From the Enlightenment, according to contemporary critics, came a dream about human progress from which we have awakened. The Enlightenment is commonly presented as an intellectual era when philosophers believed that reason would solve all human problems and provide a solid foundation for morality and politics. But surely we now know better. ... (read more)
Janna Thompson is a professor of philosophy at La Trobe University. She is the author of Taking Responsibility for the Past: Reparation and Historical Injustice (2002) and Intergenerational Justice: Rights and Responsibilities in an Intergenerational Polity (2009). She has also written articles on environmental philosophy, aesthetics, feminism, and global justice.
It is possible to imagine a culture that treats art merely as decoration, but to inheritors of the European tradition this idea of art’s function is demeaning. We expect great art to express or reflect the spiritual and philosophical preoccupations of our cultural heritage. No system-building philosopher in modern European history would have failed to incorporate an aesthetic theory into his the ... (read more)