Aestheticism is broader in scope than the philosophy of art. It is also broader than the philosophy of beauty, in that it applies to any of the responses we might expect works of art or entertainment to elicit, whether positive or negative. That is why the articles in this collective volume aim to highlight the various reverberations of aestheticism on literature and education over the centuries.
Aestheticism can be defined broadly as the elevation of taste and the pursuit of beauty as chief principles in art and in life. It has always held an important place in education, literature and philosophy. Aesthetics is seen as the branch of philosophy concerned with the nature and appreciation of art, beauty and good taste. It has also been defined as the critical reflection on art, culture and nature. The word “aesthetics” derives from the Greek “aisthetikos”, meaning “of sense perception”. Along with Ethics, aesthetics is part of axiology (the study of values and value judgements).
In practise we distinguish between aesthetic judgements (the appreciation of any object, not necessarily an art object) and artistic judgements (the appreciation or criticism of a work of art). Thus aesthetics is broader in scope than the philosophy of art. It is also broader than the philosophy of beauty, in that it applies to any of the responses we might expect works of art or entertainment to elicit, whether positive or negative.
Aestheticians ask questions like “What is a work of art?”, “What makes a work of art successful?”, “Why do we find certain things beautiful?”, “How can things of very different categories be considered equally beautiful?”, “Is there a connection between art and morality?”, “Can art be a vehicle of truth?”, “Are aesthetic judgements objective statements or purely subjective expressions of personal attitudes?”, “Can aesthetic judgements be improved or trained?” In very general terms, it examines what...
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