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Aesthetics, History of


In the West, the history of systematic philosophizing about the arts begins with Plato. But his great achievement was preceded, and prepared for, by certain developments in the preceding two hundred years, of which we know or can guess only a little. Thus, the famous aesthetic judgmentif such it wasof the picture on Achilles' shield, "That was a marvellous piece of work" (Iliad XVIII 548), hints at the beginning of wonder about imitation, i.e., the relation between representation and object, or appearance and reality. Plato shows the aesthetic consequences of the thinking on this problem by Democritus and Parmenides. Further, the elevation of Homer and Hesiod to the status of wise men and seers, and moral and religious teachers, led to a dispute over the truthfulness of poetry when they were attacked by Xenophanes and Heraclitus for their philosophical ignorance and misrepresentation of the gods. Homer and Hesiod themselves raised the question of the source of the artist's inspiration, which they attributed to divine power (Odyssey VIII; Theogony 22 ff.). Pindar traced this gift to the gods but allowed that the poet's skill can be developed by his own effort. Pythagoras and his Order discovered the dependence of musical intervals on the ratios of the lengths of stretched strings, generalized this discovery into a theory about the elements of the material world (that they either are, or depend upon, numbers), and developed an elaborate ethical and therapeutic theory of music, which, according to them, is capable of strengthening or restoring the harmony of the individual soulharmonia being the term for the primary interval, the octave.


Nearly all of the fundamental aesthetic problems were broached, and some were deeply considered, by Plato. The questions he raised and the arguments he framed are astonishingly varied and deep. They are scattered throughout his dialogues, but the principal discussions are in (a ) the Ion, Symposium, and Republic, belonging to Plato's early, pre-Academy period (roughly 399387 BCE); (b ) the Sophist and Laws, written at the end of his life (roughly 367348/347 BCE); and (c ) the Phaedrus, which lies between these periods. Though perhaps not Plato's, the Greater Hippias is very Platonic and may be drawn upon. (In this entry, no distinction will be attempted between Plato's views and those of Socrates.)

art and craft

When today we speak of Plato's aesthetics, we mean his philosophical views about those fine arts that he discusses: visual arts (painting, sculpture, architecture), literary arts (epic, lyric, and dramatic poetry), and mixed musical arts (dance and song). Plato does not himself assign them a special name; for him they belong in the more general class of "craft" (technē ), which includes all skills in making or doing, from woodcraft to statecraft. In the Sophist (265266), crafts are divided into "acquisitive" and "productive," the latter being subdivided into (1) production of actual objects, which may be either human or divine (plants and elements by god, houses and knives by men), and (2) production of "images" (idola ), which may also be human or divine (reflections and dreams by god; pictures by men). Images, which imitate their originals but cannot fulfill their function, are further subdivided; the imitator may produce (1) a genuine likeness (eikon ), with the same properties as his model, or (2) an apparent likeness, or semblance (phantasma ), which merely looks like the original (as when the architect makes his columns swell at the top so that they will not appear to diminish). There is thus false imitation, the making of deceptive semblances. Yet Plato finds this distinction troublesome to maintain, for it is essential to any imitation that in some way it falls short of its original; if it were perfect, it would not be an image (eidolon ), but another example of the same thing, another bed or knife (Cratylus 432). So all imitation is in a sense both true and untrue, has both being and nonbeing (Sophist 240c).


The term "imitation" (mimesis ) is one of the most troublesome in Plato's aesthetics, for its denotation constantly expands and contracts with the movement of the dialectic, along with that of its substitutes and near synonyms, methexis (participation), homoiosis (likeness), and paraplesia (resemblance).

If, in one sense, all created things are imitations of their eternal archetypes, or "forms," Plato seems also to regard paintings, dramatic poems, and songs as imitations in a narrower sense: They are images. It is this that places the arts at the second remove from the reality of the forms, on the lowest of the four levels of cognition, eikasia (imagining) (Republic 509511). Some works of art, howeverand Plato sometimes speaks as though he meant all of themare imitative in the more pejorative sense, as deceptive semblances. In Book X of the Republic, the painter is said to represent the bed, not as it is but as it appears. It is this that puts him in the "tribe of imitators" (Timaeus 19d) and allies him with those pseudo craftsmen of the Gorgias (463465) who do not possess a genuine craft, like medicine, but a pseudo craft, or knack (tribē ), like cosmetics, which gives us the bloom of health rather than health itself.


By this route, Plato approaches the question that is of great importance to him as a metaphysician: Do the arts contain, or convey, knowledge? Before coming to this question, there is another to be considered. If the architect, as a maker of semblances, changes reality to make it look better, why does he do this? He seeks those images that will appear beautiful (Sophist 236a). This is another basic fact about the arts, in Plato's view; they can embody in various degrees the quality of beauty (to kalon a term that can branch out into more general senses of appropriateness or fitness to function but that often appears in a more strictly aesthetic sense). The beauty of concrete things may change or disappear, may appear to some but not to others (Republic 479a); but behind these temporal embodiments there is an eternal and absolute form of beauty. Its existence can be demonstrated dialectically, like that of the other forms; but direct acquaintance with it is to be sought, Plato says, via the partial and dimmer beauties open to the sensesand it is easier of access than the other forms (Phaedrus 249bc).

The path to beauty is described most fully in the Symposium A man possessed by love (eros ) of beauty is to progress from bodily beauty to beauty of mind, to beauty of institutions and laws and the sciences themselves, and finally to beauty in itself. It is noteworthy that Diotima of Mantineia, who presents this picture, does not assign to the arts any role in assisting this progress; that step was taken by Plato's successors.

It is also important to ask what beauty is, or, if that cannot be stated abstractly, what the conditions are under which beauty will be embodied in an object. The argument in the Greater Hippias takes up several possibilities, especially the possibility that the beautiful either is, or depends upon, what is beneficial or what pleases through the senses of hearing and sight. But in the Philebus, a careful discussion leads to the conclusion that beautiful things are made with care in the due proportion of part to part, by mathematical measurement (cf. Timaeus 87cd; Statesman 284a). "The qualities of measure (metron ) and proportion (symmetron ) invariably constitute beauty and excellence" (Philebus 64e, Hackforth translation). And because it is, or depends upon, measure, beauty is assigned a high place in the final list of goods (Philebus 66ab; cf. Sophist 228b).

art and knowledge

Knowledge (episteme ), as distinct from mere opinion (doxa ), is a grasp of the eternal forms; and Plato clearly denies it to the arts, as imitations of imitations (Republic 598601). So the poet is placed on the sixth level of knowledge in the Phaedrus (248d), and Ion is said to interpret Homer not by "art or knowledge" (532c) but in an irrational way (cf. Apology 22), for he does not know what he is saying or why he might be right or wrong. On the other hand, a work of art that embodies beauty has some direct relation to one form. And if the artist inspired by the Muses is like a diviner in not knowing what he is doing (Meno 99c; Timaeus 71e72a), he may have a kind of insight that goes beyond ordinary knowledge (cf. Laws 682a). His madness (mania ) may be possession by a divinity that inspires him to truth (Phaedrus 245a; Ion 533e, 536b). Moreover, since the arts can give us genuine likenesses, not only of appearances but of actualities, and even imitate the ethical character of the human soul (Republic 400401b; cf. Xenophon, Memorabilia III viii), it is possible, and indeed obligatory, to judge them by their truth, or their resemblance to actuality. The competent judge, especially of dance and song, must have "first, a knowledge of the nature of the original; next, a knowledge of the correctness of the copy; and thirdly, a knowledge of the excellence with which the copy is executed" (Laws 669ab, Bury translation).

art and morality

The supreme craft, for Plato, is the art of the legislator and educator, who must have the final say about the arts, for his task is to insure that they play their proper role in the life of the entire social order. The first problem is to discover what effects the arts have on people, and this problem has two aspects. First, there is the enjoyability of art. On the one hand, just insofar as it has beauty, the pleasures art gives are pure, unalloyed, and harmless (Phaedrus 51bc), unlike the pleasure of scratching an itch, which is preceded and followed by discomfort. But, on the other hand, dramatic poetry involves the representation of unworthy characters behaving in undesirable ways (ranting and wailing) and tempts the audience into immoderate laughter or weeping. Therefore its pleasures are to be condemned for their unworthy effect on character. Second, when we consider this tendency of the arts to influence character and conduct, there are again two sides to the matter. In his Republic and Laws, Plato makes it quite clear that he thinks the literary imitation of evil conduct is an implicit invitation to imitate the conduct in one's life (Laws 665b). Thus the stories of gods and heroes who behave immorally have to be excluded from the education of the young guardians in the Republic, and stories in which the gods and heroes behave as they should must either be found or written (Republic 376e411; cf. Laws 800802, 664a). Music composed in enervating modes must also be replaced by a suitable kind (Republic 398e, 411a).

But this does not mean that the arts have no role to play in the cultural life and education of the citizens. Indeed, the fear of their power that underlies Plato's severe censorship and regulation is accompanied by an equally great respect. The measure that is so closely allied to beauty is, after all, closely allied to goodness and virtue too (Laws 655a; Protagoras 326ab; Republic 432). Music and poetry and dancing are, at their best, indispensable means of character education, able to make men better and more virtuous (Laws 653654, 664). The problem, as Plato in his role of legislator sees it, is to ensure the social responsibility of the creative artist by insisting that his own good, like that of every citizen, be subordinated and made conducive to the good of all.


Our knowledge of Aristotle's aesthetic theory comes chiefly from the little collection of lecture notes that has come down to us as the Poetics, composed probably about 347342 BCE and later added to. The text is corrupt, the argument condensed and puzzling. No work in the history of aesthetics has given rise to such vexatious problems of interpretation; no work has had so great an influence on the theory and practice of literary criticism.

the art of poetry

Aristotle's first task is to define the art of poetry (poietike ), which is his subject. He assumes a distinction between three kinds of "thought," knowing (theoria ), doing (praxis ), and making (poiesis ) (see Metaphysics E 1; Topics VI 6); but in the Poetics, "poiesis" is taken in a narrower sense. One kind of making is imitation, which Aristotle seems to take fairly straightforwardly as representation of objects or events. The imitative art divides into (1) the art of imitating visual appearances by means of color and drawing and (2) the art of poetry, the imitation of a human action (praxis ) through verse, song, and dance (Poetics, Ch. 1). Thus the art of poetry is distinguished from painting by its medium (words, melody, rhythm) and from versified history or philosophy (the poem of Empedocles) by virtue of the object it imitates. Two of the species of the poetic art are of primary concern to Aristotle: drama (either tragic or comic) and epic poetry, distinguished from comedy by the gravity of the actions imitated (Chs. 2, 6).

What is of the first importance in Aristotle's treatise is his method of inquiry, for he aims to present a systematic theory of a particular literary genre. He asks: What is the nature of the tragic art? And this leads him to inquire not only into its material, formal, and efficient causes (many of his observations under these headings are of permanent value to literary theory) but also into its final cause or end (telos ). What is a good tragedy, and what makes it good; what are "the causes of artistic excellence and the opposite" (Ch. 26, G. F. Else translation)? This function of tragedy, he thinks, must be to provide a certain kind of enjoyable experiencethe "proper pleasure" (oikeia he-done ) of tragedy (Chs. 14, 23, 26)and if the nature of this pleasure can be determined it will then be possible to justify the criteria by means of which one can say that one tragedy is better than another.

the pleasure of imitation

Aristotle suggests briefly (Ch. 4) two motives that give rise to tragedy. The first is that imitation is natural; and the recognizing of imitation is naturally pleasurable to man because man finds learning pleasant, and recognizing, say, a picture of a dog, is a form of learning (cf. Rhetoric I xi). Since tragedy is an imitation of a special sort of object, namely fearful and pitiable events, its proper pleasure "is the pleasure that comes from pity and fear by means of imitation" (Ch. 4, Else translation). The problem that evidently arises is how we can derive pleasure from feeling emotions that are painful (cf. the definitions of "fear" and "pity" in Rhetoric II v, viii). Aristotle's nearest answer seems to be that though the object imitated may be in itself unpleasant to contemplate, the pleasure of seeing the imitation may overcome our distasteas with skilled drawings of cadavers (see De Partibus Animalium I v; Rhetoric I xi). Here Aristotle is offering a partial answer to one of Plato's grounds for skepticism about art; he takes the basic aesthetic pleasure as a cognitive one, of the same genus as the philosopher's (though no doubt of a lower level).

the pleasure of beauty

Tragedy also grows, Aristotle says (Ch. 4), out of our natural disposition to "melody and rhythm." He does not develop this point and may be postulating a kind of decorative impulse. But if we may think here of Plato's Philebus, our pleasure in melody and rhythm may be taken as pleasure in beauty in general. "A beautiful (kalliste ) thing, either a living creature or any structure made of parts, must have not only an orderly arrangement of those parts, but a size which is not accidental" (Ch. 7). Thus a tragedy, or its plot, may be "beautiful," i.e., artistically excellent (Chs. 1, 13). And the "proper pleasure" of the epic, for example, depends on its unity, on being "like a single whole creature" (zoon ) with a beginning, middle, and end (Ch. 23). This analogy echoes Plato's Phaedrus 264c. For the fineness of the object sensed or contemplated produces the highest degree of that pleasure that is proper to the organ sensing or mind contemplating (Nicomachean Ethics X iv).

the universal

If the function of tragic poetry is to provide a certain species of enjoyment, we can then inquire into the features of a particular work that will promote or inhibit this enjoyment. Its concentration and coherence depend in large part upon the plot and the sense of inevitability in its development (Ch. 10). This is evidently achieved most fully when the characters act in accordance with their natures, when they do the "kinds of thing a certain kind of person will say or do in accordance with probability or necessity, which is what poetic composition aims at" (Ch. 9, Else translation). These sorts of behavior, i.e., behavior that is motivated in accordance with psychological laws, Aristotle calls "universal," contrasting them with the events in a historical chronicle, which he thinks of as a causally unconnected string of particular incidents ("what Alcibiades did or had done to him").

