Aesthetics Notes 3


Clive Bell    The Metaphysical Hypothesis  158


Shapes, lines, color in works of art are aesthetically moving because they express the feelings of the artist

Artists feel aesthetic emotion in response to significant form in natural objects, whereas non-artists can feel that emotion only in relation to art

Not about self expression or communal sharing of feelings

Purely psychological

Artists have a wider range of objects that give them aesthetic emotion

Non-artists only feel this in relation to art

Emotions felt for “reality revealing itself” through pure form  159



John Stuart Mill   What is Poetry?  160


Special nature of poetry and the poetic

Narrative representation

Audience effect

Like a soliloquy – actor’s character has one on one with audience  163

Poetry relies on feeling, not incidents, as in a novel  161

Poetry delineates deeper secret workings of the heart, interesting to those who recall what they have felt in their own lives  161

Solitude and meditation vs. intercourse with the world

Passion – making meditative tenderness  164



Leo Tolstoy  What is Art?  166


Argues against aesthetic conceptions of art

Expressions of the tastes of the dominant classes

Not “What is art?” but “Why is art important?”

Art is a basic human need – nutrition, verbal communication, solidarity of society

Communal sharing of feelings

No objective definition of beauty  167

Certain circles of people determine  167

What we call beauty/good is a setting up of what pleases certain classes of people  168

Descriptions of feelings, then feeling transmitted to others = the activity of art  170



John Hospers   Art as Expression  172


Ideas about the artist’s self expression draw attention away from the artwork’s own aesthetic characteristics, which are immediately perceptual

The idea of self expression should be replaced by “expressiveness” – a quality an object has, no reference to the artist’s or audience’s feelings

“Expressive” can mean both a process engaged in by the artist, and a feature of the product of that process  172

evocation” – that music evokes sadness in me  173

-- that music is sad  174

This quality is called expressiveness  173-174

Works of art can be expressive of human qualities à  ie. The object has these qualities.