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Van Lierop, Bernard
Languages: English
Types: Doctoral thesis
Subjects: N1, BH
The two research questions of this thesis are: 'What is the aesthetic' and 'What is the relationship of the aesthetic to art' These questions launch an argument that seeks to challenge and reverse some recent 'deflationary' accounts of the aesthetic. The research uses the foundational aesthetics of Hume, Baumgarten and Kant to counter the arguments of deflationary aesthetics, then, drawing upon evolutionary theory and cognitive neuroscience, it highlights the power of the aesthetic in both nature and art. The 'deflationist' George Dickie called the aesthetic attitude a 'myth' and dismissed the concept of 'disinterestedness'. Gombrich doubted whether shared aesthetic values are possible, while Danto initially argued that aesthetic properties are merely imputed to artworks through context. For Carroll, historical precedence determines the identity of art, with the aesthetic reduced to a contingency. However, Hume and Kant testified to the realism of both disinterestedness and the aesthetic attitude, while Baumgarten proposed a new science of aesthetics to underscore the centrality of the senses to epistemology, rhetoric and art, notably through his postulated 'imaged concepts', the apparent source for Kant's 'aesthetic ideas'. Danto's final acknowledgment of the artistic role of enthymeme and metaphor signalled his acceptance of art's essentially aesthetic character. Evidence from Darwin confirms that the aesthetic is a shaping force in evolution, rather than a construct of human culture, and much congruence is revealed between the aesthetics of Baumgarten and Kant, and recent cognitive neuroscience. It is argued that philosophical aesthetics needs to integrate the findings of science into its metaphysics. Accordingly, this thesis offers some new definitions of the aesthetic attitude, rhetoric and art, principally influenced by Baumgarten and biology. The arguments are further evaluated through three case studies: 'bowerbird art', the 'nexus of art, power and crime', and 'sound sculpture'.
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    • 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 2 Baumgarten's adaptation o f the axiomatic style is explained in the 'Introduction' to Alexander Gottlieb
    • Baumgarten (1735; 1954 edn.) Reflections on Poetry, with an Introduction, Notes, and
    • Angeles, University o f California Press, pp. 10-16. 3 Daniel C. Dennett (1995) Darwin's Dangerous Idea: Evolution and the Meaning o f Life, London,
    • Penguin. 4 Jerry A. Fodor (1983) Modularity o f Mind: an Essay on Faculty Psychology, Cambridge, Mass., MIT
    • Press. 5 Gregory Currie (1989) An Ontology o f Art, Basingstoke, Macmillan. 6 John R. Searle (1979) Expression and Meaning: Studies in the Theory o f Speech Acts, Cambridge, CUP. 7 Arthur C. Danto (1981) The Transfiguration o f the Commonplace: A Philosophy o f Art, Cambridge Mass., Harvard University Press. 8 Joseph Margolis (2001) Selves and Other Texts: The Casefo r Cultural Realism, University Park Pa.,
    • Pennsylvania State University Press. 9 Alexander Gottlieb Baumgarten Op. Cit. §29, scholium, p. 49. This is Aschenbrenner and Holter's
    • idea'. 10Ibid. §116, p. 78. The lull context o f this definition o f aesthetics as translated by Aschenbrenner and
    • science o f perception, or AESTHETIC'; in the facsimile, p. 39, this sentence reads: Sunt ergo
    • uoTyra cognoscendafacultate superiore obiectum logices, aiaGqia £7ii<;Tr|fir|<; aia6r|TiKT|<; sive
    • A e sth e tic a e'. u Ibid. §115, pp. 77-8. 12 See footnote 10, above. 13 'AESTHETICS is the science o f sensorily knowing and proposing (the logical faculty o f lower
    • beautifully, art as an analogy to reason);' my translation o f §533 o f the Metaphysica from
    • Alexander Gottlieb Baumgarten (1983 edn), Texte zur Grundlegung der Asthetik, extracts from
    • Notes by Hans Rudolf Schweizer, Hamburg, Felix Meiner Verlag, p. 16. See my translation o f
    • §§501-623 o f the Metaphysica from the Latin in Appendix D. 14 As expressed at the end o f his second philosophical letter, written under the pseudonym Aletheophilus
    • in 1741, reprinted by Hans Rudolf Schweizer in Alexander Gottlieb Baumgarten (1983 edn) Op.
