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The Genealogy of Aesthetics

The Genealogy of Aesthetics


  • Date Published: August 2002
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521811828

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About the Authors
  • Is it body or spirit that makes us appreciate beauty and create art? The distinguished Canadian critic Ekbert Faas argues that, with occasional exceptions like Montaigne and Mandeville, the mainstream of western thinking about beauty from Plato onwards has overemphasised the spirit, or even execrated the body and sexuality as inimical to the aesthetic disposition. The Genealogy of Aesthetics redresses this imbalance via a radical re-reading of seminal thinkers like Plato, Augustine, Kant, Hegel, Marx, Heidegger and Derrida. Professor Faas attacks both the traditional and postmodern consensus, and offers a new pro-sensualist aesthetics, heavily influenced by Nietzsche, that draws on contemporary neo-Darwinian cognitive science. A work of both polemic and considerable learning, The Genealogy of Aesthetics marks a radical new departure in thinking about art, of interest to all serious students of the humanities and cognitive sciences, which no future work in this field can afford to ignore.

    • A profound polemic on a major subject, by a distinguished cultural critic
    • Will annoy both traditionalist and postmodern thinkers in equal measure
    • Strong linkages with cognitive science outside orthodox humanist channels
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'This extensively researched and outspoken book by Ekbert Faas gives aesthetic theory a decisive push in its move from the head into the body, as it were, and in so doing opens aesthetics to a wide array of new approaches from the direction, broadly speaking, of the life sciences and neuroscience … With its overview of the new kinds of aesthetic-neuroscientific-evolutionary approaches, it is a must for those interested in these interdisciplinary ventures that are no doubt before us.' The European Legacy: Toward New Paradigms

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    Product details

    • Date Published: August 2002
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780521811828
    • length: 454 pages
    • dimensions: 236 x 160 x 34 mm
    • weight: 0.861kg
    • contains: 14 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Plato's transvaluations of aesthetic values
    2. Proto-Nietzschean opponents to Plato
    3. Late Antiquity, Plotinus, and Augustine
    4. Augustine's Platonopolis
    5. The Middle Ages
    6. The Renaissance
    7. The Renaissance Academy, Ficino, Montaigne, and Shakespeare
    8. Hobbes and Shaftesbury
    9. Mandeville, Burke, Hume, and E. Darwin
    10. Kant's ethicoteleological aesthetics
    11. Kant's midlife conversion
    12. Hegel, Feuerbach, and Marx
    13. Marx's Nietzschean moment
    14. Heidegger's 'destruction' of traditional aesthetics
    15. Heidegger contra Nietzsche
    16. Heidegger, Nietzsche, and Derrida
    17. Différance, Freud, Nietzsche, and Artaud
    18. Derrida's mega-transcendentalist Mimesis
    19. Postmodern or Pre-Nietszschean? Derrida, Lyotard, and de Man
    20. The Postmodern revival of the aesthetic ideal

  • Author

    Ekbert Faas, York University, Toronto
    EKBERT FAAS is Professor of Humanities and Graduate English at York University, Toronto, Canada. He has published very widely as both critic (e.g. Shakespeare's Poetics, Cambridge, 1986), biographer (Robert Creeley: a biography) and novelist (The Revolutionist and Mengele's Friend).

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