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later call “affect-oriented” characterizations, to think that the notion of the aesthetic is
mythic. On the other hand, where the notion of aesthetic experiences is what I label above
as “content-oriented,” I think there is no problem in speaking of aesthetic experience, that
is, of the experience of aesthetic and/or expressive qualities.
2. For an example of the anti-definitionalist stance, see Morris Weitz,“The Role of Theory in
Aesthetics,” The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 15 no. 1 (Fall, 1956). For an example of
an Institutional Theory, see George Dickie, Art and the Aesthetic: an Institutional Analysis
(Cornell University Press, 1974).
3. Monroe Beardsley, “An Aesthetic Definition of Art,” in What Is Art?, ed. Hugh Curtler
(New York, 1983); W. Tolhurst, “Toward An Aesthetic Account of the Nature of Art,” The
Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 42 no. 3 (Spring, 1984). Also, Harold Osborne™s “What
Is a Work of Art?” British Journal of Aesthetics 21 (1981) represents another attempt at defin-
ing art in terms of aesthetic experience.
4. Beardsley, 21.
5. Tolhurst, 265.
6. Monroe Beardsley. “The Discrimination of Aesthetic Enjoyment,” in The Aesthetic Point of
View, ed. Michael Wreen and Donald Callen (Cornell University Press, 1982), p. 42.
7. J. O. Urmson, “What Makes a Situation Aesthetic,” Art and Philosophy, ed. W. E. Kennick
(New York, 1979), pp. 395“97.
8. Monroe Beardsley,“Aesthetic Experience.” The Aesthetic Point of View, pp. 288“89.
9. The practice of planting oblique meanings and themes in artworks that the audience is
meant to discover occurs in varying degrees in different artforms, perhaps most frequently
in literature and least frequently in orchestral music. But it has examples in every artform.
10. Peter Hutchinson, Games Authors Play (London, 1983), p. 80.
11. For a reproduction of Black Quadrilateral see The Russian Avant-Garde:The George Costakis
Collection, ed.Angelica Zander Rudenstine (New York, 1981), p. 256.
12. David Hume,“Of the Standard of Taste,” Art and Philosophy, p. 495.This view of Hume in
regard to intellection is discussed in my “Hume™s Standard of Taste,” The Journal of Aesthetics
and Art Criticism 43 no. 2 (Winter, 1984).
13. Alasdair MacIntyre, After Virtue (University of Notre Dame Press, 1981), p. 175.
14. Jerome Stolnitz, “The Aesthetic Attitude.” Introductory Readings in Aesthetics, ed. John Hos-
pers (New York, 1969), pp. 17“27.
15. MacIntyre, p. 181.

BEAUTY GENEALOGY A RT THEORY
AND THE OF

1. For example, Monroe Beardsley, “An Aesthetic Definition of Art,” in Hugh Curtler (eds.),
What Is Art? (New York: Haven, 1983); W. Tolhurst, “Toward an Aesthetic Account of the
Nature of Art,” Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, vol. 42, no. 3, Spring 1984; Harold
Osborne, “What Is a Work of Art?” British Journal of Aesthetics, vol. 21, no. 3, 1981; G.
Schlesinger, “Aesthetic Experience and the Definition of Art,” British Journal of Aesthetics,
vol. 19, no. 2, Spring 1979. Extensive reference to the currency of aesthetic definitions of
art can be found in Bohdan Dziemidok,“Controversy about the Aesthetic Nature of Art,”
British Journal of Aesthetics, vol. 28, no. 1, winter 1988.
NOTES 397

