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Aesthetics, or esthetics (), is a branch of
philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about Metaphysics, existence, reason, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of mind, mind, and Philosophy of language, language. Such questio ...

philosophy
that deals with the nature of
beauty Beauty is commonly described as a feature of objects that makes these objects pleasurable to perceive. Such objects include landscapes, sunsets, humans and works of art. Beauty, together with art and taste, is the main subject of aesthetics ...

beauty
and
taste The gustatory system or sense of taste is the sensory system The sensory nervous system is a part of the nervous system responsible for processing sensory information. A sensory system consists of sensory neurons (including the sensory re ...
, as well as the philosophy of art (its own area of philosophy that comes out of aesthetics). It examines subjective and
sensori-emotional values
sensori-emotional values
, or sometimes called
judgments Judgement (or US spelling judgment) is also known as ''adjudication Adjudication is the legal process by which an arbitration, arbiter or judge reviews evidence (law), evidence and argumentation, including legal reasoning set forth by opposing ...

judgments
of
sentiment Sentiment may refer to: *Feeling Feeling was originally used to describe the physical sensation of touch The somatosensory system is a part of the sensory nervous system. The somatosensory system is a complex system of sensory neurons and neur ...

sentiment
and taste. Aesthetics covers both natural and artificial sources of aesthetic experience and judgment. It considers what happens in our minds when we engage with aesthetic objects or environments such as in viewing visual art, listening to music, reading poetry, experiencing a play, exploring nature, and so on. The philosophy of art specifically studies how artists imagine, create, and perform works of art, as well as how people use, enjoy, and criticize their art. It deals with how one feels about art in general, why they like some works of art and not others, and how art can affect our moods or even our beliefs. Both aesthetics generally and philosophy of art especially ask questions like "What is ''art''?," "What is a ''work'' of art?," and "What makes ''good'' art?" Scholars in the field have defined aesthetics as "critical reflection on art, culture and
nature Nature, in the broadest sense, is the natural, physical, material world or universe The universe ( la, universus) is all of space and time and their contents, including planets, stars, galaxy, galaxies, and all other forms of matter an ...

nature
". In
modern English Modern English (sometimes New English or NE (ME) as opposed to Middle English Middle English (abbreviated to ME) was a form of the English language spoken after the Norman conquest of England, Norman conquest (1066) until the late 15th cen ...

modern English
, the term "aesthetic" can also refer to a set of principles underlying the works of a particular art movement or theory (one speaks, for example, of a
Renaissance The Renaissance ( , ) , from , with the same meanings. is a period Period may refer to: Common uses * Era, a length or span of time * Full stop (or period), a punctuation mark Arts, entertainment, and media * Period (music), a concept in ...

Renaissance
aesthetic).


Etymology

The word ''aesthetic'' is derived from the
Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of ...
(''aisthetikos'', meaning "aesthetic, sensitive, sentient, pertaining to sense perception"), which in turn was derived from αἰσθάνομαι (''aisthanomai'', meaning "I perceive, feel, sense" and related to (''aisthēsis'', "sensation"). Aesthetics in this central sense has been said to start with the series of articles on "The Pleasures of the Imagination" which the journalist Joseph Addison wrote in the early issues of the magazine ''The Spectator'' in 1712. The term "aesthetics" was appropriated and coined with new meaning by the German philosopher
Alexander Baumgarten Alexander Gottlieb Baumgarten (; ; 17 JulyJan LekschasBaumgarten Family'' 1714 – 27 May 1762) was a Germany, German philosopher. He was a brother to theologian Siegmund Jakob Baumgarten (1706–1757). Biography Baumgarten was born in Berlin ...
in his dissertation ''Meditationes philosophicae de nonnullis ad poema pertinentibus'' ("Philosophical considerations of some matters pertaining the poem") in 1735; Baumgarten chose "aesthetics" because he wished to emphasize the experience of art as a means of knowing. Aesthetics, a not very tidy intellectual discipline, is a heterogeneous collection of problems that concern the arts primarily but also relate to nature. even though his later definition in the fragment ''Aesthetica'' (1750) is more often referred to as the first definition of modern aesthetics.


Aesthetics and the philosophy of art

Some separate aesthetics and philosophy of art, claiming that the former is the study of beauty and taste while the latter is the study of art proper, in the form of materialized works of artists. However, most commonly Aesthetics encompasses both questions around beauty as well as questions about art. It examines topics such as aesthetic objects, aesthetic experience, and aesthetic judgments. For some, aesthetics is considered a synonym for the philosophy of art since
Hegel Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (; ; 27 August 1770 – 14 November 1831) was a German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citi ...
, while others insist that there is a significant distinction between these closely related fields. In practice, aesthetic judgement refers to the sensory contemplation or appreciation of an object (not necessarily an
art object A work of art, artwork, art piece, piece of art or art object is an artistic creation of aesthetics, aesthetic value. Except for "work of art", which may be used of any work regarded as art in its widest sense, including works from literature and ...
), while artistic judgement refers to the recognition, appreciation or criticism of art or an
art work A work of art, artwork, art piece, piece of art or art object is an artistic creation of aesthetics, aesthetic value. Except for "work of art", which may be used of any work regarded as art in its widest sense, including works fr ...

art work
. Philosophical aesthetics not only has to speak about art and to produce judgments about art works, but also has to give a
definition A definition is a statement of the meaning of a term (a word In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as the smallest sequence of phonemes that can be uttered in isolation with semantic, objective or pragmatics, practical ...

definition
of what art is. Art is an
autonomous The federal subject The federal subjects of Russia, also referred to as the subjects of the Russian Federation (russian: субъекты Российской Федерации, subyekty Rossiyskoy Federatsii) or simply as the subjects o ...
entity for philosophy, because art deals with the
senses Sense relates to any of the systems and corresponding organs involved in sensation, i.e. the physical process of responding to Stimulus (physiology), stimuli and providing data for perception. During sensation, sense organs collect stimuli for Tran ...

senses
(i.e. the etymology of aesthetics) and art is as such free of any moral or political purpose. Hence, there are two different conceptions of art in aesthetics: art as
knowledge Knowledge is a familiarity or awareness, of someone or something, such as facts A fact is something that is truth, true. The usual test for a statement of fact is verifiability—that is whether it can be demonstrated to correspond to e ...
or art as action, but aesthetics is neither
epistemology Epistemology (; ) is the concerned with . Epistemologists study the nature, origin, and scope of knowledge, epistemic , the of , and various related issues. Epistemology is considered a major subfield of philosophy, along with other major ...

epistemology
nor ethics. Aestheticians compare historical developments with theoretical approaches to the arts of many periods. They study the varieties of art in relation to their physical, social, and culture environments. Aestheticians also use psychology to understand how people see, hear, imagine, think, learn, and act in relation to the materials and problems of art. Aesthetic psychology studies the creative process and the aesthetic experience.


Aesthetic judgment, universals and ethics


Aesthetic judgment

Aesthetics examines affective domain response to an object or phenomenon. Judgments of aesthetic value rely on the ability to discriminate at a sensory level. However, aesthetic judgments usually go beyond sensory discrimination. For
David Hume David Hume (; born David Home; 7 May 1711 NS (26 April 1711 OS) – 25 August 1776) Cranston, Maurice, and Thomas Edmund Jessop. 2020 999999 or triple nine most often refers to: * 999 (emergency telephone number) 250px, A sign on a beach ...

David Hume
, delicacy of taste is not merely "the ability to detect all the ingredients in a composition", but also the sensitivity "to pains as well as pleasures, which escape the rest of mankind." Thus, the sensory discrimination is linked to capacity for
pleasure Pleasure refers to experience that feels good, that involves the enjoyment of something. It contrasts with pain Pain is a distressing feeling often caused by intense or damaging stimuli. The defines pain as "an unpleasant sensory and emo ...
. For
Immanuel Kant Immanuel Kant (, , ; 22 April 1724 – 12 February 1804) was a German philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about r ...