This famous passage has inspired many later theories about art imitating universals or essences, but the gist of it (for Aristotle) is that the poet must make his plot plausible by relying on general psychological truths. This important point adds another level to Aristotle's defense (against Plato) of the cognitive status of poetry, for the poet must at least understand human nature or he cannot even produce a good plot.

the catharsis

In Aristotle's definition of tragedy (Ch. 6) there is one phrase that has given rise to an enormous amount of interpretation: di eleou kai phobou perainousa ten ton toiouton pathematon katharsin (translated in the traditional way by Butcher: "through pity and fear effecting the proper purgation of these emotions"). Thus Aristotle is interpreted as having a further theory, not about the immediate pleasure of tragedy but about its deeper psychological effects. This phrase is the only basis for such an interpretation in the Poetics ; but in the Politics (VIII 7), Aristotle clearly does propose a cathartic theory of music and even says he will explain catharsis further "when hereafter we speak of poetry"a remark that possibly refers to the presumed lost parts of the Poetics. If tragedy produces a catharsis of the emotions, there are still other problems in deciding what Aristotle had in mindwhether, for example, he meant it in a medical sense (a purgation of the emotions, their elimination by mental physic) or in a religious and lustratory sense (a purification of emotions, their transformation into a less harmful form). Both senses had precedents. There is also the question whether Aristotle believed in a catharsis of pity and fear alone, or, through them, of all destructive emotions.

In any case, on this interpretation, Aristotle would be answering Plato's second objection to poetry in Book X of the Republic, by saying that poetry helps men to be rational. The traditional interpretation has been interestingly challenged in recent years by Professor Gerald F. Else, who argues that the catharsis is not an effect on the audience or reader but something accomplished in the play itself, a purification of the hero, a release from the "blood pollution" of his crime, through his recognition of it, his horror at it, and the discovery that it was due to a "serious mistake" (hamartia ) on his part. This reading does not seem to fit some of the tragedies. If it is correct, Aristotle has no therapeutic theory of tragedy at all, but he may still be replying to Plato that the immoral effects of tragedy are not to be feared, since the finest ones, at least, will have to show a kind of moral progress if they are to be structurally capable of moving the spectator tragically.

The Later Classical Philosophers

Aristotle's Poetics does not seem to have been available to his successors. His ideas had some influence via the works (now largely lost) of his favorite pupil, Theophrastus; and the Tractatus Coislinianus (Greek, probably first century BCE) shows an acquaintance with his work, for its definition of comedy parallels remarkably Aristotle's definition of tragedy. During the later classical period, Stoicism, Epicureanism, skepticism, and Neoplatonism flourished competitively, and each of these schools of thought had some contribution to make to the history of aesthetics.


The Stoics were much interested in poetry and in problems of semantics and logic. Zeno, Cleanthes, and Chrysippus wrote treatises on poetry, no longer extant. From Philodemus we know of a work on music by the Stoic Diogenes of Babylon, and from Cicero's De Officiis of a work on beauty by Panaetius. Both seem to have held that beauty depends on the arrangement of parts (convenientia partium, in Cicero's phrase). The delight in beauty was connected with the virtue that expresses itself in an ordered life, with decorum (to prepon ). Thus not only irrational pleasure (hedone ), but a rational elevation of the soul (chara ), in keeping with the Stoic goal of tranquillity, was thought to be obtainable from poetry of the right sort. The Stoics emphasized the moral benefit of poetry as its chief justification and held that it might allegorize true philosophy (see Strabo, Geography I, i, 10; I, ii, 3).


The Epicureans are said (by Sextus Empiricus, Against the Professors VI, 27) to have disapproved of music and its pleasure, but it appears that this is partly based on a misunderstanding of Epicurus's aversion to music criticism (see Plutarch, That It Is Not Possible to Live Pleasurably According to the Doctrine of Epicurus 13). Two important works by Philodemus of Gadara (first century BCE), parts of which have been unearthed at Herculaneum, give further evidence of Epicurean thinking about the arts. In his work On Music (Peri Mousikes ), Philodemus strikes the earliest known blow for what later was called "formalism," by arguing (against the Pythagoreans, Plato, and Aristotle) that music by itselfapart from the words, whose effects are often confused with the music itselfis incapable either of arousing emotions or of effecting ethical transformations of the soul. And in his work On Poems (Peri Poematon ) he argued that specifically poetic goodness (to poietikon agathon ) is not determined either by the moral-didactic aim (didaskalia ), by the pleasure of technique and form (psychagogia ), or by a mere addition of the two, but by a unity of form and contenthis conception of which we do not now know.

The main lines of reflection about literature during the Roman period seem to have been practical and pedagogical. Two works were outstandingly influential (the second, however, not until its rediscovery in the modern period): the Ars Poetica, or Epistle to the Pisos, of Horace, which discusses many questions of style and form, and the work On Elevation in Poetry (Peri Hypsous, or On the Sublime ), probably written during the first century ce, perhaps by a Greek named "Longinus." This lively and brilliant work defines the quality of great writing in affective terms, as that which transports the soul; and it investigates the stylistic and formal conditions of this effect.


The philosophical reflection that continued in the Platonic schools until the Academy at Athens was closed by Justinian I in CE, 529 culminated in the Neoplatonic system of Plotinus. Three of his fifty-four tractates, which make up the six Enneads, deal especially with aesthetic matters: "On Beauty" (I, vi); "On the Intellectual Beauty" (V, viii); and "How the Multiplicity of the Ideal-Forms Came into Being; and on the Good" (VI, vii).

Behind the visible world, in this view, stands "the one" (to hen ), or "the first," which is ultimate reality in its first "hypostasis," or role, beyond all conception and knowledge. In its second hypostasis, reality is "intellect," or "mind" (nous ), but also the Platonic forms that are known by mind. In its third hypostasis it is the "all-soul" (psyche ), or principle of creativity and life. Within his schemeinfinite gradations of being "emanating" from the central "light"Plotinus develops a theory of beauty that is highly original, though inspired by the Symposium and other Platonic dialogues. The tractate "On Beauty" (MacKenna and Page translation) begins by noting that Beauty lies in things seen and heard, and also in good character and conduct (I, vi, 1); and the question is, "What is it that gives comeliness to all these things?"

The first answer considered, and rejected, is that of the Stoics. Beauty is, or depends on, symmetry. Plotinus argues that simple sense qualities (colors and tones), and also moral qualities, can have beauty though they cannot be symmetrical; moreover, an object can lose some of its beauty (as when a person dies) without losing any symmetry (VI, vii, 22). Therefore, symmetry is neither a necessary nor sufficient condition of beauty. It is not beauty but participation in ideal-form, that is, embodiment of Platonic ideas, that marks the difference in a stone before and after the sculptor carves it; for he gives it form. Where ideal-form enters, he says, confusion has been "rallied into co-operation" (I, vi, 2): when an object becomes unified, "Beauty enthrones itself." A homogeneous thing, like a patch of color, is already unified by similarity throughout; a heterogeneous thing, like a house or ship, is unified by the dominance of the form, which is a divine thought (I, vi, 2). In the experience of beauty, the soul finds joy in recognizing in the object an "affinity" to itself; for in this affinity it becomes aware of its own participation in ideal-form and its divinity. Here is the historical source of mysticism and romanticism in aesthetics.

Love, in Plotinus's system, is always the love of beauty (III, v, 1) and of absolute and ultimate beauty through its lesser and dimmer manifestations in nature or in the work of the artist-craftsman (I, vi, 7; VI, ii, 18; V, viii, 810). Something of Plato's ambivalence toward art reappears in Plotinus's account at this point, though muted and closer to being overcome in the basic monism of the system. We ascend from the contemplation of sensuous beauty to delight in beautiful deeds, to moral beauty and the beauty of institutions, and thence to absolute beauty (I, vi, 89; II, ix, 16). Plotinus distinguishes three ways to truth, that of the musician, the lover, and the metaphysician (I, iii, 12); and he speaks of nature as offering a loveliness that cannot help but lead the admiring contemplator to thought of the higher beauties that are reflected there (II, ix, 7; V, viii, 23). Nor are the arts to be neglected, on the ground that they are mere imitations (here he comes closest to correcting the Republic, Book X), for both the painting and the object it copies are, after all, both imitations of the ideal-form; moreover, the painter may be able to imitate form all the more truly, to "add where nature is lacking" (V, viii, 1; cf. V, ix, 11). Yet, in his more religious mood, Plotinus reminds us that earthly and visible beauty may distract us from the infinite (V, v, 12), that "authentic beauty," or "beyond-beauty," is invisible (VI, vii, 33); and he who has become beautiful, and hence divine, no longer sees or needs it (V, vii, 11). The ladder, to use once more a too-familiar similitude, is kicked away by the philosophic mystic once he reaches home.

The Middle Ages

The early church Fathers were somewhat doubtful of beauty and the arts: They feared that a keen interest in earthly things might endanger the soul, whose true vocation lies elsewhereespecially since the literature, drama, and visual art they were acquainted with was closely associated with the pagan cultures of Greece and Rome. But despite the danger of idolatry, sculpture and painting became accepted as legitimate aids to piety, and literature became accepted as part of education in the liberal arts. Concern with aesthetic problems was not a prominent part of medieval philosophy, but some important lines of thought can be observed in the works of the two greatest thinkers.

st. augustine

In his Confessions (IV, xiii), Augustine tells a little of his lost early work, De Pulchro et Apto ("On the Beautiful and Fitting"), in which he distinguished a beauty that belongs to things in virtue of their forming a whole and a beauty that belongs to things in virtue of their fitting in with something else or being part of a whole. It is not possible to be sure, from his brief description, of the exact nature of this distinction. His later thoughts on beauty are scattered throughout his works, and especially in De Ordine ("Concerning Order," CE 386), De Vera Religione ("Concerning True Religion," CE 390), and De Musica (CE 388391), a treatise on meter.

The key concepts in Augustine's theory are unity, number, equality, proportion, and order; and unity is the basic notion, not only in art (De Ordine II, xv, 42) but in reality. The existence of individual things as units, and the possibility of comparing them with respect to equality or likeness, gives rise to proportion, measure, and number (De Musica VI, xiv, 44; xvii, 56; De Libero Arbitrio II, viii, 22). Number, he emphasizes in various places, is fundamental both to being and to beauty"Examine the beauty of bodily form, and you will find that everything is in its place by number" (De Libero Arbitrio II, xvi, 42, Burleigh translation). Number gives rise to order, the arrangement of equal and unequal parts into an integrated complex in accordance with an end. And from order comes a second-level kind of unity, the emergent unity of heterogeneous wholes, harmonized or made symmetrical through internal relations of likeness between the parts (De Vera Religione xxx, 55; xxxii, 59; De Musica VI, xvii, 58).

An important feature of Augustine's theory is that the perception of beauty involves a normative judgment. We perceive the ordered object as being what it ought to be, the disordered object as falling short; hence the painter can correct as he goes along and the critic can judge (De Vera Religione xxxii, 60). But this rightness or wrongness cannot be merely sensed (De Musica VI, xii, 34); the spectator must bring with him a concept of ideal order, given to him by a "divine illumination." It follows that judgment of beauty is objectively valid; there can be no relativity in it (De Trinitate IX, vi, 10; De Libero Arbitrio II, xvi, 41).

Augustine also wrestled with the problem of literary truth, and in his Soliloquies (CE 387) he proposed a rather sophisticated distinction between different sorts of lying or deception. In the perceptual illusion, the straight oar pretends to be bent, and could be bent, but the statue could not be a man and therefore is not "mendacious." So, too, the fictional character could not be real and does not pretend to be real by his own will, but only follows the will of the poet (II, ix, 16; x, 18; cf. Confessions III, vi).

st. thomas aquinas

Thomas's account of beauty is given tersely, almost casually, in a few key passages that have become justly famous for their rich implications. Goodness is one of the "transcendentals" in his metaphysics, being predicable of every being and cutting across the Aristotelian categories; it is Being considered in relation to desire (Summa Theologica I, q. 5, art. 1). The pleasant, or delightful, is one of the divisions of goodness"that which terminates the movement of appetite in the form of rest in the thing desired, is called the pleasant " (S.T. I, q. 5, art. 6, Dominican Fathers translation). And beauty is what pleases on being seen (Pulchra enim dicuntur quae visa placent, S.T. I, q. 5, art. 4).

