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"Taste is not to conform to the art, but the art to the taste": aesthetic instrumentalism and the British body politic in the neoclassical age
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Department of Philosophy, Aesthetics.
2013 (English)In: Journal of Aesthetics and Culture, ISSN 2000-4214, Vol. 5, 1-16 p.Article in journal, Editorial material (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The eighteenth century witnessed the historical change from aesthetic instrumentalism to aesthetic autonomy. Aesthetic research has often attempted to capture this change in teleological terms, wherein British aesthetic instrumentalism appears to contain the seeds of its own decline. The purpose of this article is to restore a balance between these two major historical modes of appreciating art, and to display the uniqueness of British aesthetic instrumentalism. During especially the first half of the eighteenth century, aesthetic instrumentalism was revitalised due to a new rationale for art in the reinforcement of a national body politic and in the strengthening of a British identity. In order to recognise the distinctiveness of aesthetic instrumentalism, as well as to acknowledge by what means it operated, I make essentially two claims: (1) aesthetic instrumentalism rediscovered its effective interaction with a national body politic by exploring a possible nexus between Britain and classical antiquity, and (2) although the philosophy of art advanced by Joseph Addison (1672-1719) frequently is held as a possible commencement of aesthetic autonomy, it was, first and foremost, characterised by a systematic aesthetic instrumentalism intended to reinforce the British body politic.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
CoAction Publishing, 2013. Vol. 5, 1-16 p.
Keyword [en]
Diffey, Stecker, aesthetic experience, aesthetic autonomy, aesthetic instrumentalism, Italian opera, Addison, Shaftesbury
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Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-207254DOI: 10.3402/jac.v5i0.21096OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-207254DiVA: diva2:647404
Smakens politik: FrÄn essÀtidskrift till estetik i 1700-talets brittiska smakdebatt
Swedish Research Council, 421-2011-1576
Available from: 2013-09-11 Created: 2013-09-11 Last updated: 2014-08-11

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