By W. Tatarkiewicz
The historical past of aesthetics, just like the histories of alternative sciences, should be taken care of in a two-fold demeanour: because the historical past of the lads who created the sphere of research, or because the historical past of the questions which have been raised and resolved during its pursuit. the sooner background of Aesthetics (3 volumes, 1960-68, English-language version 1970-74) through the writer of the current booklet was once a historical past of guys, of writers and artists who in centuries earlier have spoken up touching on attractiveness and paintings, shape and crea tivity. the current ebook returns to an analogous topic, yet treats it differently: because the heritage of aesthetic questions, thoughts, theories. the problem of the 2 books, the former and the current, is partially an identical; yet purely partially: for the sooner publication ended with the seventeenth century, whereas the current one brings the topic as much as our personal instances. And from the 18th century to the twentieth a lot occurred in aesthetics; it was once merely in that interval that aesthetics accomplished acceptance as a separate technological know-how, obtained a reputation of its personal, and produced theories that early students and artists had by no means dreamed of.
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Additional resources for A History of Six Ideas: An Essay in Aesthetics
1. Witkiewicz, would limit art only to 'pure form'. This conception excludes even painting, music and literature whenever these are believed to go beyond 'pure form'. 2. In some contexts the concept of art is wide enough to include music, poetry and literature in generill, as well as the visual arts. In other cases it is restricted to the visual arts alone. 3. An object may be considered to be a work of art or non-art depending on whether we consider either the purpose or the achievement of its maker.
A fourth promise of a theory: "Art is the license of genius", as Adolf Loos, outstanding architect and profound thinker, said (Ornament und Erziehung, 191o). That license is capable of unearthing what the ordinary THE PRESENT 43 man never finds. And it can "lead people farther and farther, and higher and higher". That is the purpose of art, not the production of things that excite admiration, that give pleasure, that adorn the surroundings. Ornament and pleasure are a fit concern for the handicrafts.
It springs from different motives and satisfies different needs. As Stuart Hampshire rightly remarks (Logic and Appreciation, 1967), it is simply not true to say that art serves the same needs and the same interests of all people at all times in all its manifestations. However, this does not mean that we can dispense with a definition altogether. The manifold character of art merely suggests that we have to search for it along a different track. We shall start with Wittgenstein's idea of likening concepts to families.