Here, of course, "seeing" extends to all cognitive grasp; the perception of beauty is a kind of knowing (this explains why it does not occur in the lower senses of smell and taste, S.T. III, q. 27, art. 1). Since cognition consists in abstracting the form that makes an object what it is, beauty depends on the form. Thomas's best-known statement about beauty occurs in the course of a discussion of Augustine's attempt to identify the persons of the Trinity with some of his key concepts, the Father with unity, etc. Beauty, he says, "includes three conditions" (S.T. I, q. 39, art. 8). First, there is "integrity or perfection" (integritas sive perfectio )broken or injured objects, incomplete objects, are ugly. Second, there is "due proportion or harmony" (debita proportio sive consonantia ), which may refer partly to the relations between parts of the object itself but mainly refers to a relation between the object and the perceiver: that the eminently visible object, for example, is proportioned to the sight. Third, there is "brightness or clarity" (claritas ), or brilliance (see also S.T. IIII, q. 145, art 2; q. 180, art. 2). The third condition has been variously explicated; it is connected with the medieval Neoplatonic tradition in which light is a symbol of divine beauty and truth (see the pseudo-Dionysius on the Divine Names, Ch. 4; Robert Grosseteste, De Luce, and his commentary on the Hexaëmeron ). Clarity is that "splendor of form [resplendentia formae ] shining on the proportioned parts of matter" in the opusculum De Pulchro et Bono (I, vi, 2), written either by the young Thomas or his teacher Albertus Magnus. The conditions of beauty can be stated univocally, but beauty, being a part of goodness, is an analogical term (that is, has different senses when applied to different sorts of things). It signifies a whole family of qualities, for each thing is beautiful in its own way (Aquinas, Commentary on the Psalms, Psalm xliv, 2; cf. Commentary on the Divine Names iv, 5).

the theory of interpretation

The consuming tasks of the early Fathers, clarifying, reconciling, and systematizing Biblical texts in order to defend Christianity against external enemies and heretical deviations, required a method of exegetical interpretation. The Greek tradition of allegorizing Homer and Hesiod and the Rabbinical tradition of allegorical exposition of Jewish scriptures had been brought together and elaborately refined by Philo of Alexandria. His methods were adopted by Origen, who distinguished three levels of meaning in scripture: the literal, the moral, and the spiritual or mystical (see De Principiis IV, i, 16, 18, 20). This method was taken into the West by Hilary of Poitiers and Ambrose, bishop of Milan, and further developed by John Cassian, whose formulation and examples became standard throughout the medieval period up to the time of Dante (see Dante's letter to Can Grande, 1319, the Preface to the Paradiso ).

In Cassian's example (Collationes xiv, 8), Jerusalem, in the Old Testament, is, "literally" or "historically," the city of the Jews; on the "allegorical," or what came to be called the "typical," level, it refers prophetically to the later church of Christ; on the "tropological," or moral, level, to the individual soul; on the "anagogical" level, to the heavenly City of God. The last three levels together are sometimes called the "allegorical," or (as by St. Thomas) the "spiritual," meaning. As Thomas also indicates (Summa Theologica I, q. 1, art 10), the "literal" meaning also includes metaphorical statements.

Origen insisted that all Biblical texts must have the highest level of meaning, the "spiritual," though they may lack a moral sense and may even fail to make sense on the literal level, if too great an absurdity would be entailed by taking them that way. In this he was followed by St. Augustine (De Doctrina Christiana III, x, 14; xv, 23) but not by Hugh of St. Victor (De Scripturis, v; Eruditiones Didascalicon VI, iv, viiixi), who held that the second-level meanings are a function of the first level, and a first-level meaning can always be found if metaphor is included in it.

Because Christianity taught that the world was created ex nihilo by God, rather than generated or molded out of something else, Christian thinkers tended, in the Middle Ages, to hold that nature itself must carry the marks or signs of its origin and be a symbolic embodiment of the Word; in this respect, like Holy Scripture, God's other creation, it can be subjected to interpretation. Thus, nature becomes an allegory, and every natural object a symbol of something beyond. This view reaches its fullest development in John Scotus Erigena (De Divisione Naturae I, iii) and St. Bonaventure (Collationes in Hexaëmeron II, 27).

Though these reflections were primarily theological, rather than aesthetic, they were of great significance to the later history of aesthetics: They raised important questions about the nature of metaphor and symbol, in literature as well as in theology; they initiated reflection on the general problem of interpreting works of art; and they showed the possibility of a broad philosophy of symbolic forms, in which all art might be understood as a kind of symbolism.

The Renaissance

The most interesting philosophical development in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries was the revival, by a number of thinkers, of Platonism and the creation of a vigorous Neoplatonism. Of these thinkers, Marsilio Ficino, translator of Plato and Plotinus and founder of the new Academy (1462), was the greatest. In De Amore (his commentary on the Symposium, written 14741475) and in his principal work, the Theologia Platonica, Ficino took over a number of the leading aesthetic notions of the Greeks and of St. Augustine, and to them he added one of his most original ideas, a theory of contemplation based on Plato's Phaedo. In contemplation, he held, the soul withdraws to some extent from the body into a purely rational consciousness of the Platonic forms. This inward concentration is required for artistic creation, which involves detachment from the real, to anticipate what does not yet exist, and also is required for the experience of beauty (this explains why beauty can be grasped only by the intellectual facultiessight, hearing, and thinkingand not by the lower senses).

More significant for the future, however, were the changes taking place in basic assumptions about the arts and in attitudes toward them. The most significant works on the fine arts were the three books on painting, sculpture, and architecture by Leon Battista Alberti, the large collection of notes toward a systematic treatise on painting by Leonardo da Vinci, and surviving memoranda and the two books, on geometry and perspective and on human proportions by Albrecht Dürer.

One of the most serious endeavors of these artists and others was to establish a status for painting within the liberal arts, separating it from the other manual crafts among which it had been classified throughout the medieval period. The painter, Alberti argued (in his Della pittura, 1436), requires a special talent and skill; he needs a liberal education and a knowledge of human affairs and human nature; he must be a scientist, in order to follow the laws of nature and produce accurate representations of natural events and human actions. His scientific knowledge, indeed, must be basically mathematical, for the theory of proportions and the theory of linear perspective (which preoccupied Renaissance theorists, and especially Dürer) are mathematical studies; and they provide the principles in terms of which paintings can be unified and made beautiful, but at the same time made to depict correctly. Leonardo's argument for the superiority of painting to poetry and music (and also, in some degree, to sculpture) followed similar lines (see the first part of the Treatise on Painting ).

The concern for faithfulness of representation that is fundamental to Renaissance fine arts theory is also found in the developing theory of music. The music theorists, aiming to secure the place of music as a humanistic discipline, sought for a vocal music that would attain the powerful emotional and ethical effects attributed to Greek music. They stressed the importance of making the music follow the text, to intensify the meanings of the words. These ideas were defended, for example, by Gioseffe Zarlino, in his Istitutioni Armoniche (1558) and by Vincenzo Galilei, in his Dialogo della musica antica e della moderna (1581).

Renaissance poetics was dominated by Aristotle (especially the concept of poetry as imitation of human action) and Horace (the thesis that poetry aims to delight and instructthough this dualism was rejected by one of the major theorists, Lodovico Castelvetro, in his commentary on Aristotle's Poetics, 1570). The concept of imitation was variously interpreted and criticized by the Italian theorists. Among the chief points of disagreement and contention was the question whether poetry must belong to fixed genres and obey rigid rules, such as the dramatic "unities" adopted so adamantly by Julius Caesar Scaliger in his Poetics (1561), and the question (as discussed, for example, in Sidney's Defense of Poesie, 1595) whether the poet is guilty of telling lies and of leading his readers into immorality. In these discussions, the Aristotelian katharsis and Plato's condemnation of the poets were central and recurrent topics.

The Enlightenment: Cartesian Rationalism

Though Descartes had no aesthetic theory, and indeed wrote nothing about the arts apart from his early Compendium Musicae (1618), his epistemological method and conclusions were decisive in the development of neoclassical aesthetics. As in other areas, the search for clarity of concept, rigor of deduction, and intuitive certainty of basic principles penetrated the realm of critical theory, and its effects can be traced in numerous works, for example, in Nicolas Boileau-Despréaux's L'art poétique (1674); in Alexander Pope's Essay on Criticism (1711); in Charles Du Fresnoy's De Arte Graphica (translated into French by Roger de Piles, 1668, into English by Dryden, 1695); and in Jean Philippe Rameau's Traité de l'harmonie réduite à ses principes naturels (1722). Cartesian and Aristotelian elements combined in the richly polysemous concepts of reason and nature, which became central to all theories of the arts. To follow nature and to follow rules of reason were identified in counsel to the creative artist as well as in critical judgment.

In the sixteenth century, the rules for making and for judging works of art were generally (but not always) supported by authority, either the supposed authority of Aristotle or the models provided by classical writers. The new rationalism in aesthetics was the hope that these rules could be given a more solid, a priori, foundation by deduction from a basic self-evident axiom, such as the principle that art is imitation of naturewhere nature comprised the universal, the normal, the essential, the characteristic, the ideal. So, in Samuel Johnson (Preface to Shakespeare, 1765), "just representations of general Nature" become the end of art; the painter "is to examine, not the individual, but the species" (Rasselas, 1759, Ch. 10). And in the Discourses (1778) of Sir Joshua Reynolds, the painter is advised to "consider nature in the abstract, and represent in every one of his figures the character of its species" (III).

the problem of the rules

The controversy over the authority and infallibility of the rules reflected a conflict between reason and experience, between less and more empirical approaches to art. For example, Corneille, in his three Discourses (1660), admitted the necessity of observing unity of space, time, and action in dramatic construction but confessed also that he was by no means their "slave" and sometimes had to break or modify them for the sake of dramatic effect or the audience's enjoyment. Molière, in his Critique de l'école des femmes (1663), was even more outspoken in making experiment the test. However, other theorists held the line in France, for example, George de Scudéry and Charles de Saint-Évremond. Dryden, in his Defense of an Essay of Dramatic Poesy (1668), suggested that if drama has a function or end, there must be rules, but the rules themselves are only probable and rest in part upon experience. In this spirit, Johnson criticized the pseudo-Aristotelian rules of time and place.

In music, the conflict between reason and experience appeared in controversies over harmony and consonance, as well as over the absoluteness of rules, such as the avoidance of parallel fifths. The followers of Zarlino insisted on a mathematical basis for acceptable chords; the followers of Vincenzo Galilei were more willing to let the ear be the judge. A kind of reconciliation of these views appears in Leibniz's theory (Principles of Nature and of Grace, 1714, § 17) that, like all sensations, musical tones are confused mélanges of infinite sets of petites perceptions that at every moment are in pre-established harmony with the perceptions of all other monads; in hearing a chord, the soul unconsciously counts the beats and compares the mathematical ratio which, when simple, produces concord.

toward a unified aesthetics

The Cartesian theory of knowledge led to a more systematic attempt at a metaphysics of art in the Meditationes Philosophicae de Nonnullis ad Poema Pertinentibus (1735) of Alexander Gottlieb Baumgarten. Baumgarten, who coined the term "aesthetics," aimed to provide an account of poetry (and indirectly of all art) as involving a particular form, or level, of cognition"sensory cognition." He began with Descartes's distinctions (Principles of Philosophy I, xlvxlvi), elaborated by Leibniz (Discourse on Metaphysics, xxiv), between clear and obscure ideas, and between distinct and confused ideas. Sense data are clear but confused, and poetry is "sensate discourse," that is, discourse in which such clearconfused ideas are linked together into a structure. The "extensive clarity" of a poem consists in the number of clear ideas combined in it, and the rules for making or judging poetry have to do with ways in which the extensive clarity of a poem may be increased or diminished.

Baumgarten's book is remarkably concise, and its formalized deductive manner, with definitions and derivations, goes out of its way to declare the possibility of dealing in an acceptably rigorous Cartesian way with matters apparently so little suited for rigorous treatment. Though he did not finish his Aesthetics, which would have generalized his study of poetry, the makings of a general theory are present in the Meditations. Its basic principle is still the imitation of naturethe principle that is also fundamental to the influential work of the Abbé Charles Batteux, Les beaux arts réduits à un même principe (1746), and to the important classification of the fine arts in d'Alembert's Discours préliminaire to the Encyclopédie (1751).

The importance of Lessing's Laokoon oder über die Grenzen der Malerei und Poesie (1766) is that, though he did not reject the possibility of a system that will relate all the arts, he attacked superficial and deadening analogies (many of them based on the Horatian formula, ut pictura poesis, torn from its context). He looked for the specific individual potentialities and values of painting and poetry in their own distinctive mediums. The medium of an art is, he says, the "signs" (Zeichen ) it uses for imitation; and painting and poetry, when carefully examined for their capacities to imitate, turn out to be radically different. Consisting of shapes and colors, side by side, painting is best at picturing objects and visible properties, and can only indirectly suggest actions; poetry is just the opposite. When a secondary power of an art is made primary, it cannot do its best work. By the clarity and vigor of his argument and his sharp criticism of prevailing assumptions, Lessing gave a new turn to aesthetics.

