Philosophical Account of the Nature of Art Appreciation

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An appropriate subtitle for this work would be Appreciation, Intention and Truth in the Arts. Its three aims are: a) to give a philosophical account of the nature of art appreciation as well as aesthetic appreciation outside the arts; b) to examine the ways in which the artist’s intention is relevant to interpreting, appreciating and evaluating works of art; and finally c) to explore some of the ways that certain works of art can provide a unique form of understanding human behavior, morality, and life.


“Some of Shaw’s conclusions are controversial. His emphasis on the centrality of an aesthetic response to understanding art, for example, dismisses the tradition of making works of art lacking in aesthetic qualities initiated by Marcel Duchamp. But whether or not readers share his intuitions about the place to draw the line between art and other things, they will recognise the value of his contribution to the ongoing debate in this clear and thought-provoking book.” – Dr. Nigel Warburton

Table of Contents

Table of contents (main headings):
Preface; Introduction
1. Aesthetic Experience, Art Appreciation, and Aesthetic Attitude (Hospers’ Account of Aesthetic Attitude; Critique of Hospers; Dickie’s Attack on the Myth of Aesthetic Attitude; Paying Attention, Conditions Necessary for Being a Work of Art)
2. The Artist’s Intention (Relevance of Intention; Scope for Interpretive Innovation; Further Argument)
3. Two Views about Truth in the Arts (Hospers’ and Daiches’ Versions of Aristotle; Literature and Moral Knowledge; Cognitive Content of Absolute Music; Graham’s Version of Aesthetic Cognitivism)
Bibliography; Indices

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