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From the Publisher"'Surface and Depth' is an excellent text, combining lucidity and keen analytical thinking with an ability to challenge preconceptions, to make surprising connections and to open up new avenues of enquiry. I would encourage anyone interested in aesthetics, arts criticism, cultural theory and philosophy to read this book and to enter into a richly rewarding engagement with a stimulating and lively mind."—John Danvers, University of Plymouth, UK. Consciousness, Literature and the Arts, April 2003.
"Those familiar with Shusterman's work will find here the critical insight, careful argument, and clever prose they expect. Those who have not before had the pleasure of reading him will find there is no one better at distilling and analyzing contemporary aesthetics: the chapters on Croce, Wittgenstein, Alain Locke, T. S. Eliot, and Bourdieu are exempla of analytic sensitivity combined with the principle of charity. . . . Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-level undergraduates and above."—Choice, January 2004
"In Shusterman's discourse, instrumentalities are always parts of the ends they create. His pragmatism is therefore best described as reconstructive, advancing and refashioning the experiential realm. . . . This is pragmatism at its best, and what this discursive mode accomplishes is a deeper understanding that in turn . . . leads to better experiences and end results. . . . The beauty of this methodology is that it intelligent avoids the danger of a naive pragmatism . . . that is all surface manifesto for action, while it also avoids the danger of a pragmatism that locks itself into deep abstract theory with no sense of how it gets redirected toward practice and experience. Because Surface and Depth manages to do this with such élan and perspicacity, I situate it among the best, most interesting, and thought-provoking philosophical kind of work currently taking place."—Gustavo Guerra, George Washington University, Journal of Speculative Philosophy 17:4, 2003
"Philosophy texts are not the usual fare on our book review menu. This reviewer now feels that we might wish to broaden our diet. In Shusterman's book we find that rare example of a theoretical text that is palatable, even enjoyable for the non-philosopher reader. But best of all, by constructing a new ground for criticism he provides cogent underpinnings for our studies in vernacular architecture."—Bryon E. Bronston, Vernacular Architecture Newsletter, Summer 2004
"In the 1960s, artists became concerned with closing the gap between art and life. Philosophers responded by insisting that such a gap is essential if art is to have any meaning. In this masterful and informed philosophical critique, Richard Shusterman shows how his pragmatist aesthetics can dissolve the dilemma and realign the relationships among philosophy, art, and life"—Arthur C. Danto, Columbia University
"Richard Shusterman is one of the most interesting voices in contemporary aesthetics. In this impeccably lucid book he delivers a rigorous assessment of diverse theories of art and makes an eloquent case for the deep value of aesthetic surfaces."—Rita Felski, University of Virginia