Analytic Aesthetics, can be defined as “…a significant area of study with much to tell us about human experience, art, taste, expression, representation, interpretation, intention, imagination and reason” (MacArthur, 2010). Let us take these two words aesthetics and analytic separately and investigate their meanings: aesthetics is seen to be used in two different ways.
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In the first, it is widely used as a synonym of ‘philosophy of art’. Many philosophers take this view of aesthetics and it has a widespread use. On the second, aesthetics is described by the Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism as, “all studies of the arts, and related types of experience from a philosophical, scientific, or other standpoint, including those of psychology, sociology, anthropology, cultural history, art criticism, and education.”
Aesthetics is a part of philosophy that deals with the basic characteristics of beauty, art and the doctrines of art criticism. Aesthetics as a study was prevalent in ancient Greece and started its development there. However, it was not until the eighteenth century that it was systematised and became a subject. It was only in the middle of the previous century that aesthetics was included in the analytic philosophical studies and took its present form.
Analytic aesthetics has now become a very popular study and there is a lot of important and erudite literature to be found now on the subject. The subject has also diversified into many different branches dealing with the aesthetic approach in different fields. The concepts of analytic aesthetics are underpinned by the informed approach of the pragmatic sciences. In the modern perspective, analytic aesthetics investigates and analyses questions based on the nature of art, and the aesthetic merits of entities, away from its chronological aspects, although the study may concern observation and assessment of the past eras. The growth of analytic aesthetics has now included discrete arts subjects such as painting, music, books and other literary works, films and so on.
Kant is believed to the originator of the modern study of aesthetics although his view was concerned primarily with the theorising about the beauty and intense or deepened sensitivity and experience about natural occurrences. His explanation of aesthetic judgment, imagination, and sensibility was mainly expressed in his work, Critique of the Power of Judgment and in his later work Critique of Pure Reason.
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