Main Trends in Aesthetics and the Sciences of Art

By Mikel Dufrenne | Go to book overview

INTRODUCTION

In the previous chapter we attempted to discern the movement of both contemporary art and literature and, at the same time, the intellectual climate in which the study of the movement is carried out. We considered in turn the ideology, the philosophy and the sciences which, each in its own way, contribute towards determining the direction taken by such a study and the way in which it is pursued. Naturally, when mentioning the scientific approaches, in the main section, we could not draw any radical distinction between the theory and practice of research and it would have been wrong to do so; choice of method, the determination of the field of study, and the positive application of the procedure are too closely interdependent. That is why we have already considered a certain number of examples of positive research undertaken under the banner of such or such a science. We must still, however, try to arrive at a clearer picture of what has been done, concerning ourselves now with the object rather than with the method of such research. But this does not mean that we shall be able to omit any further reference to methodological options, although we shall, as far as possible, avoid unnecessary repetition. We have chosen two different subjects for discussion in the two sections of this second chapter, namely, in the first place, the problems which can be described as general and which, as we suggested earlier, are traditionally encountered in aesthetics and, secondly the problems that arise in regard to each of the arts considered individually.

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