Synopses & Reviews
This volume is a fascinating introduction to the core themes and basic methods of aesthetics and the philosophy of art. Providing an analytic and historical treatment of the issues, and including many illustrative examples to both motivate and reinforce theoretical discussion, An Introduction to Aesthetics
is the ideal course book for the philosophical novice.
Beginning with definitions of aesthetic questions and language, the author then goes on to examine relations between artist, work of art and audience, whilst throughout developing three important aesthetic theories which compete for philosophical attention: participatory aesthetics, aesthetic experience, and theory of response and institutional activity. In this way, the author encourages an understanding of aesthetic theory, whether, and to what extent, it is possible, and what the alternatives might be. The book also includes an appendix (containing the texts referred to in the book), a comprehensive glossary and further reading suggestions to help the student reader develop a deeper comprehension of the field.
"This is a dependable, well-informed and accessible guide to the complexities of contemporary philosophical aesthetics. In taking a problem-oriented, rather than historically-based, approach the book directly engages with core issues in the subject. What emerges is not just an introductory survey of problems but a testament to the vitality and richness of the subject itself. I recommend the book to beginners and more advanced readers alike." Professor Peter Lamarque, British Journal of Aesthetics
"A highly reader-friendly guide. It is a clearly and attractively written work which will provide a very reliable text for many university courses on the subject. At the end of each chapter there are excellent, and bang-up-to-date, suggestions for further reading and there is a useful glossary of terms used in the text at the end."
About the Author
Dabney Townsend is Professor of Philosophy and Chair of the Department of Philosophy and Humanities at the University of Texas at Arlington. He has written extensively in the field of aesthetics, particularly on the developments in aesthetics in the eighteenth century, and has recently edited Aesthetics: Classic Readings in Western Tradition (1996).
Table of Contents
List of Acknowledgements.
1. Language About Art and Aesthetics.
Getting Started. Aesthetic Predicates.
Criticism and Value Terms.
The Problem of Definition.
2. Aesthetic Analysis and Its Objects.
3. The Artist and the Work of Art.
The Artist's Intentions.
Creativity and Originality.
Breaking the Connection Between Artist and Art.
4. The Audience and the Work of Art.
Attitudes of the Audience.
Critics and Criticism.
Institutions and the Role of the Audience.
5. The Artist and the Audience.
The Aesthetics of Reception.
Mythpoesis: Myth and Ritual.
Institutional and Post-Institutional Aesthetics.