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How do we perceive the rest of nature meaningfully from the vantage point of our manufactured spaces? Whether the life teeming in a tropical forest, or surviving tenaciously on the remote reaches of the planet, we impact life that we probably never see first-hand. Our impact is from the manifestation of our nature, which is creative, industrious and prolific. Unfortunately, our impact threatens the stability of the only biosphere we can call home. How can human nature be connected to instead of orphaned from the rest of nature? No matter how much data we acquire about the crises we create for ecosystems, there remains tremendous inertia to apply the principal remedy: changing our behaviour. This implies the necessity to expand our focus from quantitative deduction of the problem and solutions, to ensuring we have the inner connections and relationships necessary for qualitative response to environmental stress. Does art create this sensitive bridge?
This article explores the role “whiteness” takes on in Mexico, where colonial, religious, and social heritages elevate it as an aesthetic ideal, simultaneously denying its underlying racism. It argues that skin tone is one of many physical and nonphysical features that together shape the concept of whiteness in a context of fluid, relational, and intertwined categories of class and racial classifications. Women in particular are pressured to “whiten” their bodies in adherence to beauty standards that reflect the collective aspiration of the country’s ethnically mixed society. Using empirical evidence, the article outlines Mexicans’ aesthetic perceptions and explores their attempts to approach these through bodily presentations and adjustments. It then discusses how the local beauty industry acts as a practical tool and a discursive mediator toward racialized appearances. Possessing its own historical, political, and racial background deeply entangled with whiteness, this sector reinforces the subjective basis of discriminatory practices in Mexico.
The iconic image of Wilfred Owen as the ‘poet of pity’ has reinforced a one-dimensional understanding of his poems that are more than just the sum of their emotional impact: they reimagine and exceed his major literary influences. This chapter explores the multi-layered achievement of Owen's work, both formal and thematic, that continues to invite re-reading and interpretation. In bearing witness for those unable and/or unwilling to articulate their war experiences, he turned his perspective outwards, away from the solipsism of his adolescence and pre-war adulthood, towards the soldiers he led and with whom he served. Yet Owen saw only five poems published in his lifetime; his posthumous reputation was shaped by other poets including Siegfried Sassoon, Edith Sitwell, Edmund Blunden, Cecil Day-Lewis, and Jon Stallworthy. This chapter therefore also explores the cultivation of Owen’s mythic status and his poems’ place in national memory.
This chapter provides an introduction to poet and composer Ivor Gurney’s responses to war, predominantly in poetry, but also in his music. It explores the strategies used by Gurney in the face of war; his sense of fate; his use of, and response to, place; his representation of the ordinary soldier; and his responses to the conflict through the lens of writings by Walt Whitman and Leo Tolstoi.
Sandra Shapshay looks at the joy Schopenhauer acknowledges us to feel in the presence of natural beauty. Many commentators subordinate this theory of pleasure to the cognitive aspect of Schopenhauer’s aesthetic. Shapshay resists this interpretation. But she also resists its opposite but still reductive or unifying strategy that minimizes the cognitive for the sake of the hedonic. Rather, she discards the notion that Schopenhauer had a unified aesthetic theory as not only false but undesirable. Instead, she shows that Schopenhauer develops two, mutually irreducible spectrums of aesthetic value, based on two different criteria. The spectrum that commentators acknowledge in Schopenhauer is the hierarchy of the arts, which puts architecture and fountainry at the bottom (as revealing the lower Ideas) and literature at the top, as a display of the higher, more complex ideas. The spectrum that is overlooked, but becomes visible if we take his more formalist views of natural aesthetics seriously, is the spectrum of the beautiful and sublime, where the beautiful – and botanical beauty in particular – lends itself more readily (than experiences at the sublime pole) to a state of mind that is not only tranquilizing but (in a departure from his usual attitude) positively joyful.
This essay focuses on Nellie Campobello and Juan Rulfo to study how the Mexican Revolution by midcentury produced a singular aesthetic form in the guise of the unique short story or narrative sketch. This process involves a violent segmentation of the common, together with a no less forceful production of the singular. While Campobello and Rulfo tap into the resources of collective storytelling, they subject these oral materials to a process of aestheticization whose fundamental values lay in an image of self-standing beauty, or singularity, rather than community. Literature, even when its topic is the aftermath of the revolution, thus seems to run counter to the latter's ideals of collectivization. The chain of oral storytellers is typically interrupted with the appropriation of orality on behalf of an individual author with a unique signature. Based on the examples of Campobello and Rulfo, we might even ask whether there ever was such a thing as a novel of the Mexican revolution to begin with: not only because their sketches and short stories hardly can be considered novels but also because theirs amounts to a narrative of the counter-revolution.
Slow wonder bears witness to the possibilities of the imagination. In a series of letters the authors playfully imagine alternatives to current orthodoxies that privilege technocratic approaches to education that have strangled discussion about what it might mean to make education good and right, or even beautiful. The authors position the imagination as a powerful site of resistance within education and academic life. They unpack their philosophical positionings through vignettes of their teaching practice, poetry written as reflective musings and discursive theoretical pieces, including letters they have written to others. They attempt to marry the poetic and the academic, the rational and the affective, to model a slow approach to wondering about the joy, beauty and possibilities of life. In this spirit, they contemplate new ways to think and live in education.
