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

The Sublime Spectacle of the Coronavirus Curve

Guest post by Sally Cloke In her article in this journal, Meredith Drees provides a clear and succinct explanation of Kant’s concept of the sublime, that sensation of terror mixed with satisfaction—“negative pleasure” as Kant expresses it [i](CJ 23:245)—that is frequently experienced when we observe the natural world at its most formidable and threatening. But … Continue reading The Sublime Spectacle of the Coronavirus Curve

Sublimity as a Symbol of Moral Dignity

Guest post by Meredith Drees In Kant’s Critique of Judgment, he states that “sublime is what even to be able to think proves that the mind has a power surpassing any standard of sense” (25:250). [1] My aim in this essay is to argue that experiences of sublimity give us a glimpse of morality and … Continue reading Sublimity as a Symbol of Moral Dignity

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

Taste: Universal and Cultural

Beauty is the eye of the beholder. Regardless of what truth is contained in that statement, it is far too simple. The most common argument (not necessarily the best) is the a version of the following: people disagree about which objects are beautiful; therefore, beauty must be wholly subjective. And one's taste is subjective by … Continue reading Taste: Universal and Cultural

Fleeting Beauty

Every year, thousands of people flock to the first public beach in America, Revere Beach (est. 1896) for the International Sand-Sculpting Festival. These are wonderfully complicated works that sculptors create in a short time, and they don't last very long. Shortly after the festival is over, the sand sculptures disappear. “SHELLter" by Jonathan (Jobi) Bouchard … Continue reading Fleeting Beauty

Beauty and Morality

When we first see the elephant man without his burlap mask in David Lynch's 1980 film, our first impression is that he is ugly. We then come to understand throughout the movie that he is a beautiful person. This extreme example represents the confusion in which we often find ourselves between morality and beauty. People … Continue reading Beauty and Morality

Negative Aesthetic Concepts

Aesthetic experiences are powerful. They can help us remember particular moments by creating a sensual account in our memory. But they can also help us when we are describing an amazing experience, situation, or object to someone else. Basically, the aesthetic aspects we encounter enhance whatever else we may be experiencing. Sometimes it is the … Continue reading Negative Aesthetic Concepts

Can Beauty Save the World?

I remember hearing that Dostoevsky, in his book The Idiot, has a character utter the expression, "Beauty will save the world." I immediately liked this expression, if for no other reason than hoping it might be true. Years later, I finally got around to read The Idiot. I kept waiting with anticipation for the famous line … Continue reading Can Beauty Save the World?

Quotidian Aesthetics: The Design Paradigm

I have long-believed that aesthetics should be part of our everyday lives, and then philosophers started publishing books and articles about this idea I took for granted. However, I see that the literature in aesthetics did not always warrant such a conclusion, especially with an overwhelming focus on the arts. The "Everyday Aesthetics" movement in … Continue reading Quotidian Aesthetics: The Design Paradigm