What is Aesthetic Taste?

Theories of taste ran rampant in the eighteenth century, but things have settled down a bit in academic circles. Despite all the books on aesthetics, few people (if any) have offered new theories of aesthetic taste. Yet we live in a time where the exercise of taste has become quite pervasive. Content creators and audiences … Continue reading What is Aesthetic Taste?

The Beautiful Business

Tom Morris, philosopher to the business world, wrote an excellent book a while back called, If Aristotle Ran General Motors. The title, as he notes early on, is meant to be more symbolic than literal, with Aristotle standing in for philosophy and General Motors standing in for any business. What Morris presents is a way … Continue reading The Beautiful Business

On Aesthetic Intelligence

In 2009, Rochelle Mucha published her book exploring "aesthetic intelligence." Mucha appeals to the origin of the word 'aesthetics,' rather than its current use in disciplines like philosophy. Aesthetics referred to the knowledge gained by the senses. Part of the motivation of her book is to show the value of getting all of our senses … Continue reading On Aesthetic Intelligence

Beauty: Objective or Subjective

Historically, philosophers wrote systems of philosophy that tried to connect the different branches—metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, aesthetics, and political philosophy—unifying the branches top each other. Steadily in the twentieth century, the academy became hyper-specialized. A few have attempted to systematically look at philosophy as whole again, as illustrated by Crispin Sartwell's 2017 book, Entanglements: A System … Continue reading Beauty: Objective or Subjective

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

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

Jaume Plensa: Sculptor of Beauty

Art is supposed to express, rebuke, symbolize, inform, provoke, and so on. Few (if any) say that art is to just exist, and Jaume Plensa is one of them. As a sculptor, he says that he wants his work to exist, "to create beauty without any component of business in it." In this 2015 interview, … Continue reading Jaume Plensa: Sculptor of Beauty

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