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    The location of artistic value: against aesthetic consumerism

    Huddleston, Andrew (2010) The location of artistic value: against aesthetic consumerism. In: 16th Annual Evian Philosophy Colloquium, 2010, Evian, France. (Unpublished)

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    Abstract

    Book synopsis: Art is a peculiar topic for philosophy. Philosophy dissociates itself from art on the one hand, but realigns itself with it on the other hand. Philosophy frequently disassociates itself from art owing to the relationship art bears with truth, for artistic expressions of the human mind do not respect any obligation to knowledge of truth or the good. Plato’s critical treatment of the poet prefigures this motif: Art is dangerous because it threatens to dissolve the standards of objective truth. The task of philosophy, then, is to criticize such aesthetic tendencies toward dissolution, as Habermas suggests in his critique of Derrida. Philosophy’s orientation toward art, in contrast, is based on the claim that art is a privileged mode of knowledge and expression. Already in Aristotle art was rehabilitated with the observation that, as an imitative activity, art is crucial for education and the production of human knowledge. This same motif appears in a marked fashion in Romantic thought, where art is said to make possible a way of interpreting the world beyond the limits of our everyday ways of knowing. For these philosophers, then, artworks point toward a more powerful, higher truth than our prosaic ways of thinking can provide (Nietzsche, Heidegger). Thus, in such discussions of the relationship between philosophy and art everything depends on how art is understood. Are works of art objects that produce special experiences (as in Kantian and phenomenological aesthetics), or are they particular symbolic representations (as in Hegel, Cassirer, and Goodman)? Is our access to works of art purely subjective (as Hume suggests), or do they provide an objective content? Is the ontological status of something as an artwork bound to the particular way it is interpreted (Danto)? Does art’s thematization of art itself in modernity suggest a link between art and interpretation? What role does art play within the human form of life? Is it a matter of providing a corrective to rational practices (as Merleau-Ponty and Adorno argue), or rather of the reflection and transformation of such practices (Dewey)? Is art essential for the education of moral sensibility and judgment (Nussbaum, Nehamas), or does art have a primarily playful character (Gadamer and, in a different sense, Walton)? Does art have a genuinely political dimension (Benjamin, Rancière)? Do artworks supply a basis for historical and cultural identities (in Hegel’s sense)? Must art be autonomous or politically engaged – or even subversive? And, last but not least, is there a clearly defined class of objects that count as art? Or is an open-ended process at stake here, one that cannot be contained (Derrida)? The 16th International Philosophy Colloquium in Evian invites philosophers to come together on the shores of Lake Geneva to discuss art and the relationship between philosophy and art. Rather than focusing narrowly on philosophical aesthetics per se, the colloquium seeks to entertain a range of philosophical reflections regarding the role of art with respect to philosophy of mind, epistemology, moral philosophy, social philosophy, and political philosophy, as well as philosophy of language and media. We encourage contributions concerning the concept of art from (post-)structural, phenomenological, hermeneutic, and (post-)analytic perspectives, and especially papers that consider differences between and convergences among these diverse approaches.

    Metadata

    Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
    School: Birkbeck Schools and Departments > School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy > Philosophy
    Depositing User: Sarah Hall
    Date Deposited: 13 Nov 2014 10:12
    Last Modified: 13 Nov 2014 10:12
    URI: http://eprints.bbk.ac.uk/id/eprint/10978

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