Immanuel Kant
(''
Critique of Judgment The ''Critique of Judgment'' (), also translated as the ''Critique of the Power of Judgment'', is a 1790 book by the German philosopher Immanuel Kant Immanuel Kant (, ; ; 22 April 1724 – 12 February 1804) was a German Philosophy, philo ...
'', 1790), "enjoyment" is the result when pleasure arises from sensation, but judging something to be "beautiful" has a third requirement: sensation must give rise to pleasure by engaging reflective contemplation. Judgments of beauty are sensory, emotional and intellectual all at once. Kant (1790) observed of a man "If he says that canary wine is agreeable he is quite content if someone else corrects his terms and reminds him to say instead: It is agreeable to ''me''," because "Everyone has his own (
sense A sense is a biological system A biological system is a complex biological network, network which connects several biologically relevant entities. Biological organization spans several scales and are determined based different structures dependi ...

sense
of)
taste The gustatory system or sense of taste is the sensory system The sensory nervous system is a part of the nervous system responsible for processing sensory information. A sensory system consists of sensory neurons (including the sensory re ...

taste
". The case of "beauty" is different from mere "agreeableness" because, "If he proclaims something to be beautiful, then he requires the same liking from others; he then judges not just for himself but for everyone, and speaks of beauty as if it were a property of things." Viewer interpretations of beauty may on occasion be observed to possess two concepts of value: aesthetics and taste. Aesthetics is the philosophical notion of beauty. Taste is a result of an education process and awareness of elite cultural values learned through exposure to
mass culture Popular culture (also called mass culture or pop culture) is generally recognized by members of a society as a set of the practices, beliefs, and objects that are dominant or prevalent in a society at a given point in time. Popular culture al ...
. Bourdieu examined how the elite in society define the aesthetic values like taste and how varying levels of exposure to these values can result in variations by class, cultural background, and education. According to Kant, beauty is subjective and universal; thus certain things are beautiful to everyone. In the opinion of
Władysław Tatarkiewicz
Władysław Tatarkiewicz
, there are six conditions for the presentation of art: beauty, form, representation, reproduction of reality, artistic expression and innovation. However, one may not be able to pin down these qualities in a work of art. The question whether there are
fact A fact is something that is true True most commonly refers to truth Truth is the property of being in accord with fact or reality.Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionarytruth 2005 In everyday language, truth is typically ascribed to things ...
s about aesthetic judgments belongs to the branch of
metaphilosophy Metaphilosophy, sometimes called the philosophy of philosophy, is "the investigation of the nature of philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, Metaphysics, existence, E ...
known as meta-aesthetics.


Factors involved in aesthetic judgment

Judgments of aesthetical values seem often to involve many other kinds of issues as well. Responses such as disgust show that sensory detection is linked in
instinct Instinct is the inherent inclination of a living Living or The Living may refer to: Common meanings *Life, a condition that distinguishes organisms from inorganic objects and dead organisms ** extant taxon, Living species, one that is not extinct ...
ual ways to
facial expression A facial expression is one or more motions or positions of the muscle Skeletal muscles (commonly referred to as muscles) are organs An organ is a group of tissues with similar functions. Plant life and animal life rely on many organs that ...
s, and even behaviours like the
gag reflex The pharyngeal reflex or gag reflex is a reflex In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biology, molecular int ...
. Yet disgust can often be a learned or cultural issue too; as Darwin pointed out, seeing a stripe of soup in a man's beard is disgusting even though neither
soup Soup is a primarily liquid A liquid is a nearly incompressible In fluid mechanics or more generally continuum mechanics, incompressible flow (isochoric process, isochoric flow) refers to a fluid flow, flow in which the material de ...

soup
nor
beard A beard is the hair that grows on the jaw, chin, upper lip, lower lip, cheeks, and neck of humans and some non-human animals. In humans, usually only pubescent or adult males are able to grow beards. Some women with hirsutism Hirsutism is e ...

beard
s are themselves disgusting. Aesthetic judgments may be linked to emotions or, like emotions, partially embodied in physical reactions. For example, the
awe Awe is an emotion Emotions are mental state, psychological states brought on by neurophysiology, neurophysiological changes, variously associated with thoughts, feelings, behavioural responses, and a degree of pleasure or suffering, displeas ...

awe
inspired by a sublime landscape might physically manifest with an increased heart-rate or pupil dilation; physiological reaction may express or even cause the initial awe. As seen, emotions are conformed to 'cultural' reactions, therefore aesthetics is always characterized by 'regional responses', as Francis Grose was the first to affirm in his 'Rules for Drawing Caricaturas: With an Essay on Comic Painting' (1788), published in W. Hogarth, The Analysis of Beauty, Bagster, London s.d. (1791? 753, pp. 1–24. Francis Grose can therefore be claimed to be the first critical 'aesthetic regionalist' in proclaiming the anti-universality of aesthetics in contrast to the perilous and always resurgent dictatorship of beauty. 'Aesthetic Regionalism' can thus be seen as a political statement and stance which vies against any universal notion of beauty to safeguard the counter-tradition of aesthetics related to what has been considered and dubbed un-beautiful just because one's culture does not contemplate it, e.g. E. Burke's sublime, what is usually defined as 'primitive' art, or un-harmonious, non-cathartic art, camp art, which 'beauty' posits and creates, dichotomously, as its opposite, without even the need of formal statements, but which will be 'perceived' as ugly. Likewise, aesthetic judgments may be culturally conditioned to some extent.
Victorians In the history of the United Kingdom, the Victorian era was the period of Queen Victoria Victoria (Alexandrina Victoria; 24 May 1819 – 22 January 1901) was Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 20 June 18 ...
in Britain often saw
African sculpture Most African sculpture was historically in wood and other organic materials that have not survived from earlier than at most a few centuries ago; older pottery figures are found from a number of areas. Traditional African masks, Masks are important ...
as ugly, but just a few decades later,
Edwardian The Edwardian era or Edwardian period of British history The British Isles The British Isles are a group of islands in the North Atlantic off the north-western coast of continental Europe Mainland or continental Europe is th ...
audiences saw the same sculptures as beautiful. Evaluations of beauty may well be linked to desirability, perhaps even to sexual desirability. Thus, judgments of
aesthetic value Aesthetics, or esthetics (), is a branch of philosophy that deals with the nature of beauty and taste (sociology), taste, as well as the philosophy of art (its own area of philosophy that comes out of aesthetics). It examines subjective and s ...
can become linked to judgments of economic, political, or
moral A moral (from Latin ''morālis'') is a message that is conveyed or a lesson to be learned from a narrative, story or wikt:event, event. The moral may be left to the hearer, reader, or viewer to determine for themselves, or may be explicitly enca ...

moral
value. In a current context, a
Lamborghini Automobili Lamborghini S.p.A. () is an Italy, Italian brand and manufacturer of luxury sports cars and SUVs based in Sant'Agata Bolognese. The company is owned by the Volkswagen Group through its subsidiary Audi. Ferruccio Lamborghini, an Ita ...

