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Aesthetics Aesthetics is the branch of philosophy that aims to establish the general principles of art and beauty.

It can be divided into the philosophy of art and the philosophy of beauty. Although some philosophers have considered one of these a subdivision of the other, the philosophies of art and beauty are essentially different. The philosophy of beauty recognizes aesthetic phenomena outside of art, as in nature or in nonartistic cultural phenomena such as morality, science, or mathematics; it is concerned with art only insofar as art is beautiful. The history of the arts in the West, however, has made it increasingly clear that there is much more to art than beauty and that art often has little or nothing to do with beauty. Until the !th century, the philosophy of beauty was generally given more attention than the philosophy of art. "ince that time, aestheticians have devoted more energy to the philosophy of art. #$I%&"&#$' &( A)T *etaphysics of Art Aestheticians as+ two main ,uestions about the metaphysics of art- . / what is the ontological status of wor+s of art, or what +ind of entity is a wor+ of art0 .1/ What access, if any, does art give the viewer or hearer to reality, or what +ind of +nowledge, if any, does art yield0 The first ,uestion arises, in part, because some wor+s of art, such as "2U%#TU)3", are much li+e ordinary physical ob4ects; others, such as #AI5TI56", have aspects that suggest that not all wor+s of art can be merely physical ob4ects. A painting, for e7ample, is typically flat, but it can represent spatial depth; and what the painting represents often seems more relevant aesthetically than its physical dimensions. To some aestheticians, the representational character seems to be what is essential to a painting as a wor+ of art. "ome philosophers have therefore concluded that wor+s of art are mental entities of some sort, because it is mental entities, such as visions and dreams, that are typically representational. &ther philosophers, who have noticed that artists can and do e7press some of their own attitudes, emotions, and personality traits in their art, have concluded that art wor+s belong in a category with 5&583)9A% 2&**U5I2ATI&5" rather than with physical ob4ects. A different line of thought suggests that wor+s of art are not li+e ob4ects even on a first impression. (or e7ample, the score of a "'*#$&5' is not the same as the symphony. The score is a set of directions for playing the music, but the musical wor+ can e7ist even if no one ever plays the score. 2onsiderations such as these have led many philosophers to say that wor+s of art e7ist only in the minds of their creators and of their hearers, viewers, or readers. The ,uestion whether art can provide +nowledge of, or insight into, reality is as old as philosophy itself. #lato argued in The )epublic that art has the power to represent only the appearances of reality. According to this theory, a painter reproduces .imitates/ a sub4ect on canvas. The counterposition, that art can yield insight into the real, is commonly held by modern philosophers, artists, and critics. *any critics, in fact, allege that art offers a special, nondiscursive, and intuitive +nowledge of reality that science and philosophy cannot achieve. 37perience of Art *odern discussions about how art is e7perienced have been dominated by theories devised in the !th century to describe the e7perience of beauty. As a conse,uence, many philosophers still thin+ of the typical e7perience of art as distanced, disinterested, or contemplative. This e7perience is supposed to be different, and removed, from everyday affairs and concerns. A few modern aestheticians, especially :ohn ;3W3', have stressed the continuity between aesthetic e7perience and everyday e7perience and have claimed for the e7perience of art a psychologically integrative function.

"antayana<s wor+ . "ome aestheticians in this century. the range of accepted beautiful things was becoming more and more restricted to natural things and artwor+s. until recently.ue about producing fine and especially great art. With respect to critical interpretations of a wor+. a basic . A related concern is what the criteria of relevance are for 4ustifying an interpretation or evaluation. a common assumption was that beauty applied not only. "ome philosophers called this relation Bharmony.What is the role of genius.ue of :udgment . #roduction of Art #hilosophical speculation about the production of art centers primarily on the following . to art. have argued that appeals to the artist<s intentions about a wor+ are never relevant in such conte7ts. . Whereas theorists of beauty had generally admitted that the perception of beauty always gives pleasure to the perceiver.uestion is whether conflicts over interpretations of a wor+ can be definitively settled by facts about the wor+. &ne . and a s+eptical position became popular. or whether more than one incompatible but reasonable interpretation of the same wor+ is possible. nearly all aestheticians now assume that something is uni. in artistic production0 What is the meaning of creativity0 $ow do the conditions for producing fine art differ from those for producing 2)A(T"0 &n the last issue. Immanuel AA5T<s contribution to aesthetics. This s+epticism has an interesting parallel in the !th century when. for e7ample. after many unsuccessful attempts to define beauty. ?@>/. of aestheticians< serious theoretical interest in beauty. aestheticians had not agreed upon a definition of art. people can 4udge a thing beautiful only if they ta+e pleasure of a certain +ind in e7periencing it. A radical position on this issue is that evaluative 4udgments are merely e7pressions of preference and thus cannot be considered either true or false. . the 4udgment that a thing is beautiful. but that it manifested itself in cultural institutions and moral character as well as in natural and artificial ob4ects.B (rom the time of the 6ree+s. The American philosopher 6eorge "A5TA'A5A too+ this sub4ectivism a step further by declaring that beauty is the same as pleasure==but pleasure then can be seen as Bob4ectifiedB in things. ancient and medieval philosophers assumed the same model for producing fine art and crafts. 9efore Aant. According to Aant.B that is. 9y the middle of the 1>th century. In that wor+.ualities shared by all beautiful ob4ects. *ost earlier theories of beauty had held that beauty was a comple7 relation between parts of a whole. or innate ability. or primarily. #$I%&"&#$' &( 93AUT' The s+epticism about beauty culminated in the 2riti. The present distinction between the two emerged in Western culture after the )35AI""A523. they had no conception that the two are distinct.:udgments and Interpretations The study of critics< 4udgments and interpretations of art tries to specify the +ind of reasoning involved in such opinions. $e asserted that the 4udgment of beauty is sub4ective.uestions. 9y the end of the !th century. as distinct from evaluations. most philosophers agreed that beauty could not be defined in terms of the .uestion is whether evaluative 4udgments can be bac+ed by strictly deductive reasoning based on premises descriptive of the art=wor+. the common assumption was that BbeautyB designated some ob4ective feature of things. however. Aant analyzed the B4udgment of taste. holding that it is impossible in principle to define art.efinition of Art Attempts to define art generally aim at establishing a set of characteristics applicable to all fine arts as well as the differences that set them apart. !@C/ mar+ed the virtual end. Aant turned the pleasure into the criterion of beauty.

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