In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

416 HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY All in all, Landgrebe's book is a competent contribution to an understanding of the development of contemporary German philosophy (even though much of the material covered has been superseded by Spiegelberg's The Phenomenological Movement and, in German, by the studies of Otto PSggeler) and is a valuable introductory work. And, although its title would seem to belie this, it is a fine, sympathetic propaedeutic to the philosophy of Heidegger. The one annoying feature of this study is the author's tendency to spread himself too thin by attempting to cover a multitidue of minor figures in the midst of an explication of the writings of major philosophers. Despite some of this study's imperfections, the translation of Landgrebe's historical analysis was needed. GEORGEJ. STACK State University o] New York College at Broekport Art and Philosophy. Ed. Sidney Hook. (New York: New York University Press, 1966. Pp. x + 346. $6~50) This anthology, the seventh in the series of published symposia of the New York University Institute of Philosophy, is a significant contribution to contemporary discussions in aesthetics. It yields a representative picture of current philosophical aesthetics in America and also gives some indications of directions in which this increasingly vigorous discipline may be expected to move in the future. The book contains twenty-eight essays by leading American philosophers and their colleagues in the arts. The essays are grouped around three broad themes: the grounds for judgment of artistic excellence, the interpretation of meaning in art, and the relationship between art and reality. Each theme is introduced by a lead article followed by two critical commentaries. The rest of the contributors take up issues involved in these discussions of the main themes and cover, all told, most of the dominant problems of contemporary aesthetics. The notions of form and content and their interrelations, the relation between expression qua process and expression qua product vis-&-vis the expression theory of art, the phenomenal objectivity of feeling qualities in aesthetic objects, the strength of historical context in determining meaning and value in art, the nature and types of symbolism in art, the relations between imagination and reality in literature, taste and critical evaluation in art,-these are just some of the topics to which the writers in this volume address themselves. One interestingly novel issue raised in this book involves what is often an assumption of the philosophical approach to art in general, namely that theories of art are, or ought to be, concerned primarily with description and only subordinately with evaluation or recommendation . Monroe Beardsley questions this assumption in his essay, "The Limits of Critical Interpretation." Beardsley formulates and discusses two monolithic theories of art, which he calls the "significance theory" and the "immanence theory." The former holds that art is "essentially referential," and the latter holds that the meaning of art is independent of any reference (signification,symbolization, etc.) to the world. Beardsley suggests that these theories are best understood not as "descriptions of what in fact prevails" but as recommendations about how best to approach art. The upshot of his suggestion is that the dichotomy between description and evaluation in aesthetic theory is not so clear-cut as aestheticians and critics have often assumed and, moreover, that understanding in art is in some sense dependent on appreciation. Similar suggestions are made by Stuart Hampshire and Nelson Goodman, among others in this volume. Hampshire claims that the critic's role cannot be understood without raising "an underlying question of how art is to be approached," which is in part '% question of desirability (sometimes called a question of value)." And Goodman suggests that "a primary task of aesthetics is to discriminate and interrelate the aspects under which works of art are to be preceived and comprehended," a task which demands recognition of the fact that adequate description of specific aesthetic characteristics is often dependent on judgments of value, rather than judgments of specific characteristics being "mere means toward an ultimate appraisal." This approach to aesthetic perception and judgment, suggesting that BOOK REVIEWS 417 in some sense evaluation precedes description, is one which, from the evidence available in this volume, we may expect to receive an...


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 416-417
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.