The philosophy of aesthetics

The philosophy of aesthetics

European Aesthetics: A Critical Introduction from Kant to Derrida

by Robert L. Wicks

Oneworld Publications (Palgrave Macmillan), $46 pb, 347 pp, 9781851688197

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 theoretical scheme. Philosophical system-building has been debunked and largely abandoned, but contemporary European thinkers continue to pronounce on art from the perspective of their philosophies.

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Published in May 2013, no. 351
Janna Thompson

Janna Thompson

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.

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