Aesthetics see Art, Greatness, Beauty

"The fifth and last branch of philosophy is esthetics, the study of art, which is based on metaphysics, epistemology and ethics." [ PWNI, 4; pb 4.]

What is the nature of aesthetics? It is a branch of philosophy that studies Art whose two major components are a "selective re-creation of reality" [style] and a value-judgement about the world [theme].

For more information on Aesthetics, see the Epistemology-Aesthetics Study Group
Founded by Frederick C. Gibson and Alleyne Rogers

Art - see Aesthetics , Greatness, Beauty

"Art is a selective recreation of reality according to an artist's metaphysical value-judgements" ["Art and Cognition," RM, pb 45. ]

Major Branches of Art:

["Art and Cognition," RM, pb46]
Literature "re-creates reality by means of language"
Painting "re-creates reality by means of color on a two-dimensional surface"
Sculpture "re-creates reality by means of a three-dimensional form made of a solid material"
Architecture "in a class by itself, because it combines art with a utilitarian purpose and does not re-create reality, but creates a structure for man's habitation or use, expressing man's values."
Music "re-creates reality by employing the sounds produced by the periodic vibrations of a sonorous body, and evokes man's sense-of-life emotions."

For the individual, Art performs a vital function by creating in a directly perceivable form the manifestation of an entire view of existence, a source of inspiration or "fuel" for continuing one's pursuit of values. For one who holds reason as one of their highest virtues, who is certain that the Universe is finite and knowable, who believes in the benevolence of existence and in Man's capacity for greatness, the ultimate expression of this view must be profoundly integrated and harmonious, it must have no contradictions, it must be passionate about what is important in life; in short, it must be beautiful.

Reality alone is important to man in his attainment of values. There are no values beyond reality because you can only gain and keep values that exist here in this world and in this life. Values in fact are essential to life. Without values you cannot maintain your life.

"Art" that does not have any connection with reality has no value for us and has no message because there are no values outside of existence. This is why so much "Modern Art" is not art at all, it is just waste. It severs the link between Man and reality, between Man and life.

  • Theme

    What is the purpose of
    art? For the artist, in the context of aesthetics, the purpose of art is to project a world which reflects the artist's value judgement of existence. In aesthetics, the concept embodying an artist's metaphysical value judgement is known as the theme. The theme can be held by the artist either implictly or explicitly.

    Do all themes have to include a valuation of
    man? Yes, because art involves a choice about reality, and that choice is conditioned by a man-made purpose. All choices imply a relation to man.
  • Style

    Style is the method used by the artist to attain his end; a work of
    art embodying the artist's theme. Style is defined as: "A particular mode or form of skilled construction, execution, or production; the manner in which a work of art is executed, regarded as characteristic of the individual artist, or of his time and place; one of the modes recognized in a particular art as suitible for the production of beautiful or skillful work." [OED]
  • Greatness

    What is great
    art? Art as well as greatness in art has two major components: the universality of the theme, and the consistency of integration of all the elements of the work of art with that theme; an element of style. In measuring greatness, we can look at these two components separately to determine the overall stature of a given work of art. An example of the highest level of greatness in art would be Micelangelo's David. This is a work whose theme is universal and timeless, of value to all, and the style used to express the theme is unequalled. An example of great style in art with a less universal theme is Victor Hugo's Les Miserables whose theme is "The injustice of society toward its lower classes." ["Basic Principles of Literature," RM, 57; pb80] In being limited to a specific kind of political system, this theme does not apply universally to all men. The style used to present this theme, however, is incredibly integrated making it a great work of art even though it would have acheieved an even higher level of greatness with a more universal theme.

 For more information on Art, see the Epistemology-Aesthetics Study Group
Founded by Frederick C. Gibson and Alleyne Rogers

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OED Oxford English Dictionary, Oxford University Press 1971

