By Dr Colin Lyas
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Extra info for AESTHETICS CL (Fundamentals of Philosophy)
397–414. This is a splendid article for a seminar discussion, determined to winkle out and scrutinize its various theses. Stolnitz, Aesthetics and the philosophy of art criticism (New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1960), pp. 29–64. Dickie, “The myth of the aesthetic attitude”, American Philosophical Quarterly 1(1), 1964, pp. 56–65. See also his “Psychical distance: in a fog at sea”, British Journal of Aesthetics, 13(1), 1973, pp. 17–29. A more sympathetic view is that taken by Diane Collinson’s “Aesthetic experience” in Hanfling’s Philosophical aesthetics.
Rather, they had no personal stake in the fate of the play. Secondly, many of our personal interests presuppose a concern with the real existence. If I am avidly interested in owning a Ferrari, I’d better believe that Ferraris exist. But now, if I look at Picasso’s Woman weeping, I can react in two ways. I can ask whether this is a picture of some real woman. But I can also be intensely moved by that picture-face without worrying about whether it had any real counterpart. And that is one of the things that may suggest to Kant that an interest in the aesthetic is “disinterested”, meaning not interested in the real existence of the object contemplated (which is entirely compatible with being deeply moved by that pictured face).
That is a question for evolutionary biology. It cannot be how to use aesthetic terms, for that is already mastered. It cannot be how to extend one’s capacities so that one can use these terms of paintings by Giotto as well as, or instead of, paintings by Holman Hunt. That is a matter for experience and for art historians and critics and not for philosophers to teach us. It cannot be whether we should respond to something aesthetically, as if we had any choice in the matter. And if the question is whether it is more worthwhile to enjoy a film than to play korfball or work in a hospice (granted that these are exclusive alternatives), that is not a question about the nature of aesthetic experience but about its ranking.