1.28.2006

Aesthetic Theory and the Artist

Robert Kraut is making a case for aesthetics as a rigorous branch of philosophy, as robust and precise as linguistics or epistemology.

Consider: a gifted painter, musician, or sculptor might--given the demands of artistic training--totally avoid those academic tracks requiring precision in argument and other aspects of theory construction. There is no assurance that a skilled dancer, for example, is able to theorize effectively about danceā€”or about anything else. Not a surprise: a person manifesting artistic skill is often whisked away from differential equations and/or textual exegesis and placed on a trajectory devoted to artistic performance (and, in some cases, the history of the genre). It is, therefore, not a surprise when a practicing artist, endeavoring to reflect philosophically upon the intricacies of the artworld, lacks the methodological resources to do so.

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