This is the first book to gather together R. K. Elliott's important essays on aesthetics. These essays put forward a number of common themes that together constitute a unified approach to aesthetics. A theory of imagination is developed and ideas concerning the practice of art criticism are explored before the relevance of aesthetics for ethics is discussed. Throughout his writing Elliott combines analytic rigour with sympathy for ideas in continental philosophy. He values subjectivity but his analytic stance prevents this from falling into mere personal opinion; he is also able to show how art and aesthetic theory is of complex relevance to broader areas of experience such as education, freedom, and moral action. In the course of his discussion Elliott offers an in-depth analysis of Kant's Critique of Judgement, Clive Bell's aesthetic theory, and the relevance of Wittgenstein for aesthetics. Study of Elliott's essays presented in this book powerfully illuminates the unifying role of imagination and the aesthetic in human experience.
Contents: Preface; Critical introduction. Part I: The unity of Kant's Critique of Aesthetic Judgement; Imagination: 'a kind of magical faculty'; Imagination in the experience of art; Aesthetic theory and the experience of art. Part II: The critic and the lover of art; Poetry and truth; The aesthetic and the semantic; Clive Bell's aesthetic theory and critical practice; Aestheticism, imagination and schooling. Part III: Wittgenstein's speculative aesthetics in its ethical context; Socrates and Plato's cave. Bibliography of the works of R.K. Elliott; Index.