A Very Short Introduction

Book - 2011
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... The renowned philosopher Roger Scruton explores the concept of beauty, asking what makes an object--either in art, in nature, or the human form--beautiful, and examining how we can compare differing judgments of beauty when it is evident all around us that our tastes vary so widely.-publisher description.
Publisher: Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 2011
ISBN: 9780199229758
Characteristics: xvi, 186 p. : ill. ; 18 cm


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Mar 06, 2017

To begin this short exploration of beauty, Scruton lays out a set of postulates about beauty which most people would agree to reflexively, and then attempts to make these postulates cohere. This leads to a tour through the history of aesthetics in philosophy from Plato to today, with Kant featuring most prominently. Scruton then proceeds to consider beauty as it manifests itself in human bodies, in the natural world, in our everyday lives, and finally in art.

Scruton does not present a systematic theory of beauty in this book, but everything he concludes is a development of his basic premises. At the center of this development is the recognition that the experience of beauty is fundamentally contemplative. Beauty, and especially artistic beauty, speaks to us of ourselves and our relationship with the world, and as a result it possesses a rational and moral dimension. Art transforms the immanent into the transcendent, the temporal into the eternal, and provides a window into the world of values. As such, true beauty judges us more than we judge it, and it is for that very reason that beauty is now widely denounced.


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