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Notions of the Aesthetic and of Aesthetics

Essays on Art, Aesthetics, and Culture

Lars-Olof Ahlberg

The essays in the first part of this book, «Art and Aesthetics», are devoted to the invention and development of aesthetics as a discipline. The essays’ topics range from the nature of analytic aesthetics and the invention of modern aesthetics to notions of the aesthetic and of aesthetics. Further study in this part explores the «aesthetic turn», Bourdieu’s critique of aesthetics and understanding and appreciating art. The second part, «Music, Literature, and Painting», deals with questions of form and content, musical formalism, Susanne Langer’s theory of music as well as with the analogy between ornament and music and the values of literature. In addition, there is an essay on «Northern Light and Darkness in Music and Painting». The third part, «Heidegger and the Essence of Art», is devoted to Heidegger’s philosophy of art, in particular to the role he assigns to van Gogh and Hölderlin. And in the fourth and final part, «Modernity/Postmodernity and Culture», postmodern conceptions of history and Lyotard’s theory of the postmodern sublime are discussed, and in the last essay the challenge of evolutionary psychology to the humanities is addressed.
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I thank the following publishers and editors for permission to republish and use material previously published:

Oxford University Press:

I.1 “The Nature and Limits of Analytic Aesthetics”, British Journal of Aesthetics, vol. 33, no.1, 1993, pp. 5–16.

II.3 “Susanne Langer on Representation and Emotion in Music”, British Journal of Aesthetics, vol. 34, no. 1, 1994, pp. 69–80.

The Editor-in Chief, The Scientific Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts in Ljubljana:

II.1 “On Form and Content” previously published as “Form and Content Revisited”, Filozofski Vestnik, eds. A. Erjavec & V. Likar, vol. 12, no. 1, 1991, pp. 9–26.

I.2 “The Invention of Modern Aesthetics: From Leibniz to Kant”, The Historical Seminar 4: 2001–2003, eds. Metoda Kokole, Vojislav Likar & Peter Weiss (Ljubljana: The Scientific Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts, 2003), pp. 133–153.

I.4 “Aesthetics, Philosophy of Culture, and ‘The Aesthetic Turn”’, Filozofski Vestnik, ed. Aleš Erjavec, vol. 22, no. 2, 2001, pp. 21–42.

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