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Other titles in the New Directions in Aesthetics series:
New Directions in Aesthetics #11: Art and Ethical Criticismby Garry L. Hagberg
Synopses & Reviews
Early in his philosophical career, Wittgenstein cryptically remarked that “Ethics and aesthetics are one and the same.” But is “the good” really interchangeable with “the beautiful”? While aesthetics and moral values often do seem to go hand in hand, we all know that the devil is in the details. Art and Ethical Criticism explores these elusive details to shine a scholarly light on the complex relationship between the arts and morality. This groundbreaking work begins with a thorough examination of the historical roots of the concept of ethical criticism as it applies to literature, the visual arts, and music. A series of thought-provoking essays by leading philosophers then delves deeply into the complex network of interconnections between the ethical and aesthetic realms. Areas explored include ways of describing ethical content in the arts; the value of literary case-studies for moral understanding; distinct ethical issues that arise in connection with our exposure to visual art, artifacts, photography, and architecture; and the significance of moral relations as depicted in music and its performance.
The result is a multifaceted, conceptual study that probes into the sublime nature of beauty, art, and morality to reveal that ethics and aesthetics are not one and the same after all – but nor are they, according to any simple division, two. Art and Ethical Criticism is a stimulating and insightful inquiry into contemporary philosophical debates that lie at the intersection of aesthetics and moral philosophy.
Through a series of essays, Art and Ethical Criticism explores the complex relationship between the arts and morality.
Here is a timely and philosophically significant contribution to modern aesthetics featuring some of the best contemporary work in philosophical studies of literature, moral beliefs, and thinking in art. This multiple-author anthology consistently reflects the importance of a moral life of engagement with works of art and their particular insights.
About the Author
Garry L. Hagberg currently holds a Chair in the School of Philosophy at the University of East Anglia, Norwich, England, and has for some years served as the James H. Ottaway , Jr., Professor of Philosophy and Aesthetics at Bard College. He has published widely, including books such as Art as
Table of Contents
Notes on Contributors.
Foreword (Garry L. Hagberg, University of East Anglia).
Part I: Historical Foundations.
1. Is Ethical Criticism a Problem? A Historical Perspective (Paul Guyer, University of Pennsylvania).
Part II: Conceptions of Ethical Content.
2. Narrative and the Ethical Life (Noël Carroll, Temple University).
3. A Nation of Madame Bovarys: On the Possibility and Desirability of Moral Improvement through Fiction (Joshua Landy, Stanford University).
4. Empathy, Expression, and What Artworks Have to Teach (Mitchell Green, University of Virginia).
Part III: Literature and Moral Responsibility.
5. “Solid Objects,” Solid Objections: On Virginia Woolf and Philosophy (Paisley Livingston, Lingnan University).
6. Disgrace: Bernard Williams and J. M. Coetzee (Catherine Wilson, City University of New York).
7. Facing Death Together: Camus’s The Plague (Robert C. Solomon).
Part IV: Visual Art, Artifacts, and the Ethical Response.
8. Staying in Touch (Carolyn Korsmeyer, University at Buffalo, State University of New York).
9. Susan Sontag, Diane Arbus, and the Ethical Dimensions of Photography (David Davies, McGill University).
10. Ethical Judgments in Museums (Ivan Gaskell, Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University).
Part V: Music and Moral Relations.
11. Così’s Canon Quartet (Stephen Davies, University of Auckland).
12. Jazz Improvisation and Ethical Interaction: A Sketch of the Connections (Garry L. Hagberg, University of East Anglia).
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