The Philosophy of Art

The Philosophy of Art

3.75 (55 ratings by Goodreads)
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Now available in a fully revised and updated second edition, this accessible and insightful introduction outlines the central theories and ongoing debates in the philosophy of art. * Covers a wide range of topics, including the definition and interpretation of art, the connections between artistic and ethical judgment, and the expression and elicitation of emotions through art * Includes discussion of prehistoric, non-Western, and popular mass arts, extending the philosophical conversation beyond the realm of Fine Art * Details concrete applications of complex theoretical concepts * Poses thought-provoking questions and offers fully updated annotated reading lists at the end of each chapter to encourage and enable further research
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Product details

  • Paperback | 256 pages
  • 168 x 230 x 15mm | 360g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • Annotated
  • 2nd Edition
  • 1119091659
  • 9781119091653
  • 799,779

Back cover copy



Stephen Davies

"A judicious and wide-ranging introduction to contemporary philosophy of art by one of its foremost practitioners. Davies' book is notable for emphasizing both the biological and cultural dimensions of art-making, for regularly keeping in view non-Western as well as Western modes of art, and for an exemplary degree of clarity and reader-friendliness - all of which virtues are enhanced in this updated and streamlined second edition."
Jerrold Levinson, University of Maryland

"Stephen Davies' The Philosophy of Art is one of the best introductions to aesthetics and the philosophy of art. The second edition is even better. It has been updated and made more accessible to undergraduates. Davies has a more systematic grasp of the whole field of aesthetics than almost anyone. This is a stimulating book for both students and teachers."
Robert Stecker, Central Michigan University

"Davies' aesthetics primer is exemplary for the range of topics covered, the clarity of the presentations, the varied and plentiful examples, and the useful supplementary materials. The book is duly attentive to gender issues and discusses art from a variety of cultures. The emphasis on biology and evolution and the chapter on ontology ("Varieties of Art") set Davies' book apart from similar endeavors. The changes in the second edition make this already engaging tour even more stimulating and reader-friendly. Davies succeeds throughout in keeping the large issues live and the particular questions pressing. The book is accessible to beginning students but also a valuable resource for more advanced readers."
Stephanie Ross, University of Missouri-St. Louis

Now available in a fully revised and updated second edition, this accessible and incisive introduction outlines the central theories and ongoing debates in the philosophy of art. From the definition and interpretation of art, to the biological and cultural origins of artistic expression, The Philosophy of Art covers a wide range of topics with pedagogical clarity. Theoretical chapters are followed by sections detailing concrete applications of the ideas they contain, and all of the chapters include thoughtprovoking questions as well as annotated reading lists to encourage and enable further research.

Featuring full-color illustrations, newly published research, and discussion of all the arts, the second edition of The Philosophy of Art will be essential reading for anyone interested in the nature and appreciation of art.
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Table of contents

List of Figures vi Preface vii Acknowledgments xi 1 Evolution and Culture 1 2 Defining Art 26 3 Aesthetics and the Philosophy of Art 52 4 Varieties of Art 81 5 Interpretation 109 6 Expression and Emotional Responses 135 7 Pictorial Representation and the Visual Arts 167 8 The Value of Art 199 Index 232
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About Philip Alperson

Stephen Davies is a Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the University of Auckland. A former president of the American Society for Aesthetics, he is the author of several books, including The Artful Species (2012), Philosophical Perspectives on Art (2007), and Themes in the Philosophy of Music (2003)
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Rating details

55 ratings
3.75 out of 5 stars
5 24% (13)
4 36% (20)
3 33% (18)
2 5% (3)
1 2% (1)
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