The Enlightenment: Empiricism

Contemporaneous with the development of neoclassical critical theory was the divergent line of aesthetic inquiry pursued principally, though not exclusively, by British theorists in the Baconian tradition of empiricism. They were greatly interested in the psychology of art (though they were not merely psychologists), especially the creative process and the effects of art upon the beholder.

the imagination

That the imagination (or "fancy") plays a central, if mysterious, role in artistic creation had long been acknowledged. Its mode of operationthe secret of inventiveness and originalitywas not systematically investigated before the empiricists of the seventeenth century. Among the rationalists, the imagination, considered as an image-registering faculty or as an image-combining faculty, played little or no role in knowledge. (See Descartes's Rule III of the Regulae ["the blundering constructions of imagination"]; Principles I, lxxilxxiii; and Meditation VI.) But Bacon's Advancement of Learning (1605) placed the imagination as a faculty alongside memory and reason and assigned poetry to it, as history and philosophy (including, of course, both moral and natural philosophy) were assigned to the other faculties.

Thomas Hobbes, in the first chapters of his Leviathan (1651), undertook to give the first analysis of imagination, which he defined as "decaying sense" (I, ii), the phantasms, or images, that remain when the physiological motions of sensation cease. But besides this "simple imagination," which is passive, there is also "compound imagination," which creates novel images by rearranging old ones. Hobbes stated that the mind's "trains" of thought are guided by a general principle of association (I, iii), but he did not work it out very fully. Nor did Locke develop this idea very far in the famous chapter "Of the Association of Ideas" (II, xxxiii) that he added to the fourth edition (1700) of his Essay concerning Human Understanding (1690). The tendency of ideas that have accompanied each other to stick together and pull each other into the mind was noted by Locke as a pathological feature of the understanding: It explains various sorts of error and the difficulty of eradicating them (cf. Conduct of the Understanding, §41). The work of fancy is best seen, according to Locke, in the tendency of poetic language to become figurative. As long as we are interested in pleasure, we cannot be troubled by such ornaments of style; but metaphors and similes are "perfect cheats" when we are interested in truth (III, x, 34; cf. Conduct of Understanding, §§3242). Locke here reflects a widespread distrust of imagination in the later seventeenth century. It is shown in a famous passage from Sprat's History of the Royal Society (1702), in which Sprat describes the "close, naked, natural way of speaking," in clearly defined words, required for scientific discourse, and contrasts it with the "specious tropes and figures" of poetry.

The theory of the association of ideas was developed into a systematic psychology by Hume, in his Treatise of Human Nature (17391740), and Hartley, in his Observations on Man (1749). In Hume, the tendency of ideas to consort with one another because of similarity, propinquity, or causal connection became a powerful principle for explaining many mental operations; and Hartley carried the method further. Despite attacks upon it, associationism played a crucial role in several eighteenth-century attempts to explain the pleasures of art.

the problem of taste

The investigation of the psychological effects of art and of the aesthetic experience (in modern terms) developed along two distinct, but occasionally intersecting, paths: (1) the search for an adequate analysis and explanation of certain basic aesthetic qualities (the beautiful, the sublime) or (2) an inquiry into the nature and justification of critical judgment, the problem of "taste." Without trying to keep these completely separate, let us first consider those philosophers in the early part of the eighteenth century in whose thinking the second problem was uppermost.

One phase of aesthetic thinking was launched by the very influential writings of the third earl of Shaftesbury (see especially his Moralists, 1709, III; Inquiry concerning Virtue or Merit, 1699, I; and Characteristics, 1711). Shaftesbury's philosophy was basically Neoplatonic, but to emphasize the immediacy of our impression of beauty, and also to underline his view that the harmony perceived as beauty is also perceived as virtue, Shaftesbury gave the name "moral sense" to that "inward eye" that grasps harmony in both its aesthetic and ethical forms. The concept of a special faculty of aesthetic apprehension was one form of the theory of taste. Shaftesbury's other contributions to the development of aesthetics are his description of disinterestedness as a characteristic of the aesthetic attitude (Moralists III) and his appreciation (along with his contemporaries John Dennis and Thomas Burnet) of wild, fearful, and irregular forms of naturea taste that helped bring into prominence, in the eighteenth century, the concept of the sublime as an aesthetic quality distinct from beauty.

Joseph Addison's Spectator papers on aesthetic enjoyment (1712, Nos. 409, 411421) conceived taste as simply the capacity to discern those three qualities that give rise to "the pleasures of the imagination," greatness (that is, sublimity), uncommonness (novelty), and beauty. Addison made some attempt to explain why it is that the perception of these qualities is attended by so much pleasure of so special a sort, but he did not go far; his service (earning the appreciation he received from succeeding thinkers) was the lively and provocative way in which he raised many of the basic questions.

The first real treatise on aesthetics in the modern world was Francis Hutcheson's Inquiry concerning Beauty, Order, Harmony, and Design, the first part of An Inquiry into the Original of our Ideas of Beauty and Virtue (1725). From Shaftesbury, Hutcheson took the idea of an inner sense; the "sense of beauty" is the power to frame the idea of beauty when confronted with those qualities of objects suited to raise it. The sense of beauty does not depend on judgment or reflection; it does not respond to intellectual or utilitarian features of the world, nor does it depend on association of ideas. His analysis showed that we sense beauty in an object when it presents "a compound ratio of uniformity and variety" (2d ed., p. 17), so that beauty varies with either of these, if the other is held constant. A basis is thus laid for a nonrelativistic standard of judgment, and variations in actual preference are explained away as due to different expectations with which the beautiful object, in art or nature, is approached.

The question of a standard of taste was the chief concern of David Hume's thinking on aesthetic matters. In his Treatise (II, i, 8), he suggested that "beauty is such an order and construction of parts, as either by the primary constitution of our nature, by custom, or by caprice, is fitted to give a pleasure and satisfaction to the soul," thus allowing, like Hutcheson, who influenced him considerably, an immediate delight in beauty, but allowing also for a transfer of this delight by association. For example, the appearance (not necessarily the actuality) of convenience or utility explains why many objects are esteemed beautiful (III, iii, 1). Some types of beauty, then, are simply seen or missed; judgments of them cannot be corrected. But in other cases, especially in art, argument and reflection can correct judgment (see Enquiry concerning the Principles of Morals, 1751, Sec. 1). This problem is discussed most carefully in the essay "Of the Standard of Taste" (in Four Dissertations, 1757). Hume argued that it is natural to seek for a standard of taste, by which aesthetic preferences can be called correct or incorrect, especially as there are clear cases of error ("Bunyan is a better writer than Addison"). The rules, or criteria, of judgment are to be established by inductive inquiry into those features of works of art that enable them to please most highly a qualified perceiver, that is, one who is experienced, calm, unprejudiced. But there will always be areas within which preference is due to temperament, age, culture, and similar factors unchangeable by argument; there is no objective standard by which such differences can be rationally resolved.

the aesthetic qualities

The search for necessary and sufficient conditions of beauty and other aesthetic qualities (the concept of the "picturesque" was added late in the century) was continued enthusiastically in the latter half of the eighteenth century. In this debate, an important part was played by Edmund Burke's youthful work, A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful (1757). Its argument develops on two levels, phenomenological and physiological. The first task is to explain by what qualities objects excite in us the feelings of beauty ("love" without desire) and sublimity ("astonishment" without actual danger). The feeling of the sublime, to begin with, involves a degree of horrorcontrolled horrorthe mind being held and filled by what it contemplates (II, 1). Thus, any object that can excite the ideas of pain and danger, or is associated with such objects, or has qualities that can operate in a similar way, can be sublime (I, 7).

Burke then goes on to argue that obscurity, power, privation and emptiness, vastness approaching infinity, etc. contribute to sublimity (II, 38). Beauty is analogously treated: The paradigm emotion is response to female beauty, minus lust; and objects that are small, smooth, gently varying, delicate, etc. can give the feeling of beauty (III, 116). The same scene can be both beautiful and sublime, but because of the opposition in several of their conditions it cannot be very intensely either if it is both.

Burke then moves to his second level of explanation (IV, 1, 5). He asks what enables the perceptual qualities to evoke the feelings of beauty and sublimity, and he answers that they do so by producing physiological effects like those of actual love and terror. "Beauty acts by relaxing the solids of the whole system" (IV, 19)this is one of Burke's celebrated hypotheses, a pioneering attempt at physiological aesthetics.

In this very fertile period of aesthetic investigation, many other writers, of various degrees of sophistication, contributed to the theory of beauty and sublimity and to the foundations of taste. Among the most important works, still worth reading for some of their suggestions, are Alexander Gerard's Essay on Taste (written by 1756, published 1759; see also his Essay on Genius, 1774), which made much use of association in explaining our pleasure in beauty, novelty, sublimity, imitation, harmony, ridicule, and virtue; Henry Home's (Lord Kames) Elements of Criticism (1762); Hugh Blair's Lectures on Rhetoric and Belles Lettres (given from 1759 on, published 1783); Thomas Reid's essay on Taste in his Essays on the Intellectual Powers of Man (1785). On the Continent, the question whether there is a special aesthetic sense was discussed, along with many other problems, by Jean-Pierre de Crousaz, Traité du beau (1714), and the Abbé Dubos, Réflexions critiques sur la poésie et sur la peinture (1719). Noteworthy also are Voltaire's Temple du goût (1733), Yves-Marie André's Essai sur le beau (1741), and especially the article on beauty that Diderot wrote for the Encyclopédie (1751), in which the experience of beauty is analyzed as the perception of "relationships" (rapports ).

In general, the later development of empiricist aesthetics involved increasingly ambitious attempts to explain aesthetic phenomena by means of association; a further broadening of the acknowledged aesthetic qualities, away from a limited concept of beauty; further reflection on the nature of "genius," the capacity to "snatch a grace beyond the reach of art"; and a growing conviction that critical principles have to be justified, if they can be justified at all, in terms of empirical knowledge of the characteristic effects of art. The achievements and the high level of discussion reached by the empiricist movement can be seen very well in a later treatise by Archibald Alison, his Essays on the Nature and Principles of Taste (1790; rev. ed., which became highly influential, 1811). Alison abandoned the hope for simple formulas of beauty and resolved the pleasure of taste into the enjoyment of following a train of imaginations, in which some of the ideas produce emotions and in which the entire train is connected by a dominant emotion. No special sense is required; the principles of association explain everything. And the arguments by which Alison supported his main theses, the careful inductions at all points, are models of one kind of aesthetics. For example, he showed, by experimental comparisons, that particular qualities of objects, or of Hogarth's "line of beauty" (II, iv, 1, Part II), do not produce aesthetic pleasure unless they become "expressive," or take on the character of signs, by being able to initiate a train of associations; and it is the same, he said, with colors: "Purple, for instance, has acquired a character of Dignity, from its accidental connection with the Dress of Kings" (II, iii, 1).

German Idealism

By assigning to the problems of aesthetic judgment the major part of his third Critique (The Critique of Judgment, 1790), Kant became the first modern philosopher to make his aesthetic theory an integral part of a philosophic system. For in this volume he aimed to link the worlds of nature and freedom, which the first two Critiques had distinguished and separated.

kant's analysis of judgments of taste

Kant recast the problems of eighteenth-century aesthetic thought, with which he was thoroughly familiar, in the characteristic form of the critical philosophy: How are judgments of the beautiful and the sublime possible? That is, in view of their evident subjectivity, how is their implicit claim to general validity to be vindicated? That such judgments claim general validity and yet are also subjective is argued by Kant, in careful detail, in the "Analytic of the Beautiful" and the "Analytic of the Sublime."

Judgments of beauty (also called "judgments of taste") are analyzed in terms of the four "moments" of the table of categories: relation, quantity, quality, and modality. First, the judgment of taste does not (like ordinary judgments) subsume a representation under a concept, but states a relation between the representation and a special disinterested satisfaction, that is, a satisfaction independent of desire and interest (§5). Second, the judgment of taste, though singular in logical form ("This rose is beautiful"), lays title to universal acceptance, unlike a report of mere sensuous pleasure, which imposes no obligation to agree. Yet, paradoxically, it does not claim to be supportable by reasons, for no arguments can constrain anyone to agree with a judgment of taste (§9; cf. §33). Third, aesthetic satisfaction is evoked by an object that is purposive in its form, though in fact it has no purpose or function: because of a certain wholeness, it looks as though it were somehow made to be understood (§10; cf. §65 and Introduction): it has "purposiveness without purpose" (Zweckmässigkeit ohne Zweck ). Fourth, the beautiful is claimed by the judgment of taste to have a necessary reference to aesthetic satisfaction (§18): not that when we find ourselves moved in this way by an object we can guarantee that all others will be similarly moved, but that they ought to take the same satisfaction we do in it.

the problem of validation

It is the above four aspects of the judgment of beauty that give rise to the philosophical problem of validation, which Kant formulates as he had the parallel problems in the earlier Critiques : How can their claim to necessity (and subjective universality) be legitimized? This can only be done, he argues, if it can be shown that the conditions presupposed in such a judgment are not confined to the individual who makes it, but may reasonably be ascribed to all rational beings. A minor clue is offered by the disinterestedness of aesthetic sansfaction; for if our satisfaction is in no way dependent on individual interests, it takes on a kind of intersubjectivity (§6). But the validation of the synthetic a priori judgment of taste requires something more searching, namely, a transcendental deduction.

