The aesthetic theories of John Dewey and Susanne K. Langer.
Taylor, Frank S.
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The purpose of this thesis is to compare and contrast the aesthetics of John Dewey and Susanne K. Langer. The first chapter comprises the introduction, in which the specific purposes, methods, limitations, and definitions of the thesis are presented. [TRUNCATED] Chapter four, the final chapter of this thesis, presents a comparison and contrast, and a brief evaluation, of the aesthetics of Dewey and Langer. The views of Dewey and Langer, it is suggested, diverge and contrast on at least these six issues: the nature of philosophy, the purpose of aesthetics, the characterization of appreciation, the nature of perception, creation, and form in art. On the other hand, their views of expression, meaning, organic form, intuition, and of the relation of art to society seem to be in agreement, although their reasoning on these subjects is often very different. The evaluative section of this chapter consists of a formulation of three problems that may well be raised in connection with each author's theory. In regard to Langer's position, it is suggested that her theory of primary illusions may oversimplify the nature of aesthetic appreciation; that she has not given sufficient reason for excluding actual feelings from art; and, that it is not clear how art can be significant of felt-life if there is not, at least, an empathic projection of feelings in the aesthetic response. In connection with Dewey's position it is suggested that he has perhaps unnecessarily excluded the notion of "distance" as too passive, whereas it does not mean passivity alone; that the demands placed on artist and appreciator by the reciprocal relations of undergoing and doing may well be excessive; and, that it is not clear how art is distinguishable from other areas of experience if the experience that is art can be conferred on the experience of the community as a whole.
Thesis (M.A.)--Boston University Includes bibliographical references (leaves 163-165).
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