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Needs translation[edit]

The Aquinas section claims Umberto Eco's analysis divided Aquinas' aesthetics in three parts. That may be important. The three are:

"integritas sive perfectio, consonantia sive debita proportio, and claritas sive splendor formae." Number them 1,2, and 3. They are not translated.

Internet search provides:

1. Integrity and perfection 2. Harmony and due proportion 3. Brightness and clarity of form.

I don't speak Latin. Please, if you do, confirm translations and insert.

Brian Coyle

Things that I have thought and read[edit]

I've thought and read about these issues for a long time but i had a bit of an epiphany afew days ago. I was looking at a Youtube of Thera, there were the masses of rock that make up the island, the camera panned over the roof of a church; something caught my eye. I rewound and saw it was an embossed flower, white on white, reversed geometrically because it was on the convex side of the dome. It made a Pattern. I put it to you that the mind (think of the formation of consciousness in a child) craves patterns in nature. It has been said, "Nature is barren without man", looking at the rocks or much of the cosmos without life, pattern is minimal or not apparent to the naked eye, as we develop we crave perceptions which organize experience, such a process is essential for survival and is thus instinctual. Thus we are gratified, as we are by the exercise of the other instincts (this harkens to the Greeks' question of the "Good"). Wblakesx (talk) 13:28, 26 November 2008 (UTC)wblakesx

--You should read up on Jung's theory of the Collective Unconscious, archetypes and in particular about the repetition of the pattern of the mandala in nature and in religious art. It's not that the individual seeks patterns in nature, it's that patterns are perceived in nearly everything, which actually forms the basis for the inkblot test in psychoanalysis. Your theory on gratification on the exercise of instincts and pattern seeking, is however subjective and lacks supporting evidence.

That picture[edit]

That picture of the maggots should be removed immediately! It's gross and hinders one's ability to read anything beyond the image!

Clean up[edit]

I took out the following section titles:

Ancient Greece, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, 18th Century, Kant, Hume, 19th Century, Hegel, Nietzsche, Tolstoy, 20th Century, Clive Bell, R. G. Collinwood, John Dewey, Susanne Langer, Arthur Danto

None of them contained anything, though a few were marked as stubs. Leaving section headings followed by nothing is messy and meaningless. We need information about these sections, not just their titles. For that matter, this whole article needs to be cleaned up and improved, IMO - J.S. NelsInsert formula hereon 5 July 2005 01:55 (UTC)

Yeah, no kidding. Forgive me for adding those empty sections, which were basically desperate cries for assistance. --Slac 5 July 2005 04:58 (UTC)

Yes, the article needs a major rewrite by an expert. Knowing nothing of this topic, I came here via the Philosophy of art redirect hoping to get an overview, but the material here seems to cover only one small aspect. Slac's contention that the article covers little of what's in a typical philosophy of aesthetics course is borne out by for example [1] which describes the content of a text on the subject. I'll put a cleanup tag on the article in the hope of attracting the attention of someone who can do it justice. -- JimR 10:37, 13 November 2005 (UTC)

New Heading[edit]

Greek Speculations - "Ancient Greece supplies us with the first important contributions to aesthetic theory, though these are scarcely, in quality or in quantity, what one might have expected from a people which had so high an appreciation of beauty and so strong a bent for philosophic speculation. The first Greek thinker of whose views on the subject we really know something is Socrates. We learn from Xenophon's account of him that he regarded the beautiful as coincident with the good, and both of them are resolvable into the useful. Every beautiful object is so called because it serves came rational end, whether the security or the gratification of man. Socrates appears to have attached little importance to the immediate gratification which a beautiful object affords to perception and contemplation, but to have emphasized rather its power of furthering the more necessary ends of life. The really valuable point in his doctrine is the relativity of beauty. Unlike Plato, he recognized no self-beauty (auto to kalon) existing absolutely and out of all relation to a percipient mind." --From the 1911 Encyclopedia (Public Domain)

Would this section be appropriate? The same encyclopedia also has entries for Plato, Aristotle, and Plotinus. Famous German philosophers also each get a section. If it gets used then the template "open curly open curly 1911 close curly close curly" should be included. See my talk page for more of the 1911 entry. Jeff 23:47, 3 October 2005 (UTC)

1911 Britannica as a starting point[edit]

Might it be a good idea to replace the current article entirely with the 1911 one, then make whatever changes are necessary to incorporate modern developments? That article is quite well done and treats many subtle points that we're missing here. inkling 05:22, 2 December 2005 (UTC)

  • This sounds a good idea, inkling! Major surgery like this is required, in my opinion. But could we see the text from the 1911 if you have it downloaded already (e.g. from [2])? Maybe you could post it here for consideration, and if people agree it can be moved to the article page, perhaps in conjunction with moving the content of the existing article to here on the Talk page. -- JimR 06:43, 3 December 2005 (UTC)
  • Thanks Jeffmilner for posting it (see just below), though seeing it, I'm not sure if my idea of having it here on the talk page was the best approach. It's more informative than the present page, though the style is old fashioned; it's long; and wow, it will need a lot of work. I propose that we move it to say /Brit1911 which will be a subpage of this talk page: this seems to be allowed, according to WP:SP#Allowed uses number 1. Then it will stand by itself, and we can work on it to correct the scanning errors, remove the newlines, and wikify — and update it, if anyone has the necessary knowledge. Then once it's up to scratch we can replace the existing article with it (we'd probably want to save the current version here on the talk page). Does anyone dislike this suggestion? -- JimR 09:43, 5 December 2005 (UTC)
Since no one has objected, I've now created /Brit1911 as I proposed, and will do some work on it, I hope with other people's help. -- JimR 06:29, 10 December 2005 (UTC)
TimNelson 10:05, 8 January 2006 (UTC) -- People have talked about replacing the article. I think it would be better to put the Brit1911 was tacked on to the end of the section labelled "Aesthetics in History and Philosophy". The stuff currently on Wikipedia is good, but it's an entirely different categorisation system, which is why it doesn't resemble what people are studying. If this is what we decide to do, we'll have to promote the headings on the current Aesthetics page, and demote the headings on the Brit1911 one.

