Aesthetics: A Comprehensive Anthology / Edition 1

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From Plato's Ion to works by contemporary philosophers, this anthology showcases classic texts to illuminate the development of philosophical thought about art and the aesthetic. This volume is the most comprehensive collection of readings on aesthetics and the philosophy of art currently available.

  • Brings together the most significant writings in aesthetics and philosophy of art from the past 2500 years
  • Each section includes a useful introductory essay which provides an overview of developments in the field
  • Broken down into three sections: Historical Sources, Modern Theories, and Contemporary Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art
  • Thorough, systematic, and flexible, including two alternative tables of contents (historical and topical); an ideal textbook and guide to the field
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Steven Cahn and Aaron Meskin have put together an unrivalled collection of great work in philosophical aesthetics, encompassing historical sources ranging from Plato to Shaftesbury, modern theories from Schiller to Gadamer, and more recent work covering all the central areas in contemporary aesthetics and philosophy of art. I thoroughly recommend it.”
Peter Goldie, University of Manchester

“The go-to book for classics in aesthetics from Plato and Aristotle to Adorno and Walton. Balanced and comprehensive, each chapter selected with a keen eye for bringing out enduring themes, this volume is a landmark achievement.”
Dominic McIver Lopes, University of British Columbia

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781405154352
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 10/5/2007
  • Series: Blackwell Philosophy Anthologies Series, #13
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 704
  • Sales rank: 256,347
  • Product dimensions: 6.80 (w) x 9.70 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Steven M. Cahn is Professor of Philosophy at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. He is the author of nine books, including Fate, Logic, and Time, Saints and Scamps: Ethics in Academia, revised edition, Puzzles and Perplexities, second edition, and God, Reason, and Religion. He has also edited or co-edited some thirty volumes, including Classics of Western Philosophy, now in its seventh edition.

Aaron Meskin is Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Leeds. His publications on aesthetics have appeared in the British Journal of Aesthetics, the Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research and a number of anthologies. He is also aesthetics editor for the online journal Philosophy Compass (Wiley-Blackwell).

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Table of Contents

Aesthetics: Classic and Contemporary Readings.

Edited by Cahn and Meskin.


Part I: Historical Sources.

1. The Modern System of the Arts: Paul Oskar Kristeller.

2. Ion: Plato.

3. The Republic: Plato.

4. Symposium: Plato.

5. Poetics: Aristotle.

6. Ennead I, vi: Plotinus.

7. Of Music: St. Augustine.

8. On the Reduction of the Arts to Theology: St. Bonaventure.

9. Characteristics of Men, Manners, Opinions, Times: Third Earl of Shaftesbury.

10. Inquiry into the Origins of our Ideas of Beauty and Virtue: Francis Hutcheson.

11. Of the Standard of Taste: David Hume.

12. Philosophical Inquiry into the Origin of our Ideas on the Sublime and the Beautiful: Sir Edmund Burke.

13. Laocoon: Gotthold Lesing.

14. Critique of Judgment: Immanuel Kant.

Part II: Modern Theories.

15. Introduction to Modern Theories: Christopher Janaway.

16. Letter of an Aesthetic Education of Man: Friedrich Schiller.

17. Philosophy of Art: Friedrich J.W. Schelling.

18. The Philosophy of Fine Art: Georg W.F. Hegel.

19. The World as Will and Representation: Arthur Schopenhauer.

20. The Beautiful in Music: Eduard Hanslick.

21. The Birth of Tragedy: Friedrich Nietzsche.

22. What is Art?: Leo Tolstoy.

23. ‘Psychical Distance’ as a Factor in Art and as an Aesthetic Principle: Edward Bullough.

24. Art: Clive Bell.

25. Aesthetics: Benedetto Croce.

26. The Principles of Art: R.G. Collingwood.

27. Art as Experience: John Dewey.

28. Feeling and Form: Susanne Langer.

29. The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction: Walter Benjamin.

30. The Origin of the Work of Art: Martin Heidegger.

31. Aesthetic Theory: Theodor Adorno.

32. Truth and Method: Hans-Georg Gadamer.

Part III: Contemporary Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art.

33. Introduction to Contemporary Aesthetics: Susan Feagin and Aaron Meskin.

34. Aesthetic Problems of Modern Philosophy: Stanley Cavell.

35. The Role of Theory in Aesthetics: Morris Weitz.

36. The Artworld: Arthur Danto.

37. What is Art? An Institutional Analysis: George Dickie.

38. When is Art?: Nelson Goodman.

39. Identifying Art: Noel Carroll.

40. The Myth of the Aesthetic Attitude: George Dickie.

41. Art and its Objects: Richard Wollheim.

42. What a Musical Work Is: Jerrold Levinson.

43. Aesthetic Concepts: Frank Sibley.

44. Beauty Restored: Mary Mothersill.

45. Categories of Art: Kendall Walton.

46. Appreciation and the Natural Environment: Allen Carlson.

47. The Intentional Fallacy: W.K. Wimsatt and Monroe Beardsley.

48. The Postulated Author: Critical Monism as a Regulative Ideal: Alexander Nehamas.

49. Art Intention and Conversation: Noel Carroll.

50. The Ethical Criticism of Art: Berys Gaut.

51. Expressive Properties of Art: Guy Sircello.

52. Style and Personality in the Literary Work: Jenefer Robinson.

53. Emotions in the Music: Peter Kivy.

54. Fearing Fictions: Kendall Walton.

55. Oppressive Texts, Resisting Readers and the Gendered Spectator: Mary Devereaux

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  • Posted March 15, 2010

    Aesthetics Text

    "Aesthetics: a Comprehensive Book" was a required text book for an Aesthetics class I am taking. Cahn includes a variety of readings ranging from ancient philosophers Plato and Artistotle through to modern philosophers. Cahn offers a variety of approaches and arguments to study in "Aestheics." As I am taking an introductory course, I find this text is not an accessible text for most classmates. Many students struggle to read a majority of the text and there are a few that do not comprehend at all. I wished there were articles provided that were written in more "common" terms. Or perhaps the text could offer an aside with an elementary explanation of the philosophy.
    A good text for a more advanced student of Aesthetics.

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