The Aesthetic Attitude

The Aesthetic Attitude

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The Aesthetic Attitude

The Aesthetic Attitude

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Excerpt

A book on æsthetics is of value in so far as it assists the reader in enriching his æsthetic experience. With this in mind I have laid particular emphasis upon a description of the nature of appreciation, for I believe that it is through such knowledge that our world of beauty is most effectively enlarged. Less attention has been given to the act of creation because a description of the special technique of the several arts, which is the chief factor in artistic production, lies beyond the scope of æsthetics. However, even though the main emphasis has been placed on appreciation, it cannot be said that the interests of the artist have been entirely neglected, for it must be remembered that it is necessary for him to appreciate before he can produce.

In maintaining the view that æsthetics should be pragmatic, that is, useful to all those who desire a deeper knowledge of beauty, I hold a position opposed to that of certain philosophers who think that æsthetics should remain entirely theoretical. Such writers generally believe that the chief characteristic of beauty is its uselessness. I have tried to show, on the contrary, that the perception of beauty is one of the most useful of man's experiences.

In order to establish the book on an empirical . . .

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