about aesthetics.

A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful is a 1757 treatise on aesthetics written by Edmund Burke. It was the first complete philosophical exposition for separating the beautiful and the sublime into their own respective rational categories. It attracted the attention of prominent thinkers such as Denis Diderot and Immanuel Kant.

This description of the history of aesthetics before the twentieth century is based on an article from the Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition.

Christopher Janaway is a philosopher and author. Before moving to Southampton in 2005, Janaway taught at the University of Sydney and Birkbeck, University of London. His recent research has been on Arthur Schopenhauer, Friedrich Nietzsche and aesthetics. His 2007 book Beyond Selflessness: Reading Nietzsche's Genealogy focuses on a critical examination of Nietzsche's On the Genealogy of Morals. Janaway currently lectures at the University of Southampton, including a module focusing on Nietzsche.

Mathematical beauty notion that some mathematicians may derive aesthetic pleasure from their work, and from mathematics in general. They express this pleasure by describing mathematics (or, at least, some aspect of mathematics) as beautiful

Mathematical beauty describes the notion that some mathematicians may derive aesthetic pleasure from their work, and from mathematics in general. They express this pleasure by describing mathematics as beautiful. Mathematicians describe mathematics as an art form or, at a minimum, as a creative activity. Comparisons are often made with music and poetry.

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to aesthetics:

<i>Aesthetic Theory</i> book by Theodor Adorno

Aesthetic Theory is a book by the German philosopher Theodor Adorno, which was culled from drafts written between 1956 and 1969 and ultimately published posthumously in 1970. Although anchored by the philosophical study of art, the book is interdisciplinary and incorporates elements of political philosophy, sociology, metaphysics and other philosophical pursuits in keeping with Adorno's boundary-shunning methodology.

Arnold Berleant American philosopher

Arnold Berleant is an American scholar and author who is active both in philosophy and music.

Guy Sircello (1936–1992) was an American philosopher best known for his analytic approach to philosophical aesthetics.

<i>The Sense of Beauty</i> book by George Santayana

The Sense of Beauty is a book on aesthetics by the philosopher George Santayana. The book was published in 1896 by Charles Scribner's Sons, and is based on the lectures Santayana gave on aesthetics while teaching at Harvard University. Santayana published the book out of necessity, for tenure, rather than inspiration. In an anecdote retold by art critic Arthur Danto of a meeting with Santayana in 1950, Santayana was reported to have said that "they let me know through the ladies that I had better publish a book... on art, of course. So I wrote this wretched potboiler."

Aesthetics of nature is a sub-field of philosophical ethics, and refers to the study of natural objects from their aesthetical perspective.

At the broadest level, a theory of art aims to shed light on some aspect of the project of defining art or to theorize about the structure of our concept of ‘art’ without providing classical definitions, namely traditional functions. If the work of "art" has a materialistic intent it is a "tool" whether a tool intellectually, physically, spiritually or mentally.... And thus not "Genuine True Art" which has no purpose but to be itself"..

Feminist aesthetics first emerged in the 1970's and refers not to a particular aesthetic or style but to perspectives that question assumptions in art and aesthetics concerning sex-role stereotypes, or gender. In particular, feminists argue that despite seeming neutral or inclusive, the way people think about art and aesthetics is influenced by sex roles. Feminist aesthetics is a tool for analyzing how art is understood using gendered issues. A person's gender identity affects the ways in which they perceive art and aesthetics because of their subject position and the fact that perception is influenced by power. The ways in which people see art is also influenced by social values such as class and race. One's subject position in life changes the way art is perceived because of people's different knowledge's about life and experiences. In the way that feminist history unsettles traditional history, feminist aesthetics challenge philosophies of beauty, the arts and sensory experience.

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Further reading