There may be drawbacks in inserting /Brit1911 into Aesthetics: the result would be extremely long, and there would be a glaring clash of styles between the Britannica's tone and the modern article. Instead, what would people think of moving /Brit1911 to say History of aesthetics (pre-20th-century) or Aesthetics (history pre-1900), and linking it prominently from a suitable place in the main article? -- JimR 04:54, 15 January 2006 (UTC)

Nobody has opposed this suggestion, so I've moved the Britannica material to History of aesthetics (pre-20th-century) and linked it from Aesthetics#See also. -- JimR 03:41, 22 January 2006 (UTC)

this should be easier 4 9yr olds to understand[edit]

How so? How is it difficult to understand. Also, please Wikipedia:Sign your posts on talk pages. Hyacinth 10:04, 7 December 2005 (UTC)

Though one would imagine you are now older, might I suggest the Simple English version of this article at Aesthetics for anyone in a similar situation? Arielkoiman (talk) 19:36, 16 May 2012 (UTC)

The second sentence of this article needs serious work[edit]

"Any person's aesthetic response to a work of art will be unique to that individual, but many aesthetic principles can be identified and used by the creator of the work to achieve specific aesthetic effects."

1) How is an "aesthetic response" different from a generic "response"? This is not clear from the introductory paragraph.

2) Saying that "many aesthetic principles can be identified and used by the creator of the work to achieve specific aesthetic effects" seems meaningless. I could substitute any other word for "aesthetic" in this phrase, and have an equivalent statement. Ex: "many scientific principles can be identified and used by the creator of the work to achieve specific scientific effects". It may (or may not) be true, but it doesn't help you understand what "aesthetic" means.

I thought I would post these comments here, rather than simply deleting the sentence in question, in the hope that someone might be able to do something with it. I think aesthetics can be useful, but I really don't think this sentence is helpful in explaining it. WhiteC 02:16, 10 December 2005 (UTC)

No defenders... I cut it out. WhiteC 05:27, 17 December 2005 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:15, 20 December 2011 (UTC)

The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy aesthetics article is excellent[edit]

I just finished reading the aesthetics article on The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. It is far superior to this Wikipedia article. Anyone interested in making improvements might consider using this resource as a guide. --Gavin 15:16, 6 January 2006 (UTC)

Aesthetics vs. Aesthetic[edit]

Hi all. I came here looking for "Aesthetic", the noun, not "Aesthetic" the adjective. The word "Aesthetic" redirects here to "Aesthetics" (and rightly so).

An example of the difference:

  1. (adjective) relating to or dealing with the subject of aesthetics; "aesthetic values"
  2. (noun) (philosophy) a philosophical theory as to what is beautiful; "he despised the esthetic of minimalism"

(lines above taken from Googling "define:aesthetic"). I'd been reading about Cool, which is defined on the Cool disambiguation page as an African philosophy and aesthetic. I came here to try to answer the questions "What is an aesthetic?" (the noun), for which I had to go to Google to get the above definition, and "What other aesthetics are there" (which, now that I know the meaning of Aesthetic (noun), can be rephrased as "What different theories of the attractive are there", with "Cool" being one of these. I've attempted to answer these, by defining "Aesthetic" as separate from Aesthetics at the top of the page, and by adding the "Schools of Aesthetics" section. Unfortundately I only had one entry for that list (and the discussion page for that article shows some controversy); if anyone has anything different to add, please feel free. TimNelson 09:47, 8 January 2006 (UTC)

Offline Rewrite[edit]

In response to numerous comments, I am taking a couple of days to run a major copyedit of the article OFFLINE; I will also incorporate some elements from the 1911 Britannica history. I should slightly simplify the language as well (shooting for an 11th grade audience).

Note that any changes made ONLINE to the article between now and the update will be lost.

JeffC 15:05, 11 February 2006 (UTC)

Thanks: a good edit, incorporating some of the 1911 history already at History of aesthetics (pre-20th-century), will be very worthwhile. Note that you can use {{inuse}} as a standard way of indicating that you are working on the page offline. -- JimR 05:33, 12 February 2006 (UTC)

Summary of Copyedit changes[edit]

→ A couple of sections had Definitions of the word Aesthetic; I combined these into a top "Definition" section;

→ I added in some of the Britannica info into the existing History and Philosophy section, arranging it more chronologically with sub-section headings. As the first couple paragraphs of the Visual Arts section appeared to talk about Modern views on Aesthetic philosophy, I moved those paragraphs from Visual Arts to the Philosophy section;

→ I removed many of the wikified words leaving primarily propper nouns and large concepts wikifield;

→ I combined the sections of Information Technology and Digital Aesthetics;

→ The Mathematics section had a tone as if it were trying to justify the beauty in math. We already accept that; I repurposed the section to try to delinieate the aesthetic elements of said beauty;

→ Various grammar and clarity corrections.

JeffC 17:03, 12 February 2006 (UTC)

What About Personal Beauty?[edit]

Certainly people apply aesthetic values to their own personal hygiene and beauty. In what section should we discuss this? Is Personal Aesthetics an Art, Science, or Engineering?

JeffC 12:37, 14 February 2006 (UTC)


How do we approach the topic of fads -- more frequently than even politics, Aesthetic tastes become victims of widespread popularity (a fad) that lasts a half-generation or so and then disappears. Is this worth mentioning in the main article? What else can we say about this phenomenon? The preceding unsigned comment was added by JeffC (talk • contribs) 2006-02-14 13:01:57 (UTC)

what the article should deal with[edit]

Shouldn't this article also deal with issues of art like what the definition is; or it's value (see the "case against art" article which can be googled). 05:11, 5 July 2006 (UTC)

Request for Expert Philosophical Assistance[edit]

Hopefully the tag added to this article will entice someone to add more intellectual rigor to the subject. Right now, the article is unsatisfactory, not particularly informative, and disorganized. Let's use the 1911 Britannica article as the main text and piece together subsequent philosophical ideas to fit into the article. A massive rewrite is definitely called for...