Lamborghini
might be judged to be beautiful partly because it is desirable as a status symbol, or it may be judged to be repulsive partly because it signifies over-consumption and offends political or moral values. The context of its presentation also affects the perception of artwork; artworks presented in a classical museum context are liked more and rated more interesting than when presented in a sterile laboratory context. While specific results depend heavily on the style of the presented artwork, overall, the effect of context proved to be more important for the perception of artwork then the effect of genuineness (whether the artwork was being presented as original or as a facsimile/copy). Aesthetic judgments can often be very fine-grained and internally contradictory. Likewise aesthetic judgments seem often to be at least partly intellectual and interpretative. What a thing means or symbolize is often what is being judged. Modern aestheticians have asserted that
will Will may refer to: Common meanings * Will and testament A will or testament is a legal document that expresses a person's ( testator) wishes as to how their property (estate (law), estate) is to be distributed after their death and as to which ...

will
and
desire Desires are states of mind that are expressed by terms like "wanting", "wishing", "longing" or "craving". A great variety of features is commonly associated with desires. They are seen as propositional attitude A propositional attitude is a menta ...
were almost dormant in aesthetic experience, yet
preference In psychology Psychology is the science of mind and behavior. Psychology includes the study of consciousness, conscious and Unconscious mind, unconscious phenomena, as well as feeling and thought. It is an academic discipline of immense scop ...

preference
and
choice A choice is the range of different things from which you can choose. The arrival at a choice may incorporate Motivation, motivators and Choice modelling, models. For example, a traveler might choose a route for a journey based on the preferenc ...

choice
have seemed important aesthetics to some 20th-century thinkers. The point is already made by
Hume Hume most commonly refers to: * David Hume (1711–1776), Scottish philosopher Hume may also refer to: People * Hume (surname) * Hume (given name) * James Hume Nisbet (1849–1923), Scottish-born novelist and artist In fiction * Hume, the ...

Hume
, but see Mary Mothersill, "Beauty and the Critic's Judgment", in ''The Blackwell Guide to Aesthetics'', 2004. Thus aesthetic judgments might be seen to be based on the senses, emotions, intellectual opinions, will, desires, culture, preferences, values, subconscious behaviour, conscious decision, training, instinct, sociological institutions, or some complex combination of these, depending on exactly which theory is employed. A third major topic in the study of aesthetic judgments is how they are unified across art forms. For instance, the source of a painting's beauty has a different character to that of beautiful music, suggesting their aesthetics differ in kind. The distinct inability of language to express aesthetic judgment and the role of
Social construction Social constructionism is a theory of knowledge Epistemology (; ) is the branch of philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, Metaphysics, existence, Episte ...
further cloud this issue.


Aesthetic universals

The philosopher
Denis Dutton Denis Laurence Dutton (9 February 1944 – 28 December 2010) was an American philosopher of art, web entrepreneur, and media activist. He was a professor of philosophy at the University of Canterbury in ChristchurchChristchurch is the largest ci ...
identified six universal signatures in human aesthetics:
Denis Dutton Denis Laurence Dutton (9 February 1944 – 28 December 2010) was an American philosopher of art, web entrepreneur, and media activist. He was a professor of philosophy at the University of Canterbury in ChristchurchChristchurch is the largest ci ...
's ''Aesthetic Universals'' summarized by
Steven Pinker Steven Arthur Pinker (born September 18, 1954) is a Canadian-American cognitive psychologist, linguist, and popular science Popular science (also called pop-science or popsci) is an interpretation of science intended for a general audience. ...

Steven Pinker
in ''
The Blank Slate ''The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature'' is a best-selling 2002 book by the cognitive psychologist Steven Pinker Steven Arthur Pinker (born September 18, 1954) is a Canadian-American cognitive psychologist, linguist, and popu ...
''
# Expertise or virtuosity. Humans cultivate, recognize, and admire technical artistic skills. # Nonutilitarian pleasure. People enjoy art for art's sake, and do not demand that it keep them warm or put food on the table. #
Style Style is a manner of doing or presenting things and may refer to: * Architectural style An architectural style is a set of characteristics and features that make a building or other structure notable or historically identifiable. It is a sub-cla ...
. Artistic objects and performances satisfy rules of composition that place them in a recognizable style. # Criticism. People make a point of judging, appreciating, and interpreting works of art. # Imitation. With a few important exceptions like abstract painting, works of art simulate experiences of the world. # Special focus. Art is set aside from ordinary life and made a dramatic focus of experience. Artists such as
Thomas Hirschhorn Thomas Hirschhorn (born 16 May 1957 in Bern ,german: Berner(in),french: Bernois(e), it, Bernese , neighboring_municipalities = Bremgarten bei Bern, Frauenkappelen, Ittigen, Kirchlindach, Köniz, Mühleberg, Muri bei Bern, Neuenegg, Ostermundi ...

Thomas Hirschhorn
have indicated that there are too many exceptions to Dutton's categories. For example, Hirschhorn's installations deliberately eschew technical virtuosity. People can appreciate a Renaissance
Madonna Madonna Louise Ciccone (; ; born August 16, 1958) is an American singer-songwriter and actress. She is considered Cultural impact of Madonna, one of the most influential figures in popular culture and has often been referred to as the "Honor ...
for aesthetic reasons, but such objects often had (and sometimes still have) specific devotional functions. "Rules of composition" that might be read into
Duchamp Henri-Robert-Marcel Duchamp (; ; 28 July 1887 – 2 October 1968) was a French-American painter, sculptor, chess player, and writer whose work is associated with Cubism Cubism is an early-20th-century avant-garde art movement that revolution ...
's ''
Fountain A fountain, from the "fons" ( "fontis"), meaning source or , is a decorative reservoir for discharging into a basin to supply . It is also a structure that jets water into the air for a decorative or dramatic effect. Fountains were original ...
'' or
John Cage John Milton Cage Jr. (September 5, 1912 – August 12, 1992) was an American composer A composer (Latin wikt:compono, ''compōnō''; literally "one who puts together") is a person who writes musical composition, music, especially classical ...
's ''
4′33″ ''4′33″'' (pronounced "four minutes, thirty-three seconds" or just "four thirty-three") is a three-movement Movement may refer to: Common uses * Movement (clockwork), the internal mechanism of a timepiece * Motion (physics), commonly r ...
'' do not locate the works in a recognizable style (or certainly not a style recognizable at the time of the works' realization). Moreover, some of Dutton's categories seem too broad: a physicist might entertain hypothetical worlds in his/her imagination in the course of formulating a theory. Another problem is that Dutton's categories seek to universalize traditional European notions of aesthetics and art forgetting that, as André Malraux and others have pointed out, there have been large numbers of cultures in which such ideas (including the idea "art" itself) were non-existent.


Aesthetic ethics

Aesthetic ethics refers to the idea that human conduct and behaviour ought to be governed by that which is beautiful and attractive.
John Dewey John Dewey (; October 20, 1859 – June 1, 1952) was an American philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy. The term ''philosopher'' comes from the grc, φιλόσοφος, , translit=philosophos, meaning 'lover of wisdom ...
has pointed out that the unity of aesthetics and ethics is in fact reflected in our understanding of behaviour being "fair"—the word having a double meaning of attractive and morally acceptable. More recently, James Page has suggested that aesthetic ethics might be taken to form a philosophical rationale for
peace education Peace education is the process of acquiring the values, knowledge, attitudes, skills, and behaviors to live in harmony In music, harmony is the process by which the composition of individual sounds, or superpositions of sounds, is analysed by h ...
.


New Criticism and "The Intentional Fallacy"

