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Shusterman And The Aesthetic E Essay

1856 words - 7 pages

AShusterman and the Aesthetic Experience Oh, how the concept of analytical aesthetics has been construed, confused, consumed, massaged, reworked, wrestled, swallowed and digested and spat out in so many different forms of philosophical vomit (for lack of a better word). Can it be possible that the fruits of this immeasurable labor are unclear, after so many decades of toil, if present at all? Modernity is responsible for the coining of the term aesthetic. The word served to rid the art world of beauty, so to speak, in favor of a more specific, descriptive term that explained not only the work but also the experience coupled with the viewing of the work. Richard Shusterman would probably say that the term has gotten a little out of hand, and for this reason he has attempted to nurse this so called aesthetic experience back into it's full bodied figure. In his essay the End of the Aesthetic Experience Shusterman attempts to explain how analytic aesthetics misunderstood the notion of the aesthetic experience and how this is not only relevant but important to the contemporary art world. In this essay, I will explore Shusterman's ideas concerning these concepts, and discern his validity and his theory's ability for implementation into the current art world. Shusterman makes a point of noting that the aesthetic experience from Dewey to Danto has made an obvious decline. He notes, "While Dewey celebrated aesthetic experience, making it the very center of his philosophy of art, Danto virtually shuns the concept." Why now, according to Shusterman, is this decline possibly tragic? We will see… Before dissecting his formula, or rather map of the basics of aesthetic experience, it is necessary to fully understand the paradoxical and conflicting arguments previously made concerning the aspects most important to the aesthetic experience, as stated by Shusterman. The two basic schools are as follows: the first view states that aesthetic experience cannot be seen as unchanging and only applicable to fine art. This is because it can extend beyond fine art and because the experience is a conditioned one, susceptible to outside influence that can actually harbor or even prevent the experience altogether. Therefore if the capacity for a certain aesthetic changes, we as viewers must change with it in order to continue to fulfill our aesthetic needs. Regardless, the experience is first and foremost established upon the idea of pure viewing pleasure. The impression we get from a work of art's visual qualities is our foundation for deeming the work aesthetic. We can call this view "phenomenological". The second view reasons that, as Shusterman states, "aesthetic experience requires more than mere phenomenological immediacy to achieve its full meaning… Immediate reactions are often poor and mistaken, so interpretation is generally needed to enhance our experience." In other words, conceptual interpretation is not only important regarding the reception of...

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