The gist of this argument is as follows: Empirical knowledge is possible because the faculty of judgment can bring together general concepts and particular sense-intuitions prepared for it in the imagination. These cases of determinate judgment presuppose, however, a general harmony between the imagination, in its freedom as synthesizer of representations, and the understanding, in its a priori lawfulness. The formal purposiveness of an object as experienced can induce what Kant calls "a free play of the imagination," an intense disinterested pleasure that depends not on any particular knowledge but just on consciousness of the harmony of the two cognitive powers, imagination and understanding (§9). This is the pleasure we affirm in the judgment of taste. Since the general possibility of sharing knowledge with each other, which may be taken for granted, presupposes that in each of us there is a cooperation of imagination and understanding, it follows that every rational being has the capacity to feel, under appropriate perceptual conditions, this harmony of the cognitive powers. Therefore a true judgment of taste can legitimately claim to be true for all (§9; cf. §§3539).

Kant's system requires that there be a dialectic of taste with an antinomy to be dissolved on the principles of critical philosophy. This is a paradox about the role of concepts in the judgment of taste: If the judgment involves concepts, it must be rationally disputable, and provable by reasons (which it is not); if it does not involve concepts, it cannot even be the subject of disagreement (which it is). The solution is that no determinate concept is involved in such judgments, but only the indeterminate concept of the supersensible, or thing-in-itself that underlies the object as well as the judging subject (§§5657).

kant on the sublime

Kant's analysis of the sublime proceeds on quite different grounds. Essentially, he explains this species of satisfaction as a feeling of the grandeur of reason itself and of humankind's moral destiny, which arises in two ways: (1) When we are confronted in nature with the extremely vast (the mathematical sublime), our imagination falters in the task of comprehending it and we become aware of the supremacy of reason, whose ideas reach toward infinite totality. (2) When we are confronted with the overwhelmingly powerful (the dynamical sublime), the weakness of our empirical selves makes us aware (again by contrast) of our worth as moral beings (see the "Analytic of the Sublime"). In this analysis, and again in his final remarks on beauty in nature, Kant goes some way toward re-establishing on one level a connection between realms whose autonomy he has fought for on a different level. As he had done earlier with the a priori concepts of the understanding and the sphere of morality, he has here tried to show that the aesthetic stands on its own feet, independent of desire and interest, of knowledge or morality. Yet because the experience of beauty depends upon seeing natural objects as though they were somehow the artifacts of a cosmic reason bent on being intelligible to us, and because the experience of the sublime makes use of natural formlessness and fearfulness to celebrate reason itself, these aesthetic values in the last analysis serve a moral purpose and a moral need, exalting and ennobling the human spirit.


Kant's aesthetic theories were first made use of by the dramatic poet Friedrich Schiller, who found in them the key to a number of profound problems about culture and freedom that he had been meditating. In several essays and poems, and principally in the remarkable Briefe über die ästhetische Erzieung des Menschen ("Letters on the Aesthetic Education of Man," 17931795), he developed a neo-Kantian view of art and beauty as the medium through which humanity (and the human individual) advances from a sensuous to a rational, and therefore fully human, stage of existence. Schiller distinguishes (Letters 1213) two basic drives in man, the sensuous impulse (Stofftrieb ) and the formal impulse (Formtrieb ), and argues that they are synthesized and lifted to a higher plane in what he calls the play impulse (Spieltrieb ), which responds to the living shape (Lebensform ) or beauty of the world (Letter 15). Play, in his sense, is a more concrete version of Kant's harmony of imagination and understanding; it involves that special combination of freedom and necessity that comes in voluntary submission to rules for the sake of the game. By appealing to the play impulse, and freeing man's higher self from dominance by his sensuous nature, art renders man human and gives him a social character (Letters 2627); it is therefore the necessary condition of any social order that is based not upon totalitarian compulsion but upon rational freedom.


Friedrich Wilhelm von Schelling was the first philosopher to claim to have discovered an "absolute standpoint" from which the dualisms and dichotomies of Kant's epistemology could be overcome, or overridden; and he was the first since Plotinus to make art and beauty the capstone of a system. In his System of Transcendental Idealism (1800), he attempted a reconciliation of all oppositions between the self and nature through the idea of art. In the artistic intuition, he says, the self is both conscious and unconscious at once; there is both deliberation, Kunst, and inspiration, Poesie. This harmony of freedom and necessity crystallizes and makes manifest the underlying harmony that exists between the self and nature. There is at work an unseen creative drive that is, on the unconsciousness level, the same as conscious artistic activity. In Schelling's lectures on the Philosophy of Art (given 18021803, but not published until 1859), transcendental idealism becomes "absolute idealism" and art becomes the medium through which the infinite "ideas," which are the expressions of the various "potencies" involved in the ultimate absolute self-identity, become embodied in finite form, and therefore the medium through which the absolute is most fully revealed. This same general position underlies the famous work Über das Verhältniss der bildenden Künste zu der Natur (On the Relation Between the Plastic Arts and Nature, 1807).


The most fully articulated idealistic system of aesthetics was that of George Friedrich Wilhelm Hegel, in his lectures between 1820 and 1829, the notes for which were published (1835) as his Philosophy of Fine Art. In art, he says, the "idea" (the notion at its highest stage of dialectical development) becomes embodied in sensuous form. This is beauty. Man thereby renders explicit to himself what he is and can be (see Philosophy of Fine Art, Osmaston translation, I, 41). When the sensuous is spiritualized in art (I, 53), there is both a cognitive revelation of truth, and also a reinvigoration of the beholder. Natural beauty is capable of embodying the idea to some degree, but in human art the highest embodiment takes place (see I, 39, 1011, 208214).

Hegel also worked out, in great detail, a theory of the dialectical development of art in the history of human culture, from Oriental "symbolic" art, in which the idea is overwhelmed by the medium; through its antithesis, classical art, in which the idea and the medium are in perfect equilibrium; to the synthesis, romantic art, in which the idea dominates the medium and spiritualization is complete (see Vols. III, IV). These categories were to prove very influential in nineteenth-century German aesthetic thought, in which the Hegelian tradition was dominant, despite attacks by the "formalists" (such as J. F. Herbart), who rejected the analysis of beauty in terms of ideas as an overintellectualization of the aesthetic and a slighting of the formal conditions of beauty.


Without attempting to trace its roots and early stages, we may say that the romantic revolution in feeling and taste was fully under way in Schelling's philosophy of nature and in the new forms of literary creation explored by the German and English poets from about 1890 to 1910. From the start, these developments were accompanied by reflection on the nature of the arts themselves, and they led in time to fundamental changes in prevailing views about the arts.

emotional expression

The romantics generally conceived of art as essentially the expression of the artist's personal emotions. This view is central to such basic documents as Wordsworth's 1800 Preface to Lyrical Ballads, Shelley's Defense of Poetry (written 1819) Mill's "What is Poetry?" (1833), and the writings of the German and French romantics. The poet himself, his personality as seen through the "window" of the poem (Carlyle's term in "The Hero as Poet," 1841), becomes the center of interest, and sincerity (in Wordsworth, Carlyle, Arnold) becomes one of the leading criteria of criticism.


A new version of the cognitive view of art becomes dominant in the concept of the imagination as a faculty of immediate insight into truth, distinct from, and perhaps superior to, reason and understandingthe artist's special gift. The imagination is both creator and revealer of nature and what lies behind ita romanticized version of Kant's transcendental idealism, ascribing the form of experience to the shaping power of the mind, and of Fichte's Ego "positing" the non-Ego. A. W. Schlegel, Blake, Shelley, Hazlitt, Baudelaire, and many others spoke of the imagination in these terms. Coleridge, with his famous distinction between imagination and fancy, provided one of the fullest formulations: The fancy is a "mode of memory," operating associatively to recombine the elementary data of sense; the imagination is the "coadunating faculty" that dissolves and transforms the data and creates novelty and emergent quality. The distinction (based on Schelling) between the "primary" and "secondary" imagination is between the unconscious creativity involved both in natural processes and in all perception and the conscious and deliberate expression of this in the artist's creating (see Chs. 13 and 14 of Coleridge's Biographia Literaria, 1817). Through most of Coleridge's work there runs his unfinished task of supplying a new theory of mind and of artistic creation that would replace the current associationism, which he had at first enthusiastically adopted and then, under the influence of Plotinus and the German idealists, came to reject.


Another important, and related, aspect of Coleridge's critical theory was his distinction (derived essentially from A. W. Schlegel's Vienna Lectures on Dramatic Art, 18091811) between mechanical and organic form and his conception of a work of art as an organic whole, bound together by deeper and more subtle unity than that explicated in the neoclassic rules and having a vitality that grows from within (see his Shakespearean criticism for examples). The concept of nature as organic, and of art as growing out of nature like a living being, had already been developed by Johann Gottfried Herder (see, for example, his Vom Erkennen und Empfinden der Menschlichen Seele, 1778), and by Goethe, in some of his essays (e.g., "Vom Deutscher Baukunst," 1772; "Über Wahrheit und Wahrscheinlichkeit der Kunstwerke," 1797).


The idea of the work of art as being, in some sense (in some one of many possible senses), a symbol, a sensuous embodiment of a spiritual meaning, though old in essence, as we have seen, came into a new prominence in the romantic period. Goethe distinguished allegory, a mechanical combination of universal and particular, and symbol, as a concrete unity (see "Über die Gegenstände der bildenden Kunst," 1797); and Friedrich and August Wilhelm Schlegel followed with a new interest in myth and metaphor in poetry. The English Romantic poets (notably Wordsworth) evolved a new lyric poetry in which the visible landscape took on the attributes of human experience. And in France, later in the century, the symbolist movement, launched by Jean Moréas in 1885, and the practice of such poets as Baudelaire, Rimbaud, and Mallarmé emphasized concrete symbolic objects as the heart of poetry.


Though first written in the climate of post-Kantian idealism, and, in that context, largely ignored, Arthur Schopenhauer's Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung ("World as Will and Idea," 1819; 2d ed. enlarged, 1844) came into its deserved fame in the second half of the century. Its romantic pessimism and intuitionism and, more particularly, the central position it assigned to the arts (especially music) made it one of the most important aesthetic documents of the century. Schopenhauer's solution of the basic Kantian dualism was to interpret the thing in itself, or noumenal world, as the "Will to Live" and the phenomenal world as the objectification, or expression, of that primal will. The objects of the phenomenal world fall into a hierarchy of types, or grades, that embody, according to Schopenhauer, certain universals or Platonic ideas, and it is these ideas that are presented to us for contemplation by works of art. Since the idea is timeless, the contemplation of it (as, for example, some general character of human nature in a poem or painting) frees us from subjection to the "principle of sufficient reason," which dominates our ordinary practical and cognitive consciousness, and hence from the constant pressure of the will. In this "pure will-less state," we lose individuality and pain.

Schopenhauer has much to say about the various arts and the forms of ideas suited to them; the uniqueness of music in this scheme is that it embodies not ideas but the will itself in its striving and urging and enables us to contemplate its awfulness directly, without involvement. Schopenhauer's theory of music was one of his most important contributions to aesthetic theory and influenced not only those theorists, such as Richard Wagner (see his essay on Beethoven, 1870), who emphasized the representative character of music, but also those critical of this view, such as Eduard Hanslick in Vom Musikalisch-Schönen ("The Beautiful in Music," 1854).


Friedrich Nietzsche repudiated romantic art as escapist, but his own aesthetic views, briefly sketched in the notes published posthumously as The Will to Power (1901), are best understood in relation to those of Schopenhauer. Nietzsche's early work, The Birth of Tragedy from the Spirit of Music (1872), presented a theory of tragedy as arising from the conjunction of two fundamental impulses, which Nietzsche called the Dionysian and Apollonian spirits: the one a joyful acceptance of experience, the other a need for order and proportion. In Nietzsche's later thinking about art, it is the former that becomes dominant; he insists, for example, as opposed to Schopenhauer, that tragedy exists not to inculcate resignation and a Buddhist negation of life, by showing the inevitability of suffering, but to affirm life in all its pain, to express the artist's overabundance of will to power. Art, he says, is a "tonic," a great "yea-sayer" to life.

