Aesthetics : A Reader in Philosophy of the Arts book cover
4th Edition

A Reader in Philosophy of the Arts

ISBN 9781138235885
Published September 7, 2017 by Routledge
558 Pages 13 B/W Illustrations

FREE Standard Shipping
SAVE $26.00
was $130.00
USD $104.00

Prices & shipping based on shipping country


Book Description

Aesthetics: A Reader in Philosophy of the Arts, fourth edition, contains a selection of ninety-six readings organized by individual art forms as well as a final section of readings in philosophical aesthetics that cover multiple art forms. Sections include topics that are familiar to students such as painting, photography and movies, architecture, music, literature, and performance, as well as contemporary subjects such as mass art, popular arts, the aesthetics of the everyday, and the natural environment. Essays are drawn from both the analytic and continental traditions, and multiple others that bridge this divide between these traditions. Throughout, readings are brief, accessible for undergraduates, and conceptually focused, allowing instructors many different syllabi possibilities using only this single volume.


Key Additions to the Fourth Edition

The fourth edition is expanded to include a total of ninety-six essays with nineteen new essays (nine of them written exclusively for this volume), updated organization into new sections, revised introductions to each section, an increased emphasis on contemporary topics, such as stand-up comedy, the architecture of museums, interactivity and video games, the ethics of sexiness, trans/gendered beauty, the aesthetics of junkyards and street art, pornography, and the inclusion of more diverse philosophical voices. Nevertheless, this edition does not neglect classic writers in the traditional aesthetics: Plato, Aristotle, Hume, Kant, Hegel, Heidegger, Collingwood, Bell, and writers of similar status in aesthetics. The philosophers writing new chapters exclusively for this fourth edition are:

• Sondra Bacharach on street art

• Aili Bresnahan on appreciating dance

• Hina Jamelle on digital architecture

• Jason Leddington on magic

• Sheila Lintott on stand-up comedy

• Yuriko Saito on everyday aesthetics

• Larry Shiner on art spectacle museums in the twenty-first century

• Peg Brand Weiser on how beauty matters

• Edward Winters on the feeling of being at home in vernacular architecture, as in such urban places as bars.

Table of Contents


Table of contents


Special Acknowledgements for the 4th Edition

General Introduction

Part 1: Painting

Against Imitation


The Limits of Likeness

Ernst Gombrich

Reality Remade

Nelson Goodman

The "Perfect" Fake

Nelson Goodman

Artistic Crimes

Denis Dutton

Form in Modern Painting

Clive Bell

A Formal Analysis

Edmund Burke Feldman

Intentional Visual Interest

Michael Baxandall

Works of Art and Mere Real Things

Arthur C. Danto

The Origin of the Work of Art

Martin Heidegger

Why Are There No Great Women Artists?

Linda Nochlin

Painting and Ethics

A. W. Eaton

Art and Corruption

David Alfaro Siqueiros


Part II: Photography and Moving Pictures

The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction

Walter Benjamin

Transparent Pictures

Kendall L. Walton

Why Photography Does Not Represent Artistically

Roger Scruton

The Hubble Photographs as Aesthetic Objects

Flo Leibowitz

Architectural Photography: The "Urban Photogénie" of Architainment

Jennifer Burris

How Beauty Matters

Peg Brand Weiser

Allegory of the Cave


Towards an Ontology of the Moving Image

Noël Carroll

Moving Pictures

Arthur C. Danto

Woman as Image, Man as Bearer of the Look

Laura Mulvey

Beauty and Evil: The Case of Leni Riefenstahl

Mary Devereaux

The Last King of Scotland—The Ethics of Race on Film

Paul C. Taylor


Part III: Architecture

The Problem of Architecture

Roger Scruton

Home is Where the Heart Is: Taking Architecture Personally

Edward Winters

Ornament and Crime: Tattoos

Adolf Loos

Towards an Architecture

Le Corbusier

Architecture as Decorated Shelter

Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown

A Discussion of Architecture (with Christopher Norris)

Jacque Derrida

How to Experience Architecture

Jenefer Robinson

Spectacular vs. Deferential Art Museums in the 21st Century

Larry Shiner

Architectural Ghosts

Jeanette Bicknell

Digital Architecture and the New Elegance

Hina Jamelle


Part IV: Music

On the Concept of Music

Jerrold Levinson

Ontology of Music

Ben Caplan and Carl Matheson

Making Tracks: The Ontology of Rock Music

Andrew Kania

Is Live Music Dead?

