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Philosophy > Aesthetics

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Networked Art Cover

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Networked Art

Craig J. Saper

The experimental art and poetry of the last half of the twentieth century offers a glimpse of the emerging networked culture that electronic devices will make omnipresent. Craig J. Saper demarcates this new genre of networked art, which uses the trappings of bureaucratic systems—money, logos, corporate names, stamps—to create intimate situations among the participants. In Saper’s analysis, the pleasures that these aesthetic situations afford include shared special knowledge or new language among small groups of participants. Functioning as artworks in themselves, these temporary institutional structures—networks, publications, and collective works—give rise to a gift-exchange community as an alternative economy and social system. Saper explains how this genre developed from post-World War II conceptual art, including periodicals as artworks in themselves; lettrist, concrete, and process poetry; Bauhaus versus COBRA; Fluxus publications, kits, and machines; mail art and on-sendings. The encyclopedic scope of the book includes discussions of artists from J. Beuys to J. S. G. Boggs, and Bauhaus’s Max Bill to Anna Freud Banana. Networked Art is an essential guide to the digital artists and networks of the emerging future.

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New Theory of Beauty

Guy Sircello

Ever since the eighteenth century, when Kant opened the floodgates of subjectivism in aesthetics, common men and philosophers alike have despaired of finding a basis for judgments about beauty. This book provides a comprehensive theory that encompasses beauty in art and nature, as well as intellectual, utilitarian, and moral beauty.

The author argues that the beauty of objects can be reduced to the beauty of properties of those objects, which in turn can be understood in terms of "properties of qualitative degree." The theory, developed first with respect to color, is then extended to include all sensory and non-sensory qualities. The author shows how the theory explicates and resolves disagreements about what is beautiful and discusses its relevance to the traditional notions of harmony and sublimity. His is an objectivist theory of beauty, and it enables him, in conclusion, to demonstrate why we enjoy perceiving beauty.

Originally published in 1975.

The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

Nietzsche's Animal Philosophy Cover

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Nietzsche's Animal Philosophy

Culture, Politics, and the Animality of the Human Being

Vanessa Lemm

This book explores the significance of human animality in the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche and provides the first systematic treatment of the animal theme in Nietzsche's corpus as a whole Lemm argues that the animal is neither a random theme nor a metaphorical device in Nietzsche's thought. Instead, it stands at the center of his renewal of the practice and meaning of philosophy itself. Lemm provides an original contribution to on-going debates on the essence of humanism and its future. At the center of this new interpretation stands Nietzsche's thesis that animal life and its potential for truth, history, and morality depends on a continuous antagonism between forgetfulness (animality) and memory (humanity). This relationship accounts for the emergence of humanity out of animality as a function of the antagonism between civilization and culture. By taking the antagonism of culture and civilization to be fundamental for Nietzsche's conception of humanity and its becoming, Lemm gives a new entry point into the political significance of Nietzsche's thought. The opposition between civilization and culture allows for the possibility that politics is more than a set of civilizational techniques that seek to manipulate, dominate, and exclude the animality of the human animal. By seeing the deep-seated connections of politics with culture, Nietzsche orients politics beyond the domination over life and, instead, offers the animality of the human being a positive, creative role in the organization of life. Lemm's book presents Nietzsche as the thinker of an emancipatory and affirmative biopolitics.This book will appeal not only to readers interested in Nietzsche, but also to anyone interested in the theme of the animal in philosophy, literature, cultural studies and the arts, as well as those interested in the relation between biological life and politics.

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The Normative Thought of Charles S. Peirce

Cornelis de Waal Associate Professor of Philosophy Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis

This volume explores the three normative sciences that Peirce distinguished (aesthetics, ethics, and logic) and their relation to phenomenology and metaphysics. The essays approach this topic from a variety of angles, ranging from questions concerning the normativity of logic to an application of Peirce's semiotics to John Coltrane's "A Love Supreme." A recurrent question throughout is whether a moral theory can be grounded in Peirce's work, despite his rather vehement denial that this can be done. Some essays ask whether a dichotomy exists between theoretical and practical ethics. Other essays show that Peirce's philosophy embraces meliorism, examine the role played by self-control, seek to ground communication theory in Peirce's speculative rhetoric, or examine the normative aspect of the notion of truth.

On the Ruins of Babel Cover

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On the Ruins of Babel

Architectural Metaphor in German Thought

The eighteenth century struggled to define architecture as either an art or a science-the image of the architect as a grand figure who synthesizes all other disciplines within a single master plan emerged from this discourse. Immanuel Kant and Johann Wolfgang Goethe described the architect as their equal, a genius with godlike creativity. For writers from Descartes to Freud, architectural reasoning provided a method for critically examining consciousness. The architect, as philosophers liked to think of him, was obligated by the design and construction process to mediate between the abstract and the actual.

In On the Ruins of Babel, Daniel Purdy traces this notion back to its wellspring. He surveys the volatile state of architectural theory in the Enlightenment, brought on by the newly emerged scientific critiques of Renaissance cosmology, then shows how German writers redeployed Renaissance terminology so that "harmony," "unity," "synthesis," "foundation," and "orderliness" became states of consciousness, rather than terms used to describe the built world. Purdy's distinctly new interpretation of German theory reveals how metaphors constitute interior life as an architectural space to be designed, constructed, renovated, or demolished. He elucidates the close affinity between Hegel's Romantic aesthetic of space and Daniel Libeskind's deconstruction of monumental architecture in Berlin's Jewish Museum.