The Artist and Society

Political, economic, and social changes in the nineteenth century, in the wake of the French Revolution and the rise of modern industry, raised in a new form the Platonic problem of the artists' relation to their society, their possibly conflicting obligations to their craft and to their fellow human beings. In the nineteenth century, an important part of aesthetic thinking was concerned with this problem.

art for art's sake

One solution to the problem was to think of the artist as a person with a calling of his own, whose whole, or at least primary, obligation is to perfect his work, especially its formal beauty, whatever society may expect. Perhaps the artist, because of his superiority, or higher sensitivity, or the demands of his art, must be alienated from society, and, though perhaps doomed to be destroyed by it, can carry his curse as a pride. This notion stems from the German romantics, from Wilhelm Wacken-Roder, Johann Ludwig Tieck, and others. From 18201830 it became the doctrine of "art for art's sake," the center of continuing controversy in France and, later, in England. In its extreme forms, as reflected, for example, in Oscar Wilde (Intentions, 1891) and J. A. M. Whistler ("Ten O'Clock" lecture, 1885), it was sometimes a claim that art is more important than anything else and sometimes a flaunting of the artist's freedom from responsibility. More thoughtfully and fundamentally, as in Théophile Gautier (Preface to Mademoiselle de Maupin, 1835) and throughout Flaubert's correspondence with Louise Colet and others, l'art pour l'art was a declaration of artistic independence and a kind of professional code of dedication. In that respect, it owed much to the work of Kant in carving out an autonomous domain for art.


The theory of realism (or, in Zola's sense, naturalism) arose as a broadened conviction of the cognitive duty of literature, a desire to give it an empirical, and even experimental status (in Zola's essay on "The Experimental Novel," 1880), as exhibitor of human nature and social conditions. In Flaubert and Zola, realism called for the cool, analytical eye of the novelist, treating virtue and vice, in Hippolyte Taine's words, as "products like vitriol and sugar"; see the Introduction to his History of English Literature (1863), in which Taine set forth his program for explaining art deterministically in terms of race, context, and epoch (race, milieu, moment ). Among the Russian literary theorists, Vissarion G. Belinsky, Nikolai G. Chernyshevski ("The Aesthetic Relation of Art to Reality," 1855), and Dmitri I. Pisarev ("The Destruction of Aesthetics," 1865), all art was given a similar treatmentas a reproduction of factual reality (sometimes an aid in explaining it, which may have value as a substitute, like a photograph, says Chernyshevski) or as the bearer of social ideas (Pisarev).

social responsibility

The theory that art is primarily a social force and that the artist has a social responsibility was first fully worked out by the French socialist sociologists. Claude Saint-Simon (Du système industriel, 1821), Auguste Comte (Discours sur l'ensemble du positivisme, 1848, Ch. 5), Charles Fourier (Cités ouvrières, 1849), and Pierre Joseph Proudhon (Du principe de l'art et de sa destination sociale, 1865) attacked the idea that art can be an end in itself and projected visions of future social orders free of violence and exploitation, in which beauty and use would be fruitfully combined and for which art will help prepare. In England, John Ruskin and William Morris were the great critics of Victorian society from an aesthetic point of view. They pointed to the degradation of the worker into a machine, unfree to express himself, the loss of good taste, the destruction of natural beauty, and the trivialization of art. Ruskin's essay on "The Nature of Gothic" (Stones of Venice, 1851) and many other lectures (for example those in The Two Paths, 1859; Lectures on Art, 1870) insisted on the social conditions and effects of art. Morris, in his lectures and pamphlets (see, for example, "Art under Plutocracy," 1883; "The Aims of Art," 1887; "Art and Socialism," 1884), argued that radical changes were needed in the social and economic order to make art what it should be: " the expression of man's happiness in his labor made by the people, and for the people, as a happiness to the maker and the user" ("The Art of the People," 1879).

The functionalist tendencies of Ruskin and Morris also turned up, even earlier, in the United States, in the trenchant views of Horatio Greenough ("American Architecture," 1843) and in some essays of Ralph Waldo Emerson ("Thoughts on Art," 1841; "Beauty," Conduct of Life, 1860; "Art," Essays, First Series, 1841).


It was, however, Leo Tolstoy who drove the social view of art to its farthest point in the nineteenth century and issued the most fundamental challenge to art's right to exist. In What Is Art? (first uncensored edition, 1898, in English), he asked whether all the social costs of art could be rationally justified. If, as he argued, art is essentially a form of communicationthe transmission of emotionthen certain consequences can be deduced. Unless the emotion is one that can actually be shared by men in generalis simple and humanthere is either bad art or pseudo art: this criterion rules out most of the supposedly great works of music and literature, including Tolstoy's own major novels. A work must be judged, in the end, by the highest religious criteria of the age; and in Tolstoy's age that meant, he said, its contribution to the sense of human brotherhood. Great art is that which transmits either simple feelings, drawing men together, or the feeling of brotherhood itself (Uncle Tom's Cabin ). In no other way can it claim genuine social value (apart from the adventitious value of jewelry, etc.); and where it falls short of this high task (as it usually does), it can only be a social evil, dividing people into cliques by catering to sensuality, pride, and patriotism.

Contemporary Developments

Aesthetics has never been so actively and diversely cultivated as in the twentieth century. Certain major figures and certain lines of work stand out.

metaphysical theories

Though he later proposed two important changes in his central doctrine of intuition, the early aesthetic theory of Benedetto Croce has remained the most pervasively influential aesthetics of the twentieth century. The fullest exposition was given in the Estetica come scienza dell'espressione e linguistica generale ("Aesthetic as Science of Expression and General Linguistic," 1902), which is part of his Filosofia dello spirito. Aesthetics, in this context, is the "science" of images, or intuitive knowledge, as logic is knowledge of conceptsboth being distinguished from "practical knowledge." At the lower limit of consciousness, says Croce, are raw sense data, or "impressions," which, when they clarify themselves, are intuïtions, are also said to be "expressed." To express, in this subjective sense, apart from any external physical activity, is to create art. Hence, his celebrated formula, "intuition = expression," on which many principles of his aesthetics are based. For example, he argued that in artistic failure, or "unsuccessful expression," the trouble is not that a fully formed intuition has not been fully expressed but that an impression has not been fully intuited. R. G. Collingwood, in his Principles of Art (1938), has extended and clarified Croce's basic point of view.

The theory of intuition presented by Henri Bergson is quite different but has also been eagerly accepted by many aestheticians. In his view, it is intuition (or instinct become self-conscious) that enables us to penetrate to the durée, or élan vital the ultimate reality which our "spatializing" intellects inevitably distort. The general view is explained in his "Introduction à la métaphysique" (1903) and in L'évolution créatrice (1907) and applied with great ingenuity and subtlety to the problem of the comic in Le rire (1900).


Philosophers working within the tradition of American naturalism, or contextualism, have emphasized the continuity of the aesthetic with the rest of life and culture. George Santayana, for example, in his Reason in Art (1903; Vol. IV of The Life of Reason ), argues against a sharp separation of "fine" from "useful" arts and gives a strong justification of fine art as both a model and an essential constituent of the life of reason. His earlier book, The Sense of Beauty (1896), was an essay in introspective psychology that did much to restimulate an empirical approach to art through its famous doctrine that beauty is "objectified pleasure."

The fullest and most vigorous expression of naturalistic aesthetics is Art as Experience (1934), by John Dewey. In Experience and Nature (1925), Dewey had already begun to reflect upon the "consummatory" aspect of experience (as well as the instrumental aspects, which had previously occupied most of his attention) and had treated art as the "culmination of nature," to which scientific discovery is a handmaiden (see Ch. 9). Art as Experience, a book that has had incalculable influence on contemporary aesthetic thinking, develops this basic point of view. When experience rounds itself off into more or less complete and coherent strands of doing and undergoing, we have, he says, "an experience"; and such an experience is aesthetic to the degree in which attention is fixed on pervasive quality. Art is expression, in the sense that in expressive objects there is a "fusion" of "meaning" in the present quality; ends and means, separated for practical purposes, are reunited, to produce not only experience enjoyable in itself but, at its best, a celebration and commemoration of qualities ideal to the culture or society in which the art plays its part.

A number of other writers have worked with valuable results along similar lines, for example, D. W. Prall, Aesthetic Judgment (1929) and Aesthetic Analysis (1936); C. I. Lewis, An Analysis of Knowledge and Valuation (1946, Chs. 14, 15); and Stephen C. Pepper, Aesthetic Quality (1937), The Basis of Criticism in the Arts (1945), The Work of Art (1955).

semiotic approaches

Since semiotics in a broad sense has undoubtedly been one of the central preoccupations of contemporary philosophy, as well as many other fields of thought, it is to be expected that philosophers working along this line would consider applying their results to the problems of aesthetics. The pioneering work of C. K. Ogden and I. A. Richards, The Meaning of Meaning (1923), stressed the authors' distinction between the "referential" and the "emotive" function of language. And they suggested two aesthetic implications that were widely followed: first, that the long-sought distinction between poetic and scientific discourse was to be found here, poetry being considered essentially emotive language; second, that judgments of beauty and other judgments of aesthetic value could be construed as purely emotive. This work, and later books of Richards, have been joined by a number of aesthetic studies in the general theory of (artistic) interpretation, for example, John Hospers, Meaning and Truth in the Arts (1946); Charles L. Stevenson, "Interpretation and Evaluation in Aesthetics" (1950); Morris Weitz, Philosophy of the Arts (1950); and Isabel C. Hungerland, Poetic Discourse (1958).

Meanwhile, anthropological interest in classical and primitive mythology, which became scientific in the nineteenth century, led to another semiotical way of looking at art, particularly literature. Under the influence of Sir James G. Frazer's The Golden Bough (18901915), a group of British classical scholars developed new theories about the relations between Greek tragedy, Greek mythology, and religious rite. Jane Ellen Harrison's Themis: A Study of the Social Origins of Greek Religion (1912) argued that Greek myth and drama grew out of ritual. This field of inquiry was further opened up, or out, by C. G. Jung, in his paper "On the Relation of Analytical Psychology to Poetic Art" (1922; see Contributions to Analytical Psychology, 1928) and in other works. Jung suggested that the basic symbolic elements of all literature are "primordial images" or "archetypes" that emerge from the "collective unconscious" of man. In recent years the search for "archetypal patterns" in all literature, to help explain its power, has been carried on by many critics and has become an accepted part of literary criticism.

The most ambitious attempt to bring together these and other lines of inquiry to make a general theory of human culture ("philosophical anthropology") is that of Ernst Cassirer. In his Philosophie der Symbolischen Formen (3 vols., 1923, 1925, 1929), the central doctrines of which are also explained in Sprache und Mythos (1925) and in An Essay on Man (1944), he put forward a neo-Kantian theory of the great "symbolic forms" of culturelanguage, myth, art, religion, and science. In this view, man's world is determined, in fundamental ways, by the very symbolic forms in which he represents it to himself; so, for example, the primitive world of myth is necessarily different from that of science or art. Cassirer's philosophy exerted a strong influence upon two American philosophers especially: Wilbur Marshall Urban (Language and Reality, 1939) argued that "aesthetic symbols" are "insight symbols" of a specially revelatory sort; and Susanne K. Langer has developed in detail a theory of art as a "presentational symbol," or "semblance." In Philosophy in a New Key (1942), she argued that music is not self-expression or evocation but symbolizes the morphology of human sentience and hence articulates the emotional life of man. In Feeling and Form (1953) and in various essays (Problems of Art, 1957), she applied the theory to various basic arts.

Charles W. Morris presented a closely parallel view in 1939, in two articles that (like Mrs. Langer's books) have been much discussed: "Esthetics and the Theory of Signs" (Journal of Unified Science [Erkenntnis ], VIII, 19391940) and "Science, Art and Technology" (Kenyon Review, I, 1939; see also Signs, Language and Behavior, 1946). Taking a term from Charles Peirce, he treats works of art as "iconic signs" (i.e., signs that signify a property in virtue of exhibiting it) of "value properties" (e.g., regional properties like the menacing, the sublime, the gay).


The philosophy of dialectical materialism formulated by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels contained, at the start, only the basic principle of an aesthetics, whose implications have been drawn out and developed by Marxist theoreticians over more than half a century. This principle is that art, like all higher activities, belongs to the cultural "superstructure" and is determined by sociohistorical conditions, especially economic conditions. From this it is argued that a connection can always be tracedand must be traced, for full understandingbetween a work of art and its sociohistorical matrix. In some sense, art is a "reflection of social reality," but the exact nature and limits of this sense has remained one of the fundamental and persistent problems of Marxist aesthetics. Marx himself, in his Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy (1859), pointed out that there is no simple one-to-one correspondence between the character of a society and its art.