The concept of beauty has transformed through time and across the globe during specific events in history and continues to evolve.
This study will focus on how tendency toward perfectionism and stereotypes promoted by media influence beauty perception and the need of plastic surgery.
In this study we examined factors influencing attitudes toward plastic surgery among 23 women with an average 35 years old and the data were collected through three questionnaire: The abbreviated multidimensional perfectionism scale (MPS) is a 30-item measure separated into two 15-item subscales: self-oriented perfectionism and socially prescribed perfectionism; The abbreviated perfectionistic self-presentation scale (PSPS) is a 20-item measure divided into two ten-item subscales: perfectionistic self-promotion and non-display of imperfection. Participants’ perceptions of media messages about appearance issues have been assessed using 30 items of the Sociocultural Attitudes toward Appearance Questionnaire-3 (SATAQ-3). Sociocultural attitudes toward appearance, physical appearance perfectionism were considered as predictors of tendency toward plastic surgery.
The results showed that there is significant positive association between perfectionism, the influence of mass media and increased women’ s likelihood of undergoing plastic surgery.
Our findings suggest firstly that a greater perfectionist tendency and psychological investment in physical appearance predict more favorable attitudes toward plastic surgery. Perfectionists women may choose plastic surgery as part of their need of bodily perfection. Secondly, the choice of plastic surgery depended on sociocultural attitudes toward physical appearance.
This chapter surveys different aspects of the theme of love (erōs) in Plotinus’ philosophy. Starting with what Plotinus finds significant in the human experience of love, we consider Plotinus’ nuanced evaluation of various types of earthly love (including sexuality), moving then to love as a desire of the beautiful expressing the very nature of soul in its relation to its origin in a divine transcendent Intellect, itself constituted in a relation of love to the ultimate first principle, the One/Good. Plotinus’ claim that the One is love/self-love is examined and two aspects of love, as expressing deficiency and as a generosity manifesting fulfilment, are discussed in relation to the One and as found in Intellect and in soul.
Dionysius endorses the Platonic position that love is a human response to beauty, and furthermore that the human quest for contemplation involves purification both of our understanding of beauty and of our experience of love. Dionysius’ understanding of both beauty and love goes beyond what we find in Plato; some of these changes belong to the development of the Platonic tradition, and especially to Plotinus, others to the Christian tradition. In the former case, beauty is understood less in terms of symmetry and more in terms of transparency to higher realities. This leads in Dionysius to a sense of beauty being a means of Theophany: God is manifest as beauty cascading through the different ontological levels of being. It is, however, crucial for Dionysius that this manifestation of beauty is seen in the way in which God’s love for all that exists is communicated through the ranks of being; this dimension he owes to his own Christian tradition. This enables Dionysius to integrate this understanding of being drawn to God through beauty with his understanding of the Church, both celestial and earthly, as essentially hierarchical, in which purification is experienced through participation in the rites of the Church.
Platonic and Plotinian conceptions of beauty played a role in Ficino’s understanding of beauty in De amore and subsequently in Leone Ebreo’s (Judah Abravanel’s) understanding of beauty in Dialoghi d’amore. Plato’s Symposium is an inspiration to both but does not determine the structure of either author. This essay contrasts Ficino’s presentation of seven friends’ viewpoints on love and Leone’s dialogue between Philo and Sophia, who together create PhiloSophy. While Ficino’s letters to Cavalcanti, to whom he dedicates the work, provide further documentation of Ficino’s intent to experience a higher form of love, Leone’s view of Aristophanes’ androgyne as based on a pre-Talmudic Hebraic concept of Adam as a hermaphrodite indicates his subordination of the Symposium to the Hebraic tradition.
The essay shows the influence of Plotinus’ idea of love of intellect alone for the heavenly Venus and the influence of the Middle Stoics and Middle Academics on Ficino’s belief that there are generative seeds of virtue and knowledge in the human soul. Alberti’s concept of concinnitas and measure are at the root of Ficino’s notions of harmony of sounds and harmony of sights. Leone, like Ficino, values the senses of hearing and sight and disparages the senses of taste, smell and touch.
Both authors correlate beauty and virtue. Ficino is a major source for the Renaissance tendency to view the picture of a beautiful woman as a picture of a virtuous woman. Sophia and Philo both grasp the relationship between beauty and virtue and that the highest goal is a love relationship with the Divine Creator; nevertheless, Philo resorts to lecherous longing for Sophia despite recognizing that coppulazione is the moment of a human’s intellectual vision of God.
This Element examines the entirety of Kant's Critique of Taste (in Part One of the Critique of Judgment) with particular emphasis on its political and moral aims. Kant's critical treatment of aesthetic judgment is both an extended theoretical response to influential predecessors and contemporaries, including Rousseau and Herder, and a practical intervention in its own right meant to nudge history forward at a time of civilizational crisis. Attention to these themes helps resolve a number of puzzles, both textual and philosophic, including the normative force and meaning of judgments of taste, and the relation between natural and artful beauty.
