W. Tatarkiewicz's A History of Six Ideas: An Essay in Aesthetics PDF

By W. Tatarkiewicz

ISBN-10: 9400988052

ISBN-13: 9789400988057

ISBN-10: 9400988079

ISBN-13: 9789400988071

The background of aesthetics, just like the histories of different sciences, could be taken care of in a two-fold demeanour: because the background of the lads who created the sector of research, or because the background of the questions which were raised and resolved during its pursuit. the sooner heritage of Aesthetics (3 volumes, 1960-68, English-language variation 1970-74) via the writer of the current booklet was once a heritage of fellows, of writers and artists who in centuries prior have spoken up relating good looks and paintings, shape and crea­ tivity. the current booklet returns to a similar topic, yet treats it differently: because the heritage of aesthetic questions, options, theories. the problem of the 2 books, the former and the current, is partially a similar; yet in simple terms partially: for the sooner publication ended with the seventeenth century, whereas the current one brings the topic as much as our personal occasions. And from the 18th century to the twentieth a lot occurred in aesthetics; it used to be basically in that interval that aesthetics accomplished acceptance as a separate technology, obtained a reputation of its personal, and produced theories that early students and artists had by no means dreamed of.

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We imitate, we construct, we express our experiences because we want to; posing further questions and seeking for further explanation is superfluous. The second answer says that these activities do have a purpose, and that it is a quite simple one: we imitate, we construct, we express ourselves because it gives us pleasure to do so, and in so doing we produce objects that afford pleasure to other persons also. No other explanation than this hedonistic one can or need be given. I. ART The third answer is an admission of ignorance.

It is a definition for the avant-garde. But it is inapplicable to some other kinds of art, and is quite especially at variance with what is usually called classical art. Six definitions of the same phenomenon is rather much. To make things worse, there are variations of each of them, chiefly the wider and narrower varieties in each case. But the list could be extended even further. We could add, for instance, the definition first broached by Ernst Cassirer and later elaborated by Susan K. Langer, which says that art is indeed the creation of form, but of a special kind, namely of forms that symbolise human emotions.

AN A L T ERN A T I V E D E FIN I T ION Art, then, has many different functions. It may represent existing things, but it may also construct things that do not exist. It deals in things that are external to man, but also expresses his interior life. It stimulates the interior life of the artist, but also that of the recipient. To the recipient it gives satisfaction, but it may also move him, provoke, impress or shock him. Since all these are functions of art, none of them must be ignored. But neither can art be reduced to any of these functions in isolation.

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A History of Six Ideas: An Essay in Aesthetics by W. Tatarkiewicz


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