Philosophy of the Arts: An Introduction to Aesthetics

Philosophy of the Arts: An Introduction to Aesthetics

Philosophy of the Arts: An Introduction to Aesthetics

Philosophy of the Arts: An Introduction to Aesthetics


This book strikes a new and better balance between these competing interests. By taking a normative question -- why should we value the arts? -- it manages to develop a genuinely philosophical understanding of art and its value while never losing sight of the poems, pictures and music which draw and sustain interest in the arts.

In this new second edition, chapters have been revised to include new material and also an added chapter about the subjectivity of aesthetic judgement, the importance of the artist's intention and the possibility of an aesthetic appreciation of nature. The book concludes with a critical survey of art theories and introduces some complex issues surrounding disputes between Marxism, structuralism and postmodernism.


It is always gratifying when an academic book succeeds in finding an audience, and specially rewarding when the audience proves large enough to warrant a revised edition. in the first edition of this book I gladly acknowledged the help I had received, both philosophical and editorial, from Berys Gaut, Alex Neil, Dan Rashid, Louise Gregory and especially William Poole. I repeat my thanks here, but to this list must now be added those readers and reviewers who made helpful suggestions about ways in which the text might be extended and improved. a special word of gratitude is owed to my colleague at Aberdeen, Dr Jonathan Friday, who has given me extensive comments on the material both new and old, comments that are valuable not only because of his expertise in aesthetics and knowledge of the arts, but because of his having used the first edition as a teaching text. I fear I have dealt only inadequately with several of the criticisms he has raised.

Thanks are also due to staff at Routledge, in particular Tony Bruce, who promoted the book with such success, and raised the prospect of a second edition with heartening enthusiasm.

Earlier versions of some of the themes I discuss were published in papers in the British Journal of Aesthetics, Ends and Means, the Journal of Aesthetic Education, and the Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism. I gladly acknowledge their permission to reproduce some of the material here.

Gordon Graham

King’s College, Aberdeen

December 1999

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