Article

Analytic Approaches to Aesthetics

Peter Lamarque

in Philosophy

ISBN: 9780195396577
Published online May 2010 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780195396577-0004
Analytic Approaches to Aesthetics

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Aesthetics is broadly that branch of philosophy concerned with fundamental questions about the nature of beauty, the nature of art, and the principles of art criticism. Some of these questions go back to the ancient Greeks, but systematic study of the foundations of aesthetics did not begin until the 18th century. Analytic philosophers turned their attention to this branch of the subject relatively late and in the 1940s and 50s tended to be scornful of what they found (John Passmore famously wrote of the “dreariness” of aesthetics in 1951 in the journal Mind). However, in the fifty years up to the turn of the 21st century, and beyond that point, analytic approaches to aesthetics developed with considerable sophistication and there is now a huge literature on all aspects of the subject under the broad heading of “analytic aesthetics.” Other approaches exist, of course, notably that associated with Continental philosophy, which is more historically oriented. The analytic approach is rooted in the analysis of concepts (albeit increasingly informed by work in the empirical sciences) and tends to examine issues about the nature of art and the aesthetic qualities of objects in an ahistorical manner, even if noting and evaluating ideas from earlier periods. In the years since the early 1990s there has been a notable growth in attention to the individual arts (music, painting, literature, film, etc.). Important developments in the aesthetics of nature and the environment have also occurred.

Article.  6534 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art ; Epistemology ; Feminist Philosophy ; History of Western Philosophy ; Metaphysics ; Moral Philosophy ; Non-Western Philosophy ; Philosophy of Language ; Philosophy of Law ; Philosophy of Mathematics and Logic ; Philosophy of Mind ; Philosophy of Religion ; Philosophy of Science ; Social and Political Philosophy

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