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Esthetics as a branch of philosophy?

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KevinD
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Esthetics as a branch of philosophy?  

73 members have voted

  1. 1. Should esthetics — the study of the essential nature of art — properly be considered part of philosophy?

    • Select this choice if you emphatically agree that esthetics is a branch of philosophy — and you feel reasonably confident in your ability to articulate why this is so.
      34
    • Select this choice if you harbor any doubts or confusions whatsoever about the status of esthetics as a full branch of philosophy.
      12
    • Select this choice if you would agree that esthetics is a branch of philosophy, but consider it to be somewhat of lesser importance than metaphysics, epistemology, ethics and politics.
      21


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Surely that can't be all there is to it. Sex and nutrition, for instance (among many other things), are universal needs of all men, yet philosophy doesn't deal with them.

This is the statement you made that I responded to. You did not say you required a philosophy that touched on nothing but these things- which would be silly anyway.

I can tell you right off that Stoicism for example often talks about food, wine, their proper places and context within our lives as well as sex. In fact I can't think of any mainstream philosophy that does not deal with both these issues. Objectivism, assuming you've read Rand's non fiction has much to say on sex and love and touches somewhat on how we take care of our bodies. Hedonism of course, is famous for its notions on the proper place of sex and consumables.

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  • 2 months later...

I think the confusion I have is with considering it a branch of philosophy rather than an application of it.

For example, I read the Art of Fiction. In it, Ayn Rand criticizes a number of pieces of literature. It seemed, though, that the literature she criticized, and indeed all art, reflects on the philosophy behind it. The style seemed more like an application of philosophy rather than a part of philosophy itself, much in the same way that you could (and should) apply the Objectivist philosophy to work in other fields, such as economics or science and so on.

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Philosophy by itself cannot satisfy man's need of philosophy. Man requires the union of the two: philosophy and art, the broad identifications and their concrete embodiment.

Art is a concretization of metaphysics. Art brings man's concepts to the perceptual level of his consciousness and allows him to grasp them directly, as if they were percepts.

Regardless of the specific philosophy a man holds, the art they relate to reaffirms the view they have come to hold. Perhaps as a justification for accepting mediocrity, or, after setting the soul on fire - providing the fuel to keep it from ever going out: art resonates with the sense of life one holds and either harmonizes when in alignment, or discords to identify a breach between the viewers sense of life and the artist's metephysical/epistemological value judgements.

On a side note: Having recently started to read Ominous Parallels again, and once again seeing A Christmas Carol, the influence of Charles Dickens (or perhaps Hollywood) by Immanuel Kant is almost too stark for a mere 56 years. The lines, as Scrooge addresses his nephews wife for forgiveness because of having eyes, therefore unable to see, ears, therefore unable to hear - as well as other references throughout appear to have been taylored around an exposure, as well as acceptance of these principles.

Edited by dream_weaver
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I think the confusion I have is with considering it a branch of philosophy rather than an application of it.

For example, I read the Art of Fiction. In it, Ayn Rand criticizes a number of pieces of literature. It seemed, though, that the literature she criticized, and indeed all art, reflects on the philosophy behind it. The style seemed more like an application of philosophy rather than a part of philosophy itself, much in the same way that you could (and should) apply the Objectivist philosophy to work in other fields, such as economics or science and so on.

You can apply philosophy to science in order achieve a non-contradictory identification of matter and energy. You can apply philosophy to economics to achieve a non-contradictory identification of material values, including a theory of differences between how things are and how things should be valued.

You can apply philosophy to art to achieve — what? What is the non-philosophical purpose of art?

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  • 5 weeks later...
You can apply philosophy to science in order achieve a non-contradictory identification of matter and energy. You can apply philosophy to economics to achieve a non-contradictory identification of material values, including a theory of differences between how things are and how things should be valued.

You can apply philosophy to art to achieve — what? What is the non-philosophical purpose of art?

One could consider aesthetics as the branch sibling of politics, namely that each embody applying the ethics - aesthetics to the personal or the individual [as Rand put it, the 'technology of the soul'], and politics, properly, as to the aggregate of individuals...

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  • 1 year later...

Just to clarify my vote, I think art is of less importance in regards to the other branches of philosophy because it is a derivative of those other branches.

That's how I feel also. Although it basically encompasses my entire life thus far, but my opinions and decisions made when choosing or making art are reflections of my overall philosophy which resides in those other branches. It's a fairly blatant facet of expression of one's world view and inner thoughts.

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That's how I feel also. Although it basically encompasses my entire life thus far, but my opinions and decisions made when choosing or making art are reflections of my overall philosophy which resides in those other branches. It's a fairly blatant facet of expression of one's world view and inner thoughts.

I think that the Objectivist Esthetics is as important as the other branches of Objectivism. Rand was an artist first, and a philosopher second, and she recognized the power of art to model-build and bring man's "widest abstractions" into his "immediate, perceptual awareness."

I think the power of art and the importance of aesthetics is affirmed by the fact that Rand's art is much more effective and influential than her non-fictional writings, as well as the non-fictional writings of all of her followers combined.

Additionally, I don't think it's accurate to say that the Objectivist Esthetics is derivative of the other branches, but that Objectivism began with Rand's aesthetic "sense of life" or view of existence. It played a significant part in the development of the entire philosophy.

J

Edited by Jonathan13
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  • 1 year later...

I think the power of art and the importance of aesthetics is affirmed by the fact that Rand's art is much more effective and influential than her non-fictional writings, as well as the non-fictional writings of all of her followers combined.

 I've read a few of your thoughts on art, J, and mine are nearly antithetical.  However, I think that's actually extraordinarily apt and true.

John Galt alone is worth a mountain of textbooks.

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