1st Edition

Aesthetics 50 Puzzles, Paradoxes, and Thought Experiments

By Michel-Antoine Xhignesse Copyright 2023
    372 Pages
    by Routledge

    372 Pages
    by Routledge

    Aesthetics: 50 Puzzles, Paradoxes, and Thought Experiments is a teaching-focused resource, which highlights the contributions that imaginative scenarios—paradoxes, puzzles, and thought experiments alike—have made to the development of contemporary analytic aesthetics. The book is divided into sections pertaining to art-making, ontology, aesthetic judgements, appreciation and interpretation, and ethics and value, and offers an accessible summary of ten debates falling under each section.

    Each entry also features a detailed annotated bibliography, making it an ideal companion for courses surveying a broad collection of topics and readings in aesthetics.


    Key Features:

    • Uses a problem-centered approach to aesthetics (rather than author- or theory-centered) making the text more inviting to first-time students of the subject
    • Offers stand-alone chapters, allowing students to quickly understand an issue and giving instructors flexibility in assigning readings to match the themes of the course
    • Provides up-to-date, annotated bibliographies at the end of each entry, amounting to an extensive review of the literature on contemporary analytic aesthetics


    Part I: Art-Making
    1. Apelles’s Horses (Intentionality)
    2. Empty and Universal Fictions (Fictional Truth)
    3. The Paradox of Authenticity
    4. The Paradox of Creativity
    5. The Problem of Genius
    6. The Puzzle of Multiple Authorship
    7. The Puzzle of Multiple Endings
    8. The Revision Puzzle
    9. The Time Machine (Design)
    10. The Whale and the Driftwood (Artifactuality)

    Part II: Ontology
    11. Dinosaurs in the Jungle (Photographic Transparency)
    12. Faking Nature (Authenticity)
    13. Guernicas (Contextualism)
    14. Pot People, Basket Folk (Contextualism)
    15. Psychedelic Sounds (Definition of Music)
    16. Retitling Art (Titles)
    17. The Gallery of Red Squares (Defining Art)
    18. The Supercopier (Multiple Artworks)
    19. The Wrong Note Paradox
    20. Unperformable Music (Musical Ontology)

    Part III: Aesthetic Judgements
    21. Aesthetic Concept Zombies (Aesthetic Properties)
    22. The Jealous Husband (The Aesthetic Attitude)
    23. The Paradox of Good-Bad Art
    24. The Paradox of Gustatory Taste
    25. The Paradox of Junk Fiction
    26. The Paradox of Porn
    27. The Puzzle of Historical Criticism
    28. The Transmogrifier (Style)
    29. The Uniform World (Aesthetic Disagreement)
    30. Two Societies (Everyday Aesthetics)

    Part IV: Appreciation and Interpretation
    31. Pinny the Who? (Interpretation)
    32. The Paradox of Disgust
    33. The Paradox of Fiction
    34. The Paradox of Portraiture
    35. The Paradox of Tragedy
    36. The Problem of Museum Skepticism
    37. The Puzzle of Acquaintance
    38. The Puzzle of Depiction
    39. The Puzzle of Musical Profundity
    40. The St. Bernard’s Face (Music and Emotion)

    Part V: Ethics and Value
    41. The Paradox of Bad-Bad Art (Moralism/Immoralism)
    42. How the Zebra Lost Her Stripes (Environmental Aesthetics)
    43. The Burning Museum (Aesthetic Normativity)
    44. The Gamer’s Dilemma (Gaming Ethics)
    45. The Parable of the Pawn (Virtual Value)
    46. The Puzzle of Cultural Appropriation
    47. The Puzzle of Cultural Property
    48. The Puzzle of Imaginative Resistance
    49. The Puzzle of Moral Persuasion
    50. Utopia (Games)


    Michel-Antoine Xhignesse is an Instructor of Philosophy at Capilano University, in North Vancouver, Canada.