Cover image for Placing aesthetics : reflections on the philosophic tradition
Placing aesthetics : reflections on the philosophic tradition
Wood, Robert E., 1934-
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Publication Information:
Athens, OH : Ohio University Press, [1999]

Physical Description:
xvi, 413 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm.
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BH81 .W66 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Examining select high points in the speculative tradition from Plato and Aristotle through the Middle Ages and German tradition to Dewey and Heidegger, Placing Aesthetics seeks to locate the aesthetic concern within the larger framework of each thinker's philosophy.

In Professor Robert Wood's study, aesthetics is not peripheral but rather central to the speculative tradition and to human existence as such. In Dewey's terms, aesthetics is "experience in its integrity." Its personal ground is in "the heart," which is the dispositional ground formed by genetic, cultural , and personal historical factors by which we are spontaneously moved and, in turn, are inclined to move, both practically and theoretically, in certain directions.

Prepared for use by the student as well as the philosopher, Placing Aesthetics aims to recover the fullness of humanness within a sense of the fullness of encompassing Being. It attempts to overcome the splitting of thought, even in philosophy, into exclusive specializations and the fracturing of life itself into theoretical, practical, and emotive dimensions.

Author Notes

Robert E. Wood is chair and professor of philosophy at the University of Dallas.

Reviews 2

Library Journal Review

Wood (philosophy, Univ. of Dallas; Martin Buber's Ontology; editor, American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly) presents an accessible gloss on the aesthetic issues analyzed by mainstays of the Western canon: Plato, Aristotle, Plotinus, Kant, Hegel, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Dewey, and Heidegger. Arguments that have shaped our understanding of taste and art are then renegotiated in his concluding essay as he treats the parameters of aesthetics: the sensory field of aesthetic operation, aesthetic meaning provided by culture, and the opening on our understanding created by reference between art and the soul. A final section provides readers with an introduction to aesthetics in action as Wood presents his work in sculpture. Graduate students in philosophy and art history will find this volume a useful companion as they work their way through the primary texts.--Francisca Goldsmith, Berkeley P.L., CA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

This remarkable volume by the chair of the philosophy department at the University of Dallas, editor of the American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly, and author of Martin Buber's Ontology: An Analysis of I and Thou (1969) and A Path into Metaphysics: Phenomenological, Hermeneutical and Dialogical Studies (CH, Feb'91) takes a consciously phenomenological approach deeply informed by the Western speculative, philosophical tradition. With the exception of its methodological introduction and conclusion, its chapters are titled simply Plato, Aristotle, Plotinus and the Latin Middle Ages, Kant, Hegel, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Dewey, and Heidegger. They could only have been written by a long-time teacher deeply familiar with these philosophers. Each of Wood's luminously insightful treatments of these philosophers (lectures, in essence) begins with a phenomenology of his "field of experience" and metaphysical presuppositions, then "places" the philosopher's thinking about art and beauty within this context. The chapters are written on a level that undergraduate and graduate students can follow, yet they are so comprehensive that teachers of philosophy will appreciate the range, balance, and depth of Wood's succinct analyses. This is particularly true of the Plato, Aristotle, Kant, Dewey, and Heidegger chapters. An appendix with pictures and discussions of 14 imaginative sculptures by Wood himself offers a helpful, concrete supplement. Highly recommended. R. E. Palmer; MacMurray College

Table of Contents

Abbreviationsp. xi
Prefacep. xiii
I. Introduction: Fine Art and the Field of Experiencep. 1
The Threefold Structure of the Field of Experiencep. 2
The Manifold Forms of Artp. 14
A Preliminary Descriptive System of the Fine Artsp. 18
Phenomenological, Hermeneutic, and Dialogic Approachesp. 30
II. Platop. 35
Art in the Purged Cityp. 36
The Center of Orderp. 44
Mimesisp. 50
The Treatment of Art in the Republicp. 52
The Ladder of Ascent to Beauty Itselfp. 57
Responsep. 61
A Brief Excursus: Plato and Wright on Architecturep. 69
III. Aristotlep. 71
Meanings of the Term Artp. 71
Nature Illumined by Art: Plato and Aristotlep. 75
Art as Imitationp. 77
Division of the Performing Artsp. 82
The Definition of Tragedyp. 84
Responsep. 88
IV. Plotinus and the Latin Middle Agesp. 95
Plotinusp. 96
Aquinas among the Latin Medievalsp. 102
Responsep. 111
V. Kantp. 117
Critique of Pure Reasonp. 118
Critique of Practical Reasonp. 123
Critique of Judgmentp. 126
The Beautifulp. 128
The Sublimep. 136
Art and Geniusp. 140
Nature's Ultimate and Final Purposep. 143
Responsep. 145
Epilogue: Hume's Notion of Aesthetic Communityp. 152
Responsep. 154
VI. Hegelp. 159
Hegel, Enlightenment, and Christianityp. 159
The Starting Point of the Hegelian Systemp. 163
The Development of the Systemp. 166
The Nature of Artp. 172
The Basic Stages and Forms of Artp. 176
Responsep. 182
VII. Schopenhauerp. 187
A Synthesis of Kant, Plato, and the Indian Traditionp. 187
The World as Will and Representationp. 189
Aesthetic Experience and the Work of Artp. 194
The Forms of Artp. 196
Responsep. 198
VIII. Nietzschep. 203
Nietzsche's Horizonp. 203
Nietzsche's Aestheticsp. 216
Responsep. 223
IX. Deweyp. 231
Overcoming the Platonic Splitsp. 232
Overcoming the Cartesian Splitsp. 234
Further Modifications of Traditional Notionsp. 241
Dewey's Aestheticsp. 246
Responsep. 257
X. Heideggerp. 263
Situating Heideggerp. 263
"The Origin of the Work of Art"p. 272
What Is a Thing?p. 274
Philosophy, Science, Art, and the Lifeworldp. 280
Responsep. 296
XI. Conclusionp. 303
The Sensory Fieldp. 305
The Cultural Worldp. 310
Transcendencep. 319
Appendix On Sculptural Productionp. 329
Descriptionsp. 329
Reflectionsp. 340
Notesp. 347
Bibliographyp. 391
Index of Namesp. 407
Subject Indexp. 410