2. George Dickie,“The Myth of the Aesthetic Attitude,” American Philosophical Quarterly, vol.
1, no. 1, Jan. 1964; George Dickie, “Beardsley™s Phantom Aesthetic Experience,” Journal of
Philosophy, vol. 62, 1965.
3. George Dickie, Art and the Aesthetic (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1974); and
George Dickie, The Art Circle (New York: Haven, 1984).
4. Morris Weitz,“The Role of Theory in Aesthetics,” Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, vol.
15, no. 1, Fall 1956; Paul Ziff, “The Task of Defining a Work of Art,” Philosophical Review,
vol. 62, 1953.
5. Maurice Mandelbaum, “Family Resemblances and Generalizations Concerning the Arts,”
American Philosophical Quarterly, vol. 2, 1965.
6. Wladyslaw Tatarkiewicz, A History of Six Ideas: An Essay in Aesthetics (Hague, Netherlands:
Martinus Nijhoff, 1980), p. 122.
7. Tatarkiewicz, History of Six Ideas, p. 122.
8. Francis Hutcheson, Inquiry Concerning Beauty, Order, Harmony, Design, edited by Peter Kivy
(Hague. Netherlands: Martinus Nijhoff, 1973), p. 40.
9. Hutcheson, Inquiry, pp. 31“32.
10. Hutcheson, Inquiry, p. 36.
11. In Hutcheson, the relationship of knowledge and interest is complicated. Some knowledge
is distinct from interest; however, knowledge also may be connected with interest when it
is knowledge of the uses to which an object may be put.Thus, the contrasts between the
sense of beauty, and knowledge and interest drawn above is not so neat, since knowledge
that serves interests cuts across both the contrasts.
12. Hutcheson. Inquiry, pp. 36“37.
13. It should also be noted that in contrast to later aesthetic theories of art, due to some of his
strange applications of the notion of uniformity in his analysis of what he calls relative
beauty, Hutcheson does not appear to be as draconian as later theorists of the aesthetic in
terms of separating the aesthetic response from cognition. He does not apparently bracket
certain types of knowledge with respect to beauty and art that will be bracketed by theo-
rists influenced by him. Since he regards the relation of similitude of a representation to its
referent and of an author™s intention and the artwork as “uniformities,” he must counte-
nance knowledge of reference and of authorial intent as relevant ingredients in the experi-
ence of beauty and of beautiful artworks. Needless to say, his use of the notion of
uniformities here seems strained beyond the breaking point, which perhaps accounts for
the abandonment of these commitments by the tradition. Clive Bell would reject the refer-
ent of a painting as part of its significant form. He thus maintains that the similitude of the
painting to its referent is aesthetically irrelevant, while Monroe Beardsley attempts to sepa-
rate the art object from the artist™s intention, thereby denying that it is part of the proper
focus of aesthetic attention. Obviously, on these matters, Bell and Beardsley diverge with
Hutcheson on the appropriate parameters of the object of contemplation in question. Per-
haps on these points, it could be argued that they are more consistent with Hutcheson™s
own suggestion that the knowledge of the genesis of the object is irrelevant to its aesthetic
(not Hutcheson™s term) appreciation than he is. Hutcheson, they might say, spoils his own
theoretical insight when it comes to applying his uniformity amidst variety formula.
14. See J. O. Urmson,“What Makes a Situation Aesthetic,” in W. E. Kennick (ed.). Art and Phi-
losophy (New York: Saint Martin™s Press, 1979), pp. 398“410.
15. That is, grounded in an actual inner sensation of pleasure on the part of the percipient.
16. Since these judgments are disinterested, we are assured that our sensation of pleasure would
be shared by all insofar as the differences between us “ our interests “ have been factored
out.Also, this pleasure is rooted in the play of the cognitive and imaginative faculties.These
are part of our common humanity. Consequently, the pleasure derived from the engage-
ment of these faculties “ where interests have been factored out “ should be available to
everyone. It is in virtue of this common humanity that Kant defends the objectivity of
398 NOTES

judgments of taste, and answers Hume™s paradox concerning how judgments based on indi-
vidual experiences can nevertheless be objective, that is, have intersubjective reach.
17. That is, our judgments of taste, if they are disinterested, and result from the play of common
human faculties, can command the assent of everyone, since they are grounded solely on
what we share with others. Since our judgments are based on those universal human fea-
tures that we share with everyone else (see prior note), our pronouncements should neces-
sarily be shared by others in virtue of our common humanity. This answers Hume™s
quandary about how we can claim that Milton is better than Ogilby while simultaneously
admitting that the perception of beauty is in the subject. It is in the subject, but at a level of
response common to the constitution of all human subjects.
18. This is the claim that the aesthetic judgment does not rest on the application of rules or of
a concept. I would suggest that Frank Sibley™s thesis “ that the application of aesthetic con-
cepts is not condition-governed “ is related to this idea.
19. That is, what engages us in the object of beauty is the sense of purposiveness it conveys “
the sense of being designed “ independently of any knowledge of the purpose for which it
was designed. Just as such objects cannot be subsumed under a rule or concept (condition
5), so they cannot be assimilated in terms of a purpose.The plumage of a bird may serve a
purpose in the mating rituals of its species; however, when we find the plumage beautiful,
we are not responding positively in virtue of our knowledge that it has this purpose.
Rather, the plumage strikes us as configurationally fit or as intentionally patterned without
our knowing what principle or purpose motivated its formal articulation. It conveys a sense
of purposiveness without a purpose.
20 Immanuel Kant, The Critique of Judgement, tr. James Creed Meredith (Oxford: Clarendon
Press, 1982), pp. 42“43.
21. Throughout this essay I am leaving open the possibility that the theory of beauty, narrowly
construed, that emerges from people such as Hutcheson, Hume, and Kant may be false. I
am not really concerned with whether it is true or false. Perhaps another theory of beauty,
as narrowly construed, is superior “ for example, the one developed by Guy Sircello in his
New Theory of Beauty (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1975). My major con-
tention is that the theory that invokes things like disinterested pleasure is a reasonable or
plausible attempt at a theory of beauty, whereas the attempt to extend its basic ingredients
into a theory of art is highly dubious.
22. See, for example, Monroe Beardsley, Aesthetics (New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, 1958),
Chapter 1.This way of speaking, moreover, continues in Beardsley™s later writings as well.
23. Indeed, that Bell locates the pertinent aesthetic datum as an inner feeling state in the spec-
tator is also a mark of his implicit, unstated, rather classical empiricism.
24. Clive Bell, Art (New York: Capricorn Books, 1958), p. 27.
25. See, for example, Bell, Art, p. 55.
26. Bell, Art, p. 24.
27. That is, Hutcheson appears to think that with representation the variety component is a
matter of there being at least two objects “ the referent and the representation “ while the
resemblance thereof is a matter of unity. One wonders whether there isn™t undue strain
being put on the notion of variety here and one wants to ask about representations that
have no actual referent. Furthermore, knowledge of the nature of the referent would appear
to be relevant to ascertaining whether the representation suited it.
28. Bell, Art, p. 73.
29. Bell, Art, p. 73.
30. That is, Bell seems to have transformed Kant™s notion of the free play of the faculties into
the freeing or liberation of the faculties.
31. See Arthur Danto, The Transfiguration of the Commonplace (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard Uni-
versity Press, 1981).
32. See No«l Carroll. “Clive Bell™s Aesthetic Hypothesis,” in G. Dickie, R. Sclafani, and R.
Roblin (eds.), Aesthetics (New York: Saint Martin™s Press, 1989).
NOTES 399

