Aesthetics in Philosophy



9 Questions

What is aesthetics?

What is the difference between natural and artificial sources of experiences in aesthetics?

What is the philosophy of art?

What do aesthetics and the philosophy of art try to find answers for?

What is the definition of aesthetics according to scholars in the field?

What does aesthetic judgment rely on?

What is beauty in aesthetics?

What did New Criticism argue about the author's intention or 'intended meaning' in the analysis of a literary work?

What is evolutionary aesthetics?


Overview of Aesthetics in Philosophy

  • Aesthetics is a branch of philosophy that deals with the nature of beauty, taste, and the philosophy of art.

  • It examines aesthetic values, often expressed through judgments of taste, and covers both natural and artificial sources of experiences.

  • The philosophy of art specifically studies how artists imagine, create, and perform works of art, as well as how people use, enjoy, and criticize art.

  • Aesthetics and the philosophy of art try to find answers for what exactly is art, artwork, or what makes good art.

  • Scholars in the field have defined aesthetics as "critical reflection on art, culture, and nature".

  • Aesthetic judgment relies on the ability to discriminate at a sensory level and usually goes beyond sensory discrimination.

  • Aestheticians weigh a culturally contingent conception of art versus one that is purely theoretical.

  • Aesthetic ethics refers to the idea that human conduct and behaviour ought to be governed by that which is beautiful and attractive.

  • Beauty is one of the main subjects of aesthetics, together with art and taste.

  • Beauty is a positive aesthetic value that contrasts with ugliness as its negative counterpart.

  • During the first half of the twentieth century, a significant shift to general aesthetic theory took place which attempted to apply aesthetic theory between various forms of art, including the literary arts and the visual arts, to each other.

  • At issue was the question of whether the aesthetic intentions of the artist in creating the work of art should be associated with the criticism and evaluation of the final product of the work of art.Overview of Aesthetics and its Different Forms

  • New Criticism argued that the author's intention or "intended meaning" was irrelevant in the analysis of a literary work.

  • Reader-response school of literary theory criticized New Criticism's rejection of the reader's emotional reaction to a literary work as a valid means of analysis.

  • Structuralist and post-structuralist theorists and critics criticized New Criticism's emphasis on aesthetic appreciation and the autonomy of art, but agreed on rejecting biographical criticism's assumption that the artist's activities and experience were a privileged critical topic.

  • Intentionalists hold that reference to intentions is essential in fixing the correct interpretation of works.

  • Post-modern aesthetics challenged existing notions of beauty, broadening the scope of art and aesthetics.

  • Computational approaches to aesthetics emerged amid efforts to use computer science methods "to predict, convey, and evoke emotional response to a piece of art."

  • Evolutionary aesthetics refers to evolutionary psychology theories in which the basic aesthetic preferences of Homo sapiens are argued to have evolved in order to enhance survival and reproductive success.

  • Aesthetics can be applied to cultural objects, such as crosses or tools, and topics as diverse as cartography, mathematics, gastronomy, fashion, and website design.

  • Guy Sircello formulated a theory of love and sublimity and argued for the objectivity of beauty.

  • Peter Osborne notes that contemporary art is 'post-conceptual' in a public lecture delivered in 2010.

  • Gary Tedman has put forward a theory of a subjectless aesthetics derived from Karl Marx's concept of alienation and Louis Althusser's antihumanism.

  • Gregory Loewen suggests that the subject is key in the interaction with the aesthetic object.

  • The philosophy of aesthetics has been criticized by some sociologists and writers of art and society for being narrow in its definition and for idealizing an implausibly unmotivated listener defined solely through musical objects.


Think you know everything about aesthetics in philosophy? Test your knowledge with our quiz! From the nature of beauty, taste, and the philosophy of art to cultural objects and computational approaches to aesthetics, this quiz covers it all. See if you can answer questions about the different schools of thought in aesthetics, the main topics of interest, and the critics who have challenged the field. Take the quiz and discover just how much you know about aesthetics in philosophy!

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