Lee B. Brown

The Expression of Emotion in Music

Stephen Davies

Representation in Music

Roger Scruton

Sound and Semblance

Peter Kivy

African Music

John Miller Chernoff

Jazz and Language

Robert Kraut

A Topography of Musical Improvisation

Philip Alperson

Fakin’ It: Is There Authenticity in Commercial Music?

Theodore Gracyk

Can White People Sing the Blues?

Joel Rudinow

Social Consciousness in Dancehall Reggae

Anita M. Waters     


Part V: Literature

What is Literature?

Terry Eagleton

The Poetic Expression of Emotion

R. G. Colingwood

The Paradox of Expression

Garry L. Hagberg

The Intention of the Author

Monroe C. Beardsley

What is an Author?

Michel Foucault

Criticism as Retrieval

Richard Wollheim

Beneath Interpretation

Richard Shusterman

The Art of Writing

Lu Chi

How to Eat a Chinese Poem

Richard Bodman

Imagination and Make-Believe

Gregory Currie


Part VI: Performance



On Tragedy


The Birth of Tragedy

Friedrich Nietzsche

What Is Going On in a Dance?

Monroe C. Beardsley

Working and Dancing

Noël Carroll and Sally Banes

Appreciating Dance: The View from the Audience

Aili Bresnahan

Literature as a Performing Art

J. O. Urmson

The Artwork as Performance

David Davies

Why (not) Philosophy of Stand-up Comedy?

Sheila Lintott

Ventriloquism and Art

David Goldblatt

Magic: The Art of the Impossible

Jason Leddington


Part VII: Mass Art

Defining Mass Art

Noël Carroll

Plato and the Mass Media

Alexander Nehamas

Adorno’s Case Against Popular Music

Lee B. Brown

In Defense of Popular Arts

Richard Shusterman

Television and Aesthetics

Umberto Eco

Relating Comics, Cartoons, and Animation

Henry John Pratt

Videogames, Interactivity and Art

Grant Tavinor

Is It Only a Game? The Ethics of Video Game Play

Stephanie Patridge


Part VIII: Nature and Everyday Aesthetics

Aesthetic Appreciation of the Natural Environment

Allen Carlson

Everyday Aesthetics

Yuriko Saito


Robert Solomon

The Aesthetics of Junkyards

Thomas Leddy

Nonsense in Public Places: Songs of Black Vocal Rhythm and Blues or Doo-Wop

David Goldblatt

Street Art

Sondra Bacharach


Ted Cohen

Racist Humor

Luvell Anderson

A Sensible Anti-Porn Feminism

A. W. Eaton

Falling in Lust: Sexiness, Feminism, and Pornography

Hans Maes


Part IX: Art in General

Of the Standard of Taste

David Hume

The Sublime

Edmund Burke

Judgments about the Beautiful

Immanuel Kant

The Philosophy of Fine Art

G. W. F. Hegel

Aesthetic Concepts

Frank Sibley

Categories of Art

Kendall L. Walton

The Role of Theory in Aesthetics

Morris Weitz

Art and Natural Selection

Denis Dutton

Feminism in Context

Peg Brand Weiser


View More



David Goldblatt is Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at Denison University, the author of Art and Ventriloquism in Routledge’s Critical Voices Series, and co-editor of The Aesthetics of Architecture: Philosophical Investigations into the Art of Building, and has written numerous essays in the academic and popular press.

Lee B. Brown (1932–2014) was Professor of Philosophy at The Ohio State University and the author of many articles on a wide range of philosophical subjects, including popular music, recorded music, and jazz.

Stephanie Patridge is a Professor of Philosophy at Otterbein University. Her research focuses on aesthetic properties, and moral evaluation in imaginative contexts.


"This 4th Edition offers broad coverage of many fascinating contemporary topics while also including some of the key works in the history of aesthetics. This text demonstrates the vibrancy of aesthetics today without losing sight of its past."

--Christopher Bartel, Appalachian State University


"I’ve long considered Aesthetics: A Reader in Philosophy of the Arts to be the best collection for undergraduate philosophy of art classes because of the breadth of its readings, and because of its excellent coverage of recent debates in the arts. The fourth edition builds on these strengths, expanding its coverage of contemporary topics."

--Joshua Shaw, Penn State Erie, The Behrend College


"The editors have  have imaginatively selected essays both canonical and offbeat from diverse traditions. This anthology would be engaging and accessible to undergraduates of all levels and majors, as it shows the importance of Aesthetics to everyday life, as well as  to philosophy and culture. It is an outstanding new contribution to the pedagogical literature in the field."

--Carol S. Gould, Florida Atlantic University