Book - 2009
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Beauty can be consoling, disturbing, sacred, profane; it can be exhilarating, appealing, inspiring, chilling. It can affect us in an unlimited variety of ways. Yet it is never viewed with indifference. Here, the renowned philosopher Roger Scruton explores the concept of beauty, asking what makes an object - either in art, in nature, or the human form - beautiful, and examining how we can compare differing judgements of beauty when it is evident all around us that our tastes vary so widely. Isthere a right judgement to be made about beauty? Is it right to say there is more beauty in a classical temple than a concrete office block, more in a Rembrandt than in last year's Turner Prize winner? Forthright and thought-provoking, and as accessible as it is intellectually rigorous, this introduction to the philosophy of beauty draws conclusions that some may find controversial, but, as Scruton shows, help us to find greater sense of meaning in the beautiful objects that fill our lives.
Publisher: Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, c2009
ISBN: 9780199559527
Branch Call Number: 111.85 S435b 2009
Characteristics: xi, 223 p. : ill. ; 18 cm


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Mar 06, 2017

To begin this short exploration of beauty, Scruton lays out a set of postulates about beauty which most people would agree to reflexively, and then attempts to make these postulates cohere. This leads to a tour through the history of aesthetics in philosophy from Plato to today, with Kant featuring most prominently. Scruton then proceeds to consider beauty as it manifests itself in human bodies, in the natural world, in our everyday lives, and finally in art.

Scruton does not present a systematic theory of beauty in this book, but everything he concludes is a development of his basic premises. At the center of this development is the recognition that the experience of beauty is fundamentally contemplative. Beauty, and especially artistic beauty, speaks to us of ourselves and our relationship with the world, and as a result it possesses a rational and moral dimension. Art transforms the immanent into the transcendent, the temporal into the eternal, and provides a window into the world of values. As such, true beauty judges us more than we judge it, and it is for that very reason that beauty is now widely denounced.


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