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Imaged concepts: art and the nature of the aesthetic

Van Lierop, Bernard 2009. Imaged concepts: art and the nature of the aesthetic. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.

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Abstract

The two research questions of this thesis are: 'What is the aesthetic' and 'What is the relationship of the aesthetic to art' These questions launch an argument that seeks to challenge and reverse some recent 'deflationary' accounts of the aesthetic. The research uses the foundational aesthetics of Hume, Baumgarten and Kant to counter the arguments of deflationary aesthetics, then, drawing upon evolutionary theory and cognitive neuroscience, it highlights the power of the aesthetic in both nature and art. The 'deflationist' George Dickie called the aesthetic attitude a 'myth' and dismissed the concept of 'disinterestedness'. Gombrich doubted whether shared aesthetic values are possible, while Danto initially argued that aesthetic properties are merely imputed to artworks through context. For Carroll, historical precedence determines the identity of art, with the aesthetic reduced to a contingency. However, Hume and Kant testified to the realism of both disinterestedness and the aesthetic attitude, while Baumgarten proposed a new science of aesthetics to underscore the centrality of the senses to epistemology, rhetoric and art, notably through his postulated 'imaged concepts', the apparent source for Kant's 'aesthetic ideas'. Danto's final acknowledgment of the artistic role of enthymeme and metaphor signalled his acceptance of art's essentially aesthetic character. Evidence from Darwin confirms that the aesthetic is a shaping force in evolution, rather than a construct of human culture, and much congruence is revealed between the aesthetics of Baumgarten and Kant, and recent cognitive neuroscience. It is argued that philosophical aesthetics needs to integrate the findings of science into its metaphysics. Accordingly, this thesis offers some new definitions of the aesthetic attitude, rhetoric and art, principally influenced by Baumgarten and biology. The arguments are further evaluated through three case studies: 'bowerbird art', the 'nexus of art, power and crime', and 'sound sculpture'.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Status: Unpublished
Schools: English, Communication and Philosophy
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BH Aesthetics
N Fine Arts > N Visual arts (General) For photography, see TR
ISBN: 9781303185755
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Last Modified: 19 Mar 2016 23:33
URI: http://orca-mwe.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/55805

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