Wipfeln 22:55, 8 July 2006 (UTC)


no pictures lol --AnYoNe! 18:01, 12 July 2006 (UTC)

The 1911 Brittanica Article is mired deep in POV, worse its a POV that started dying in the teens, and was dead dead by the 60's, it's history section is decent (but still very POV) and has been hived off into an awkward "history of aesthetics (pre-20th century)" article, but the rest of the 1911 Brittanica article is about as useful as a pre-plate tectonics discussion of global geology. I am a philosophy professor although not a specialist in aesthetics. I have put up a massive re-write. I have left the expert tag in but I may well count as a expert of the relevant kind, I'll let someone else decide. I'm not sure if I complied with all the wiki:philosophy project goals on the first shot, someone should check that. In particular I haven't done a good job of avoiding weasel words and dialogic style, I don't know any other way to make the material short, accessible, accurate, NPOV and still do justice to all aesthetic positions of all cultures and historical periods. Bmorton3 16:35, 19 July 2006 (UTC)

Aesthetic Relief[edit]

Thank you. That's expert enough for me. I originally sought the wikipedia article for the purpose of learning something about aesthetics, and it was a disappointment. Today, literally, my first and second impressions of this new version were "oooooh. Pretty pictures." and then "Ew! Bugs!" Then I read the text, and it's informative, thoughtful, and clearly knowledgeable. Anyway, now I'm more informed about aesthetics, and the wikipedia resource has a beautiful article with well-placed pictures, references, and an authoritative treatment of an important field of study. Good job! Wipfeln 06:23, 20 July 2006 (UTC)

Minor Point[edit]

Under industrial design:

"designers heed many aesthetic qualities to improve the marketability of manufactured products: smoothness, shininess/reflectivity, texture, pattern, curviness, color, simplicity (or usability), velocity, symmetry, naturalness, and modernism"

Simplicity is not the same as usability -- it's a subset of usability at best. For an example: lets say apple came out with an iPod so small it only had one button; the power button. You turn it on and it just starts playing whatever it feels like at whatever volume it feels like. This would be a simple interface, but it would not be a useable interface... I've never edited a wikipedia article and it's such a small point that I figured I'd just mention it and let someone else change it if they saw fit to.

Nominate for a Featured Article?[edit]

Hello friends,

I think that this article is /almost/ to the point where it might be acceptable to nominate it as a Featured Article. I am somewhat blinded though by my personal involvement... can we get some other opinions? JeffC 02:49, 25 July 2006 (UTC)

For me, this article feels different to other articles I have read on Wikipedia (and I've read many, like I'm sure we all have) and I really like it. There is a subtle change of vocabulary and I say with a coy tongue-in-cheek voice, I like the aesthetics of the "long" question mark headings. The text is written like a wiki/encyclopedic page with with a certain element of Philosophical textbook which the newest novice could understand. I think it is nearly ready, at worst. 22:02, 30 July 2006 (UTC)
Based on the treatment that the Hilary Putnam article got as a feature article candidate, I'd say that a much better copy-editor than me needs to go over this with a fine tooth comb, and someone needs to fill this puppy with a large number of in-line reference citations, before we consider it for FA. It think the overall structure and feel is pretty good, but the detail-language may need a bunch of ironing. Bmorton3 14:43, 2 August 2006 (UTC)
I made the formatting more pleasing in accord with WP:FN and WP:MOSHEAD. It's still rather imbalanced on the citations, all of which are early in the text. A scattering of reference marks in every section seems implied by Featured Aesthetics. Gimmetrow 16:53, 3 August 2006 (UTC)
Most of this article is okay as it stands, but parts of it appear to be incomplete - I was redirected here from a search for the Philosophy of Art, which meant that I expected to find more about the Philosophy of Art than there currently is. In particular, the section on the value of art is appalling - by being just a paragraph of questions, it implies that there's been no significant work done in this area to answer those questions, because (to the mind of the average reader) otherwise it would have been mentioned. I've only recently begun studying the Philosophy of Art so I'll try pulling something together when I've learned more (unless someone else can do it sooner?), but until then because that section needs expanding I'd say this article isn't ready for nomination for featured article. Anria 12:38, 18 September 2006 (UTC)
Maybe it is my bias here, but if we want to expand the Philosophy of Art angle much let's create a philosophy of art page, move the redirects and link it from here. There is a lot of work done in philosophy of art, but there is very little consensus. Serious attempts to answer the many questions I mentioned would be of the form X argues Y about topic Z, A argues B about topic Z, D argues E about topic Z, and I worried that would clutter up a page that already almost too long, and very prone to each discipline coming in and cluttering. As we have done with most other disciplines, lets try to keep philosophy to a short paragraph here and allow an expansion page for all the arguing betwen Brand, and Cohen and Blocker and whatnot. Bmorton3 13:10, 18 September 2006 (UTC)
I assumed that there was a reason for the Philosophy of Art search to redirect here - something along the lines of a discussion leading to a redirect, I think (relatively new Wikipedian; please forgive silly assumptions :)) - but that suggestion is definitely a better one in the interest of avoiding clutter to an already long article. This page would still need editing, but that could wait until a Philosophy of Art page was up. Anria 13:58, 18 September 2006 (UTC)
Yes I suspect there are 2 main reasons. 1) Philosophy is in bad shape on WP, the Aesthetics Project folded for lack of anyone willing to work on it, (I was the only active member last time I checked) and much of the rest of philosophy is struggling. 2) It is a common mistake to think that philosophy of art and aesthetics are synonymous, or perhaps this is a common position and it is my POV (and others) that they are not synonymous. Bmorton3 14:11, 18 September 2006 (UTC)

Golden ratio[edit]

I think the golden ratio is relavent to this article and it should be at least mentioned somewhere. 15:10, 13 August 2006 (UTC)

The Parthenon's facade showing an interpretation of golden rectangles in its proportions.