One of the ways in which Plato has captured the popular imagination is with the claim that the philosopher can feel ers, passionate love, for the objects of knowledge. Why should Plato make this claim? In this chapter, I explore Plato’s treatment of philosophical ers along three dimensions. First, I consider the source of philosophical ers. I argue that it is grounded in our mortality and imperfection, which give rise to a desire for immortality and the immortal. Second, I turn to the object of philosophical ers. I suggest that it is an arresting response to beauty, through which we come to value the ideal properties of the forms. Finally, I address the nature of ers. I claim that it is a focusing desire, that overrides other concerns and causes us to overwhelmingly focus on its object. I conclude the chapter by considering the problem Vlastos famously raises for Plato’s account of ers: can it do justice to disinterested, interpersonal love? In agreement with Vlastos, I claim that one who comes to grasp the forms will cease to feel interpersonal love; however, I also suggest that ers can give rise to philia, beneficent concern with the wellbeing of others.
The current test for copyright infringement requires a court or jury to assess whether the parties’ works are “substantially similar” from the vantage point of the “ordinary observer.” Embedded within this test are several assumptions about audiences and art that neuroaesthetics—the study of the neural processes underlying aesthetic behavior—calls into question. To illustrate the disconnect between the law’s understanding of aesthetic appreciation and the reality of our reactions to works of art, the chapter explores a recent high-profile copyright matter involving the rock anthem “Stairway to Heaven.” Under current law, no effort is made to select jurors with the same listening or viewing tastes as the target audience for the original work—in this case, fans of classic rock. Nor can expert witnesses aid the jury’s understanding of that target audience. Instead, the assumption seems to be that we all appreciate works in the same indescribable way and one person’s reaction is as good as another. In truth, the basic biology of aesthetic reaction changes markedly depending on familiarity, experience, and even gender, contradicting copyright law’s one size-fits-all-approach.
Researchers have spent decades investigating factors in attraction; biological variables, cultural norms, and social pressures have all had their time in the spotlight. Humans are complicated animals and each of these realms have shown measurable effects. However, evolutionary approaches provide a unifying theory that subsumes and explains each of these factors and how they interact to create intricate yet predictable patterns in human mating behavior. In this chapter, we give a brief summary of major factors influencing attractiveness as perceived by men, including biological factors such as age and ovulatory status but also social factors such as exposure to highly attractive, or simply novel, women. Understanding how attractiveness can vary over time and within relationships can be useful, not only to research but also in applied clinical fields such as couples’ and marital therapy.
With special reference to Diotima’s teaching in Plato’s Symposium, this chapter discusses the central importance to Hermetic spirituality of beauty and reverence (eusebeia), Hermetic psychological theory, and the centrality of imagination to the Hermetic concept of “becoming aiōn” and gaining cosmic consciousness.
The constituent elements of the book: Hermetic spirituality, the historical imagination, alterations of consciousness, the relation between language and experiential knowledge, and radical agnosticism in the study of religion. Narrative historiography and historical-comparative methods.
The chapter takes a historical perspective and asks us to consider the long and overlapping concerns of both scientists and religious believers with truth, beauty and creative ordering. Science is no enemy of religion but a casual reductive materialism, often presented in the media under the auspices of ‘science’, and fails to see the sophistication and glory of religious belief that God created all that is (creation ex nihilo), and that this conviction is fully compatible with robust modern science.
Cavell proposed that the ordinary language philosopher’s appeals to “what we say when” are to be modeled on aesthetic judgments in Kant’s sense. Both judgments express what Kant called “a universal voice.” However, both also share another feature that stands in tension with their universal purport in being open to seemingly intractable disagreement. Cavell’s insistence – following Kant – that there are judgments with such a logical form is significant, for the idea that there are judgments with this logical form cuts against a prevailing assumption: if a judgment does not enjoy the objectivity of a theoretical judgment, its content must be understood to be constrained by, or be an expression of, psychological or sociological fact.
These claims are essentially first-personal, not transferrable by testimony, are claims“in which” one’s community with others, or lack thereof, can be established, as opposed to claims that are made “about” a community, whether aesthetic or linguistic, from a third-person, anthropological point of view. Blindness to the existence of judgments with this pair of logical features is a form of psychologism about judgment, a failure fully to recognize the irreducibility of the first person, in both its singular and plural forms, in our relation to the world.
Can Kant’s theory of fine art serve as a theory of modern art? It all depends on what ‘modern’ means. The word can mean current or contemporary, indexed to the time of use, and in that sense the answer is yes: Kant’s theory of genius implies that successful art is always to some extent novel, so there should always be something that counts as contemporary art on his theory. But ‘modern’ can also be used adjectively, perhaps more properly as ‘modernist’, to refer to art of a particular moment, in some cases superseded by postmodern art. Kant’s theory is not a theory of modernist art in at least one prominent form, the formalism of Clement Greenberg. But other theories, such as those of George Dickie and Arthur Danto, although triggered by particular works of modernist art and meant to accommodate them, were meant to be theories of what art was always doing, and Kant’s is too. In that sense it can be considered a modern theory of art but not a theory of modern art.