    • Cit. (pp. 67-72) p. 72. 15 Alexander Gottlieb Baumgarten Op. Cit. (1735; 1954 edn.) §41, pp. 52-3 mentions pictures. §533 from
    • the Metaphysica, quoted in footnote 13, above, is even more explicit. 16 Paul Guyer (2005) Values o f Beauty: Historical Essays in Aesthetics, Cambridge, CUP, p. 29. Kant's
    • 'aesthetic idea', defined in Immanuel Kant, (1790; 1987 edn.) Critique o f Judgment, translated
    • and edited by W.S. Pluhar Indianapolis, Hackett, §48, Ak 312-3, pp. 180-1. 17 Clive Bell is usually identified as the paradigmatic formalist, as in his (1914; 1949 edn.) Art, London,
    • qualities, rather than their literary or sentimental content. 18Noel Carroll (2002) “Aesthetic Experience Revisited” BJA (Vol. 42, no. 2) pp. 145-168. 19 This corresponds to sceptical hypothesis SH7, above:' The term “aesthetic” by definition excludes the
    • cognitive, historical, or moral'. See Noel Carroll (1986) “Art and Interaction” JAAC, Vol. 45,
    • no. 1, pp. 57-68, reprinted N. Carroll (2001a) Beyond Aesthetics: Philosophical Essays,
    • Cambridge, CUP (pp. 5-20), pp. 15-6. Carroll has rowed back from his 1986 position, now
    • viewpoints o f artworks', in Noel Carroll (2001b) 'Four Concepts o f the Aesthetic' in Noel
    • Carroll Op. Cit. (2001a) (pp. 41-62) p. 61. This appears to be the first publication o f this essay,
    • in a book which is otherwise a collection o f reprints. 20 Noel Carroll Op. Cit. (2001b) pp. 58-62. 21 A.J. Ayer (1936) Language, Truth and Logic (2nd Edition, 1946), London, Victor Gollanz, p. 113. 22 Gombrich is famous for saying, 'There really is no such thing as Art. There are only artists', in (1963)
    • The Story o f Art, London, Phaidon, p. 5. Sheldon Richmond explains how this extends to a
    • general scepticism about the aesthetic, in his (1994) Aesthetic Criteria: Gombrich and the
    • Three, section 3.5.1, below. 23 Alexander Gottlieb Baumgarten Op. Cit. (1735; 1954 edn.) §14, p. 42, and §116, p. 78. 24 Metaphors were described as 'non-proper' terms: metaphorici termini improprii in Alexander Gottlieb
    • Baumgarten Op. Cit. (1735; 1954 edn.) §83, facsimile, p. 30. 25 Ibid §21 and its scholium pp. 45-6. 26 The history o f these divisions has been recounted by Kai Hammermeister in his 2002 book, The
    • German Aesthetic Tradition, Cambridge, CUP. 27 Clive Bell Op. Cit. (1914; 1949 edn.). 28 Monroe C. Beardsley (1983) “An Aesthetic Definition o f Art”, in Hugh Curher (Ed.) What is Art? New
    • York, Haven Publications, reprinted in Peter Lamarque and Stein Haugom Olsen (Eds.) (2004)
    • Aesthetics and the Philosophy o fArt: the Analytic Tradition, Oxford, Blackwell, pp. 55-62. 29 Jerome Stolnitz (1960) Aesthetics and the Philosophy o fArt: a critical introduction, Boston MA,
    • Houghton Mifflin. 30 George Dickie (1964) “The Myth o f the Aesthetic Attitude”, The American Philosophical Quarterly,
    • Vol. 1, pp. 56-65. 31 Arthur C. Danto (1964) "The Artworld" Journal o f Philosophy, Vol. 61, pp. 571-84, reprinted in A.
    • Neill and A. Ridley (Eds) (1995) The Philosophy o fArt: Readings Ancient and Modern, Boston
    • Massachusetts, McGraw Hill, pp. 202-11. 32 Noel Carroll Op. Cit. (2001a). 33 Paul Guyer criticises the selectivity o f Dickie and Carroll's accounts o f the character and history o f the
    • 'aesthetic' within the philosophy o f art in his (2003) 'History o f Modem Aesthetics' in Jerrold
    • Levinson (Ed.) (2003) The Oxford Handbook o fAesthetics, Oxford, OUP (pp. 25-60) pp. 29-31. 34Noel Carroll wrote: 'I have always thought that Dickie's classic article “The Myth o f the Aesthetic
    • Institutional Theory o f Art', in his Op. Cit. (2001a) 'Introduction', p. 2. 37 Stephen Davies (1991) Definitions o f Art, Ithica, Cornell University Press. He draws this distinction in
    • Chapter 2 (pp. 23-49, and develops it in Chapters 3 and 4 (pp. 50-114). 38 Noel Carroll Op. Cit. (2001a and b) and Op. Cit. (2002).
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