I think the kitten image should be replaced by the following image, as the kitten is a sign of cuteness, not of aesthetics. -- ExpImptalk con 17:25, 22 September 2006 (UTC)

The kittens are there because cuteness is a variety of aesthetic judgment, and it is important to understand that beauty is NOT the only form of aesthetic judgment, a common error. But how's this compromise, we put the Partheon up front, move the kittens next to the maggots, and ax the Mona Lisa (which is too long for the text, and we already have plenty of paintings anyway)? Bmorton3 18:05, 22 September 2006 (UTC)
I think this is a great idea. And I love coming across the phrase "move the kittens next to the maggots." I'll suggest that to my wife when I get home from work. Cheers, -Anthony Krupp 18:38, 22 September 2006 (UTC)
ROFLMAO-- ExpImptalk con 22:07, 22 September 2006 (UTC)
When we are at it, why not scrap the Walkman in "Industrial Design" and replace it with the Barcelona chair or the original iMac?-- ExpImptalk con 22:15, 22 September 2006 (UTC)

Factors in aesthetic judgement cleanup[edit]

"Seeing a sublime view of a landscape may make us stop and softly say "wow" while our heart skips a beat and then races faster and our eyes widen." - Changed to "Seeing a sublime view of a landscape may give us a reaction of awe, which might manifest physically as an increased heart rate or widened eyes." I felt that the former was too informal and read clumsily.

"Perhaps we judge a Lamborghini to be beautiful partly because it is desirable as a status symbol. Perhaps we judge it to be repulsive partly because it signifies for us over-consumption of gasoline and offends our political or moral values." - changed to "We might judge a Lamborghini to be beautiful partly because it is desirable as a status symbol, or we might judge it to be repulsive partly because it signifies for us over-consumption of gasoline and offends our political or moral values." The "perhaps we judge" gives possible reasons for a judgement that we actually hold, rather than speculating about judgements that we might hold.

I also added paragraph breaks where appropriate. Anria 08:46, 18 September 2006 (UTC)

aesthetician shouldn't take you to this page[edit]

An Aesthetician is someone that is skilled in giving facials, manicures, pedicures, and other beauty treatments. It's someone involved in human aesthetics. They should have their own entry.

Thanks for pointing this out. I've turned the page into a disambiguation page, as both meanings are valid. —Pengo 22:48, 5 February 2007 (UTC)

Industrial Aesthetics[edit]

Aesthetics in Industrial Design is itself a large topic. A separate topic should be added with cross-referencing. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Nitinmittal (talkcontribs) 06:56, 13 December 2006 (UTC).

The John Dewey Reference[edit]

"For John Dewey, for instance, if the writer intended a piece to be a poem, it is one whether other poets acknowledge it or not. Whereas if exactly the same set of words was written by a journalist, intending them as shorthand notes to help him write a longer article later, these would not be a poem."

Where did he write this? Art as Experience? Or someplace else? If it was in A as E, could we get a chapter or page number or the like? --Christofurio 01:47, 17 December 2006 (UTC)

Worldview it is not[edit]

Islam is as exotic as this debate gets, African Aesthetic no mention, India no mention, no dedicated chapters to any non-European view, save a few lines on Islam, which if was properly written would be longer than this article. worldview needed.--HalaTruth(ሀላካሕ) 16:22, 2 January 2007 (UTC)

Thank you for helping, can you document some of those claims before you forget where you found them? Bmorton3 20:46, 11 January 2007 (UTC)

I hope you are being sarcastic in the use of "exotic." It's only exotic from some Western points of view, which have long been thought of as problemmatic. But I agree with the main point of the suggestion to expand the article. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:52, 28 January 2008 (UTC)

Can I add that all instances of "Allah" should be changed to "God?" Allah is God. "Allah" is simply the Arabic word for God. It is used, for example, in Arabic translations of the Bible and by Arabic speaking Christians. People who think they are being culturally "sensitive" and informed when they use the term Allah are in fact perpetuating the premise that incited the Crusades: that the Islamic god is a false god. Islamic law, on the other hand, explicitly recognizes the shared God of the three monotheistic "peoples of the Book": Jews, Christians, and Muslims. --Liz —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:06, 26 February 2008 (UTC)

Environmental aesthetics[edit]

No mention of environmental aesthetics? see here for a reference. —Pengo 22:43, 5 February 2007 (UTC)

I will do one. See environmental aesthetics. -- Alan Liefting-talk- 04:46, 4 December 2007 (UTC)

Post-modern Aesthetics[edit]

The Kandinsky painting that illustrates this section is nice (aesthetic judgement!), but I think it's inappropriate to categorise it as post-modern, and is therefore somewhat misleading in this context (the same image is also used to illustrate the 'Creative Impulse' and 'Symbols' sections of the main article on Art). I'm new to editing WP, so maybe somebody else could replace the image with another that is generally agreed to be representative of post-modern art (perhaps work by Jeff Koons, Sherrie Levine, Damien Hirst, or some site-specific art instead of a traditional painting?) --Birkinstein 18:02, 9 February 2007 (UTC)

I agree. The image should go. This section as a whole is a bit of a muddle (other posts have pointed to the problem of addressing such a large subject). The first paragraph about the Bloomsbury group and Twentieth century 'revolts'is really about Modernist Aesthetics and Avant Garde Aesthetics. The second paragraph does describe some features of Post-Modern aesthetics, but needs expanding.--Ethicoaestheticist 18:17, 19 February 2007 (UTC)


In some of the early parts of the article there are quite a few statements stated as fact that derive from Kantian Aesthetics. I've got nothing against Kant. The single joke in the Third Critique makes me laugh every time. I think though that the Kantian parts should be properly referenced so readers can see where these ideas come from. I've added a quote about agreeable wine drinking.--Ethicoaestheticist 00:08, 21 February 2007 (UTC)

Aesthetics is not just Art[edit]

The article concentrates too much on Art. Of course that is important, but many other areas need to feature also. 1. Science. The aesthetic appeal of a scientific theory or model is widely acknowledged to have a huge effect upon the likelihood of its being researched and promoted. The beauty of the double helix; the elegance of the periodic table, etc. etc. 2. Nature. What are the mechanisms that tell us which 'landscapes' to admire/be moved by? (but I'm talking slices of the natural world, not paintings). e.g. Why does a 'good view' generally have to be a very extensive one? I don't feel qualified to write this, but someone should. Michael Talibard 19:21, 24 March 2007 (UTC)

Do you mean extensive or expensive? Bus stop 19:25, 24 March 2007 (UTC)


Can someone change the titles that have questions in them. The style of writing does not really suit an encyclopaedia article and seems to give a sense that it is actually just an essay. --pizza1512 Talk Autograph 15:44, 15 April 2007 (UTC)

Music doesn't imitate life?

