Origins of Art: A Psychological & Sociological Inquiry

By Yrjö J. Hirn | Go to book overview

CHAPTER I
THE PROBLEM STATED

WHEN, one hundred and fifty years ago, Baumgarten wrote the treatise to which he gave the name Aesthetica, and which he described as a "theory of liberal arts and beautiful thinking," it seemed to him needful to apologise for attracting attention to a field of inquiry so low and sensuous as that province of philosophy to which he then affixed a name. Many, he thought, might regard art and beauty, which appeal primarily to the senses, as subjects beneath the dignity of philosophers.1 Yet the theories and the ideas which were first brought together as an organised body of thought in Baumgarten's short manual had so deeply influenced the speculations of his age that, a generation later, the most important questions of life came to be treated as æsthetic problems. The philosophy of art, far from needing to justify its exisEtence, dominated all philosophy --ethics, metaysics, and even cosmogony. Imagination was treated as the ruling faculty in all creation, and beauty was referred to as the criterion, not only in art, but in morality. Yet the importance thus given to æsthetic speculation was transitory, and the period during which philosophers were concerned, not only to find a

____________________
1
Baumgarten, Aesthetica, pp. 1, 3, 6 sq.

-1-

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Origins of Art: A Psychological & Sociological Inquiry
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface v
  • Contents ix
  • Chapter I the Problem Stated 1
  • Chapter II the Art-Impulse 18
  • Chapter III the Feeling-Tone of Sensation 30
  • Chapter IV the Emotions 43
  • Chapter V the Enjoyment of Pain 56
  • Chapter VI Social Expressioin 72
  • Chapter VII 86
  • Chapter VIII Art the Reliever 102
  • Chapter IX the Work of Art 111
  • Chapter X Objections and Answers 134
  • Chapter XI the Concrete Origins of Art 143
  • Chapter XII Art and Information 149
  • Chapter XIII Historical Art 164
  • Chapter XIV Animal Display 186
  • Chapter XV Art and Sexual Selection 203
  • Chapter XVI the Origins of Self-Decoration 214
  • Chapter XVII Erotic Art 228
  • Chapter XVIII Art and Work 249
  • Chapter XIX 261
  • Chapter XX Art and Magic 278
  • Chapter XXI Conclusions 298
  • Authorities Quoted 307
  • Index of Authors 323
  • Index of Subjects 328
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