Dislike and Taste

When discussing taste, we often speak about good or bad taste as if they are passively present in a person. "You either have good taste, or you don't." But what we choose to experience, and either like or dislike, is part of the process of developing taste. What it means to dislike something has not … Continue reading Dislike and Taste

Eating and the Tasteful Subject

One of the more fascinating books I’ve read recently is Lauren F. Klein’s An Archive of Taste: Race and Eating in the Early United States. Klein writes that “in the late colonial era and into the early republic, America’s cultural and political leaders identified a causal relation between the cultivation of the American palate and … Continue reading Eating and the Tasteful Subject

Taste Maps for Brands

For brands to stay relevant and successful, learning the tastes of customers is imperative. Taste influences how people see and act in the world. Taste is a reflection of our selves and a way to see what other people value. This idea led Stephen Bayley to describe taste as "a window and a mirror." "The … Continue reading Taste Maps for Brands

Disgust, Morality, and Negative Aesthetics

Disgust is a basic emotion that has served a useful purpose for our survival. Louise Fabiani explores this idea in her article, "Is Disgust Related to Morality?" While people have a natural caution when around too many people (physical crowds), that changes when we are connected to the crowd (psychological crowds) through religious observance or … Continue reading Disgust, Morality, and Negative Aesthetics

Curating Your Brand’s Aesthetic

The idea of curation has long been connected with the art world. We may picture someone making decisions about which art to hang in a gallery, which works fit in with a particular theme, or which artists to endorse or ignore. Curators could provide the breakthrough an artist needed to launch their career, or they … Continue reading Curating Your Brand’s Aesthetic

JCLA: Interview with Richard Shusterman

On July 3, 2019, Yanping Gao conversed with Richard Shusterman, and that interview is printed in the Journal of Comparative Literature and Aesthetics (JCLA) VOl. 43, No. 1, 2020. This conversation took place in Beijing following Richard Shusterman’s lecture to the Philosophy Department of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS). One of the key … Continue reading JCLA: Interview with Richard Shusterman

'Vivaldi for Gorillas': Seeking Aesthetics in Adversity

Guest Post by Venkat Ramanan While held prisoner in Auschwitz, the Italian writer Primo Levi, in an effort to keep himself anchored, tried to recall all the cantos of Dante’s The Divine Comedy and explicate its intricacies to his fellow inmates. There were, naturally, gaps in Levi’s memory. He got frustrated with this lapse and … Continue reading 'Vivaldi for Gorillas': Seeking Aesthetics in Adversity

Engineering Aesthetics: Beautifying Practical Solutions

Engineering, we might think, is simply the application of math and science to solve practical problems. However, there exists an intimate connection with aesthetics. Rolf Faste—in his article "The Role of Aesthetics in Engineering"—mentions that the word 'aesthetics' has its origins in ancient Greek with the idea of sense perception. To understand the importance, he … Continue reading Engineering Aesthetics: Beautifying Practical Solutions

Three Design Conditions of Thomas Aquinas

The concept of design entered new arenas in contemporary society. Design in traditional fields, like architecture, has clearly changed as exemplified by modern architectural feats. And design has entered areas that didn't even exist years ago, like web design. With new developments and changes in culture, design demonstrates those change. However, there are some principles of design that … Continue reading Three Design Conditions of Thomas Aquinas

Aesthetic Intelligence, Part 1

Beauty, and aesthetics more generally, is often considered to be nonessential. A pragmatic person may think aesthetics are unimportant, if something works. A humanitarian may think what's really important is that people are fed, clothed, and sheltered. A medical person may believe that health is the key concern for people. While all these elements are … Continue reading Aesthetic Intelligence, Part 1