In the period before the October Revolution of 1917, Georgi V. Plekhanov (Art and Social Life, 1912) developed dialectical materialist aesthetics through attacks on the doctrine of art for art and the separation of artist from society, either in theory or in practice. After the Revolution, there ensued a period of vigorous and free debate in Russia among various groups of Marxists and others (e.g., the formalists, see below). It was questioned whether art can be understood entirely in sociohistorical terms or has its own "peculiar laws" (as Trotsky remarked in Literature and Revolution, 1924) and whether art is primarily a weapon in the class struggle or a resultant whose reformation awaits the full realization of a socialist society. The debate was closed in Russia by official fiat, when the party established control over the arts at the First All-Union Congress of Soviet Writers (1934). Socialist realism, as a theory of what art ought to be and as a guide to practice, was given a stricter definition by Andrei Zhdanov, who along with Gorki became the official theoretician of art. But the central idea had already been stated by Engels (letter to Margaret Harkness, April 1888): the artist is to reveal the moving social forces and portray his characters as expressions of these forces (this is what the Marxist means by a "typical" character), and in so doing he is to forward the revolutionary developments themselves. (See also Ralph Fox, The Novel and the People, 1937; Christopher Caudwell, Illusion and Reality, 1937, and other works.)

Indications of recent growth in dialectical materialist aesthetics, and of a resumption of the dialogue with other systems, can be seen in the important work of the Hungarian Marxist Georg Lukács (see, for example, The Meaning of Contemporary Realism, translated, 1962, from Wider den missverstandenen Realismus, 1958) and in the writings of the Polish Marxist, Stefan Morawski (see "Vicissitudes in the Theory of Socialist Realism," Diogenes, 1962).

phenomenology and existentialism

Among many critics and critical theorists, there has been, in the twentieth century, a strong emphasis on the autonomy of the work of art, its objective qualities as an object in itself, independent of both its creator and its perceivers. This attitude was forcefully stated by Eduard Hanslick in The Beautiful in Music (1854); it was reflected in the work of Clive Bell (Art, 1914) and Roger Fry (Vision and Design, 1920); and it appeared especially in two literary movements. The first, Russian "formalism" (also present in Poland and Czechoslovakia), flourished from 1915 until suppressed about 1930. Its leaders were Roman Jakobson, Victor Shklovsky, Boris Eichenbaum, and Boris Tomashevsky (Theory of Literature, 1925). The second, American and British "New Criticism," was inaugurated by I. A. Richards (Practical Criticism, 1929), William Empson (Seven Types of Ambiguity, 1930), and others (see René Wellek and Austin Warren, Theory of Literature, 1949).

This emphasis on the autonomy of the work of art has been supported by Gestalt psychology, with its emphasis on the phenomenal objectivity of Gestalt qualities, and also phenomenology, the philosophical movement first developed by Edmund Husserl. Two outstanding works in phenomenological aesthetics have appeared. Working on Husserl's foundations, Roman Ingarden (Das Literarische Kunstwerk, 1930) has studied the mode of existence of the literary work as an intentional object and has distinguished four "strata" in literature: sound, meaning, the "world of the work," and its "schematized aspects," or implicit perspectives. Mikel Dufrenne (Phenomenologie de l'expérience esthétique, 2 vols., 1953), closer to the phenomenology of Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Jean-Paul Sartre, has analyzed the differences between aesthetic objects and other things in the world. He finds that the basic difference lies in the "expressed world" of each aesthetic object, its own personality, which combines the "being in itself" (en-soi ) of a presentation with the "being for itself" (pour-soi ) of consciousness and contains measureless depths that speak to the depths of ourselves as persons.

The "existential phenomenalism" of Heidegger and Sartre suggests possibilities for an existentialist philosophy of art, in the central concept of "authentic existence," which art might be said to further. These possibilities have only begun to be worked out, for example, in Heidegger's paper "Der Ursprung des Kunstwerkes" (in Holzwege, 1950) and in a recent book by Arturo B. Fallico, Art and Existentialism (1962).


The contemporary empiricist makes a cardinal point of attacking the traditional problems of philosophy by resolving them into two distinct types of questions: questions about matters of fact, to be answered by empirical science (and, in the case of aesthetics, psychology in particular), and questions about concepts and methods, to be answered by philosophical analysis.

Some empiricists emphasize the first type of question and have called for a "scientific aesthetics" to state aesthetic problems in such a way that the results of psychological inquiry can be brought to bear upon them. Max Dessoir, Charles Lalo, Étienne Souriau, and (in America) Thomas Munro have formulated this program (see, especially, Munro's Scientific Method in Philosophy, 1928, and later essays). The actual results of work in psychology, over the period since Fechner inaugurated experimental aesthetics (Vorschule der Ästhetik, 1876) to replace "aesthetics from above" by an "aesthetics from below," are too varied to summarize easily (see Bibliography). But two lines of inquiry have had an important effect on the way in which twentieth-century philosophers think about art. The first is Gestalt psychology, whose studies of perceptual phenomena and the laws of Gestalt perception have illuminated the nature and value of form in art (see, for example, Kurt Koffka's "Problems in the Psychology of Art," in Art: A Bryn Mawr Symposium, 1940; Rudolf Arnheim, Art and Visual Perception, 1954; Leonard Meyer, Emotion and Meaning in Music, 1956). The second is Freudian psychology, beginning with Freud's interpretation of Hamlet (Interpretation of Dreams, 1900) and his studies of Leonardo (1910) and Dostoyevsky (1928), which have illuminated the nature of art creation and appreciation. Description of aesthetic experience, in terms of concepts like "empathy" (Theodor Lipps), "psychical distance" (Edward Bullough), and "synaesthesis" (I. A. Richards), has also been investigated by introspective methods.

Analytical aesthetics, in both its "reconstructionist" and "ordinary language" forms, is more recent. This school considers the task of philosophical aesthetics to consist in the analysis of the language and reasoning of critics (including all talk about art), to clarify language, to resolve puzzles due to misapprehensions about language, and to understand its special functions, methods, and justifications (see M. C. Beardsley, Aesthetics: Problems in the Philosophy of Criticism, 1958; Jerome Stolnitz, Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art Criticism, 1960; William Elton, ed., Aesthetics and Language, 1954; Joseph Margolis, ed., Philosophy Looks at the Arts, 1962).

See also Addison, Joseph; Aesthetic Qualities; Albert the Great; Alembert, Jean Le Rond d'; Analysis, Philosophical; Aristotle; Arnold, Matthew; Art, Value in; Augustine, St.; Baumgarten, Alexander Gottlieb; Beauty; Belinskii, Vissarion Grigor'evich; Bergson, Henri; Blake, William; Burke, Edmund; Carlyle, Thomas; Cartesianism; Cassirer, Ernst; Chernyshevskii, Nikolai Gavrilovich; Chrysippus; Cicero, Marcus Tullius; Cleanthes; Coleridge, Samuel Taylor; Collingwood, Robin George; Comte, Auguste; Croce, Benedetto; Descartes, René; Dewey, John; Dialectical Materialism; Diderot, Denis; Dostoevsky, Fyodor Mikhailovich; Emerson, Ralph Waldo; Empiricism; Engels, Friedrich; Enlightenment; Epicureanism and the Epicurean School; Epicurus; Erigena, John Scotus; Existentialism; Fechner, Gustav Theodor; Fichte, Johann Gottlieb; Ficino, Marsilio; Fourier, François Marie Charles; Freud, Sigmund; Gestalt Theory; Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von; Greek Academy; Grosseteste, Robert; Hazlitt, William; Hegel, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich; Heidegger, Martin; Herbart, Johann Friedrich; Herder, Johann Gottfried; Hobbes, Thomas; Home, Henry; Homer; Hume, David; Husserl, Edmund; Hutcheson, Francis; Idealism; Imagination; Johnson, Samuel; Jung, Carl Gustav; Kant, Immanuel; Koffka, Kurt; Langer, Susanne K.; Leibniz, Gottfried Wilhelm; Lessing, Gotthold Ephraim; Leucippus and Democritus; Lewis, Clarence Irving; Locke, John; Lukács, Georg; Marxist Philosophy; Marx, Karl; Merleau-Ponty, Maurice; Mill, John Stuart; Naturalism; Neo-Kantianism; Neoplatonism; Nietzsche, Friedrich; Origen; Parmenides of Elea; Peirce, Charles Sanders; Phenomenology; Philodemus; Philo Judaeus; Pisarev, Dmitri Ivanovich; Plato; Platonism and the Platonic Tradition; Plekhanov, Georgii Valentinovich; Plotinus; Pope, Alexander; Proudhon, Pierre-Joseph; Pythagoras and Pythagoreanism; Rationalism; Realism; Reid, Thomas; Renaissance; Romanticism; Ruskin, John; Saint-Simon, Claude-Henri de Rouvroy, Comte de; Santayana, George; Sartre, Jean-Paul; Schelling, Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph von; Schiller, Friedrich; Schlegel, Friedrich von; Schopenhauer, Arthur; Sextus Empiricus; Shaftesbury, Third Earl of (Anthony Ashley Cooper); Shelley, Percy Bysshe; Skepticism; Socrates; Stevenson, Charles L.; Stoicism; Taine, Hippolyte-Adolphe; Theophrastus; Thomas Aquinas, St.; Tolstoy, Lev (Leo) Nikolaevich; Wilde, Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills; Xenophanes of Colophon; Zeno of Citium.


classical greek philosophers

See J. W. H. Atkins, Literary Criticism in Antiquity, Vol. 1 (Cambridge, 1934), Chs. 1, 2; G. F. Else, "'Imitation' in the Fifth Century," in Classical Philology, Vol. 53, No. 2 (1958), 7390; T. B. L. Webster, "Greek Theories of Art and Literature down to 400 BC" in Classical Quarterly, Vol. 33, Nos. 3, 4 (1939), 166179; Alice Sperduti, "The Divine Nature of Poetry in Antiquity," in Transactions and Proceedings, American Philological Association, Vol. 81 (1950), 209240.


See Raphael Demos, The Philosophy of Plato (New York, 1939), Chs. 1113; Rupert C. Lodge, Plato's Theory of Art (London, 1953), G. M. A. Grube, "Plato's Theory of Beauty," in Monist, Vol. 37, No. 2 (1927), 269288; J. Tate, "Plato and 'Imitation,'" in Classical Quarterly, Vol. 26, Nos. 3, 4 (1932), 161169.


See G. F. Else, Aristotle's Poetics: The Argument (Cambridge, 1957); S. H. Butcher, Aristotle's Theory of Poetry and Fine Art, 4th ed. (London, 1923); Ingram Bywater, Aristotle on the Art of Poetry (Oxford, 1909); G. F. Else, "Aristotle on the Beauty of Tragedy," in Harvard Studies in Classical Philology, Vol. 49 (1938); Roman Ingarden, "A Marginal Commentary on Aristotle's Poetics," in Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, Vol. 20, No. 2 (Winter, 1961), 163173; Ibid., No. 3 (Spring, 1962), 273285; Richard McKeon, "Literary Criticism and the Concept of Imitation in Antiquity," in R. S. Crane, ed., Critics and Criticism (Chicago, 1952).

later classical philosophers

See Phillip De Lacy, "Stoic Views of Poetry," in American Journal of Philology, Vol. 49, No. 275 (1948), 241271; L. P. Wilkinson, "Philodemus and Poetry," in Greece and Rome, Vol. 2, No. 6 (19321933), 144151; L. P. Wilkinson, "Philodemus on Ethos in Music," in Classical Quarterly, Vol. 32, Nos. 3, 4 (1938), 174181; Craig La Drière, "Horace and the Theory of Imitation," in American Journal of Philology, Vol. 60, No. 239 (1939), 288300; Philippus V. Pistorius, Plotinus and Neoplatonism (Cambridge, U.K., 1952), Ch. 7.

the middle ages

See Edgar de Bruyne, Etudes d'esthétique médiévale, 3 vols. (Brugge, 1946); Edgar de Bruyne, "Esthétique païenne, esthétique chrétienne," in Revue Internationale de Philosophie, No. 31 (1955), 130144; Emmanuel Chapman, Saint Augustine's Philosophy of Beauty (New York, 1939); K. Svoboda, L'esthétique de Saint Augustin et ses sources (Brno, 1933); Jacques Maritain, Art and Scholasticism, translated by J. F. Scanlan (London, 1930), esp. Ch. 5; Maurice de Wulf, Études historiques sur l'esthétique de S. Thomas d'Aquin (Louvain, 1896); Leonard Callahan, A Theory of Esthetic According to the Principles of St. Thomas Aquinas (Washington, DC, 1927); Bernard F. Huppé, Doctrine and Poetry (Albany, NY, 1959), Chs. 1, 2; H. Flanders Dunbar, Symbolism in Medieval Thought (New Haven, CT, 1929); Murray Wright Bundy, The Theory of Imagination in Classical and Medieval Thought, in University of Illinois Studies in Language and Literature (Urbana, 1927), Chs. 812.