Through a careful reading of Walter Benjamin's writing on architecture as myth, Purdy details how classical architecture shaped Benjamin's modernist interpretations of urban life, particularly his elaboration on Freud's archaeology of the unconscious. Benjamin's essays on dreams and architecture turn the individualist sensibility of the Enlightenment into a collective and mythic identification between humans and buildings.

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The Other Night

Dreaming, Writing, and Restlessness in Twentieth-Century Literature

Herschel Farbman

I sleep, but my heart wakes,says the Song of Songs. The other nightnames the sleepless night we spend in dreams.From The Interpretation of Dreams to Finnegans Wake, many of the great writing projects of the first half of the twentieth century articulate experiences of waking in the very depths of sleep, where no Ican declare itself present though the heart still beats. After World War II, in the cold light of the closure of the age of dreambooks, Beckett and Blanchot discover with new clarity, and new fatigue, that what wakes when the Isleeps doesn't sleep when the Iwakes.Revisiting Freud's argument that the dream is a form of writing, The Other Night looks at how life becomes literature in this wakefulness. Though we seem to be seeing things in our dreams, we are actually confronted with a kind of writing. This writing is not in our power, and yet it is ours. We are responsible for it in the same strange way that we are responsible for our lives.

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Persistent Forms

Explorations in Historical Poetics

Ilya Kliger

Since the mid-1980s, attempts to think history and literature together have produced much exciting work in the humanities. Indeed, some form of historicism can be said to inform most of the current scholarship in literary studies, including work in poetics, yet much of this scholarship remains undertheorized. Envisioning a revitalized and more expansive historicism, this volume builds on the tradition of Historical Poetics, pioneered by Alexander Veselovsky (1838-1906) and developed in various fruitful directions by the Russian Formalists, Mikhail Bakhtin, and Olga Freidenberg. The volume includes previously untranslated texts of some of the major scholars in this critical tradition, as well as original contributions which place that tradition in dialogue with other thinkers who have approached literature in a globally comparatist and evolutionary-historical spirit. The contributors seek to challenge and complement a historicism that stresses proximate sociopolitical contexts through an engagement with the longue duree of literary forms and institutions. In particular, Historical Poetics aims to uncover deep-historical stratifications and asynchronicities, in which formal solutions may display elective affinities with other, chronologically distant solutions to analogous social and political problems. By recovering the traditional nexus of philology and history, Persistent Forms seeks to reinvigorate poetics as a theoretical discipline that would respond to such critical and intellectual developments as Marxism, New Historicism, the study of world literature, practices of distant reading, and a renewed attention to ritual, oral poetics, and genre.

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Placing Aesthetics

Reflections On Philosophic Tradition

Robert E. Wood

Examining select high points in the speculative tradition from Plato and Aristotle through the Middle Ages and German tradition to Dewey and Heidegger, Placing Aesthetics seeks to locate the aesthetic concern within the larger framework of each thinker's philosophy.

In Professor Robert Wood's study, aesthetics is not peripheral but rather central to the speculative tradition and to human existence as such. In Dewey's terms, aesthetics is “experience in its integrity.” Its personal ground is in “the heart,” which is the dispositional ground formed by genetic, cultural , and personal historical factors by which we are spontaneously moved and, in turn, are inclined to move, both practically and theoretically, in certain directions.

Prepared for use by the student as well as the philosopher, Placing Aesthetics aims to recover the fullness of humanness within a sense of the fullness of encompassing Being. It attempts to overcome the splitting of thought, even in philosophy, into exclusive specializations and the fracturing of life itself into theoretical, practical, and emotive dimensions.

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The Pleasure in Drawing

Jean-Luc Nancy

Originally written for an exhibition Jean-Luc Nancy curated at the Museum of Fine Arts in Lyon in 2007, this book addresses the medium of drawing in light of the question of form--of form in its formation, as a formative force, as a birth to form. In this sense, drawing opens less toward its achievement, intention, and accomplishment than toward a finality without end and the infinite renewal of ends, toward lines of sense marked by tracings, suspensions, and permanent interruptions. Recalling that drawing and design were once used interchangeably, Nancy notes that "drawing" designates a design that remains without project, plan, or intention. His argument offers a way of rethinking a number of historical terms (sketch, draft, outline, plan, mark, notation), which includes rethinking drawing in its graphic, filmic, choreographic, poetic, melodic, and rhythmic sense. If drawing is not reducible to any form of closure, it never resolves a tension specific to drawing but allows the pleasure of drawing to come into appearance, which is also the pleasure in drawing, the gesture of a desire that remains in excess of all knowledge. Situating drawing in these terms, Nancy engages a number of texts in which Freud addresses the force of desire in the rapport between aesthetic and sexual pleasure, texts that also turn around the same questions concerning form in its formation, form as a formative force. Between the sections of the text, Nancy has placed a series of "sketchbooks" on drawing, composed of a broad range of quotations on art from different writers, artists, or philosophers.

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