33. Save, perhaps, to certain aspects of art that are beautiful in the narrow sense of the term.
34. Beardsley, Aesthetics, Chapters II“V.
35. Beardsley, Aesthetics, pp. 527“29.
36. Beardsley, Aesthetics, p. 529.
37. This characteristic is perhaps related to Kant™s notion of cognitive and perceptual play. About
this characteristic, Beardsley notes that until the work of Gombrich and Goodman, he had not
realized that he had always regarded the apprehension of an artkind to be a cognitive act (“Aes-
thetic Experience.” p. 292).This is a strange remark.Throughout most of his career, he seemed
to be arguing that the aesthetic was distinct from the cognitive, especially against people like
Goodman (see their debate about exemplification). And even in the formulation above, the
emphasis is affective rather than cognitive since what is underscored is a sense of intelligibility
and a corresponding feeling of elation.Thus, despite this remark, I tend to continue to regard
Beardsley™s approach to aesthetic experience as noncognitivist. Indeed, Beardsley™s aesthetic def-
inition of art essentially contrasts the aesthetic/artistic realm from the cognitive.
38. Monroe Beardsley, The Aesthetic Point of View (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1982),
pp. 288“89.
39. Beardsley,“Aesthetic Definition of Art,” p. 21. See also. Beardsley,“Redefining Art,” in The
Aesthetic Point of View, p. 299; and Beardsley, “The Philosophy of Literature,” in G. Dickie
and R. Sclafani (eds.), Aesthetics:A Critical Anthology (New York: Saint Martin™s Press, 1977),
p. 328. It seems to me that due to the prevailing antidefinitional mood in art theory during
the period of publication of Beardsley™s Aesthetics, he did not think that a definition of art
was necessary. But toward the end of his career, when the prospect of such a definition
again seemed important, he conjectured about the aesthetic definition of art found in these
articles to varying degrees.
40. For an elaboration of this argument, see George Dickie, Evaluating Art (Philadelphia:Tem-
ple University Press. 1988), Chapter IV.
41. See Chapter I of Beardsley™s Aesthetics.
42. Surely one way to read Beardsley™s project is to see him as providing a philosophical foundation
“ indeed, the most rigorous and systematic one ever devised “ for the New Criticism.
43. See Monroe Beardsley,“The Relevance of Art History to Criticism,” in The Aesthetic Point
of View, pp. 219“35.
44. Beardsley™s position against Goodman can be found, among other places, in his “Semiotic
Aesthetics and Aesthetic Education,” Philosophical Exchange, vol. 1, 1973, pp. 155“71; and in
his “Languages of Art and Art Criticism.” Erkenntnis, vol. 12 (1978), pp. 95“118.
45. Beardsley, Aesthetics, p. 507.
46. Beardsley, Aesthetics, pp. 556“83.
47. Beardsley, Aesthetics, p. 506.
48. Beardsley.“Aesthetic Definition of Art,” p. 25.
49. Harold Osborne, “Aesthetic Implications of Conceptual Art, Happenings, Etc.,” in British
Journal of Aesthetics, vol. 20, no. 1,Winter 1980, pp. 6“21. Another author who has used the
aesthetic theory of art to challenge the claims of avant-garde art is P. N. Humble. See his
“Duchamp™s Readymades:Art and Anti-Art,” British Journal of Aesthetics, vol. 22, no. 1.Win-
ter 1982, and “The Philosophical Challenge of Avant-garde Art,” British Journal of Aesthetics,
vol. 24, no. 21, Spring 1984.
50. Benjamin Tilghman, But Is It Art? (New York: Blackwell, 1984), p. 120.
51. One way to attempt to save the aesthetic approach is to effectively redefine what is meant
by “aesthetic” in such a way that anything that is an appropriate response to art is redesig-
nated as an aesthetic response. So if it is appropriate to read novels with a concern for their
moral content, where there is some, then moral engagement with the artwork is reclassified
as aesthetic. My own inclination is to categorize such responses as art responses rather than
as aesthetic responses. For the standard use of the term aesthetic is connected with either
attention delimited to form and appearance, generally with notions of disinterest and
detachment in the background. To reclassify art responses as aesthetic responses is, in this
400 NOTES

