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Can we ever claim to understand a work of art or be objective about it? Why have cultures thought it important to separate out a group of objects and call them art? What does aesthetics contribute to our understanding of the natural landscape? Are the concepts of art and the aesthetic elitist?
Addressing these and other issues in aesthetics, this important new Oxford Reader includes articles by authors ranging from Aristotle and Xie-He to Jun'ichiro Tanizaki, Michael Baxandall, and Susan Sontag. It focuses on why art and a variety of aesthetics matter to us, and on how perceivers participate in and contribute to the experience of appreciating a work of art. With its multicultural and multidisciplinary scope, this volume shows how anthropology, art history, Chinese theories of painting, and other perspectives both enrich and provide alternatives to classic philosophical accounts of art and the aesthetic.
Susan L. Feagin is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, specializing in aesthetics. She has been on the board of trustees for the American Society for Aesthetics, and was president of the Central States Philosophical Association in 1996. She is a contributor to the Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, The British Journal of Aesthetics, Philosophy and Literature, Philosophical Studies, and The American Philosophical Quarterly.
Patrick Maynard is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Western Ontario, where he teaches aesthetics and the history of philosophy at all levels. He is guest editor for the Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism. He is a contributor to the TLS, LRB, and Current Anthropology.
1. What is distinctive about the aesthetic?
2. Why is it important to recognize objects as art?
3. Art as a vehicle for expression, creativity and freedom
4. Is it ever possible to understand a work of art?
5. Why is it important to respond emotionally to art?
6. Are evaluations of art objective?