I belive it does —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:56, 18 September 2007 (UTC)

Music Doesn't Imitate Life?[edit]

In the section concerning the list of traits that something must have to be art, it mentions that it must imitate life (with a few exceptions, such as music and modern art).

This is absurd, the statement doesn't acknowledge that the goal of both music and modern art is still to imitate life, or at the very least to communicate some point about life. Even color-studies could be considered an imitation of life, as in historical context, they coincide with a period in human existence where there was intense study of the fundamental make-up of all things (human genome project, new physics, etc.)

maybe it's just my musician and artist side complaining here, but come on. Give credit where credit is due. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 13:30, 7 May 2007 (UTC).

I agree. Music imitates singing, which animals do. "Modern" art, which probably means anything after Impressionism, is usually studying physical reality. Furthermore, there's a lot of religious art that doesn't seek to represent reality. Even old cave paintings sought to represent abstractions of reality, or visual representations of myths. 10:27, 17 July 2007 (UTC)

This depends on which definition of "imitate" one uses. These are definitions from the Oxford English Dictionary:

1. trans. To do or try to do after the manner of; to follow the example of; to copy in action.

b. Sometimes with implication of incongruity or of specific purpose: To mimic, counterfeit.

c. Said of undesigned similarity of action. Obs.

d. With inf.: To endeavour, make an attempt to do something. Obs. exc. dial.

2. To make or produce a copy or representation of; to copy, reproduce.

b. ‘To pursue the course of (a composition) so as to use parallel images and examples’ (J.).

3. To be, become, or make oneself like; to assume the aspect or semblance of; to simulate: a. intentionally or consciously; b. unintentionally or unconsciously.

I would agree that Art, in any form, attempts to depict or simulate aspects of one's existence, but to use the word "imitate" is little more than the citing of the extremely over-used cliché ; "Art imitates life". Anything one does can be said to "imitate life", from sweeping floors to flying airplanes. The phrase is so hackneyed that it really has no meaning. (talk) 16:46, 8 January 2008 (UTC)

We need a non-biased expert here. The concept were having trouble with is mimesis. And no, not all art is tied up with memesis or representation or "attempting to depict or simulate aspecits of one's existence." This is a biased viewpoint. Be careful to not try and fit everying into a personal understanding of art. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:56, 28 January 2008 (UTC)


Why is the word "aesthetic" defined WITH the word "aesthetic?"

Extremely Serious Error[edit]

To my mind, there is an important misconception in the article. At the beginning of the article, it is claimed that "The term aesthetics…was coined by the philosopher Alexander Gottlieb Baumgarten in 1735 to mean 'the science of how things are known via the senses.' " This is not true, even though it is supported by a citation to "Kivy, Peter ed. The Blackwell Guide to Aesthetics 2004." It was the ancient Greeks who used the name aesthetics to designate sensations or reactions to the stimulation of the sense organs. In this way, they distinguished sensations from thoughts in the mind. This is reflected in the word anesthetic which means that which results in insensitivity or the absence of sensation and feeling. In a totally unrelated way, Baumgarten appropriated the word to mean the supposed objective laws of the appreciation of natural or artistic beauty. In the Wikipedia article on Baumgarten, this can be understood from the quotation from Kant's work.

The ancient Greeks used the reactions from one sense, that of touch, to represent all of the others. (This is in accord with Schopenhauer's statement that all five senses are forms of the one sense of touch.) In this way, they considered aesthetic to mean feeling (sensation), as opposed to mental thought. All sensations are, in this wider meaning, felt. Similarly, Baumgarten used the sensation of taste to represent his attempt to derive laws regarding the beautiful in nature and art. Taste, in this wider meaning, is the estimation of the beautiful. In his Metaphysic, § 451, Baumgarten defined taste, in its wider meaning, as the ability to judge according to the senses, instead of according to the intellect. Such a judgment of taste is based on feelings of pleasure or displeasure. The relevant passage from the Wikipedia article on Baumgarten is as follows:

Baumgarten used the word aesthetics to mean taste or "sense" of beauty, instead of meaning the ability to receive stimulation from the five bodily senses. A science of aesthetics would be, for Baumgarten, a deduction of the rules or principles of art from individual "taste." In 1781, Kant declared that Baumgarten's aesthetics could never contain objective laws or principles of natural or artistic beauty.

The Germans are the only people who presently (1781) have come to use the word aesthetic[s] to designate what others call the critique of taste. They are doing so on the basis of a false hope conceived by that superb analyst Baumgarten. He hoped to bring our critical judging of the beautiful under rational principles, and to raise the rules for such judging to the level of a lawful science. Yet that endeavor is futile. For, as far as their principal sources are concerned, those supposed rules or criteria are merely empirical. Hence they can never serve as determinate a priori laws to which our judgment of taste must conform. It is, rather, our judgment of taste which constitutes the proper test for the correctness of those rules or criteria. Because of this it is advisable to follow either of two alternatives. One of these is to stop using this new name aesthetic[s] in this sense of critique of taste, and to reserve the name aesthetic[s] for the doctrine of sensibility that is true science. (In doing so we would also come closer to the language of the ancients and its meaning. Among the ancients the division of cognition into aisthētá kai noētá [felt or thought] was quite famous.) The other alternative would be for the new aesthetic[s] to share the name with speculative philosophy. We would then take the name partly in its transcendental meaning, and partly in the psychological meaning.

Immanuel Kant, Critique of Pure Reason, A 21, note.

Nine years later, in his Critique of Judgment, Kant use the word aesthetic in relation to the judgment of taste or the estimation of the beautiful. For Kant, an aesthetic judgment is subjective in that it relates to the internal feeling of pleasure or displeasure and not to any qualities in an external object.

In a nutshell, aesthetic means:

  • Ancient Greeks ---------Sensation-----------Called "Feeling"
  • Baumgarten -----------Principles of Beauty--------Called "Taste"

(Note: For Kant's speculative philosophy, transcendental aesthetic is the description of way in which an object is given to the mind. This occurs through sensations that are arranged in sequence [time] and juxtaposition [space].)

