III
*EXPRESSION AND COMMUNICATION*

INTRODUCTION

Among the basic issues concerned with understanding the nature of art are the classic questions: Does a work of art express something other than the objects of which it consists? What is the nature of such expressions? and, What is the artist trying to communicate to his audience?

Professor O. K. Bouwsma is a linguistic-analysis philosopher whose study, "The Expression Theory of Art," is intended to expose the ambiguities and inadequacies of that theory. He applies Wittgenstein's method of examining the ways that terms are currently used in order to discover their meanings. He concludes that emotion is not a separable entity expressed by a work of art; it is "in" the object. In much of this essay the author examines misleading contexts that determine the use of the word "expression." His examples are drawn from the language of emotion and from language about language. His solution may puzzle many, but his position is important in that it represents a quantitatively large proportion of professional philosophic thought today.

It might be helpful to think of the linguistic-analysis school as being for philosophy what behaviorism is to psychology: a study of "external" phenomena. Bouwsma's essay reads as if it were written in a void where depth psychology had never been heard of, just as Kinsey's study of sexual behavior reads like statistical data compiled by men who had never heard of motivation, ambivalence, "acting-out," or the theory of the unconscious. Bouwsma makes frequent reference to the word "emotion," but it would be difficult to see from his essay whether he is referring to any theory of emotion more subtle than that of René Descartes. Perhaps, more than any other single element, it is this disregard of contemporary psychology by the philosophers of language-analysis that gives to their writings the quality of "quaintness."

Leonard B. Meyer considers the possibility of explicating some of the expression-questions about art by using the idea that art is like language. But he does so in a context rich with references to Keats, G. H. Mead, Freud, and Wiener, to information theory, semantics, and the history of culture. In a word, his thesis is sophisticated, having the worldliness of a highly civilized mind and the sympathies of a spirit of broad humanistic inclusiveness. His conclusions may be highly debatable, but his position is far more competent to

-143-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Aesthetics Today
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 480

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

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

    Oops!

    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.