During the first half of the twentieth century, a significant shift to general aesthetic theory took place which attempted to apply aesthetic theory between various forms of art, including the literary arts and the visual arts, to each other. This resulted in the rise of the
New CriticismNew Criticism was a formalist movement in literary theory that dominated American literary criticism Literary criticism (or literary studies) is the study, evaluation, and interpretation of literature Literature broadly is any collectio ...
school and debate concerning ''the intentional fallacy''. At issue was the question of whether the aesthetic intentions of the artist in creating the work of art, whatever its specific form, should be associated with the criticism and evaluation of the final product of the work of art, or, if the work of art should be evaluated on its own merits independent of the intentions of the artist. In 1946, William K. Wimsatt and
Monroe BeardsleyMonroe Curtis Beardsley (; December 10, 1915 – September 18, 1985) was an American philosopher of art. Biography Beardsley was born and raised in Bridgeport, Connecticut Bridgeport is a historic seaport File:PorticcioloCedas.jpg, The Po ...
published a classic and controversial New Critical essay entitled " The Intentional Fallacy", in which they argued strongly against the relevance of an author's intention, or "intended meaning" in the analysis of a literary work. For Wimsatt and Beardsley, the words on the page were all that mattered; importation of meanings from outside the text was considered irrelevant, and potentially distracting. In another essay, " The Affective Fallacy," which served as a kind of sister essay to "The Intentional Fallacy" Wimsatt and Beardsley also discounted the reader's personal/emotional reaction to a literary work as a valid means of analyzing a text. This fallacy would later be repudiated by theorists from the reader-response school of literary theory. One of the leading theorists from this school,
Stanley Fish Stanley Eugene Fish (born April 19, 1938) is an American literary theory, literary theorist, legal scholar, author and public intellectual. He is currently the Floersheimer Distinguished Visiting Professor of Law at Yeshiva University's Benjamin ...
, was himself trained by New Critics. Fish criticizes Wimsatt and Beardsley in his essay "Literature in the Reader" (1970). As summarized by
Berys Gaut Berys Gaut is an author and Professor of Philosophy at the University of St Andrews. He writes on aesthetics, creativity, philosophy of film, and ethics. He was president of the British Society of Aesthetics until 2018. Works Gaut has written two ...
and Livingston in their essay "The Creation of Art": "Structuralist and post-structuralists theorists and critics were sharply critical of many aspects of New Criticism, beginning with the emphasis on aesthetic appreciation and the so-called autonomy of art, but they reiterated the attack on biographical criticisms' assumption that the artist's activities and experience were a privileged critical topic." These authors contend that: "Anti-intentionalists, such as formalists, hold that the intentions involved in the making of art are irrelevant or peripheral to correctly interpreting art. So details of the act of creating a work, though possibly of interest in themselves, have no bearing on the correct interpretation of the work."Gaut and Livingston, p. 6.
Gaut is an early Germanic name, from a Proto-Germanic Proto-Germanic (abbreviated PGmc; also called Common Germanic) is the reconstructed Reconstruction may refer to: Politics, history, and sociology *Reconstruction (law), the transfer of a ...
and Livingston define the intentionalists as distinct from formalists stating that: "Intentionalists, unlike formalists, hold that reference to intentions is essential in fixing the correct interpretation of works." They quote
Richard Wollheim Richard Arthur Wollheim (5 May 1923 − 4 November 2003) was a British philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy. The term ''philosopher'' comes from the grc, φιλόσοφος, , translit=philosophos, meaning 'lover of ...
as stating that, "The task of criticism is the reconstruction of the creative process, where the creative process must in turn be thought of as something not stopping short of, but terminating on, the work of art itself."


Derivative forms of aesthetics

A large number of derivative forms of aesthetics have developed as contemporary and transitory forms of inquiry associated with the field of aesthetics which include the post-modern, psychoanalytic, scientific, and mathematical among others.


Post-modern aesthetics and psychoanalysis

Early-twentieth-century artists, poets and composers challenged existing notions of beauty, broadening the scope of art and aesthetics. In 1941,
Eli Siegel Eli Siegel (August 16, 1902 – November 8, 1978) was a poet, critic, and educator. He founded Aesthetic Realism, a philosophical movement based in New York City New York, often called New York City to distinguish it from New York State ...
, American philosopher and poet, founded Aesthetic Realism, the philosophy that reality itself is aesthetic, and that "The world, art, and self explain each other: each is the aesthetic oneness of opposites." Various attempts have been made to define
Post-Modern Postmodernism is an intellectual stance or mode of discourse defined by an attitude of skepticism Skepticism (American American(s) may refer to: * American, something of, from, or related to the United States of America, commonly known a ...
Aesthetics. The challenge to the assumption that beauty was central to art and aesthetics, thought to be original, is actually continuous with older aesthetic theory; Aristotle was the first in the Western tradition to classify "beauty" into types as in his theory of drama, and Kant made a distinction between beauty and the sublime. What was new was a refusal to credit the higher status of certain types, where the taxonomy implied a preference for tragedy and the sublime to comedy and the
Rococo Rococo (, also ), less commonly Roccoco or Late Baroque, is an exceptionally ornamental and theatrical style of architecture, art and decoration which combines asymmetry, scrolling curves, gilding, white and pastel colors, sculpted molding, ...
. Croce suggested that "expression" is central in the way that beauty was once thought to be central. George Dickie suggested that the sociological institutions of the art world were the glue binding art and sensibility into unities.
Marshall McLuhan Herbert Marshall McLuhan (July 21, 1911 – December 31, 1980) was a Canadian Canadians (french: Canadiens) are people identified with the country of Canada Canada is a country in the northern part of North America. Its Province ...

Marshall McLuhan
suggested that art always functions as a "counter-environment" designed to make visible what is usually invisible about a society.
Theodor Adorno Theodor is a masculine given name. It is a German form of TheodoreTheodore may refer to: Places * Theodore, Alabama, United States * Theodore, Australian Capital Territory * Theodore, Queensland, a town in the Shire of Banana, Australia * Th ...
felt that aesthetics could not proceed without confronting the role of the culture industry in the commodification of art and aesthetic experience.
Hal Foster Harold Rudolf Foster (August 16, 1892 – July 25, 1982) was a Canadian-American comic strip artist and writer best known as the creator of the comic strip ''Prince Valiant''. His drawing style is noted for its high level of draftsmanshi ...
attempted to portray the reaction against beauty and Modernist art in ''The Anti-Aesthetic: Essays on Postmodern Culture''.
Arthur Danto Arthur Coleman Danto (January 1, 1924 – October 25, 2013) was an American art critic An art critic is a person who is specialized in analyzing, interpreting, and evaluating art. Their written critiques or reviews contribute to art criticism an ...
has described this reaction as "kalliphobia" (after the Greek word for beauty, κάλλος ''kallos'').
André Malraux Georges André Malraux ( , ; 3 November 1901 – 23 November 1976) was a French novelist, art theorist, and Minister of Cultural Affairs. Malraux's novel ''La Condition Humaine'' (Man's Fate ''Man's Fate'' (French: ''La Condition humaine'', "Th ...
explains that the notion of beauty was connected to a particular conception of art that arose with the Renaissance and was still dominant in the eighteenth century (but was supplanted later). The discipline of aesthetics, which originated in the eighteenth century, mistook this transient state of affairs for a revelation of the permanent nature of art.
Brian Massumi Brian Massumi (; born 1956) is a Canadian Canadians (french: Canadiens) are people identified with the country of Canada. This connection may be residential, legal, historical or cultural. For most Canadians, many (or all) of these connections ...
suggests to reconsider beauty following the aesthetical thought in the philosophy of Deleuze and Guattari. Walter Benjamin echoed Malraux in believing aesthetics was a comparatively recent invention, a view proven wrong in the late 1970s, when Abraham Moles and Frieder Nake analyzed links between beauty, information processing, and information theory.
Denis Dutton Denis Laurence Dutton (9 February 1944 – 28 December 2010) was an American philosopher of art, web entrepreneur, and media activist. He was a professor of philosophy at the University of Canterbury in ChristchurchChristchurch is the largest ci ...
in "The Art Instinct" also proposed that an aesthetic sense was a vital evolutionary factor.
Jean-François Lyotard Jean-François Lyotard (; ; ; 10 August 1924 – 21 April 1998) was a French people, French Philosophy, philosopher, Sociology, sociologist, and Literary theory, literary theorist. His interdisciplinary discourse spans such topics as epistemolog ...
re-invokes the Kantian distinction between
taste The gustatory system or sense of taste is the sensory system The sensory nervous system is a part of the nervous system responsible for processing sensory information. A sensory system consists of sensory neurons (including the sensory re ...
and the sublime. Sublime painting, unlike
kitsch Kitsch ( ; loanword A loanword (also loan word or loan-word) is a word In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as the smallest sequence of phonemes that can be uttered in isolation with semantic, objective or pragma ...
realism Realism, Realistic, or Realists may refer to: In the arts *Realism (arts), the general attempt to depict subjects truthfully in different forms of the arts Arts movements related to realism include: *Classical Realism *Literary realism, a movem ...
, "... will enable us to see only by making it impossible to see; it will please only by causing pain."
Sigmund Freud Sigmund Freud ( , ; born Sigismund Schlomo Freud; 6 May 1856 – 23 September 1939) was an Austrian neurologist Neurology (from el, νεῦρον (neûron), "string, nerve" and the suffix -logia, "study of") is a branch of medicine M ...

