THE AESTHETICS OF EVERYDAY LIFE, edited by Andrew Light and Jonathan M. Smith. New York: Columbia University Press, 2005, 224 pp., paper. Confronted with the notion of "everyday aesthetics," one is immediately faced with some problems of definition. Such problems potentially threaten the viability of the everyday aesthetics project to extend the scope of philosophical aesthetics, so that, as Jonathan Smith suggests in his introduction to this collection of essays, "nothing in the everyday world (or at least very little) can be supposed devoid of the power to excite an aesthetic response." "Everyday" can mean both "daily" and "ordinary," and while the two definitions often coincide in practice, there's no necessary connection: we can conceive the "daily" as remarkable, and the "ordinary" may not be a regular occurrence. If we focus on the aesthetics of the "daily," we might wonder which particular daily occurrences we can be properly said to experience aesthetically and if this means some reassessment of the category of "aesthetic objects" is required, given that "daily" is so often associated with the mundane, the nonaesthetic. Alternatively, if we conceive an aesthetics of the "ordinary" (with agreement on this classification of certain events and objects), then
The Journal of Aesthetic Education – University of Illinois Press
Published: Feb 14, 2008
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