The Oxford Handbook of Aesthetics (Oxford Handbooks Series) by Jerrold Levinson PDF

By Jerrold Levinson

ISBN-10: 0199279454

ISBN-13: 9780199279456

The Oxford instruction manual of Aesthetics brings the authority, liveliness, and multi-disciplinary scope of the instruction manual sequence to a desirable topic in philosophy and the humanities. Jerrold Levinson has assembled a highly notable diversity of expertise to give a contribution forty eight brand-new essays, making this the main complete consultant to be had to the idea, program, background, and way forward for the sector. This instruction manual may be worthwhile to teachers and scholars throughout philosophy and all branches of the humanities, either because the reference paintings of selection and as a stimulus to new study and creativity.

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He then stresses the tension this causes in Kant's thought about art, which is clearly a product of intentional human activity on the one hand, thus imbued with determinate concepts of the ends to be achieved by such activity, yet must be free of constraint by determinate concepts on the other. Schaeffer argues that Kant attempts to resolve this tension through his theory of genius, but that he ends up allowing an unresolved conflict between genius and taste within his conception of artistic production, thereby reproducing rather than resolving the tension (Schaeffer 2000: 40–9); here, however, one might reply that this tension is not so much a theoretical failure as an accurate reflection of the real challenge of achieving a balance between originality and public accessibility in artistic innovation.

Dickie is surely right on the first point, a point also argued by Peter Kivy (see Kivy 1976a: chapters II and III). But he does not do justice to the variety of beauty-making characteristics that Hutcheson actually subsumes under his abstract idea of unity amidst variety. Dickie makes little of Hutcheson's idea of the beauty of theorems, which certainly involves what the Germans of the time called the ‘higher cognitive powers’ in the activities of the ‘internal sense’; and, while he does recognize that Hutcheson includes representation or mimesis as a form of unity amidst variety, under the rubric of ‘relative beauty’, he does not note that Hutcheson also includes correspondence between intention and outcome as another form of relative beauty, thereby allowing room for the appreciation of the artistry manifest in an artefact, as well as for the particular beauty-making characteristics that such artistry may have produced, and thus opening the door for subsequent theories of genius as well as beauty.

Carroll thus rejects what he takes to be the eighteenth-century invention of the ‘aesthetic theory of art’, as contrasted to a theory of art on which it could have purposes other than that of producing a response to beauty. The main figures in Carroll's narrative are Hutcheson, Kant, the early twentieth-century British critic Clive Bell, and the mid-twentieth century American philosopher Monroe Beardsley. Carroll considers Hutcheson's theory, that the experience of beauty is an immediate sensory response to uniformity amidst variety, and Kant's theory, focused on ‘free beauty’, that ‘ “x is beautiful” is an authentic judgement of taste (or an aesthetic judgement) if and only if it is a judgement that is (1) subjective, (2) disinterested, (3) universal, (4) necessary, and (5) singular, concerning (6) the contemplative pleasure that everyone ought to derive from (7) cognitive and imaginative free play in relation to (8) forms of finality’ (Carroll 1991: 316–17).

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The Oxford Handbook of Aesthetics (Oxford Handbooks Series) by Jerrold Levinson


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