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Volume :8 Issue : 31 1988      Add To Cart                                                                    Download

Identity and Mode Of Existence Of Aesthetic Quality

Auther : Michael H. Mitias

In this paper I try to answer the following question: What is the mode of existence of aesthetic quality? When we judge or evaluate an art work aesthetically, that is, when we attribute to it terms like good, sad, elegant, or graceful we mean that these and similar terms refer to the art work, that the art work has, in the sense of posses or own, these qualities. The question which I spotlight in my discussion is: What does it mean for an art work to have or posses an aesthetic quality, or what does it mean for an aesthetic quality to belong to an art work? The focus of attention in this question is not merely on the locus of aesthetic quality but also on how it is related to the art work. But how can we proceed in our analysis of this question unless we try to consider the following question: What is the texture of aesthetic quality?
In the first part of my discussion I argue that aesthetic quality has two modes of existence: potential and actual. In so far as it belongs to the artwork, aesthetic quality exists as a potentiality awaiting realization, and in so far as it belongs to an experience in which it becomes actual its mode of existence is that of a noetic feeling. But terms like "sad", "joyful", dreadful are psychological terms. What does it mean to apply such terms to art works, which are non-sentient entities? In the second part of the paper I argue that it is reasonable for aesthetic terms to retain their normal meanings in principle when applied to works of art.

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