  • Lestrade 14:24, 13 July 2007 (UTC)Lestrade

Category Mistakes[edit]

The word aesthetics is now used to describe concepts that it was never originally meant to describe. For example, in the field of mathematics, it is said that some equations are elegant and aesthetically beautiful. This may be a misuse of the word aesthetic. In Gilbert Ryle's book, The Concept of Mind, he examined this type of misuse. For Ryle, every concept legitimately belongs to a specific category. He defines categories as logical types. The way that a certain concept belongs to a specific category (logical type), is the same as a set of logically legitimate ways of operating mentally. His book tries to show how mental operations occur that are in violation of logical rules. Thus, Ryle thinks of philosophy as replacing bad category habits with a lawful discipline. The use of the word aesthetic to describe non-perceptual beauty may be a violation of logical rules. That would explain why it is incomprehensible to say that a mathematical equation is beautiful, instead of simple, correct, or valid. Many people may defer to authority and accept such a judgment without really know what is meant or what reference it has to real experience.Lestrade 00:43, 14 July 2007 (UTC)Lestrade

Simply because something does not concretely exist does not mean it cannot be beautiful. Mathematics are considered to be aestically beautiful by those who understand them. There is a logiclally sublime aspect to the mandelbrot set or a tesseract equal to any pianting or composition. The idea that these are two different aspects of beauty is not beyond conception, but to say that they are not aestetically beautiful is to deny an aspect of humanity. Reguardless of what an individual may consider most pleasing, a large group of people who understand these equations find them to be beautiful. The argument the these are "non-Perceptual" is a fallacy. As the philosopher Kant established, anything which we concieve of is by definition percieved. Whether or not it actullaly exists is besides the point. One could just as easilly argue that a painting is not aesthetically beautiful because it is only a representation of what it depicts, or that a symphony is not beautiful because it is merely a collection of sounds pleasing to the human brain, evanescent and without physical form. The equations which are considered beautiful are not merely correct, valid, or simple. They are elegant. They reveal, like many of the greatest works of art, some fundamental aspect of life or reality. They may be, like the Fibonacci sequence, present in unexpected aspects of reality. They may be, like the simple musical masterpiece Pachelbel's Canon, consisting of three intertwining harmonies only nine measures each upon which the entire song varies, far more than their simplicity may at first suggest. They may be equations which give us a window into a world far more complex and wonderous than we can possibly understand, like the hypercube. Yes, mathematics can be beautiful.--Scorpion451 15:55, 16 July 2007 (UTC)

Scorpion451 and Aesthetics[edit]

This is a reply to User:Scorpion451:

Mathematics are considered to be aestically beautiful by those who understand them.

This conveys no information about aesthetics. Are we to take the word of "those who understand" on their authority or as an article of faith?

logiclally sublime aspect

What is a logically sublime aspect? The sublime is a feeling of smallness or insignificance when observing something that is overwhelmingly large in space or time. It is different from beauty and has no relation to logic.

mandelbrot set, tesseract, Fibonacci sequence

These are mathematical entities that can be represented visually. Through the employment of graphic coordinates, an algebraic equation can be displayed as a geometric shape. Therefore any beauty that they have is a result of their visual qualities. Non–visual mathematics do not possess this characteristic of beauty, if the word "beauty" is used correctly.

a large group of people who understand these equations find them to be beautiful

How can their judgment be verified? This might be very similar to the fairy tale about the Emperor's New Clothes.

As the philosopher Kant established, anything which we concieve of is by definition percieved.

I would wager that this assertion does not exist in any of Kant's writings. Can you tell me where it appears in Kant's books? For Kant, perceptions are the basis of concepts. But, perceptions are entirely different from concepts. A concept is formed by mentally abstracting or taking away all of the extraneous characteristics that are perceived in a group of objects, leaving only the essential characteristics that all of the objects share in common.

Whether or not it actullaly exists is besides the point.

Is that its existence in itself (absolute existence) or its existence as it is perceived by an observer(relative existence)?

The equations which are considered beautiful are not merely correct, valid, or simple. They are elegant.

John von Neumann used the adjective "elegant" to describe formal mathematics. But, it had historically been used in reference to objects that are visually pleasant. He had much authority and took the liberty to appropriate the adjective "elegant" for his own idiosyncratic use. Afterwards, he was mimicked and the adjective was thoughtlessly used by many other people as a way to express their enthusiasm for mathematics.

equations which give us a window into a world far more complex and wonderous than we can possibly understand, like the hypercube

This may or may not be true. This statement would be difficult to prove. In any event, it has no relation to beauty.

Yes, mathematics can be beautiful.

I might also say "mining can be beautiful," "playing Monopoly can be beautiful," or "lawn mower maintenance can be beautiful" "according to many people who understand these things." To those of us who are in ignorance of these activities, the word "beautiful" is, at best, poetic and, at worst, devoid of meaning. In so doing, the word "beautiful" becomes so vague that it loses its ability to convey information. It cannot be illustrated by experience.

Shouldn't we, as editors of Wikipedia, arrive at clear, precise meanings for the words that we use? We will not accomplish that if we defer to the subjective, indefinite, or indistinct pronouncements of "those who know" or "those who understand."

Lestrade 17:46, 16 July 2007 (UTC)Lestrade

I refuse to have a debate in an inappropriate place such as this. The only comment I will make is that my refference to Kant appears in his Critique of Pure Reason, in which he also examines the perception and abstract conception of aesthetics. If you cannot appriciate the abstact beauty of mathematics that is your loss.--Scorpion451 23:19, 16 July 2007 (UTC)
Where in the Critique of Pure Reason? It is a big book with many pages. Can you appreciate the abstract beauty of mathematics? If so, is it possible to talk about it in ordinary words? Is it a visual beauty? Is it merely simplicity? Is it visual symmetry? Is it appropriateness or purposefulness? Why are the nouns beauty and elegance used? Are there better words that might be used to describe this quality that I am missing?Lestrade 00:37, 22 July 2007 (UTC)Lestrade]
One more thing about Kant:

In the article you state " According to Kant, beauty is objective and universal; thus certain things are beautiful to everyone." This seems to me quite wrong. But Kant insists that universality and necessity are in fact a product of features of the human mind (Kant calls these features ‘common sense’), and that there is no objective property of a thing that makes it beautiful. This extract is from [[3]]

Digital Aesthetics[edit]

Perhaps it could be called "computer art", which has a pretty long history, and, contrary to what the author may believe, is established in the fine arts. The idea that it's painting "done on a computer" is too narrow. Computer art should include computerized music, video games, art produced from algorithms, music produced by algorithms, artificial intelligence "chats" with computer programs, artists interactions with software to produce computer assisted art, kinetic sculpture with computerized control, computerized animation, "virtual reality", "perl poetry" or computer code as language, hypertexts, "net art", algorithmic "cut ups", visual representations of mathematical calculations, online communities producing collaborative works, storytelling kiosks, websites, website defacements, graphical user interfaces, and the computer as a subject within works of art.

