Author Archives: brogan

Reification

Ranciere employs two different notions of the aesthetic: the first represents a restricted conception linked to the self-definition of contemporary art (‘the aesthetic regime of art’); while the second indicates a more general conception linked to notions of sense and … Continue reading

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Aesthetics and coming to know

What is the relationship between aesthetics and knowledge? In ordinary use, the term ‘aesthetics’ relates to theories of beauty and art. It is a field of intellectual enquiry that examines non-strictly intellectual aspects of judgement and activity. In this sense, … Continue reading

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Three Definitions

Aesthetics refers to a dimension of inexplicable value. Aesthetics involves the non-propositional communication of truth. This truth has a holistic character – looking forward (as hope) and back (for strands of vivid memory and counter-memory). Aesthetics has no proper space … Continue reading

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Alphabet of Aesthetics

A is for art. A is for aesthetics (because aesthetics is much larger than art – if art is conceived in miniature as contemporary art). A is also for Adorno, for he deserves a mention and I am fundamentally shaped … Continue reading

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What brings me to aesthetics?

I can recall that my first response to art was quite simply blank. As a child my parents took me regularly to major galleries. They’d walk around very slowly, far too slowly for me, and ask what I thought of … Continue reading

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Aesthetics and the Popular (rough notes)

Bourdieu, Eagleton, etc. are probably right – aesthetics is ultimately all about class and class difference. (Or at least I can imagine arguing this.) For example, Plato’s prohibition of the poets is usually interpreted in epistemological terms as relating to … Continue reading

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Something like Four Weeks Since Last Post

I should stress at the outset that this is an amateur study of aesthetics. I am not a trained philosopher. I have read few of the works I discuss here in the original language that they were written. I lack … Continue reading

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Aesthetics as the uncertainty of sense

Ranciere describes the ‘knot’ of the aesthetic, which he links to the dilemmas of modernity and the paradoxes of contemporary art. Aesthetics is positioned as the conceptual complex for distinguishing a field of art that aspires to both autonomy and … Continue reading

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Beauty again

Within the context of Kant’s aesthetics, beauty describes a specific context of mediation and reconciliation. It establishes a common ground between our abstract logics-moral selves and our sensible selves. With no sense of compulsion, it demonstrates their potential for agreement. … Continue reading

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Aesthetics as the philosophy of beauty

We could begin by suggesting that aesthetics is the philosophy of beauty. We could add that it is also the philosophy of the sublime and the philosophy of art, but let’s stick for now with our very minimal definition. This … Continue reading

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Aesthetic Questions

What is aesthetics? Is it a universal sphere of qualitative human experience or an historically specific field that is intimately tied to the self-understanding of modernity? How is the term employed? What does it mean in use? How does aesthetics … Continue reading

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Aesthetic Practice: the Dilemma of Categorisation and Imagining a Potential Beyond Art (However Daft this Must Seem)

The notion of aesthetics emerges historically within the context of the recognition of a specific and traditionally neglected category of human receptive experience. Alexander Baumgarten (1750) conceives a lower analogue of rational thought, a logic of sense that involves aspects … Continue reading

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Note on pragmatist aesthetics

There are wide range of current approaches to the field of aesthetics, everything from efforts to resurrect the notion of beauty in contemporary art, to continuing strands of critical aesthetics that envisage both the political possibility and the limits of … Continue reading

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Burke: A Philosophical Enquiry into the Sublime and the Beautiful (1757)

Burke writes about the sublime and beautiful. That is his explicit, ostensible theme. But evident within this is an underlying set of concerns related to the nature of human identity – the relationship between body and mind and between logical … Continue reading

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Antarctic Images

These are a set of images assembled from slide photographs that my father, a marine micro-biologist, shot in the Antarctic. They were recorded over three separate scientific expeditions: the first to Macquarie Island in 1951-2, which was the first scientific … Continue reading

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Aesthetics Very Broadly Again

Permit me to step back for a moment to see where all of this has been leading me. The issue of course is the notion of aesthetics, with trying to make sense of it. In general terms, ‘aesthetics’ has two … Continue reading

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Additonal Note on the Carnivalesque

Just recently (2019), I discover that Ranciere has spoken about carnival, recognising it as a cultural form that is akin to the subversive moments “when people do a multiplicity of things: performances, acts or parties whose unruliness undermines the forces … Continue reading

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Carnivalesque Aesthetics

I am suspicious of the grand tri-partite aesthetic schemes of Ranciere and Badiou. They refer to historical instances and yet seem more philosophically than historically directed. There is Plato, then Aristotle and finally modernity. A very abbreviated set of reference … Continue reading

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Ranciere and Badiou

How can we conceive the relationship between Ranciere and Badiou’s aesthetics? Ranciere delineates three major Western ‘image regimes’: the ethical regime of the image, which he associates with Plato’s iconoclasm (his banishment of the poets from his ideal republic); the … Continue reading

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Aesthetic Discomfort

My interest is not so much in the ordinary sense of the aesthetic than in its speculative possibility. There is an influential critique of aesthetics that questions its claims to universalism and analyses its immediate cultural and political legibility. Bourdieu, … Continue reading

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Dreaming

Descartes famously founds modern philosophy through a gesture of radical doubt. He poses the question, what if an evil genie staged every aspect of the experiential world? What if we were all the time dreaming? What if all our experience … Continue reading

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Truth and Appearance

The truth of appearance…and the appearance of truth. The truth of appearance involves an interrogation of appearance as potentially alien to truth. The suspicion of appearance. The appearance of truth raises the problem that truth, which aims to distinguish itself … Continue reading

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Claims to be an Artist

What does it mean within the context of contemporary socially engaged art practice to claim that I am an artist? Particularly when I have no intention of producing anything like conventional artistic work? I may be working with teachers, engineers, … Continue reading

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Heidegger and Ranciere

At one level, Heidegger and Ranciere are opposed on the relationship between art and aesthetics. Heidegger criticises aesthetics as a form of enframing, privileging instead a notion of art as a sphere of ontological truth. Ranciere, on the other hand, … Continue reading

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The Wider Relevance of Aesthetics

Ranciere argues that historically there is a close association between philosophical aesthetics and the development of what he terms ‘the aesthetic regime of art’. In this manner he questions efforts to separate these two – to imagine either that art … Continue reading

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