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222 HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY taken as committed to a particular interpretation and, hence, to a particular ontology. So we have a kind of interpretation in actu and an instance of point of view III. But it is not clear from his interpreters that this is what Le~niewski intended. In any case, the suggestions we have about his metaphysics seem to indicate that he was a nominalist. My conclusion is that Henry must be more original than he wants to acknowledge. McGill University JOHNA. TRENTMAN TATARKIEWICZ AND THE HISTORY OF AESTHETICS When it is studied historically, the subject of aesthetics may be a different subject and have a different significance from aesthetics studied as clarification of certain kinds of concepts, or as an aspect of ontology, or of philosophy of mind, or of language analysis, etc. The historian must determine at the outset what is relevant from an historical point of view. He must answer some questions that aestheticians who look at the subject from other points of view may ignore. Shall the historian only recount, or shall he also explain? What sources yield such explanation, especially when it is causal? Shall he himself evaluate and, if so, on what grounds? Shall he look only to explicit written statements or also to the practice of artists? Shall he try to find in the practice of artists "implicit" aesthetic ideas, perhaps thus including iconography in his history? Is sociology or psychology relevant to his inquiry? Owing partly to certain methodological assumptions which many historians of aesthetics have themselves made none too clear, history of aesthtics has included subjects ranging far beyond traditional areas of so-called "philosophical aesthetics" of the past two centuries. W. Tatarkiewicz's treatment of history of aesthetics affords a prime example which may be broken down into some sample instances. "NEW" IDEAS Robert Zimmermann and Bernard Bosanquet, authors of the most prominent histories of aesthetics written in the nineteenth century, considered the period between the third and the eighteenth centuries to be a wide gap in the history of aesthetics) Zimmermann left out everything that makes up volumes 1 and 2 of Tatarkiewicz's history. Bosanquet devoted thirty pages to the aesthetics of the Middle Ages and condensed the period of 1400-1700 to fifteen pages, dealing with Dante and Shakespeare exclusively. Katharine Gilbert and Helmut Kuhn covered the aesthetics of antiquity in four chapters and the Middle Ages in one, in a book consisting of nineteen chapters altogether. 2 In his short history of aesthetics, Monroe C. Beardsley discussed the Middle Ages and Renaissance in two chapters respectively,s But in Estetyka nowo~yta (Aesthetics in Modern Times), Tatarkiewicz argued thus: "The task of a historian does not only consist in finding what new ideas were born and when, but also in asserting what ideas, be they old or new, were found most appropriate for the people of the period. The history of aesthetics between the fifteenth and seventeenth centuries 1 Cf. R. Zimmermann, Geschichte der Xesthetik als philosophischer Wissenschafl (1858); B. Bosanquet,A History of Aesthetic (London, 1956),pp. 166-167. 2 A History of Aesthetics (NewYork, 1939). a Aesthetics from ClassicalGreece to the Present (NewYork, 1966). NOTES AND DISCUSSIONS 223 is instructive in this respect as it shows that classical aesthetics attracted and satisfied the majority of artists, poets, critics and philosophers, in spite of the changes that took place in social structure, in the material culture, in art and poetry. The persistence of one single aesthetic theory is so much more striking when juxtaposed with the changeability and lack of stability of both the philosophy and the art of the period.TM This view of the historian's task led Tatarkiewicz to draw connections between philosophical aesthetics and art theories and also with "implicit" aesthetics which he had found reflected in artistic practice and aesthetic taste of a particular historical period. "IMPLICIT" AESTHETICS AND THE PRACTICE OF ARTISTS The historian of aesthetics may look to the practice of artists for at least two reasons. He may regard this practice as indirect evidence of aesthetic thinking in the absence of expficit written statements, even where practice seems to conflict with expressed statements. Secondly, he...


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