I don't think there's any dispute about whether art on a computer is real art, except among people who debate whether photoshop is "real". Nearly 100% of commercial art is in an electronic form. Additionally, chemical photography and contemporary paints are advanced technology, but nobody claims that photography or acrylic paints disqualify a work as "art". The reaction against "digital" art should be dismissed as a backwards response to the rapid advance of computers in visual arts.

All that said, does the topic even belong in this article? 10:48, 17 July 2007 (UTC)

I agree that digital art is real form of art. That is I why I added the section. The criticisms of digital art must also be included, however, to preserve NPOV. The arguments you present are indeed true, I agree whole heartedly about the advanced nature of todays photgraphy and paints being an excellent example of how all of art has benifited from advancing technology. The main purpose of including a section on digital is to raise the exact questions and ideas you pose in you're comment. Perhaps you could add some of these thoughts to the article? I did not even think of the inclusion of collaborative artistic works, or artistic algorythms. I beleive that there is a sectoion already on video games as art. If not there should be, as they are approaching that level of maturity as a medium. The reicient art show "I am 8-bit" is another idea to include in this section. For those who may not have heard of it, it is an art collection cosisting of various styles of art from Pop art to abstract to realism to surrealism focusing on classic video games and video game culture. As digital art, as you stated, is present in every aspect of our lives today, I feel that it is very appropriate to have it considered under the concept of asthetics. It is undoubtedly art, but can it be asthetically beautiful? Can it be superlative? Can it move you? Does it even matter what the medium is, or is there a difference that it exists only on a screen, rather than canvas. These are the topics that this section should explore.--Scorpion451 23:29, 17 July 2007 (UTC)

I would like to add that in case you were refferencing the art page in asking if this section belonged here, it belongs because as a philosophical question under the heading of asthetics it is very pertinent today, for the reasons I mention above. The section is not meant to be a consideration of digital art itself, but of its implications in and on aesthetics, including the refusal of some "traditional" artists to accept it as true art.--Scorpion451 23:35, 17 July 2007 (UTC)

Programming and Beauty[edit]

I take issue with the statement:

"For example, a very short, powerful expression using all in-depth professional knowledge available to the programmer conveys a different sense of aesthetics and style than a functionally equivalent yet more simple expression. Such an expression might span more lines but is much more easy to understand and maintain. Aesthetics in programming also have a practical level: In general, elegant code runs faster, compiles better, is more resource efficient and is less prone to software bugs. Therefore, elegance in programming is often equivalent to good design.[36]"

Not only is it badly worded (more simple? much more easy?). How about "simpler" and "easier"? Much more correct ;) Also, the example is misleading. A simple statement that is functionally equivalent to a complicated statement is generally considered superior and more "beautiful". The citation does nothing to support the idea that more complicated statements are more elegant. They aren't.

"Everyone knows that debugging is twice as hard as writing a program in the first place. So if you're as clever as you can be when you write it, how will you ever debug it?" -- Brian Kernighan

[various permutations of the quotes exist] —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:47, 11 March 2008 (UTC)

Haven't heard any comments from the above. If no objections are raised, I propose to change it to:

"For example, a short, powerful expression that clearly expresses the intent of the code can be considered "beautiful" to the poor programmer charged with maintaining said code. This contrasts with code that is (as code all too often is) short, cryptic, unclear, and unnecessarily "clever". In-line documentation, while not strictly code, can be considered something a programmer would need to be good at in order to write beautiful code. Correctly done, documentation can accentuate the affect of beautiful code, when it is clear, concise, explains the intent of the programmer, and expands the understanding that one can gain by simply looking at the code. Comments that are redundant (only explain what the code already explains), cryptic, and overly long or short can detract from beautiful code. Aesthetics in programming can also have a practical level: Under the right conditions, elegant code can run faster and more efficiently, and (most importantly) be less prone to errors. [citations needed]"

I removed the statement that "elegance in programming is often equivalent to good design", because it isn't. You can have an elegantly coded design that is complete rubbish from a design standpoint and vice-versa. Good design and good code compliment each other, but, unfortunately, they are not equivalent. That's why they're called different things, because they are different things. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:23, 11 March 2008 (UTC)

According to User:, "Aesthetics in programming also related to design. it applies accumulated knowledge to the world, because it requires skill and ingenuity, and especially because it produces objects of beauty." This is a categorical declaration that is worth investigating. It must be taken on trust that some computer programs are objects of beauty. Therefore, they must somehow give some observer a feeling of pleasure and delight. Of course, those feelings must also be taken on trust, because no one else can get inside the mind of the observer to experience his/her pleasure and delight. But this makes the beauty that is produced merely a subjective, personal effect, like so–called beauty and so–called elegance in mathematics. Is it possible to make categorical declarations about such subjective, personal feelings? User: must think so, because that user claims that computer programming "…produces objects of beauty." These cannot be physical objects like cathedrals or female dancers. The objects that computer programmers produce are instructions for a machine. The instructions then result in other machine movements. Is it permissible to ask where is the beautiful object in all of this?Lestrade 18:08, 23 July 2007 (UTC)Lestrade

