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Adorno

The Recovery of Experience

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Adventures in Philosophy at Notre Dame

Kenneth M. Sayre

Adventures in Philosophy at Notre Dame recounts the fascinating history of the University of Notre Dame's Department of Philosophy, chronicling the challenges, difficulties, and tensions that accompanied its transition from an obscure outpost of scholasticism in the 1940s into one of the more distinguished philosophy departments in the world today. Its author, Kenneth Sayre, who has been a faculty member for over five decades, focuses on the people of the department, describing what they were like, how they got along with each other, and how their personal predilections and ambitions affected the affairs of the department overall. The book follows the department’s transition from its early Thomism to the philosophical pluralism of the 1970s, then traces its drift from pluralism to what Sayre terms "professionalism,” resulting in what some perceive as a severance from its Catholic roots by the turn of the century. Each chapter includes an extensive biography of an especially prominent department member, along with biographical sketches of other philosophers arriving during the period it covers. Central to the story overall are the charismatic Irishmen Ernan McMullin and Ralph McInerny, whose interaction dominated affairs in the department in the 1960s and 1970s, and who continued to exercise major roles in the following decades. Philosophers throughout the English-speaking world will find Adventures in Philosophy at Notre Dame essential reading. The book will also appeal to readers interested in the history of the University of Notre Dame and of American higher education generally.

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Adventures in Unfashionable Philosophy

James W. Felt

Throughout more than forty years of distinguished teaching and scholarship, James W. Felt has been respected for the clarity and economy of his prose and for his distinctive approach to philosophy. The seventeen essays collected in Adventures in Unfashionable Philosophy reflect Felt’s encounters with fundamental philosophical problems in the spirit of traditional metaphysics but updated with modern concerns. Among the main themes of the volume are: the enrichment of Thomistic philosophy through engagement with modern philosophers, Whitehead and Bergson, in particular; considerations of metaphysical method and its effect on philosophic conclusions; the development of a nuanced epistemological realism; and the relation of possibility to actuality and of time to experience.

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Aesthetics as Phenomenology

The Appearance of Things

Translated by Jerome Veith. Günter Figal

Connecting aesthetic experience with our experience of nature or with other cultural artifacts, Aesthetics as Phenomenology focuses on what art means for cognition, recognition, and affect—how art changes our everyday disposition or behavior. Günter Figal engages in a penetrating analysis of the moment at which, in our contemplation of a work of art, reaction and thought confront each other. For those trained in the visual arts and for more casual viewers, Figal unmasks art as a decentering experience that opens further possibilities for understanding our lives and our world.

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The Aesthetics of Environment

"Not since Thoreau has an American author displayed such a profound appreciation for the aesthetics of nature; but, unlike Thoreau, Berleant has designed a program for allowing others to join in on that appreciation." —E. F. Kaelin, Professor of Philosophy, Florida State University Environmental aesthetics is an emerging discipline that explores the meaning and influence of environmental perception and experience on human life. Arguing for the idea that environment is not merely a setting for people but fully integrated and continuous with us, Arnold Berleant explores the aesthetic dimensions of the human-environment continuum in both theoretical terms and concrete situations. Insisting on the need to reconceptualize environment and recognize its aesthetic implications, he pursues a variety of topics and approaches to environmental aesthetics. Aesthetic experience, maintains Berleant, is always contextual. Recognizing that humans, along with all other things, inhabit a single intraconnected realm, he names the quality of engagement as the foremost characteristic of environmental perception. Berleant moves from natural to nonnatural environments, suggesting that the aesthetic aspect of any human habitat is an essential part of its desirability. From outer space to the museum, from architecture to landscape, from city to wilderness, this book discovers in the aesthetic perception of environment the reciprocity that constitutes both person and place. "Arnold Berleant's Aesthetics of Environment poses an important path for philosophy to walk down—instead of environmental ethics, where what is right and wrong in nature is discussed, he goes after the difficult destination of deciding how to articulate what is beautiful in the nature we want, not the nature we see." —Human Ecology Review "Berleant's new environmental aesthetics is a challenge not only to the philosophers but also to the practitioners of environment-making. With rich illustrations and freedom from technical jargon, Berleant applies his new aesthetics to analyzing and solving the practical problems concerning various environmental designs of today." —Canadian Philosophical Review "A pioneering contribution to this discipline. It raises a large number of challenging questions and suggests new dirrections in the analysis of the environment as an aesthetic category." —Michael H. Mutias, Professor of Philosophy, Millsaps College

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The Aesthetics of Gyorgy Lukacs

Bela Kiralyfalvi

This book-length treatment of György Lukács' major achievement, his Marxist aesthetic theories. Working from the thirty-one volumes of Lukács’ works and twelve separately published essays, speeches, and interviews, Bela Kiralyfalvi provides a full and systematic analysis for English-speaking readers.

