The Sense Of Beauty

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The Sense of Beauty is a book on aesthetics by George Santayana. The book was published in 1896 by Charles Scribner's Sons, and is based on the lectures Santayana gave on aesthetics while teaching at Harvard University. Santayana published the book out of necessity, for tenure, rather than inspiration. In an anecdote retold by art critic Arthur Danto of a meeting with Santayana in 1950, Santayana ...

Paperback: 164 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (May 31, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1514145715
ISBN-13: 978-1514145715
Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.4 x 9 inches
Amazon Rank: 362588
Format: PDF ePub Text TXT fb2 ebook

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d to have said that "they let me know through the ladies that I had better publish a book... on art, of course. So I wrote this wretched potboiler." The book is divided into four parts: "The Nature of Beauty", "The Materials of Beauty", "Form", and "Expression". Beauty, as defined by Santayana, is an "objectified pleasure." It does not originate from divine inspiration, as was commonly described by philosophers, but from a naturalistic psychology. Santayana objects to the role of God in aesthetics in the metaphysical sense, but accepts the use of God as metaphor. His argument that beauty is a human experience, based on the senses, is influential in the field of aesthetics.[4] However, Santayana would reject this approach, which he called "skirt[ing] psychologism," later on in life. According to Santayana, beauty is linked to pleasure, and is fundamental to human purpose and experience.[4] Beauty does not originate from pleasurable experiences, by itself,[5] or from the objects that bring about pleasure.[6] It is when the experience and emotion of pleasure intertwines with the qualities of the object that beauty arises.[6] Beauty is a "manifestation of perfection",[7] and as Santayana writes, "the sense of beauty has a more important place in life than aesthetic theory has ever taken in philosophy. The second part of The Sense of Beauty is concerned with identifying the modalities - the so-called sensuous materials of things - that can (not) be associated with the experience of beauty. In the third part of his book, Santayana turns to describing which experiences can lead to the experience of beauty and why or under which circumstances. Form can be taken literally here in the beginning, but becomes a synonym for mental representations as the section proceeds. Santayana devotes the last part of his book to what he calls expression - a term that describes the qualities that an object acquires indirectly by means of associations, e.g. with other concepts and memories. The pleasures that are elicited by such an association is said to yield pleasure just as immediately as the perception of the object itself. However, an expression - which is merely a thought or meaning - cannot elicit beauty in and by itself; it needs an object that gives it a sensual representation. Aesthetic value may thus have two sources: 1) in the process of perceiving an object itself, called sensuous and formal beauty, and 2) value derived from the formation of other ideas, called beauty of expression