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142Philosophy and Literature that the theory of rhetorical collection and division, by itself, is not the means of attaining that truth which alone will provide us self-knowledge. In fact nothing will provide us with complete and perfect self-knowledge. This is reserved for the gods alone. The Phaedrus is a whole of which myth and techne are parts. The advance of self-knowledge requires both. Both will remind us that we are ignorant of ourselves and that this is the beginning of true self-knowledge. Dialectic is important because conversation with others is one of the primary routes to selfknowledge that we possess. To understand ourselves properly we must see ourselves as part of a wider whole which includes both a nonpolitical relation to the Forms and a political relation to other human beings. The emphasis on discursive rhetoric places us in the realm of the political after die mythical portion of the text. Aware of our ignorance of ourselves, we can begin the painful ascent to knowledge using all the resources at our disposal, the most important of which is the dialectical self-movement of thought. Griswold provides a detailed and articulate statement of the problems facing us and the means for their partial solution. I highly recommend his book for those concerned with the question of how best to live a human life and Plato's method of dealing with it in the Phaedrus. Middlesex PolytechnicJeffrey A. Mason On Understanding Works ofArt: An Essay In Philosophical Aesthetics, by Petra von Morstein; ? & 230 pp. Lewiston, New York: Edwin Mellen Press, 1986, $49.95. Von Morstein presents a general theory of art according to which artworks represent kinds of experiences (intensional universale). Experiences contain intentional, nondiscursive elements which cannotbe captured by concepts, rules or descriptions, but which are presented by artworks in a nonpersonal fashion as complete and self-sufficient. Artworks show what cannot be described—this is a "picture theory" of art. Artworks are important because they present truths which can be known by acquaintance but which cannot be fully articulated or conceptualized. In this, artworks are like persons. Ordinarily, representation is stereotyped, with the effect that die intensional component drops out of account. By contrast, artistic representation is original and, hence, its intensionality is preserved. The recognition ofthis intensionality is not rule-governed and is, in principle, immediate. Although any object might be viewed aesthet- Reviews143 ically for the sake of its "significant form," art is distinguished from non-art in that it "intends" its form. A work ofart is understood fully when it is appreciated for its form, whereas non-art is not fully understood for what it is when its purposiveness is ignored. Much of this sounds like Susanne Langer's theory, and Langer is cited with approval. Both Kant and Aristode are also said to hold compatible views. Contemporary aestheticians (save Gombrich and Wollheim) are not mentioned, but there are parallels withJoseph Margolis's argument that artworks are culturally emergent entities and with Arthur Danto's comparisons of artworks with persons . The book includes chapters on the nature of representation, of artistic creation , and of the understanding of artworks. The connection between art and truth and the evaluative criteria for artworks (authenticity, originality, and importance) are discussed. Chapters six and seven explore the ways in which artworks are necessarily unified, unique, expressive ofuniversality, and realistic (or surrealistic). Beauty is considered next, and the connection between artworks and "forms of life" is covered in the final chapter. Apart from brief discussions of the paintings of Magritte and of Brecht's views on drama, the argument is extremely abstract and general. For the most part the author writes as ifshe has painting in mind, but the theory is supposed to apply across the arts. Such a theory is liable to seem more plausible for literature and representational painting than for abstract music, and it is a shame that its application to particular arts was not examined. The assimilation of representation to expression, for example, might not then have been made so comfortably and conveniendy. Of course descriptions are not the same as experiences, but I am skeptical of the claim that the latter express truths which cannot...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-329X
Print ISSN
0190-0013
Pages
pp. 142-143
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-05
Open Access
No
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