Art and Embodiment

Art and Embodiment : From Aesthetics to Self-Consciousness

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In his Critical Aesthetics and Postmodernism (Clarendon Press, 1993) Paul Crowther argued that art and aesthetic experiences have the capacity to humanize. In Art and Embodiment he develops this theme in much greater depth, arguing that art can bridge the gap between philosophy's traditional striving for generality and completeness, and the concreteness and contingency of humanity's basic relation to the world. As the key element in his theory, he
proposes an ecological definition of art.
His strategy involves first mapping out and analysing the logical boundaries and ontological structures of the aesthetic domain. He then considers key concepts from this analysis in the light of a tradition in Continental philosophy (notably the work of Kant, Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty, and Hegel) which - by virtue of the philosophical significance that it assigns to art - significantly anticipates the ecological conception.
On this basis Professor Crowther is able to give a full formulation of his ecological definition. Art, in making sensible or imaginative material into symbolic form, harmonizes and conserves what is unique and what is general in human experience. The aesthetic domain answers basic needs intrinsic to self-consciousness itself, and art is the highest realization of such needs. In the creation and reception of art the embodied subject is fully at home with his or her environment.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 220 pages
  • 216 x 138 x 14mm | 276g
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Revised ed.
  • 0199244979
  • 9780199244973
  • 1,299,673

Table of contents

Introduction: An Ecological Theory of Art ; PART ONE: VARIETIES AND STRUCTURES OF AESTHETIC EXPERIENCE ; 1. Aesthetic Domain: A Logical Geography ; 2. Aesthetic Experience and the Experience of Art ; 3. Alienation and Disalienation in Abstract Art ; PART TWO: THE PHILOSOPHICAL SIGNIFICANCE OF ART ; 4. Fundamental Ontology and Transcendent Beauty: An Approach to Kant's Aesthetics ; 5. Heidegger and the Question of Aesthetics ; 6. Merleau-Ponty: Vision and Painting ; 7. Art, Architecture, and Self-Consciousness: An Exploration of Hegel's Aesthetics ; PART THREE: THE ECOLOGICAL SIGNIFICANCE OF ART ; 8. The Needs of Self-Consciousness: From Aesthetic Experience to Unalienated Artifice ; 9. Art and the Needs of Self-Consciousness ; 10. Defining Art: Questions of Creativity and Originality ; Appendix ; Conclusion ; Index
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Review quote

His arguments are lucid, clearly stated, and, above all, absorbing...a welcome contribution to a subject area of philosophy which straddles many disciplines....Students of the visual arts and of their theory would do well to verse themselves in this kind of work.--The Philosophical Quarterly
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About Paul Crowther

Paul Crowther is Professor of Philosophy at Jacobs University, Bremen
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