Baseball and Philosophy: Thinking outside the Batter's Box

By Eric Bronson | Go to book overview

POST-GAME PRESS CONFERENCE
23 Baseball and
Aesthetics

AESTHETICS is the branch of philosophy that is concerned with aesthetic qualities, such as beauty, sublimity, ugliness, elegance, coolness, coherence, or dramatic impact—but most of all, beauty. What is beauty? How can we learn to recognize it? Is beauty in the eye of the beholder or is it out there in the world?

According to Plato, beauty is an immortal force in the world that one's soul can experience only in small doses, and only when in love. Contemporary philosopher Arthur Danto describes beauty as “a necessary condition for life.” Because beauty is so difficult to behold, and so important to our lives, philosophers help show us how to find it in our day-to-day world.

Any search for beauty will naturally lead us to nature, and then to art. It is in paintings, music, sculpture, literature, and film that we can experience beauty most clearly. But most of us need help. We take music appreciation classes, join book clubs, and watch Ebert and Roeper to help us appreciate true beauty.

Baseball, of course, is beautiful. The stadiums and uniforms are visual treats, the sounds of the ball hitting the bat or popping into the catcher's mitt takes us back to a more innocent time, as does the smell of peanuts on a hot summer day. In the following debate, Vincent L. Toscano and Larry Raful make competing aesthetic arguments for the best baseball movie. Both argue that beauty should involve form and content. It should be beautiful

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