context, at best an exercise in stipulative redefinition, if not a downright misuse of lan-
guage. Moreover, and more important, to redefine “aesthetic” this way is tantamount to
giving up the core of aesthetic theories of art, viz., the reliance on a unique aesthetic expe-
rience, different in kind from those of other realms of human activity, and, therefore, suited
to separating art from morality, utility, knowledge, and so on.
52. Though reliance on aesthetic experience does facilitate an essentialist separation of art from
almost everything else, as the hedge “almost” indicates, it does have some residual problems
even from an essentialist point of view.The most notable one, and the one that frequently
recurs in the literature has to do with the putative possibility of responding disinterestedly
to the forms of mathematical theorems. Needless to say, from our perspective this recurring
problem is a predictable one since Hutcheson™s theory of beauty, from which aesthetic the-
ories are derived, was in part devised in order to account for the pleasure we take in pure
mathematics and geometry.
53. Of course, I do not mean to suggest that all analytic philosophers of art are entrapped in
this obsession. Arthur Danto has argued for the importance of art history to philosophy,
while Nelson Goodman has championed a cognitive approach to art in direct rivalry with
the noncognitivist claims of the aesthetic approach. However, the theories of these philoso-
phers and others, such as Marx Wartofsky, are revolutionary exactly because they go against
the dominant tendency. Moreover, as should be clear, Hegel is a philosopher of art who is
not being counted as part of the lineage of analytic aesthetics.
54. Including, whatever, if there are any, innate, human perceptual responses to form.

FOUR CON C E P T S AESTHETIC EXPERIENCE
OF

1. It must be emphasized that throughout this essay I am concerned with the aesthetic
experience of art, not the aesthetic experience of nature or of everyday artifacts.When
the term “aesthetic experience” is used here, it should generally be understood as an
abbreviation for the “aesthetic experience of artworks.”This is not to deny that some of
the things said about the aesthetic experience of artworks may also pertain to other
things, but only that the domain of discourse in what follows is primarily the aesthetic
experience of artworks.
2. For example, recently it has been hypothesized that the brain may generate new cells under
the influence of stimulation.This may suggest an evolutionary explanation for our pursuit
of aesthetic experiences. Art that engenders aesthetic experiences may be an invention,
unbeknownst to our conscious awareness, that contributes in a particularly effective way to
abetting the turnover of new brain cells involved in memory and learning.That is, it may
be the case that we seek aesthetic experiences, albeit not consciously, in order to replenish
brain cells. See: Nicholas Wade,“Brain Cells Grow New Cells Daily,” New York Times, Octo-
ber 15, 1999, p. 1.
3. John Dewey, “Having an Experience,” in A Modern Book of Aesthetics, edited by Melvin
Rader (New York: Holt Rhinehart and Winston, 1966), p. 172.
4. Ibid.
5. Ibid.
6. Dewey, pp. 172“73.
7. Dewey, p. 173.
8. Herbert Marcuse, The Aesthetic Dimension: Toward A Critique of Marxist Aesthetics (Boston:
Beacon, 1977), p. 72.
9. Marcuse, Aesthetic Dimension, 19.
10. Marcuse, Aesthetic Dimension, p. 44.
11. Marcuse, Aesthetic Dimension, p. 36.
12. When advocates of the allegorical account speak of “genuine art,” they seem to have in mind
art that supports disinterested experiences valued for their own sake. Such art is autonomous
derivatively in the sense that the experiences it affords are valued intrinsically “ that is, genuine
NOTES 401

art is such that it encourages aesthetic experience. But if this interpretation is correct, then the
allegorical account identifies genuine art, as do aesthetic theories of art, in terms of its capacity
to afford aesthetic experience, thereby rendering the allegorical account of art vulnerable to the

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