Aesthetics: A Reader in Philosophy of the Arts

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Prentice Hall, 2011 - Philosophy - 464 pages
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As with previous editions, the new Aesthetics: A Reader in Philosophy of the Arts uses classic and contemporary readings of leading philosophers of the arts. This Third Edition includes more than a dozen new essays either written or adapted especially for this volume. Containing more than 90 essays in total, the new edition offers generous choices for class readings, thus minimizing supplementary material needed for required assignments and independent research.

In keeping with earlier editions, the Third Edition is a large collection of essays, most comparatively brief and organized first by groupings of art forms and then by general essays about the arts. It attempts to keep pace with theorizing about those art forms not traditionally covered in most books on aesthetics, like the jazz, rock, comics, video games, and even the aesthetics of junkyards. There is, then, an emphasis on the popular and mass arts and everyday aesthetics, as well as on time-honored problems in philosophy of the arts. This edition, which contains contributions by both analytic and continental philosophers, expands upon offerings in non-Western art and aesthetics. Finally, although intended to keep pace with topics and issues currently debated, instructors and students will find, in a special section, key classic texts.

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About the author (2011)

In This Section:


I. Author Bio

II. Author Letter




I. Author Bio


David Goldblatt and Lee B. Brown introduce students to philosophy of the arts using classic and contemporary works of leading philosophers. Their unique collection of 90 readings provide students with a broad perspective of philosophical thinking about the individual arts, including painting, photography, film, architecture, music, dance, literature, performance, and popular art. Of note are the works of Plato, Aristotle, Burke, Hume, Kant, Hegel, Nietzsche, Derrida, Foucault, Baudrillard, Lyotard, Heidegger, Benjamin, and Adorno.



II. Author Letter


Dear Colleagues,


The new third edition of Aesthetics: A Reader in Philosophy of the Arts contains 100 excerpts, articles and original essays in over 600 pages. Twenty essays are new to this edition with many written by a younger generation of aestheticians on the cutting edge of the field.


A chief and continuing feature of the new illustrated edition is its emphasis on issues in all of the arts, and not merely in the "fine" arts. It gives sustained attention to the popular and mass arts as well as covering recent theorizing about art forms not traditionally covered in most books on aesthetics, such as jazz, rock, comics, and video games--even to such vernacular subjects such as junkyards.


This volume offers faculty members an extraordinary number of options for organizing a basic course in philosophy of the arts, all while minimizing dependence on supplementary reading material. It is also convenient for independent assignments and student projects. With its range of sophistication, it can continue to be used above the level of introductory courses.


The collection includes readings from both the "continental" and the "analytic" tradition in aesthetics. It also exhibits continued attention to offerings about non-Western art and aesthetics.


One of the advantages of this anthology is that many of the selections are relatively brief but always self-contained. A broader context for each reading is presented in the introduction to each section.


Students arrive in class with very different attitudes towards, and experiences with, the arts. This anthology has been successful in many quarters: large lecture formats and small classrooms, big universities and smaller liberal arts schools, in wider fields of study and in classes with diverse cultural and economic backgrounds.


We thank our colleagues who have made suggestions regarding the contents and organization of Aesthetics: A Reader in Philosophy of the Arts and have tried to incorporate many of them into this edition. We welcome your comments on this third edition.





David Goldblatt & Lee B. Brown


Denison University & The Ohio State University


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