Sigmund Freud
inaugurated aesthetical thinking in
Psychoanalysis Psychoanalysis (from Greek language, Greek: + ) is a set of Theory, theories and Therapy, therapeutic techniques"What is psychoanalysis? Of course, one is supposed to answer that it is many things — a theory, a research method, a therapy, a bo ...

Psychoanalysis
mainly via the "Uncanny" as aesthetical affect. Following Freud and
Merleau-Ponty Maurice Jean Jacques Merleau-Ponty (; 14 March 1908 – 3 May 1961) was a French phenomenological philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy. The term ''philosopher'' comes from the grc, φιλόσοφος, , translit=phil ...
,
Jacques Lacan Jacques Marie Émile Lacan (, , ; 13 April 1901 – 9 September 1981) was a French psychoanalyst Psychoanalysis (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, ...

Jacques Lacan
theorized aesthetics in terms of sublimation and the Thing. The relation of Marxist aesthetics to post-modern aesthetics is still a contentious area of debate.


Recent aesthetics

Guy Sircello has pioneered efforts in analytic philosophy to develop a rigorous theory of aesthetics, focusing on the concepts of beauty, love and sublimity. In contrast to romantic theorists, Sircello argued for the objectivity of beauty and formulated a theory of love on that basis. British philosopher and theorist of
conceptual art Conceptual art, also referred to as conceptualism, is art Art is a diverse range of (products of) human activities Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread species of primates, characterized by bipedality, opposa ...
aesthetics, Peter Osborne, makes the point that "'
post-conceptual art Post-conceptual, postconceptual, post-conceptualism or postconceptualism is an art theory that builds upon the legacy of conceptual art in contemporary art, where the concept(s) or idea(s) involved in the work takes some precedence over traditional ...
' aesthetic does not concern a particular type of
contemporary art Contemporary art is the art Art is a diverse range of (products of) human activities Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread species of primates, characterized by bipedality, opposable thumbs, hairlessness, and ...

contemporary art
so much as the historical-
ontological Ontology is the branch of philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, Metaphysics, existence, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of mind, mind, and Ph ...
condition for the production of contemporary art in general ...". Osborne noted tha
contemporary art is 'post-conceptual'
in a public lecture delivered in 2010. Gary Tedman has put forward a theory of a subjectless aesthetics derived from
Karl Marx Karl Heinrich Marx (; 5 May 1818 – 14 March 1883) was a German philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, M ...

Karl Marx
's concept of alienation, and
Louis Althusser Louis Pierre Althusser (, ; ; 16 October 1918 – 22 October 1990) was a French Marxist philosopher Marxism is a method of socioeconomic analysis that uses a materialist interpretation of historical development, better known as historical m ...
's antihumanism, using elements of Freud's group psychology, defining a concept of the 'aesthetic level of practice'. has suggested that the subject is key in the interaction with the aesthetic object. The work of art serves as a vehicle for the projection of the individual's identity into the world of objects, as well as being the irruptive source of much of what is uncanny in modern life. As well, art is used to memorialize individuated biographies in a manner that allows persons to imagine that they are part of something greater than themselves.


Aesthetics and science

The field of
experimental aesthetics Experimental aesthetics is a field of psychology founded by Gustav Theodor Fechner in the 19th century. According to Fechner, aesthetics is an Experience, experiential perception which is Empiricism, empirically comprehensible in light of the charac ...
was founded by
Gustav Theodor Fechner Gustav Theodor Fechner (; ; 19 April 1801 – 18 November 1887) was a German experimental psychologist A psychologist is a person who studies normal and abnormal mental states, perceptual, cognitive, emotional, and social processes and behavi ...

Gustav Theodor Fechner
in the 19th century. Experimental aesthetics in these times had been characterized by a subject-based, inductive approach. The analysis of individual experience and behaviour based on is a central part of experimental aesthetics. In particular, the perception of works of art, music, or modern items such as websites or other IT products is studied. Experimental aesthetics is strongly oriented towards the
natural science Natural science is a branch A branch ( or , ) or tree branch (sometimes referred to in botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science of plant life and a branch of biology. A botanist, plant scientist or ph ...

natural science
s. Modern approaches mostly come from the fields of
cognitive psychology Cognitive psychology is the scientific study of mental process Cognition () refers to "the mental action or process of acquiring knowledge and understanding through thought, experience, and the senses". It encompasses many aspects of intelle ...
or
neuroscience Neuroscience is the scientific study of the nervous system In biology, the classical doctrine of the nervous system determines that it is a Complex system, highly complex part of an animal that coordinates its Behavior, actions and Sens ...

neuroscience
(
neuroaesthetics Neuroesthetics (Differences between British and American English, or neuroaesthetics) is a relatively recent sub-discipline of empirical aesthetics. Empirical aesthetics takes a Scientific method, scientific approach to the study of aesthetic perce ...
). In the 1970s,
Abraham Moles Abraham Moles (August 19, 1920 – May 22, 1992) was a pioneer in information science and communication studies in France, He was a professor at Ulm School of Design, Ulm school of design and University of Strasbourg. He is known for his work on kit ...
and
Frieder Nake Frieder Nake (born December 16, 1938 in Stuttgart of the Old Castle (Stuttgart), Old Castle Stuttgart (; Swabian German, Swabian: ; ) is the capital city, capital and list of cities in Germany, largest city of the Germany, German States o ...

Frieder Nake
were among the first to analyze links between aesthetics,
information processing Information processing is the change (processing) of information Information is processed, organised and structured data. It provides context for data and enables decision making process. For example, a single customer’s sale at a resta ...
, and
information theory Information theory is the scientific study of the quantification (science), quantification, computer data storage, storage, and telecommunication, communication of Digital data, digital information. The field was fundamentally established by the ...
. In the 1990s, described an
algorithm In and , an algorithm () is a finite sequence of , computer-implementable instructions, typically to solve a class of problems or to perform a computation. Algorithms are always and are used as specifications for performing s, , , and other ...

algorithm
ic theory of beauty which takes the
subjectivity Subjectivity in a philosophical Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about existence Existence is the ability of an entity to interact with physical or mental reality Reality is the sum ...
of the observer into account and postulates: among several observations classified as comparable by a given subjective observer, the aesthetically most pleasing one is the one with the shortest description, given the observer's previous knowledge and his particular method for encoding the data. This is closely related to the principles of
algorithmic information theory Algorithmic information theory (AIT) is a branch of theoretical computer science Theoretical computer science (TCS) is a subset of general computer science Computer science deals with the theoretical foundations of information, algorith ...
and
minimum description lengthMinimum description length (MDL) refers to various formalizations of Occam's razor based on formal languages In mathematics Mathematics (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as quantity (number theory), mathematica ...
. One of his examples:
mathematician A mathematician is someone who uses an extensive knowledge of mathematics Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as numbers (arithmetic and number theory), formulas and related structures (algebra), shapes and spaces ...

mathematician
s enjoy simple proofs with a short description in their
formal language In logic, mathematics, computer science, and linguistics, a formal language consists of string (computer science), words whose symbol (formal), letters are taken from an alphabet (computer science), alphabet and are well-formedness, well-formed a ...
. Another very concrete example describes an aesthetically pleasing human face whose proportions can be described by very few
bit The bit is a basic unit of information in computing Computing is any goal-oriented activity requiring, benefiting from, or creating computing machinery. It includes the study and experimentation of algorithm of an algorithm (Euclid's algo ...
s of information, drawing inspiration from less detailed 15th century proportion studies by
Leonardo da Vinci Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci (15 April 14522 May 1519) was an Italian of the who was active as a painter, , engineer, scientist, theorist, sculptor and architect. While his fame initially rested on his achievements as a painter, he als ...