AHA A History of Architecture: Settings and Rituals, Spiro Kostof, Oxford University Press, New York, Oxford, 1985
FCG Frederick Clifford Gibson, Architect
FWM1 Frank Lloyd Wright: Monograph 1887-1901, vol. 1, Bruce Brooks Pfeiffer, A.D.A. Edita, Tokyo Co., Ltd, 1985
FWM2 Frank Lloyd Wright: Monograph 1902-1906, vol. 2, Bruce Brooks Pfeiffer, A.D.A. Edita, Tokyo Co., Ltd, 1985
FWM3 Frank Lloyd Wright: Monograph 1907-1913, vol. 3, Bruce Brooks Pfeiffer, A.D.A. Edita, Tokyo Co., Ltd, 1985
FWM4 Frank Lloyd Wright: Monograph 1914-1923, vol. 4, Bruce Brooks Pfeiffer, A.D.A. Edita, Tokyo Co., Ltd, 1985
FWM5 Frank Lloyd Wright: Monograph 1924-1936, vol. 5, Bruce Brooks Pfeiffer, A.D.A. Edita, Tokyo Co., Ltd, 1985
FWM6 Frank Lloyd Wright: Monograph 1937-1941, vol. 6, Bruce Brooks Pfeiffer, A.D.A. Edita, Tokyo Co., Ltd, 1985
FWM7 Frank Lloyd Wright: Monograph 1942-1950, vol. 7, Bruce Brooks Pfeiffer, A.D.A. Edita, Tokyo Co., Ltd, 1985
FWM8 Frank Lloyd Wright: Monograph 1951-1959, vol. 8, Bruce Brooks Pfeiffer, A.D.A. Edita, Tokyo Co., Ltd, 1985
FWM9 Frank Lloyd Wright: Preliminary Studies 1889-1916, vol. 9, Bruce Brooks Pfeiffer, A.D.A. Edita, Tokyo Co., Ltd, 1985
FWM10 Frank Lloyd Wright: Preliminary Studies 1917-1932, vol. 10, Bruce Brooks Pfeiffer, A.D.A. Edita, Tokyo Co., Ltd, 1985
FWM11 Frank Lloyd Wright: Preliminary Studies 1933-1959, vol. 11, Bruce Brooks Pfeiffer, A.D.A. Edita, Tokyo Co., Ltd, 1985
FWM12 Frank Lloyd Wright: In His Renderings 1887-1959, vol. 12, Bruce Brooks Pfeiffer, A.D.A. Edita, Tokyo Co., Ltd, 1985
MA Modern Architecture since 1900, William J R Curtis, Prentice-Hall, Inc., Englewood Cliffs (Phaidon Press Ltd., Oxford), New Jersey, 1982
OTAB On The Art of Building in Ten Books, Leon Battista Alberti, translated by Joseph Rykwert, Neil Leach, Robert Tavernor, The MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, 1472.
PGA Simon and Schuster's Pocket Guide to Architecture, Patrick Nuttgens, Simon and Schuster, New York, NY, 1980.
SCEA Santiago Calatrava, Engineering Architecture, Santiago Calatrava, Birkhäuser Verlag, Basel-Boston-Berlin, 1990.
SCCW Santiago Calatrava: Complete Works, Sergio Polano, Electa, Milan, 1996
TAFW The Architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright: A Complete Catalog, William Allin Storrer, The MIT Press, Cambridge, MA & London, England, 1982
TAI The Autobiography of an Idea, Louis H. Sullivan, Dover Publications, Inc, New York, 1924.
TNH The Natural House, Frank Llyod Wright, New American Library, New York, 1970.
VTBA Vitruvius: The Ten Books on Architecture, Vitruvius, Morris Hicky Morgan, PH.D., LL.D. trans., Dover Publications, Inc., New York, 1914

CWA The Complete Works of Aristotle (in two volumes), by Aristotle (Ed. Jonathan Barnes), Princeton / Bollingen Serries LXXI, 1984
ABW Basic Works of Aristotle, by Aristotle (Richard McKein), Random House, April 1941
A Aristotle, by John Hermann Randall, Jr., Columbia University Press, New York, 1960.
AP Aristotle: Poetics, with the Tracatus Coislinianus, reconstruction of Poetics II, and the fragments of the On Poets, Aristotle (384-322 B.C.), Richard Janko trans., Hackett Publishing Company, Indianapolis / Cambridge, 1987
ACPR Aristotle's Criticism of Plato's Republic, by Robert Mayhew, Rowman & Littlefield, 1997.
ECHU An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, by John Locke (Roger Woolhouse), Penguin Classics, 1689 (1998 reprint)
CUI Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal (1966), Ayn Rand
FNI For the New Intellectual (1961), Ayn Rand
GS Galt's Speech in Atlas Shrugged (1957), Ayn Rand
ITOE Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology (1979), Ayn Rand
OP The Ominous Parallels (1982), Leonard Peikoff
OPAR Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand (1991), Leonard Peikoff 
PWNI Philosophy: Who Needs It (1982), Ayn Rand
RM The Romantic Manifesto (1975), Ayn Rand
VOS The Virtue of Selfishness : A New Concept of Egoism (1964), Ayn Rand

MW Michael Wilkinson

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