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

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

Ugliness and Climate Solutions

How aesthetics impacts our decision-making is often ignored or overlooked. Some researchers, for example, have claimed that our feelings (i.e., aesthetic responses) account for 85 percent of our decision-making for retail purchases. Another example from clothing helps to illustrate this point further. In Everyday Aesthetics, Yuriko Saito describes how natural fibers, such as wool and … Continue reading Ugliness and Climate Solutions

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