The Cultural Space of the Arts and the Infelicities of Reductionism

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2010-05-01
  • Publisher: Columbia Univ Pr

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Joseph Margolis, well known for his considerable contributions to the philosophy of art and aesthetics, pragmatism, and American philosophy, has largely focused his investigations on troublesome cultural concepts: culture itself, history, language, agency, art, interpretation, and the human person or self. For him the signal problem has always been the same: how are physical nature and human culture distinguished and related?The Cultural Space of the Arts and the Infelicities of Reductionismidentifies a conceptual tendency that can be drawn from the work of the twentieth century's best-known analytic philosophers of art: Arthur Danto, Richard Wollheim, Kendall Walton, Nelson Goodman, Monroe Beardsley, NoŽl Carroll, and Jerrold Levinson, among others. This trend threatens to impoverish our grasp and appreciation of the arts by not doing justice to the culturally informed nature of the arts themselves. Through his analysis, Margolis hopes to retrieve an adequate picture of the essential differences between physical nature and human culture& -particularly language, history, meaning, significance, the emergence of the human self or person, and the essential features of human life& -all to explain how such difference bears on our perception of paintings and literature. His brilliant work hopes to reestablish the center of gravity that is essential to a productive encounter with art.

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