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Books 337 variations. But there is none for Order, although there are several clever 'Gombrichian' alliterations (such as 'groping comes before grasping' in the roles of framing and filling of pattern making). The closest approximation to a thesis is the recurrence of the aesthetic principle 'unity in diversity' and its variations. According to this principle, aesthetic pleasure arises when there is a balance between chaos and complete order. Too much regularity is tedious, but randomness can be disconcerting; instead, 'delight lies somewhere between boredom and confusion' (p. 9), two catagories located at opposite poles of a continuous spectrum. During the last three centuries an extensive debate on the decorative arts was devoted to the question of the permissible range of ornamentation within this spectrum. This story Gombrich tells in detail, from the vogue of the Rococo and the subsequent neo-c1assical reaction to it, through the Victorian era and into the 20th-century. To be sure, Order parallels Illusion in the extensive uses of historical material, for Gombrich is, first and foremost, a historian. One aspect of this debate of interest to many readers of Leonardo is the role of industrialism. For centuries well crafted objects were revered for their apparent flawlessness, since they displayed a craftsman's skill. But when machines could produce 'perfect' objects, the concept of flawlessness was relegated to the catagory of the vulgar, and along with it went appreciation of manual skill. Consequently, for an object to be in good taste, it had to reveal some element of spontaneity (or expression), that is, a human quality not possessed by machines. The seminal writings of John Ruskin, as Gombrich argues, were mainly responsible for this Romantic dichotomy. Several themes often recur in Gombrich's historical and theoretical writings on art, and most of these themes and their variations surface in Order: the objection to historicism and the corresponding Hegelian view of history; the application to art of discoveries from ethology; the use of the Darwinian metaphor for art history; an emphasis upon historical continuity ('the tenacity of convention'); a stress upon the role of artists' motor skills and the employment, for purposes of analogy, of Karl Popper's philosophy of science. In choosing Popper, Gombrich has selected a major figure in the philosophy of science of the 20th century. Popper's philosophy has been challenged seriously by Thomas S. Kuhn. Assuming that Gombrich is familiar with Kuhn's widely read The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1962), I am surprised that he does not refer to this book, for there is a striking affinity between Kuhn's and Gombrich's philosophies. This is not, of course, the place to explore that topic in any detail, but the preliminary fact is this: Gombrich's concept of a schema in art and Kuhn's paradigm in science have much in common both conceptually and as historical phenomena. I have no doubt that a comparative study of their philosophies would throw much light upon art, scienceand their interrelationship. Order, even more so than Illusion, covers a wide range of material. And, like Illusion, it is long, slightly tedious in some places, but downright fascinating in others. Yet, because of the diversity of topics covered and the absence of a thesis, there was a tendency for me to lose 'the forest for the trees'. Nevertheless, I am quite sure that those who journey with Gombrich through this profusely illustrated book will, during their next tour through an art museum, ignore but a few ornamental frames. Philosophy Looks at the Arts: Contemporary Readings in Aesthetics. Revised Ed. Joseph Margolis. Temple Univ. Press, Philadelphia, 1978, 481 pp. $15.00. Paper, $8.95. Reviewed by Elmer H. Duncan' There are quite a number of good general anthologies in aesthetics today. Unfortunately, many of them fail to contain enough recent work done in the contemporary British analytic tradition. Margolis' anthology was therefore a welcome addition to the literature when it first appeared in 1962. Probably 'Dept. of Philosophy, Baylor University, Waco, TX 76703, U.S.A. LEO 13/4 - F the three most widely discussed papers of an analytic sort, in the entire history of philosophic aesthetics, are The Role of Theory in Aesthetics by...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1530-9282
Print ISSN
0024-094X
Pages
pp. 337-338
Launched on MUSE
2017-01-04
Open Access
No
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