Leonardo da Vinci
and
Albrecht Dürer Albrecht Dürer (; ; 21 May 1471 – 6 April 1528),Müller, Peter O. (1993) ''Substantiv-Derivation in Den Schriften Albrecht Dürers'', Walter de Gruyter. . sometimes spelled in English as Durer or Duerer (without an umlaut), was a German pain ...

Albrecht Dürer
. Schmidhuber's theory explicitly distinguishes between what's
beautiful Beautiful, an adjective used to describe things as possessing beauty, may refer to: Films * Beautiful (2000 film), ''Beautiful'' (2000 film), an American film starring Minnie Driver and Kathleen Turner * Beautiful (2008 film), ''Beautiful'' (20 ...

beautiful
and what's , stating that interestingness corresponds to the
first derivative In mathematics Mathematics (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as quantity (number theory), mathematical structure, structure (algebra), space (geometry), and calculus, change (mathematical analysis, analysis). ...
of subjectively perceived beauty. Here the premise is that any observer continually tries to improve the
predictability Predictability is the degree to which a correct prediction or forecasting, forecast of a system's Classical mechanics, state can be made, either qualitatively or quantitatively. Predictability and causality Causal determinism has a strong relati ...
and
compressibility In thermodynamics Thermodynamics is a branch of physics that deals with heat, Work (thermodynamics), work, and temperature, and their relation to energy, entropy, and the physical properties of matter and radiation. The behavior of these quan ...
of the observations by discovering regularities such as repetitions and
symmetries Symmetry (from Ancient Greek, Greek συμμετρία ''symmetria'' "agreement in dimensions, due proportion, arrangement") in everyday language refers to a sense of harmonious and beautiful proportion and balance. In mathematics, "symmetry" ...
and
fractal In mathematics Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as numbers (arithmetic and number theory), formulas and related structures (algebra), shapes and spaces in which they are contained (geometry), and quantities a ...

fractal
self-similarity __NOTOC__ has an infinitely repeating self-similarity when it is magnified. In mathematics Mathematics (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as quantity (number theory), mathematical structure, structure (algebra ...
. Whenever the observer's learning process (which may be a predictive
artificial neural network Artificial neural networks (ANNs), usually simply called neural networks (NNs), are computing systems vaguely inspired by the biological neural networks that constitute animal brains. An ANN is based on a collection of connected units or nod ...

artificial neural network
; see also
Neuroesthetics Neuroesthetics (Differences between British and American English, or neuroaesthetics) is a relatively recent sub-discipline of empirical aesthetics. Empirical aesthetics takes a Scientific method, scientific approach to the study of aesthetic perce ...
) leads to improved data compression such that the observation sequence can be described by fewer
bit The bit is a basic unit of information in computing Computing is any goal-oriented activity requiring, benefiting from, or creating computing machinery. It includes the study and experimentation of algorithm of an algorithm (Euclid's algo ...
s than before, the temporary of the data corresponds to the number of saved bits. This compression progress is proportional to the observer's internal reward, also called curiosity reward. A
reinforcement learning Reinforcement learning (RL) is an area of machine learning Machine learning (ML) is the study of computer algorithms that can improve automatically through experience and by the use of data. It is seen as a part of artificial intelligence. M ...
algorithm is used to maximize future expected reward by learning to execute action sequences that cause additional input data with yet unknown but learnable predictability or regularity. The principles can be implemented on artificial agents which then exhibit a form of
artificial Artificiality (the state of being artificial or man-made) is the state of being the product of intentional human manufacture, rather than occurring nature, naturally through processes not involving or requiring human activity. Connotations Artific ...

artificial
curiosity Curiosity (from Latin ''wikt:curiositas#Latin, cūriōsitās'', from ''cūriōsus'' "careful, diligent, curious", akin to ''cura'' "care") is a quality related to inquisitive thinking such as exploration, investigation, and learning, evident by ...

curiosity
.


Truth in beauty and mathematics

Mathematical considerations, such as
symmetry Symmetry (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is appro ...

symmetry
and
complexity Complexity characterises the behaviour of a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its environme ...
, are used for analysis in theoretical aesthetics. This is different from the aesthetic considerations of applied aesthetics used in the study of
mathematical beauty Mathematical beauty is the aesthetic pleasure typically derived from the abstractness, purity, simplicity, depth or orderliness of mathematics Mathematics (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as quantity (number ...
. Aesthetic considerations such as
symmetry Symmetry (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is appro ...

symmetry
and
simplicity Simplicity is the state or quality of being simple Simple or SIMPLE may refer to: * Simplicity, the state or quality of being simple Arts and entertainment * ''Simple'' (album), by Andy Yorke, 2008, and its title track * "Simple" (Florid ...
are used in areas of philosophy, such as
ethics Ethics or moral philosophy is a branch of philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about Metaphysics, existence, reason, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of mind, ...
and
theoretical physics Theoretical physics is a branch of physics that employs mathematical models and abstractions of physical objects and systems to rationalize, explain and predict List of natural phenomena, natural phenomena. This is in contrast to experimental ph ...
and
cosmology Cosmology (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is appro ...
to
define A definition is a statement of the meaning of a term (a word, phrase, or other set of symbols). Definitions can be classified into two large categories, intensional definitions (which try to give the sense of a term) and extensional definition ...
truth Truth is the property of being in accord with fact A fact is something that is true True most commonly refers to truth Truth is the property of being in accord with fact or reality.Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionarytruth 2005 In ...

truth
, outside of
empirical Empirical evidence for a proposition In logic and linguistics, a proposition is the meaning of a declarative sentence (linguistics), sentence. In philosophy, "Meaning (philosophy), meaning" is understood to be a non-linguistic entity which is s ...
considerations. Beauty and
Truth Truth is the property of being in accord with fact A fact is something that is true True most commonly refers to truth Truth is the property of being in accord with fact or reality.Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionarytruth 2005 In ...

Truth
have been argued to be nearly synonymous, as reflected in the statement "Beauty is truth, truth beauty" in the poem "
Ode on a Grecian Urn "Ode on a Grecian Urn" is a poem written by the English Romantic poet Romantic poetry is the poetry of the Romanticism, Romantic era, an artistic, literary, musical and intellectual movement that originated in Europe towards the end of the 18th ...
" by
John Keats John Keats (31 October 1795 – 23 February 1821) was an English poet prominent in the second generation of Romantic Romantic may refer to: Genres and eras * The Romantic era, an artistic, literary, musical and intellectual movement of the 18t ...

John Keats
, or by the Hindu motto "Satyam Shivam Sundaram" (Satya (Truth) is Shiva (God), and Shiva is Sundaram (Beautiful)). The fact that judgments of beauty and judgments of truth both are influenced by
processing fluency Processing fluency is the ease with which information is processed. Perceptual fluency is the ease of processing stimuli based on manipulations to perceptual quality. Retrieval fluency is the ease with which information can be retrieved from memory. ...
, which is the ease with which information can be processed, has been presented as an explanation for why beauty is sometimes equated with truth. Recent research found that people use beauty as an indication for truth in mathematical pattern tasks. However, scientists including the mathematician
David OrrellDavid John Orrell (born 1962 in Edmonton Edmonton ( ) is the capital city of the Provinces and territories of Canada, Canadian province of Alberta. Edmonton is on the North Saskatchewan River and is the centre of the Edmonton Metropolitan Region ...

David Orrell
and physicist
Marcelo Gleiser Marcelo Gleiser (born March 19 1959) is a Brazil Brazil ( pt, Brasil; ), officially the Federative Republic of Brazil (Portuguese: ), is the largest country in both South America and Latin America. At 8.5 million square kilometers (3. ...
have argued that the emphasis on aesthetic criteria such as symmetry is equally capable of leading scientists astray.


