SINGAPORE, 6.5.2008, Dewey’s Aesthetics

h. 2 – 4 p.m.

National University of Singapore - Philosophy Department
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Philosophy Department
3 Arts Link, AS3 #05-23 (J. S. Mill Library)
Singapore 117570

Mario Perniola

The lecture is divided in two parts. The first is focused on the present situation of the aesthetics, considered as an academic discipline. This is characterized by a double process: on one hand, an expansion of the aesthetic horizon to many aspects of every day experiences, on the other a fragmentation of the aesthetic horizon, that leads to the idea that philosophical language is deep-rooted in the single languages. The second part deals with Dewey’s aesthetics, highliting the comparison of the aesthetic experience with a stone rolling down a hill. At first sight, it is a very strange metaphor. Actually, Dewey’s view breaks completely with hedonistic aesthetics. Pleasure and pain, as all other emotions, should not be considered separately, but as part of the process character of experience, that happens as an episode of a novel or play; the emotion is part of an entity that is involved in a struggle, from which it acquires meaning. The gist of this lecture is to consider art as the fulfillment of the aesthetic experience and strongly refuse the idea that every daily experience could be immediately aesthetic.
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