Dissolving the Ego: Aesthetics and Individuality in Senecan Philosophy

Guest Post by Scott Lepisto The ancient Roman Stoic philosopher Seneca the Younger doesn’t just aim to teach his readers: he aims to transform them. Wonder at the beauty and mystery of the natural world plays a significant role in Seneca’s transformational program. He devotes less effort to explaining his aesthetic theory than to offering … Continue reading Dissolving the Ego: Aesthetics and Individuality in Senecan Philosophy

Origin of the Golden Ratio

A common narrative about the Golden Ratio (1:1.618) permeates western aesthetic ideas, especially concerning beauty. We are taught that the Golden Ratio was discovered by the Greeks, perhaps Pythagoras, and that there is an assumed linear progression from their time to ours. In "The Golden Ratio, a Supposed Greek Invention, May have African Roots," Audrey … Continue reading Origin of the Golden Ratio

Concerning Organizational Aesthetics

John Dewey wrote about the disconnect that was forged between aesthetics and everyday. He describes how artistic practices were once part of the daily life of individuals in different communities. Dewey wanted to reconnect the aesthetic to the everyday, including our jobs. It is with this framework in mind that I present some ideas from … Continue reading Concerning Organizational Aesthetics

Review of Aesthetics by Bence Nanay

Bence Nanay published his book, Aesthetics: A Very Short Introduction, with Oxford University Press in 2019. Below you can read the opening paragraphs of my review of it for the Journal of Comparative Literature and Aesthetics, and find a link to the full pdf. Opening to the review: With hundreds of titles in Oxford’s Very … Continue reading Review of Aesthetics by Bence Nanay

The Beauty of Chance

I was forwarded an interview with a poker player named Maria Konnikova. Most of the interview involved her approach to poker, but the interviewer (Kevin Berger) led her into a discussion of the skill-versus-chance debate. While many top players insist that poker is a game of skill, Konnikova agrees but adds that there is always … Continue reading The Beauty of Chance

Aesthetic Intelligence, Part 2

A previous post discussed the importance of considering aesthetics in business from the book Aesthetic Intelligence: How to Boost It and Use It in Business and Beyond by Pauline Brown. I wanted to follow up that entry with some insights from this book on how to develop aesthetic intelligence, specifically how to better curate your … Continue reading Aesthetic Intelligence, Part 2

Beauty in African Philosophy

Beauty has a long history in philosophy. "The Concept of Beauty in African Philosophy," by  Diana-Abasi Ibanga, adds to this history by explaining another perspective. Ibanga, a researcher in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Calabar, Nigeria, begins his article by drawing attention to the fact that the pursuit and experience of beauty … Continue reading Beauty in African Philosophy

Aesthetic Ineffability and the Rebirth of the Reader

Guest post by Venkat Ramanan The adjective “ineffable” appears to be used mostly in relation to either (a) a spiritual/mystical experience or (b) when we appreciate a work of visual or plastic art.  Here are some examples of (a) -  The British writer Karen Armstrong described Laozi (the Chinese philosopher from the 6th century BCE) … Continue reading Aesthetic Ineffability and the Rebirth of the Reader

Attention to Beauty

In his book, Aesthetics: A Very Short Introduction, Bence Nanay writes, "What all things aesthetic have in common is something very simple: the way you're exercising your attention" (p.22). To illustrate what he means, Nanay uses as an example the painting The Fall of Icarus by Pieter Bruegel the Elder. Landscape with the Fall of … Continue reading Attention to Beauty

Tragic Freedom: Murdoch on the Sublime

Guest post by Meredith Drees In 1959 Iris Murdoch wrote “The Sublime and The Good,”[1] in order to sketch a “definition [of art] through a consideration and criticism of Kant’s” (S&G, 43). Murdoch’s general view of aesthetics is strongly influenced by Kant’s, but she argues that his theory must be rejected because it “fails to … Continue reading Tragic Freedom: Murdoch on the Sublime