Computational approaches

Computational approaches to aesthetics emerged amid efforts to use computer science methods "to predict, convey, and evoke emotional response to a piece of art. It this field, aesthetics is not considered to be dependent on taste but is a matter of cognition, and, consequently, learning. In 1928, the mathematician
George David Birkhoff George David Birkhoff (March 21, 1884 – November 12, 1944) was an American mathematician best known for what is now called the ergodic theorem. Birkhoff was one of the most important leaders in American mathematics in his generation, and during ...

George David Birkhoff
created an aesthetic measure ''M = O/C'' as the ratio of order to complexity. Since about 2005, computer scientists have attempted to develop automated methods to infer aesthetic quality of images. Typically, these approaches follow a
machine learning Machine learning (ML) is the study of computer algorithms that can improve automatically through experience and by the use of data. It is seen as a part of artificial intelligence. Machine learning algorithms build a model based on sample data ...

machine learning
approach, where large numbers of manually rated photographs are used to "teach" a computer about what visual properties are of relevance to aesthetic quality. A study by Y. Li and C.J. Hu employed Birkhoff's measurement in their statistical learning approach where order and complexity of an image determined aesthetic value. The image complexity was computed using information theory while the order was determined using fractal compression. There is also the case of the Acquine engine, developed at
Penn State University The Pennsylvania State University (Penn State or PSU) is a Public university, public Commonwealth System of Higher Education, state-related Land-grant university, land-grant research university with campuses and facilities throughout Pennsylvani ...
, that rates natural photographs uploaded by users. There have also been relatively successful attempts with regard to chess and music. Computational approaches have also been attempted in film making as demonstrated by a software model developed by Chitra Dorai and a group of researchers at the IBM T.J. Watson Research Center. The tool predicted aesthetics based on the values of narrative elements. A relation between
Max Bense Max Bense (7 February 1910 in Strasbourg – 29 April 1990 in Stuttgart) was a Germany, German philosopher, writer, and publicist, known for his work in philosophy of science, logic, aesthetics, and semiotics. His thoughts combine natural sciences, ...
's mathematical formulation of aesthetics in terms of "redundancy" and "complexity" and theories of musical anticipation was offered using the notion of Information Rate.


Evolutionary aesthetics

Evolutionary aesthetics refers to
evolutionary psychology Evolutionary psychology is a theoretical approach in the social Social organisms, including humans, live collectively in interacting populations. This interaction is considered social whether they are aware of it or not, and whether the exchan ...
theories in which the basic aesthetic preferences of ''
Homo sapiens Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most abundant and widespread species of primate, characterized by bipedality, bipedalism and large, complex brains. This has enabled the development of advanced tools, culture, and language. Humans are highl ...

Homo sapiens
'' are argued to have
evolved Evolution is change in the heritable Heredity, also called inheritance or biological inheritance, is the passing on of Phenotypic trait, traits from parents to their offspring; either through asexual reproduction or sexual reproduction, ...

evolved
in order to enhance survival and reproductive success. One example being that humans are argued to find beautiful and prefer
landscape A landscape is the visible features of an area of land Land is the solid surface of Earth that is not permanently submerged in water. Most but not all land is situated at elevations above sea level (variable over geologic time frames) an ...

landscape
s which were good
habitat In ecology Ecology (from el, οἶκος, "house" and el, -λογία, label=none, "study of") is the study of the relationships between living organisms, including humans, and their physical environment. Ecology considers at the ...

habitat
s in the ancestral environment. Another example is that body symmetry and proportion are important aspects of
physical attractiveness Physical attractiveness is the degree to which a person's physical features are considered aesthetic Aesthetics, or esthetics (), is a branch of philosophy that deals with the nature of beauty and taste (sociology), taste, as well as th ...
which may be due to this indicating good health during body growth. Evolutionary explanations for aesthetical preferences are important parts of
evolutionary musicology Evolutionary musicology is a subfield of biomusicology that grounds the cognitive mechanisms of music appreciation and music production (music psychology), music creation in evolutionary theory. It covers Animal communication, vocal communication ...
, Darwinian literary studies, and the study of the evolution of emotion.


Applied aesthetics

As well as being applied to art, aesthetics can also be applied to cultural objects, such as crosses or tools. For example, aesthetic coupling between art-objects and medical topics was made by speakers working for the . Art slides were linked to slides of pharmacological data, which improved attention and retention by simultaneous activation of intuitive right brain with rational left. It can also be used in topics as diverse as
cartography Cartography (; from χάρτης ''chartēs'', "papyrus, sheet of paper, map"; and γράφειν ''graphein'', "write") is the study and practice of making and using s. Combining , , and technique, cartography builds on the premise that rea ...
,
mathematics Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as numbers (arithmetic and number theory), formulas and related structures (algebra), shapes and spaces in which they are contained (geometry), and quantities and their changes (cal ...
,
gastronomy 200px, Fine food, the principal study of gastronomy Gastronomy is the study of the relationship between food Food is any substance consumed to provide Nutrient, nutritional support for an organism. Food is usually of plant, animal or Fungus, ...

gastronomy
,
fashion Fashion is a form of self-expression and autonomy at a particular period and place and in a specific context, of clothing Clothing (also known as clothes, apparel, and attire) are items worn on the body. Typically, clothing is made of fab ...

fashion
and website design.


Criticism

The philosophy of aesthetics as a practice has been criticized by some sociologists and writers of art and society.
Raymond Williams Raymond Henry Williams (31 August 1921 – 26 January 1988), born in Wales, was a socialist writer, academic, novelist and critic influential within the New Left and in wider culture. His writings on politics, culture, the media and literature c ...
, for example, argues that there is no unique and or individual aesthetic object which can be extrapolated from the art world, but rather that there is a continuum of cultural forms and experience of which ordinary speech and experiences may signal as art. By "art" we may frame several artistic "works" or "creations" as so though this reference remains within the institution or special event which creates it and this leaves some works or other possible "art" outside of the frame work, or other interpretations such as other phenomenon which may not be considered as "art".
Pierre Bourdieu Pierre Bourdieu (; 1 August 1930 – 23 January 2002) was a French sociologist and public intellectual An intellectual is a person who engages in critical thinking, research, and Human self-reflection, reflection to advance discussions of ...
disagrees with Kant's idea of the "aesthetic". He argues that Kant's "aesthetic" merely represents an experience that is the product of an elevated class habitus and scholarly leisure as opposed to other possible and equally valid "aesthetic" experiences which lay outside Kant's narrow definition. Timothy Laurie argues that theories of musical aesthetics "framed entirely in terms of appreciation, contemplation or reflection risk idealizing an implausibly unmotivated listener defined solely through musical objects, rather than seeing them as a person for whom complex intentions and motivations produce variable attractions to cultural objects and practices".


See also

* * Art and Theosophy *
Art periods This is a chronological list of periods in Western art history. An art period is a phase in the development of the work of an artist, groups of artists or art movement. Ancient Classical art Minoan art Ancient Greek art Roman art Medieval art ...
*
History of aesthetics before the 20th century This description of the history of aesthetics Aesthetics, or esthetics (), is a branch of philosophy that deals with the nature of beauty and taste (sociology), taste, as well as the philosophy of art (its own area of philosophy that comes ou ...
* Medieval aesthetics * Mise en scène * Theory of art


References


Further reading

* Mario Perniola, ''20th Century Aesthetics. Towards A Theory of Feeling'', translated by Massimo Verdicchio, London, New Delhi, New York, Sydney: Bloomsbury, 2013, . * * ''Handbook of Phenomenological Aesthetics''. Edited by Hans Rainer Sepp and Lester Embree. (Series: Contributions To Phenomenology, Vol. 59) Springer, Dordrecht / Heidelberg / London / New York 2010. * Theodor W. Adorno, ''Aesthetic Theory'', Minneapolis, University of Minnesota Press, 1997. * Ayn Rand, ''The Romantic Manifesto: A Philosophy of Literature'', New York, NY, New American Library, 1971
Derek Allan
''Art and the Human Adventure, Andre Malraux's Theory of Art'', Rodopi, 2009 * Derek Allan

