Soft Boundaries: Re-Visioning the Arts and Aesthetics in American Education

By Claire Detels | Go to book overview

Part I
The Boundaries of the Arts and Aesthetics

The chapters in this section identify and discuss the problems created by the hard boundaries between the disciplines of the arts and aesthetics, especially in their separation of historical inquiry -- conducted within the individual disciplines of the arts -- and philosophical inquiry -- conducted within the philosophical subdiscipline of aesthetics. Chapter 1, "Hard Times, Hard Boundaries," explores the roots of our hard disciplinary boundaries and the ways they have hurt American education in the arts and aesthetics; it also proposes a new paradigm of soft boundaries. Chapter 2, "History, Philosophy, and the Canons of the Arts," questions the hard-boundaried separation of history and philosophy in the study of the arts and explores the failure of historians and historical canons -- currently the main approach to academic teaching of the arts -- to come to terms with philosophical questions about meaning in the arts. Chapter 3, "Uses of History in Some Recent Aesthetic Writings," examines the corollary failure of philosophers in aesthetics to come to terms with the actualities of art history and practice in their definitions of concepts. I will return to the broad interdisciplinary concerns of Part I with some concrete suggestions for change in Part III, chapter 8, "Towards Integrative, Interdisciplinary Education in the Arts and Aesthetics."

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