The Routledge Companion to Aesthetics

The Routledge Companion to Aesthetics

The Routledge Companion to Aesthetics

The Routledge Companion to Aesthetics


This work covers the many different aspects of aesthetics and is structured into four parts: history; aesthetic theory; issues and challenges; and individual arts.


Philosophical aesthetics today is a vibrant field. Twenty or thirty years ago it was not uncommon for philosophers to claim that there was nothing much of philosophical interest to be said about the arts. Non-philosophers interested in the arts used to complain that contemporary philosophers had indeed said nothing of interest to them. As the painter Barnett Newman quipped, “aesthetics is for artists like ornithology is for the birds.” Even at the time, this unhappy convergence of views was badly grounded. Today it is entirely without justification. Philosophy has rediscovered aesthetics, and this volume bears the fruits of philosophers' new-found interest in art.

Partly this has arisen from philosophers' increased attention to the practice, history and criticism of the individual arts - including literature, music, painting, architecture and film - and from an awareness that philosophical problems are thrown up by the particularities of the individual art media. Understanding art as a whole depends on an appreciation of the arts individually and what makes each of them unique. Some philosophers have begun to write about individual novels, poems, symphonies and films with an attention to detail and a level of insight equaling that of literary critics, musicologists, art critics and film critics.

Renewed philosophical interest in aesthetics is also in part to be traced to the recognition that many topics of general philosophical importance - the nature of representation, imagination, emotion and expression, to name a few - cannot adequately be understood unless their roles in the arts and artistic appreciation are examined, for here they find some of their most interesting and complex applications. Also renewed interest in aesthetics partly derives from an increased pluralism within analytic philosophy itself, which has advanced outwards from its heartlands of the philosophy of language and science to conquer new areas, such as applied ethics, political philosophy, cognitive science and aesthetics.

The present volume is broadly within the tradition of analytic philosophy and shares that tradition's commitment to clarity of expression and precision of

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.