the renaissance

See Nesca A. Robb, Neoplatonism of the Italian Renaissance (London, 1935), Ch. 7; Erwin Panofsky, Idea, 2nd ed. (Berlin, 1960); Erwin Panofsky, The Codex Huygens and Leonardo da Vinci's Art Theory (London, 1940); Erwin Panofsky, The Life and Art of Albrecht Dürer, 4th ed. (Princeton, NJ, 1955), Ch. 8; Rensselaer W. Lee, "Ut Pictura Poesis : The Humanistic Theory of Painting," in Art Bulletin, Vol. 22, No. 4 (1940), 197269; Anthony Blunt, Artistic Theory in Italy, 14501600 (Oxford, 1940); Edward E. Lowinsky, "Music in the Culture of the Renaissance," in Journal of the History of Ideas, Vol. 15, No. 4 (1954), 509553; D. P. Walker, "Musical Humanism in the 16th and Early 17th Centuries," in Music Review, Vol. 2, No. 1 (1941), 113; Ibid., No. 2, 111121; Ibid., No. 3, 220227; Ibid., No. 4, 288308; Vol. 3, No. 1 (1942), 5571; Bernard Weinberg, A History of Literary Criticism in the Italian Renaissance, 2 vols. (Chicago, 1961); Baxter Hathaway, The Age of Criticism: The Late Renaissance in Italy (Ithaca, NY, 1962).

the enlightenment

Cartesian Rationalism

See Émile Krantz, Essai sur l'esthétique de Descartes (Paris, 1882); Brewster Rogerson, "The Art of Painting the Passions," in Journal of the History of Ideas, Vol. 14, No. 1 (1953), 6894; Scott Elledge, "The Background and Development in English Criticism of the Theories of Generality and Particularity," in PMLA, Vol. 62, No. 1 (1947), 147182; A. O. Lovejoy, "'Nature' as Aesthetic Norm," in Modern Language Notes, Vol. 42, No. 7 (1927), 444450; Hoyt Trowbridge, "The Place of Rules in Dryden's Criticism," in Modern Philology, Vol. 44, No. 2 (19461947), 8496; Meyer H. Abrams, The Mirror and the Lamp (Oxford, 1953), Chs. 1, 2; Samuel H. Monk, The Sublime, rev. ed. (Ann Arbor, MI, 1960), Ch. 9; Claude V. Palisca, "Scientific Empiricism in Musical Thought," in H. H. Rhys, ed., Seventeenth Century Science and the Arts (Princeton, NJ, 1961); Louis I. Bredvold, "The Tendency toward Platonism in Neo-classical Esthetics," in ELH: A Journal of English Literary History, Vol. 1, No. 2 (1934), 91119; Cicely Davis, "Ut pictura poesis," Modern Language Review, Vol. 30, No. 2 (1935), 159169; P. O. Kristeller, "The Modern System of the Arts," in Journal of the History of Ideas, Vol. 12, No. 4 (1951), 496527; Ibid., Vol. 13, No. 1 (1952), 1746; Ernst Cassirer, The Philosophy of the Enlightenment, translated by Koelln and Pettegrove (Princeton, NJ, 1951), Ch. 7.


See Clarence DeWitt Thorpe, The Aesthetic Theory of Thomas Hobbes (Ann Arbor, MI, 1940); Donald F. Bond, "The Neo-classical Psychology of the Imagination," in ELH: A Journal of English Literary History, Vol. 4, No. 4 (1937), 245264; Martin Kallich, "The Association of Ideas and Critical Theory: Hobbes, Locke, and Addison," in ELH: A Journal of English Literary History, Vol. 12, No. 4 (1945), 290315; R. L. Brett, The Third Earl of Shaftesbury (London, 1951); Jerome Stolnitz, "On the Significance of Lord Shaftesbury in Modern Aesthetic Theory," in Philosophical Quarterly, Vol. 11, No. 43 (1961), 97113; Clarence D. Thorpe, "Addison and Hutcheson on the Imagination," in ELH: A Journal of English Literary History, Vol. 2, No. 3 (1935), 215234; Martin Kallich, "The Argument against the Association of Ideas in Eighteenth-Century Aesthetics," in Modern Language Quarterly, Vol. 15, No. 2 (1954), 125136; Margaret Gilman, The Idea of Poetry in France from Houdar de la Motte to Baudelaire (Cambridge, MA, 1958), Ch. 2; Wladyslaw Folkierski, Entre le classicisme et le romantisme (Krakow and Paris, 1925); Walter Jackson Bate, From Classic to Romantic (Cambridge, Mass., 1946); Ernest Lee Tuveson, The Imagination as a Means to Grace (Berkeley, CA, 1960); Jerome Stolnitz, "'Beauty': Some Stages in the History of an Idea," in Journal of the History of Ideas, Vol. 22, No. 2 (1961) 185204; Walter John Hippie, Jr., The Beautiful, The Sublime, and the Picturesque in Eighteenth-Century British Aesthetic Theory (Carbondale, IL, 1957); Samuel H. Monk, The Sublime, rev. ed. (Ann Arbor, 1960).

german idealism

See H. W. Cassirer, A Commentary on Kant's Critique of Judgment (London, 1938); James C. Meredith, Kant's Critique of Aesthetic Judgement (Oxford, 1911); Hermann Cohen, Kant's Begründung der Ästhetik (Berlin, 1889); Victor Basch, Essai critique sur l'esthétique de Kant, 2d ed. (Paris, 1927); Humayun Kabir, Immanuel Kant on Philosophy in General, essays on the first Introduction to the Critique of Judgment (Calcutta, 1935); G. T. Whitney and D. F. Bowers, eds., The Heritage of Kant (Princeton, NJ, 1939); Robert L. Zimmerman, "Kant: The Aesthetic Judgment," in Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, Vol. 21, No. 3 (Spring, 1963), 333344; Frederic Will, Intelligible Beauty in Aesthetic Thought from Winckelmann to Victor Cousin (Tubingen, 1958); S. S. Kerry, "The Artist's Intuition in Schiller's Aesthetic Philosophy," in Publications of the English Goethe Society, New Series 28 (Leeds, 1959); Elizabeth E. Bohning, "Goethe's and Schiller's Interpretation of Beauty," in German Quarterly, Vol. 22, No. 4 1949), 185194; Jean Gibelin, L'esthétique de Schelling d'après la philosophie de l'art (Paris, 1934); E. L. Fackenheim, "Schelling's Philosophy of the Literary Arts," in Philosophical Quarterly, Vol. 4, No. 17 (1954), 310326; H. M. Schueller, "Schelling's Theory of the Metaphysics of Music," Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, Vol. 15, No. 4 (June, 1957), 461476; W. T. Stace, The Philosophy of Hegel (London, 1924), Part IV, Third Div., Ch. 1; Israel Knox, The Aesthetic Theories of Kant, Hegel, and Schopenhauer (New York, 1936).


See René Wellek, A History of Modern Criticism: 17501950, Vol. 2 (New Haven, 1955); M. H. Abrams, The Mirror and the Lamp: Romantic Theory and the Critical Tradition (Oxford 1953); W. J. Bate, From Classic to Romantic (Cambridge, MA, 1949), Chs. 5, 6; Paul Reiff, Die Ästhetik der deutschen Frühromantik in University of Illinois Studies in Language and Literature, Vol. 31 (Urbana, 1946); M. Z. Shroder, Icarus: The Image of the Artist in French Romanticism (Cambridge, MA, 1961); A. G. Lehmann, The Symbolist Movement in France, 18851895 (Oxford, 1950); Joseph Ciari, Symbolism from Poe to Mallarmé: The Growth of a Myth (London, 1956); John M. Bullitt, "Hazlitt and the Romantic Conception of the Imagination," in Philological Quarterly, Vol. 24, No. 4 (1945), 343361; J. B. Baker, The Sacred River: Coleridge's Theory of the Imagination (Baton Rouge, LA, 1957); James Benziger, "Organic Unity: Leibniz to Coleridge," in PMLA, Vol. 66, No. 2 (1951), 2448; John Stokes Adams, The Aesthetics of Pessimism (Philadelphia, 1940); J. M. Stein, Richard Wagner and the Synthesis of the Arts (Detroit, 1960); E. A. Lippman, "The Esthetic Theories of Richard Wagner," in Musical Quarterly, Vol. 44 (1958), 209220.

the artist and society

See R. F. Egan, "The Genesis of the Theory of 'Art for Art's Sake' in Germany and in England," in Smith College Studies in Modern Languages, Vols. 2, 5; Albert Cassagne, La théorie de l'art pour l'art en France (Paris, 1906); Irving Singer, "The Aesthetics of 'Art for Art's Sake,'" Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, Vol. 12, No. 3 (March, 1954), 343359; H. A. Needham, La développement de l'esthétique sociologique en France et en Angleterre au XIXe siècle (Paris, 1926); Bernard Weinberg, French Realism: The Critical Reaction 18301870 (New York, 1937); H. M. Kallen, Art and Freedom, 2 vols. (New York, 1942); René Wellek, "Social and Aesthetic Values in Russian Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism," in E. J. Simmons, ed., Continuity and Change in Russian and Soviet Thought (Cambridge, MA, 1955); F. D. Curtin, "Aesthetics in English Social Reform: Ruskin and his Followers," in Herbert Davis et al., eds., Nineteenth-Century Studies (Ithaca, NY, 1940).

contemporary developments

Metaphysical Theories

See G. N. G. Orsini, Benedetto Croce: Philosopher of Art and Literary Critic (Carbondale, IL, 1961); John Hospers, "The CroceCollingwood Theory of Art," in Philosophy, Vol. 31, No. 119 (1956), 291308; Alan Donegan, "The CroceCollingwood Theory of Art," in Philosophy, Vol. 33, No. 125 (1958), 162167; T. E. Hulme, "Bergson's Theory of Art," in Herbert Read, ed., Speculations (New York and London, 1924); Arthur Szathmary, The Aesthetic Theory of Bergson (Cambridge, MA, 1937).


See W. E. Arnett, Santayana and the Sense of Beauty (Bloomington, IN, 1955); Jack Kaminsky, "Dewey's Concept of An Experience," in Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, Vol. 17, No. 3 (March 1957), 316330; E. A. Shearer, "Dewey's Aesthetic Theory," Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 32, Nos. 23, 24 (1935), 617627, 650664; Sidney Zink, "The Concept of Continuity in Dewey's Theory of Esthetics," Philosophical Review, Vol. 52, No. 4 (1943), 392400; S. C. Pepper, "The Concept of Fusion in Dewey's Aesthetic Theory," in Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, Vol. 12, No. 2 (December, 1953), 169176.


See Richard Rudner, "On Semiotic Aesthetics," in Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, Vol. 10, No. 1 (September, 1951), 6777; E. G. Ballard, "In Defense of Semiotic Aesthetics," in Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, Vol. 12, No. 1 (September, 1953), 3843; Max Rieser, "The Semantic Theory of Art in America," Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, Vol. 15, No. 1 (September, 1956), 1226.


See Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, Literature and Art: Selections from Their Writings (New York, 1947); Victor Erlich, "Social and Aesthetic Criteria in Soviet Russian Criticism," R. M. Hankin, "Main Premises of the Communist Party in the Theory of Soviet Literary Controls," and E. J. Simmons, "Review," in Simmons, ed., Continuity and Change in Russian and Soviet Thought (Cambridge, MA, 1955); Max Rieser, "The Aesthetic Theory of Socialist Realism," in Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, Vol. 16, No. 2 (December, 1957), 237248; Ernst Fischer, Von der Notwendigkeit der Kunst (Dresden, 1959). Translated by Anna Bostock as The Necessity of Art, A Marxist Approach (Baltimore, 1963).

Phenomenology and Existentialism

See Herbert Spiegelberg, The Phenomenological Movement: A Historical Introduction, 2 vols. (The Hague, 1960); Fritz Kaufmann, "Art and Phenomenology," in Marvin Farber, ed., Philosophical Essays in Memory of Edmund Husserl (Cambridge, MA, 1940); Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka, Phenomenology and Science in Contemporary European Thought (New York, 1961); J.-Claude Piguet, "Esthétique et Phénomenologie" (discussion review of Dufrenne), in Kantstudien (19551956), 192208; E. F. Kaelin, An Existentialist Aesthetic: The Theories of Sartre and Merleau-Ponty (Madison, WI, 1962).


See Douglas Morgan, "Psychology and Art: a Summary and Critique," in Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, Vol. 9, No. 2 (December, 1950), 8196; Douglas Morgan, "Creativity Today," in Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, Vol. 12, No. 1 (September, 1953), 124; A. R. Chandler, Beauty and Human Nature (New York, 1934); C. W. Valentine, The Experimental Psychology of Beauty (London, 1962); Edward Bullough, in Elizabeth Wilkinson, ed., Aesthetics: Lectures and Essays (London, 1957); William Phillips, ed., Art and Psychoanalysis (New York, 1957); D. E. Schneider, The Psychoanalyst and the Artist (New York, 1950).


For further bibliographies on contemporary aesthetics, see M. C. Beardsley, Aesthetics (New York, 1958); Guido Morpurgo-Tagliabue, L'esthétique contemporaine (Milan, 1960).

general histories

See the following general histories of aesthetics: Katherine Gilbert and Helmut Kuhn, A History of Aesthetics (New York, 1939; Bloomington, IN, 1954); M. C. Beardsley, Aesthetics from Ancient Greece to the Present (New York, 1965); Bernard Bosanquet, A History of Aesthetic (London, 1892; New York, 1957).

Monroe C. Beardsleys (1967)

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