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Leonardo, Vol. 13, pp. 328-331. Pergamon Press, 1980. Printed in Great Britain. AESTHETICS FOR CONTEMPORARY ARTISTS Elmer H. Duncan Readers are invited to draw attention to articles on aesthetics appearing in English language journals that are of special interest to studio artists and art teachers, for review by Elmer H. Duncan, Dept. of Philosophy, Baylor University, Waco, TX 76703, U.S.A. R. E. Aquila, A New Look at Kant's Aesthetic Judgment, Kant-Studien 70, 17 (1979). Many philosophers believe that philosophical aesthetics, as it is known today, began with the publication of 1. Kant's Critique ofJudgment in 1790. Actually, much of what Kant wrote could be traced to earlier English and Scottish writings, but Kant was a major philosopher, and he made aesthetics a significant part of his philosophical system. Kant did philosophy in a professional way, using a technical vocabulary. So he is not easy to interpret. One of the paradoxes found in the Critique ofJudgment is the claim that the aesthetic judgment is concerned with pleasure (and is thus subjective) but, at the same time, it is also universal and necessary. How can a judgment be at once subjective and universal? Aquila's New Look essay is another attempt to resolve the paradox; the history of contemporary aesthetics has seen many such attempts. He admits that his solution may not be exactly what Kant meant to say. But it is not incompatible, he says, with Kant's views (p. 18) and may help solve some problems usually found in this part of Kant's system. Central to Aquila's position is the claim that aesthetic pleasure is a distinctive sort of pleasure, 'But the aesthetic experience involves something more than mere pleasurable sensation; it also involves the structuring of that sensation by perceptual form. The object of the pleasure structured in this way is, as I have argued, by no means a state of the perceptual subject; it is rather the formal structure of some perceptual object' (p. 28). Aquila's view is also distinctive in that he takes seriously Kant's claim 'that an aesthetic pleasure plays a role in experience which is analogous to that played by a predicate in a judgment' (p. 29). This is difficult to spell out, but part of the point is 'that an aesthetic experience does not involve a certain part of judgment one makes about his own pleasure, but rather a judgment which he makes by means of that pleasure' (p. 30) - and this judgment is held to have universal validity. I cannot give here a detailed account of how Aquila's account differs from the views of other Kant scholars such as H. N. Lee, R. K. Elliott, D. Crawford, A. C. Genova, and E. Schaper, but these differences are discussed at length in the essay. A. Berleant, Aesthetic Paradigms for an Urban Ecology, Diogenes, p. 103 (Autumn 1978). Consider an extreme example . Suppose someone suggests (and I once heard this suggestion made in what seemed to be a serious way) that in the future humans would live in huge cities made up of giant pyramids. It might even be suggested (and was) that each city would be made up of just three pyramids: one for eating, one for sleeping, one for making love. What would be wrong with this? It seems to have the same fault as many city plans offered in more serious contexts-s-a dull, non-aesthetic, dehumanizing sameness of structure and design. 328 In his essay, Berleant begins by considering the aesthetic values to be found in certain 'aesthetic paradigms'. First, he considered a sailing ship, then a circus, then a Gothic cathedral 'like a circus, the cathedral has its roots in a deep well of experience that lies far beneath the regularity and order of public life. In contrast to the functional environment of the sailing ship and the fantasy environment of the circus, the cathedral evokes what may be called a metaphysical environment , a setting which offers communion with Being in its physical, sacred, and spiritual manifestations' (p. 12). He then considers the experience of watching a sunset. The principal thesis of Berleant's essay is that surely...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1530-9282
Print ISSN
0024-094X
Pages
pp. 328-331
Launched on MUSE
2017-01-04
Open Access
No
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