These lectures, as a system of Æsthetics, consist of an application of the experimental method to art, in the same manner as it is applied to the sciences. Whatever utility the system possesses is due to this principle. The author undertakes to explain art by social influences and other causes; humanity at different times and places, climate, and other conditions, furnish the facts on which the theory rests. The artistic development of any age or people is made intelligible through a series of historical inductions terminating in a few inferential laws, constituting what the title of the book declares it to be-the philosophy of art.
Such a system seems to possess many advantages. Among others, it tends to emancipate the student of art, as well as the amateur, from metaphysical and visionary theories growing out of false theories and traditional misconceptions; he is not misled by an exclusive adherence to particular schools, masters, or epochs. It also tends to render criticism less capricious, and therefore less injurious; dictating no conventional standard of judgment, it promotes a spirit of charity towards all works. As there is no attempt to do more than explain art according to natural laws, the reader must judge whether, like all systems assuming to bring order out of confusion, this one fulfills its mission.
This Large Print Edition is presented in easy-to-read 18 point type.