Aesthetics A-Z

Aesthetics A-Z

Aesthetics A-Z

Aesthetics A-Z

Synopsis

Written in a clear and engaging style, Aesthetics A-Z is an alphabetical and authoritative guide to the main concepts, arguments, problems, and figures of aesthetics and the philosophy of art. Extensively cross-referenced and supplemented with carefully selected suggestions for further reading, entries provide a layered treatment of both the historical background and contemporary debates of aesthetics, highlighting points of intersection between aesthetics and other branches of philosophy or other fields in the arts. An ideal introductory guide for newcomers to the field of aesthetics, Aesthetics A-Z is a handy and useful reference work for advanced students of philosophy, art history, education, media studies, and the performing arts.

Excerpt

Aesthetics does not only involve a range of philosophical concepts connected to the understanding of art, but also art itself. The subject matter enters into the vocabulary, and without knowing a good deal about the cultural context in which art is created and appreciated, it is difficult to understand the nature of what is being discussed. Many of the controversies in art themselves have a philosophical form, and many of the discussions in how to assess art involve an understanding of the art itself. Yet it is of course not necessary to grasp the whole of art history in order to understand the form of arguments about how to assess art and what concepts exist in that process. On the other hand, it is much easier to know what is going on in aesthetics if one knows something about the wider context within which the aesthetic concepts operate. Although aesthetics is a technical philosophical area of its own, like metaphysics, epistemology and so on, it does start with the process of someone wondering how to assess an art object, and what is involved in such an activity. Guter has done a thorough job in linking the various ideas and issues to each other, giving readers a perspicuous grasp of how to navigate through the topic. There is a particularly well developed series of entries on many of the major thinkers in the field, and by following the links that the author makes between different issues, their cultural contexts and the individuals who wrote about them, a good overall view of the topic can be realized. The detailed bibliography will also be . . .

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