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

Review of Wandering in the Land of Oblivion

The Urbano Project in Jamaica Plain (Boston) has a wonderful show by artist Constanza Aguirre, on view from November 9, 2018 through January 11, 2019. Her art explores the relationship that people have with work. What happens when displaced people are thereby prevented from working? Do they become less human?  In my art review (see … Continue reading Review of Wandering in the Land of Oblivion

Aesthetics Versus Philosophy of Art

It has become increasingly common to use the word 'aesthetics' when really talking about art. While it is true that many works of art are beautiful or have other aesthetic properties, most people claim to deny that aesthetics is a necessary component of art. One just has to think about Marcel Duchamp's Fountain (1917); he claimed … Continue reading Aesthetics Versus Philosophy of Art

Review of Scientific Purposes

Here is my review of Anna Schuleit Haber's exhibit Scientific Purposes (In which a murderous hairdresser donates his head to science, with one restriction) in Boston (March 2 - April 15, 2018). This is part one of a series for Big, Red & Shiny. For these essays, I review a show through the lens of a particular … Continue reading Review of Scientific Purposes

Beauty and Art

Robert Wellington has written a brief defense of the value of beauty in art. He explains: "Let me be clear. I am not saying that works of art ought to be beautiful. What I want to defend is our felt experience of beauty as way of knowing and navigating the world around us." He takes us … Continue reading Beauty and Art

Aesthetics for Teens!

On August 16, 2017, I led a workshop called Philosophy of Design: Aesthetics to the Graphic Design Studio at Artist for Humanity. First of all, if you don't know about them, you will be inspired to learn more. They employ about 150 teenagers to learn and make art. They all begin in the painting studio … Continue reading Aesthetics for Teens!

Jadranka Skorin-Kapov. The Intertwining of Aesthetics and Ethics

SKORIN-KAPOV, Jadranka. The Intertwining of Aesthetics and Ethics: Exceeding of expectations, Ecstasy, Sublimity. Lanham, Md.: Lexington Books, 2016. 236 pp. Cloth, $85.00—Rather than simply showing that aesthetics and ethics have some overlap or similarities, Jadranka Skorin-Kapov makes the stronger claim that both branches have a common experiential ground. Through an extensive survey (with dense exposition) … Continue reading Jadranka Skorin-Kapov. The Intertwining of Aesthetics and Ethics

The Rising Stairs of Beauty

One goes always upwards for the sake of this Beauty, starting out from beautiful things and using them like rising stairs. - Plato, Symposium, 211c In the Summer 2017 issue of ArchitectureBoston, Michael Spicher presents some philosophical reflections on striving for beauty, even though we may not have a perfect definition of it. For the article … Continue reading The Rising Stairs of Beauty

Emily Brady’s The Sublime in Modern Philosophy

THE SUBLIME IN MODERN PHILOSOPHY: AESTHETICS, ETHICS, AND NATURE. By Emily Brady. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013. Pp. Xi+227. Hard Cover $72.00, ISBN: 9780521194143. People commonly refer to pleasurable experiences of nature as experiences of beauty. Sometimes, however, beauty does not seem to be the appropriate term, causing some people to turn to the sublime. … Continue reading Emily Brady’s The Sublime in Modern Philosophy