Analytic aesthetics is a philosophical stream that emerged in the 1950s in the English-speaking world, which particularly studies notions related to art and taste. Analytic aesthetics is one of the major currents of contemporary aesthetics with the phenomenological approach and postmodernism.
Coming from logical empiricism and pragmatism, this current adopts as methods of analysis of art, literature and cinema the logical and philosophical instruments established by analytical philosophy. Its main representatives are Goodman, Beardsley, Weitz, Danto, Margolis, Dickie, Cavell, Kosuth, Carroll, Elgin. The first important works of analytic aesthetics follow the posthumous publication of Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations in 1953, around the theory of language games. In the wake of this publication, we also find a theory of fiction and metaphor in John Searle, as well as a theory of literature and cinema in Stanley Cavell.
The analytical aesthetic is characterized by an initial rejection of the question of the beautiful in favor of the question of art itself, which does not need to be beautiful in order to exist and be recognized as such. Analytical aestheticians reflect in this sense on what makes a work a work of art, as opposed to other objects in the world that are not art. This is the question of the ontology of the work of art.
A new aesthetic
The analytical aesthetic is in constant dialogue with the avant-garde works of contemporary art, notably those of Duchamp and Warhol. His work deals in particular with: the ontology of the work of art; the indefinability of art; the institutionalization of art; the “art world” (Dickie, Danto); identification of the work of art; aesthetic experience, art as a symbol.
Analytical aestheticians also debate the question of the realism of aesthetic properties.
Relation to tradition
Analytic aesthetics is made up of a set of theories that are not homogeneous. These theories appear to be independent of traditional aesthetics (for example, the ancient question of Beauty, or the study of the history of aesthetics).
Music related issues
Karl Popper offers a philosophy of music in his autobiography, Unended Quest.
Jerrold Levinson was particularly interested in the ontology of the musical work.
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