Following an introductory chapter on Lukács' philosophical development, the book concentrates on the coherent Marxist aesthetics that became the basis for his mature literary criticism. The study includes an examination of Lukács' Marxist philosophical premises; his theory of the origin of art and the relationship of art to life, science, and religion; and his theory of artistic reflection and realism.

Later chapters treat the concepts of type and totality in Lukács' category of specialty, the distinctions between allegory and symbolism in his theory of the language of art, and Lukács' understanding of aesthetic effect and form and content in art. There is a separate chapter on Lukács' dramatic theory.

This lucid and readable account of Lukács' aesthetic theories will be of special interest to students of literature, aesthetics, and drama. In addition, it will be appreciated by those generally concerned with Marxist theory.

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.

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The Aesthetics of Mimesis

Ancient Texts and Modern Problems

Stephen Halliwell

Mimesis is one of the oldest, most fundamental concepts in Western aesthetics. This book offers a new, searching treatment of its long history at the center of theories of representational art: above all, in the highly influential writings of Plato and Aristotle, but also in later Greco-Roman philosophy and criticism, and subsequently in many areas of aesthetic controversy from the Renaissance to the twentieth century. Combining classical scholarship, philosophical analysis, and the history of ideas--and ranging across discussion of poetry, painting, and music--Stephen Halliwell shows with a wealth of detail how mimesis, at all stages of its evolution, has been a more complex, variable concept than its conventional translation of "imitation" can now convey.

Far from providing a static model of artistic representation, mimesis has generated many different models of art, encompassing a spectrum of positions from realism to idealism. Under the influence of Platonist and Aristotelian paradigms, mimesis has been a crux of debate between proponents of what Halliwell calls "world-reflecting" and "world-simulating" theories of representation in both the visual and musico-poetic arts. This debate is about not only the fraught relationship between art and reality but also the psychology and ethics of how we experience and are affected by mimetic art.

Moving expertly between ancient and modern traditions, Halliwell contends that the history of mimesis hinges on problems that continue to be of urgent concern for contemporary aesthetics.

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Aesthetics of Negativity

Blanchot, Adorno, and Autonomy

William S. Allen

Maurice Blanchot and Theodor W. Adorno are among the most difficult but also the most profound thinkers in twentieth-century aesthetics. While their methods and perspectives differ widely, they share a concern with the negativity of the artwork conceived in terms of either its experience and possibility or its critical expression. Such negativity is neither nihilistic nor pessimistic but concerns the status of the artwork and its autonomy in relation to its context or its experience. For both Blanchot and Adorno, negativity is the key to understanding the status of the artwork in post-Kantian aesthetics, and although it indicates how art expresses critical possibilities, albeit negatively, it also shows that art bears an irreducible ambiguity such that its meaning can always negate itself. This ambiguity takes on an added material significance when considered in relation to language, as the negativity of the work becomes aesthetic in the further sense of being both sensible and experimental. But in doing so the language of the literary work becomes a form of thinking that enables materiality to be thought in its ambiguity. In a series of rich and compelling readings, William S. Allen shows how an original and rigorous mode of thinking arises within Blanchot's early writings and how Adorno's aesthetics depends on a relation between language and materiality that has been widely overlooked. Furthermore, by reconsidering the problem of the autonomous work of art in terms of literature, a central issue in modernist aesthetics is given a greater critical and material relevance as a mode of thinking that is abstract and concrete, rigorous and ambiguous. While examples of this kind of writing can be found in the works of Blanchot and Beckett, the demands that such texts place on readers only confirm the challenges and the possibilities that literary autonomy poses to thought.

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Aesthetics of the Virtual

Reconfigures classic aesthetic concepts in relation to the novelty introduced by virtual bodies. Arguing that the virtual body is something new—namely, an entity that from an ontological perspective has only recently entered the world—Roberto Diodato considers the implications of this kind of body for aesthetics. Virtual bodies insert themselves into the space opened up by the famous distinction in Aristotle’s Physics between natural and artificial beings—they are both. They are beings that are simultaneously events; they are images that are at once internal and external; they are ontological hybrids that exist only in the interaction between logical-computational text and human bodies endowed with technological prostheses. Pursuing this line of thought, Diodato reconfigures classic aesthetic concepts such as mimesis, representation, the relation between illusion and reality, the nature of images and imagination, and the theory of sensory knowledge.

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Affirmation of Poetry

Judith Balso


Since the times of Plato and Aristotle, the relation of poetry to philosophy has been controversial. For certain scholars, poetry should in no way be confused with philosophy. For others, poetry is at the heart of the possibility of thinking itself. In Affirmation of Poetry, Judith Balso defends the significance of poetry as a necessary practice for thinking. For Balso, if reading poetry properly has become an obscure task, poetry itself still carries with it a power of thinking: the efforts of the poets must continue. In analyzing the affirmation of thought found within the work of such poets as Osip Mandelstam, Wallace Stevens, Alberto Caeiro, and Giacomo Leopardi, Balso reestablishes poetry’s place as a site of thought.

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