Aesthetics : 50 Puzzles, Paradoxes, and Thought Experiments book cover
1st Edition

50 Puzzles, Paradoxes, and Thought Experiments

  • Available for pre-order. Item will ship after February 28, 2023
ISBN 9781032436395
February 28, 2023 Forthcoming by Routledge
320 Pages

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USD $29.95

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Book Description

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 bibliography at the end of each entry, amounting to an extensive review of the literature on contemporary analytic aesthetics

Table of Contents


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)

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