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Contemporary Chinese Aesthetics


Edited By Zhu Liyuan and Gene Blocker

This book is a collection of translations of recent work by contemporary Chinese aestheticians. Because of the relative isolation of China until recently, little is known of this rich and ongoing aesthetics tradition in China. Although some of the articles are concerned with the traditional ancient Chinese theories of art and beauty, many are inspired by Western aesthetics, including Marxism, and all are involved in cross-cultural comparisons of Chinese and Western aesthetic traditions.


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The Sense of Beauty: Cai Yi 55


The Sense of Beauty Cai Yi In this paper I want to consider aesthetic cognition as the basis of the sense of beauty. For convenience, it would be better to talk about aesthetic cognition first. The so-called sense of beauty, in the broadest sense of the tem1, involves, first of all, a cognitive clement, tl1at is, tl1e perception or sensation of the beautiful, and at the san1e time an emotive element, that is, an aesthetic experience and stirring of emotions by what is beautiful. However, in the course of the historica I development of Western aesthetics, especially in modem times, the original cognitive aspect of the sense of beauty has been gradually reduced or completely ignored, and the aspect of feelings has been so expanded little by little that eventually it turns out to be almost the entire meaning of tl1e tem1 "beauty", so that whenever tl1e sense of beauty is discussed it always seems to be referring to the arousing of feelings. It is true tl1at the arousing of feelings is a remarkably characteristic of the sense of beauty. But is it also true tl1at tl1e sense of beauty refers solely to feelings? And is it true that feelings arc not at all related to cognition? Needless to say, I don't believe so. Certainly, t11e problem of the sense of beauty is a very complicated one, and one very difficult to tackle. This is not only because it is concerned with many different aspects, but mainly because tl1e inner...

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