Cambridge Scholars, 2013. * Augros, Robert M., Stanciu, George N., ''The New Story of Science: mind and the universe'', Lake Bluff, Ill.: Regnery Gateway, 1984. (has significant material on Art, Science and their philosophies) * John Bender and Gene Blocker, ''Contemporary Philosophy of Art: Readings in Analytic Aesthetics'' 1993. * René Bergeron. ''L'Art et sa spiritualité''. Québec, QC.: Éditions du Pelican, 1961. * Christine Buci-Glucksmann (2003), ''Esthétique de l'éphémère'', Galilée. (French) * Noël Carroll (2000), ''Theories of Art Today'', University of Wisconsin Press. * Mario Costa (philosopher), Mario Costa (1999) (in Italian), L'estetica dei media. Avanguardie e tecnologia, Milan: Castelvecchi, . * Benedetto Croce (1922), ''Aesthetic as Science of Expression and General Linguistic''. * E.S. Dallas (1866), ''The Gay Science'', 2 volumes, on the aesthetics of poetry. * Arthur Danto, Danto, Arthur (2003), ''The Abuse of Beauty: Aesthetics and the Concept of Art'', Open Court. * Stephen Davies (philosopher), Stephen Davies (1991), ''Definitions of Art.'' * Terry Eagleton (1990), ''The Ideology of the Aesthetic.'' Blackwell. * Susan L. Feagin and Patrick Maynard (1997), Aesthetics. Oxford Readers. * Penny Florence and Nicola Foster (eds.) (2000), ''Differential Aesthetics''. London: Ashgate. * Berys Gaut and Dominic McIver Lopes (eds.), ''Routledge Companion to Aesthetics''. 3rd edition. London and New York: Routledge, 2013. * Annemarie Gethmann-Siefert (1995), ''Einführung in die Ästhetik'', Munich, W. Fink. * David Goldblatt and Lee B. Brown, ed. (2010), ''Aesthetics: A Reader in the Philosophy of the Arts.'' 3rd edition. Pearson Publishing. * Theodore Gracyk (2011), ''The Philosophy of Art: An Introduction''. Polity Press. * Greenberg, Clement (1960), "Modernist Painting", ''The Collected Essays and Criticism 1957–1969'', The University of Chicago Press, 1993, 85–92. * Evelyn Hatcher (ed.), ''Art as Culture: An Introduction to the Anthropology of Art.'' 1999 * Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1975), ''Lectures on Aesthetics, Aesthetics. Lectures on Fine Art'', trans. T.M. Knox, 2 vols. Oxford: Clarendon Press. * Hans Hofmann and Sara T Weeks; Bartlett H Hayes; Addison Gallery of American Art
''Search for the real, and other essays''
(Cambridge, Massachusetts, M.I.T. Press, 1967) * Michael Ann Holly and Keith Moxey (eds.), ''Art History and Visual Studies''. Yale University Press, 2002. * Carol Armstrong and Catherine de Zegher (eds.), ''Women Artists at the Millennium''. Massachusetts: October Books/MIT Press, 2006. * Immanuel Kant, Kant, Immanuel (1790), Critique of Judgement, Translated by Werner S. Pluhar, Hackett Publishing Co., 1987. * Kelly, Michael (Editor in Chief) (1998) ''Encyclopedia of Aesthetics''. New York, Oxford, Oxford University Press. 4 vol. pp. xvii–521, pp. 555, pp. 536, pp. 572; 2224 total pages; 100 b/w photos; . Covers philosophical, historical, sociological, and biographical aspects of Art and Aesthetics worldwide. * * Søren Kierkegaard (1843), ''Either/Or'', translated by Alastair Hannay, London, Penguin, 1992 * Peter Kivy (ed.), ''The Blackwell Guide to Aesthetics.'' 2004 * Carolyn Korsmeyer (ed.), ''Aesthetics: The Big Questions.'' 1998 * Lyotard, Jean-François (1979), ''The Postmodern Condition'', Manchester University Press, 1984. *
Merleau-Ponty Maurice Jean Jacques Merleau-Ponty (; 14 March 1908 – 3 May 1961) was a French phenomenological philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy. The term ''philosopher'' comes from the grc, φιλόσοφος, , translit=phil ...
, Maurice (1969), ''The Visible and the Invisible'', Northwestern University Press. * David Novitz (1992), ''The Boundaries of Art.'' * Mario Perniola, ''The Art and Its Shadow'', foreword by Hugh J. Silverman, translated by Massimo Verdicchio, London-New York, Continuum, 2004. * Griselda Pollock, "Does Art Think?" In: Dana Arnold and Margaret Iverson (eds.) ''Art and Thought''. Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 2003. 129–174. . * Griselda Pollock, ''Encounters in the Virtual Feminist Museum: Time, Space and the Archive''. Routledge, 2007. . * Griselda Pollock, ''Generations and Geographies in the Visual Arts''. Routledge, 1996. . * George Santayana (1896), ''The Sense of Beauty. Being the Outlines of Aesthetic Theory.'' New York, Modern Library, 1955. * Elaine Scarry, ''On Beauty and Being Just.'' Princeton, 2001. * Friedrich Schiller, (1795), ''On the Aesthetic Education of Man''. Dover Publications, 2004. * Alan Singer and Allen Dunn (eds.), ''Literary Aesthetics: A Reader.'' Blackwell Publishing Limited, 2000. * Jadranka Skorin-Kapov, ''The Intertwining of Aesthetics and Ethics: Exceeding of Expectations, Ecstasy, Sublimity''. Lexington Books, 2016. * , ''A History of Six Ideas: an Essay in Aesthetics'', The Hague, 1980. * , ''History of Aesthetics'', 3 vols. (1–2, 1970; 3, 1974), The Hague, Mouton. * Markand Thakar ''Looking for the 'Harp' Quartet: An Investigation into Musical Beauty''. University of Rochester Press, 2011. * Leo Tolstoy, ''What Is Art?'', Penguin Classics, 1995. * Roger Scruton, ''Beauty: A Very Short Introduction'', Oxford University Press, 2009. * Roger Scruton, ''The Aesthetic Understanding: Essays in the Philosophy of Art and Culture'' (1983) * Th
London Philosophy Study Guide
offers many suggestions on what to read, depending on the student's familiarity with the subject

* John M. Valentine, ''Beginning Aesthetics: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Art.'' McGraw-Hill, 2006. * von Vacano, Diego, "The Art of Power: Machiavelli, Nietzsche and the Making of Aesthetic Political Theory," Lanham MD: Lexington: 2007. * Thomas Wartenberg, ''The Nature of Art.'' 2006. * John W. Whitehead, John Whitehead, ''Grasping for the Wind.'' 2001. * Ludwig Wittgenstein, ''Lectures on aesthetics, psychology and religious belief'', Oxford, Blackwell, 1966. *
Richard Wollheim Richard Arthur Wollheim (5 May 1923 − 4 November 2003) was a British philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy. The term ''philosopher'' comes from the grc, φιλόσοφος, , translit=philosophos, meaning 'lover of ...
, ''Art and its objects'', 2nd edn, 1980, Cambridge University Press,


Indian aesthetics

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External links

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Aesthetics in Continental Philosophy
article in the ''Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy''
Medieval Theories of Aesthetics
article in the ''Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy''
Revue online ''Appareil''





More about Art, culture and Education

An history of aesthetics

The Concept of the Aesthetic

Aesthetics
entry in the Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy
Philosophy of Aesthetics
entry in the Philosophy Archive
Washington State Board for Community & Technical Colleges: Introduction to Aesthetics

Art Perception
Complete pdf version of art historian David Cycleback's book.
Beauty
BBC Radio 4 discussion with Angie Hobbs, Susan James & Julian Baggini (''In Our Time'', 19 May 2005) {{Authority control Aesthetics, Humanities 1730s neologisms