Amajor shift in critical attitudes toward the arts took place in the eighteenth century. The fine arts were now looked upon as a group, divorced from the sciences and governed by their own rules. The century abounded with treatises that sought to establish the overriding principles that differentiate art from other walks of life as well as the principles that differentiate them from each other. This burst of scholarly activity resulted in the incorporation of aesthetics among the classic branches of philosophy, heralding the cognitive turn in epistemology. Among the writings that initiated this turn, none were more important than the British contribution. The Arts in Mind brings together an annotated selection of these key texts.
A companion volume to the editors' Tuning the Mind, which analyzed this major shift in world view and its historical context, The Arts in Mind is the first representative sampling of what constitutes an important school of British thought. The texts are neither obscure nor forgotten, although most histories of eighteenth-century thought treat them in a partial or incomplete way. Here they are made available complete or through representative extracts together with an editor's introduction to each selection providing essential biographical and intellectual background. The treatises included are representative of the changed climate of opinion which entailed new issues such as those of perception, symbolic function, and the role of history and culture in shaping the world.>