Essays on Art, Aesthetics, and Culture
1. The Nature and Limits of Analytic Aesthetics
The expression “analytic aesthetics” elicits two questions: “What does ‘analytic’ mean in this case?” and “What is aesthetics?” Since the nature of analytic aesthetics is the main topic of my essay, I will content myself with a few introductory remarks about the scope of the term “aesthetics”. There seem to be, roughly speaking, two main usages of the term prevalent in the artworld today. In the wide sense of the term, “aesthetics” refers to all theoretical study of the arts, in a narrower usage, “aesthetics” is used synonymously with “philosophy of art”. The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, for example, which has a pronounced philosophical and analytic profile, uses the term “aesthetics” in the wide sense. It includes “all studies of the arts and related types of experience from a philosophic, scientific, or other theoretical standpoint, including those of psychology, sociology, anthropology, cultural history, art criticism, and education”.1
Many philosophers, on the other hand, tend to identify aesthetics with the philosophy of art. To take a recent example, Anne Sheppard has entitled her introduction to the philosophy of art, Aesthetics: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Art (1987), and Joseph Margolis speaks in the introduction to the anthology Philosophy Looks at the Arts (1987) of “the philosophy of art — or aesthetics”.2 I think it is preferable to distinguish between aesthetics and the philosophy of art and not to use the expressions “aesthetics” and “philosophy of art” synonymously. According to...
You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.
This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.
Do you have any questions? Contact us.Or login to access all content.