The Boundaries of Art

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The Boundaries of Art is a provocative and stimulating contribution to the philosophy of art. In it, David Novitz explores the many different relations between art and life, and does so in ways that herald an important and valuable break with traditional aesthetics. He rejects the view that an artwork should be judged in isolation from its historical and cultural contexts, pointing to many ways in which the cultural milieu affects choices made by the artist. By closely examining the notion of an art and its ...

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Overview

The Boundaries of Art is a provocative and stimulating contribution to the philosophy of art. In it, David Novitz explores the many different relations between art and life, and does so in ways that herald an important and valuable break with traditional aesthetics. He rejects the view that an artwork should be judged in isolation from its historical and cultural contexts, pointing to many ways in which the cultural milieu affects choices made by the artist. By closely examining the notion of an art and its relation to the fine arts, he challenges the commonplace notion of art as something removed from daily life. He also examines in detail the distinction between popular and high art, arguing that it is a social construct, which received impetus from the rise of the aesthetic movement in the late nineteenth century.

Although Novitz provides a sustained and lively challenge to the traditional boundaries of art, he rejects the postmodernist claim that there are no actual distinctions to be drawn between art and life. Instead, he argues, against Richard Rorty and others, that the relations between art, life, and philosophy need to be rethought in ways that preserve the notions of truth and knowledge while recognizing the role that art and philosophy play in enabling people to negotiate the brute facts of their actual existence. At its most powerful, Novitz argues, art is a form of seduction that can destabilize our commitments and entire world view, and does so in ways that are unavailable to rational persuasion. But he argues as well that it does not follow from this, as Oscar Wilde suggests, that "Life is in fact the mirror, and Art the reality".

This revised and enlarged edition amplifies the arguments of the first edition in two important ways. First, it addresses the recent debate about the relation of popular art to mass art, arguing that recent attempts to define mass art in non-social (structural) terms are importantly deficient. Second, it elaborates earlier comments about the evaluation of art in ways that lead to an entirely new theory of artistic appreciation. In so doing, this enlarged edition provides revolutionary arguments for the view that art and its appreciation are deeply enmeshed in the bread and butter concerns of everyday life - arguments that will have profound consequences for art criticism and the study of art.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780877229285
  • Publisher: Temple University Press
  • Publication date: 9/1/1992
  • Pages: 296
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.57 (h) x 0.94 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface
1 The State of the Arts: An Introduction 1
Connections 3
Two Approaches 5
Strategies 8
Art and the Arts 15
Conclusion 17
2 High and Popular Art: The Place of Art in Society 20
High Art and Popular Art: The Distinction 22
A Distinction in Context 28
The Politics of High and Popular Art 34
The Fall of High Art: Artistic versus Economic Value 37
Conclusion 41
3 Art, Life, and Reality 42
Art and Reality 43
"Really," "Real," and "Reality" 47
Wilde and Wide of the Mark 52
Art and Life 54
Conclusion 62
4 The Integrity of Aesthetics 64
Urmson on Aesthetic Value 66
Aesthetic Concepts and Aesthetic Value 69
Value and Reason 72
Aesthetic Values and Real Life 77
Aesthetic Value and Social Structures: A Conclusion 83
5 Art, Narrative, and Human Nature 85
Looking at Myself 87
Stories about Myself 89
The Nature and Politics of Narrative Identity 95
Narrative, Norms, and Human Nature 98
Personhood and Arthood: A Conclusion 102
6 Keeping Up Appearances 105
Good Looks and Grooming 106
Impressions of a Group 111
Appearance across Cultures 116
The Beauty of the Group 121
Getting It Wrong 124
Conclusion 126
7 Love, Friendship, and the Aesthetics of Character 128
Preliminaries 129
Constructing a "Safety Net" 130
On Knowing One's Friends 132
Structures of Affirmation 133
Love and the Aesthetics of Self-Deception 135
On Truth and Beauty 140
Conclusion 144
8 Of Drama, the Dramatic, and Everyday Life 146
The Place of Drama in Everyday Life 146
Social Scripting and Social Drama 149
The Content of Social Drama 153
The World and Katharsis 158
Speaking Theoretically: A Conclusion 163
9 Art, Conflict, and Commitment 167
What Is a Conflict? 168
Commitment and Reason 169
The Scope of Commitment 173
Art in a Changing World 177
Art and Anaesthesia 179
Art and Instability 184
10 Seduction, Art, and Reason 189
Seduction, Artifice, and Reason 190
Seduction, the Individual, and Rorty 196
The Art of Politics and the Politics of Art 200
Power and Art 203
Rorty, Reason, and Truth 205
Redescriptions Redeemed: The End of the Textual Laager 209
Sentences and "Vocabularies" 213
Conclusion 216
11 Art and Philosophy 218
Philosophy as Literature 219
Decision Making in Philosophy 222
Forging the Canon 225
Mainstream Philosophy 230
Conclusion 236
Notes 241
Index 265
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