Directions For A New Aestheticism

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The idea of a new aestheticism is now explicit in both philosophical aesthetics and cultural theory with the publication of Gary Iseminger's The Aesthetic Function of Art and an anthology of essays edited by John Joughin and Simon Malpas critiquing the anti-aestheticism of literary theory. Both are significant in marking a wider trend reacting to, broadly speaking, intellectualised and historicised accounts of art, refocusing on the idea of appreciation itself, and working away from the emphasis on ideology and disregard for the particularity of works in, especially, literary theory. This broader context also includes renewed debates running within philosophical aesthetics about non-perceptual aesthetic properties and the aesthetic experience of conceptual artworks, and about beauty in art, considerations that have engaged two philosophers normally identified by their commitment to art theoretical and historical (and by extension, non-aesthetic) accounts of artistic making and viewing, namely Noël Carroll and Arthur Danto. So Carroll acknowledges that what's at stake is an aesthetic theory of art that is potentially 'back in business', while Danto's 'surprising' theoretic re-engagement with the concept of beauty has been noted by Diarmuid Costello.
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