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Aesthetics in Dialogue

Applying Philosophy of Art in a Global World

Edited By Zoltan Somhegyi and Max Ryynänen

The impact of aesthetics is increasing again. For today’s scholars, aesthetic theories are a significant companion and contribution in studying and ana-lysing cultural phenomena and production. Today’s scene of aesthetics is more global than what it is in most disciplines, as it does not just include scholars from all over the world, but also keeps on applying philosophical traditions globally
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13 Aesthetics of Care (Yuriko Saito)


Yuriko Saito

AbstractThe predominant concerns of ethics in Western philosophy had been rule-governed objectivity, rationality, fairness, impartiality, and universality, exemplified by justice and rights. Ethics of care instead calls attention to the moral dimensions of our concrete and specific relationships and daily interactions with others. The character and quality of our everyday life are affected, and sometimes determined, by the nature of such personal and social engagements. My discussion focuses on the ways in which the moral virtues of sensitivity, thoughtfulness, gentleness, and respect are expressed aesthetically in caring attitudes and actions.

I explore aesthetics of care by first arguing for the structural similarities of care ethics and aesthetic experience: respect for the other by acknowledging its concrete singularity and appreciating it on its own terms; responding with an appropriate attitude and an action tailored to the specific situation; and engaging in an action or an experience for its intrinsic value. Through analysing various examples of aesthetics of care in art, design, and social interactions, some from the Japanese aesthetic and cultural tradition, I show how aesthetics is integral to care ethics, as well as how care plays an important role in aesthetics. I conclude by noting that cultivating the capacity to appreciate expression of care and to express care is both an ethical and aesthetic task for all of us.

Keywords: aesthetic experience, care, design, Japanese aesthetics, social interactions

In Western philosophy, the primary concern for ethics had been rule-governed objectivity,...

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