What Do We Expect from Our Philosophies of Art? A Comparison of the Aesthetics of Susanne Langer and Maurice Merleau-Ponty

What Do We Expect from Our Philosophies of Art? A Comparison of the Aesthetics of Susanne Langer... <p>Abstract:</p><p>This essay compares the philosophies of art of Susanne Langer and Maurice Merleau-Ponty, highlighting some differences in their approaches to the subject matter. It addresses the thinkers’ formulation of the nature of philosophy, the role of paradox, the functions of art and language, and the relationship between philosopher and artist. In the work of each thinker, I find two elements, somewhat at odds with each other. One is a general account of the cultural function of art. The other is a sort of artistic vision advanced by way of proposing a modern vocation for art. As a result, I argue that Langer develops an “outside” account of art, insofar as her work aims at explication of the creative process by way of maintaining some critical distance from it. Merleau-Ponty develops an “inside” account of art, insofar as he sees the phenomenologist as a peer to the painter, and advances an artistic vision of his own. I compare the two thinkers in order to show that they can address different audiences and pursue somewhat different goals. A charitable reading of each, keeping in mind their respective audiences and goals, could make the employment of these aesthetic theories more productive.</p> http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Journal of Aesthetic Education University of Illinois Press

What Do We Expect from Our Philosophies of Art? A Comparison of the Aesthetics of Susanne Langer and Maurice Merleau-Ponty

The Journal of Aesthetic Education, Volume 52 (4) – Dec 5, 2018

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Publisher
University of Illinois Press
Copyright
Copyright © Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.
ISSN
1543-7809

Abstract

<p>Abstract:</p><p>This essay compares the philosophies of art of Susanne Langer and Maurice Merleau-Ponty, highlighting some differences in their approaches to the subject matter. It addresses the thinkers’ formulation of the nature of philosophy, the role of paradox, the functions of art and language, and the relationship between philosopher and artist. In the work of each thinker, I find two elements, somewhat at odds with each other. One is a general account of the cultural function of art. The other is a sort of artistic vision advanced by way of proposing a modern vocation for art. As a result, I argue that Langer develops an “outside” account of art, insofar as her work aims at explication of the creative process by way of maintaining some critical distance from it. Merleau-Ponty develops an “inside” account of art, insofar as he sees the phenomenologist as a peer to the painter, and advances an artistic vision of his own. I compare the two thinkers in order to show that they can address different audiences and pursue somewhat different goals. A charitable reading of each, keeping in mind their respective audiences and goals, could make the employment of these aesthetic theories more productive.</p>

Journal

The Journal of Aesthetic EducationUniversity of Illinois Press

Published: Dec 5, 2018

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