You seem to be fixated on the idea of beauty as a purely visible quality of physical objects. I belive that this is the root of your misinterperitation of my statements above also.
What is visual beauty to a man blind from birth? Nothing; he has no concept of it. The blind can experience beauty, however, through music, poetry, philosophy, sculpture...there are many blind people who expirience beauty, and even create it. They cannot experience visible beauty, but they can experience beauty in other forms.
What componetent of a painting makes it beautiful? Is it the fibers in the canvas? Is it the ground up chemicals which reflect the light in colors percieved by the human retina? Take apart a painting to its atoms and point out the ones that constitute the beauty. The physical form is a metaphore as much as mathematics or language; a series of symbols signifying a concept. It is not the physical structure, but the idea behind the structure which constitutes beauty.
A poem has no physical form, but is considered beautiful. I cited the fibonacci sequence as a form of mathematical beauty. I was not reffiring to the visual representations of the sequence, though some can be considered pretty or beautiful. The theory itself is beautiful, elegant, 42, whatever symbol you wish to use to convey the concept. The best word for the unifying concept to which I am referring is sublime.
(from the Latin sublimis ([looking up from] under the lintel, high, lofty, exalted)) is the quality of greatness or vast magnitude, whether physical, moral, intellectual, metaphysical or artistic. The term especially refers to a greatness with which nothing else can be compared and which is beyond all possibility of calculation, measurement or imitation. This greatness is often used when referring to nature and its vastness.
This is the dictionary defintion of sublime. This status is rarely if ever reached, but when a theory, a painting, a song, a sculpture, approaches the sublime, it is beautiful. The questions you raise are valid, but the problem is that you are attempting to answer a question which cannot be answered. The entire point of philosophy is not to find the right answer, but the right question. The question in aesthetics is not "What is and what is not aesthetically pleasing?" for examples of both pleasing and unpleasing paintings, songs, landscapes, theorems, programs, ect. can be found, and as our disscusion has shown this is frequently highly subjective. A more useful question seems to be, "What makes something aesthetically pleasing?".--scorpion 451 rant 20:25, 23 July 2007 (UTC)
"…when a theory, a painting, a song, a sculpture, approaches the sublime, it is beautiful." Throw out all of the dictionaries. Discard all of the hard work that men such as Immanuel Kant, Edmund Burke, Arthur Schopenhauer, and others have done to distinguish the concept of beauty from that of the sublime. Your remark is very misleading and false. It seems to be the result of ignorance or unfamiliarity with the literature. The beautiful is not the most perfect development of the sublime. But do not feel isolated. The concept of entropy describes the tendency to mix together things that were previously separated through effort. Entropy will triumph in the end, and there will be no more separate, distinct objects or thoughts. So, your conflation of the beautiful and the sublime is an example of a universal tendency. You are on the winning side.Lestrade 00:48, 24 July 2007 (UTC)Lestrade
You can belive what you like, if you can continue living in pointlless world. I know all about entropy. I'm a chemical engineering major. I just don't belive that the world is pointless. You miss understand me again. The sublime is the most perfect development of the beautiful.--scorpion 451 rant 01:06, 24 July 2007 (UTC)
I just don't belive that the world is pointless. The sublime is the most perfect development of the beautiful. These statements almost appear to be your personal, subjective point of view. Why don't you write an article or a book that elaborates on them? Immanuel Kant, Edmund Burke, and Arthur Schopenhauer wrote their thoughts and published them. You may want to do the same.Lestrade 12:18, 24 July 2007 (UTC)Lestrade

Art is..what?[edit]

"Art Is (sic) a form of expression that only you as one person can show or express."

I don't really understand what this is trying to get at. Is it implying that art is individualistic and subjective? If so, what does this have to do with aesthetics (other than the fact that the previous sentence notes that "Aesthetics is closely associated with the philosophy of art"?) Wouldn't "Aesthetics is closely associated with the philosophy of art, another subjective field" make a bit more sense? -Wooty [Woot?] [Spam! Spam! Wonderful spam!] 04:00, 26 July 2007 (UTC)

IP removed it. Moot point now. :) -Wooty [Woot?] [Spam! Spam! Wonderful spam!] 04:53, 26 July 2007 (UTC)

"Moot" means "debatable." It does not mean "inconsequential."Lestrade (talk) 17:56, 27 December 2009 (UTC)Lestrade

Actually, that differs geographically. In Britain the most common meaning is debatable, but this is not true for North America. From the Oxford English Dictionary: "Moot - N. Amer. (orig. Law). Of a case, issue, etc.: having no practical significance or relevance; abstract, academic. Now the usual sense in North America." —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:18, 4 January 2010 (UTC)

Lead section[edit]

Lead section on top of article needs to be expanded. also inserted by ip is quoted here: citation/relevancy of this content is doubted.

George Sand famously describe aesthetics thus: "Art for art's sake is an empty phrase. Art for the sake of truth, art for the sake of the good and the beautiful, that is the faith that I am searching for.

Expert help is sought. Thanks. Lara_bran 04:14, 6 September 2007 (UTC)

ip added source also, but how it is related to aesthetics, and where in article it should be placed is not known.

In a letter to Alexandre Saint-Jean, George Sand famously stated:

Lara_bran 09:59, 19 September 2007 (UTC)

4th sentence[edit]

Must aesthetics only be concerned with "new" ways of seeing and perceiving? And isn't it redundant to say "seeing and perceiving" We also seriously need an aesthetics professor to rewrite this article.


This section is particularly poor. suggest complete deletion or a serious edit--Jai alai (talk) 03:40, 12 April 2008 (UTC)Jai_alai

"Principles of aesthetics" section[edit]

This section is also marked as citing no sources and as original research, but it seems entirely extraneous to me, not to mention obviously contradictory, so I am going to delete it. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Ratiuglink (talkcontribs) 17:50, 22 June 2008 (UTC)

Aesthetics and Information Theory[edit]

I think there should be a section on Aesthetics and Information Theory on the work of Abraham Moles and Frieder Nake and others. Fleabox (talk) 18:25, 2 August 2008 (UTC)

Aesthetics and Algorithmic Information Theory[edit]

And there also should be a section on Aesthetics and Algorithmic Information Theory and Jürgen Schmidhuber's algorithmic theory of beauty (1997), which takes the subjectivity of the observer into account and postulates: among several input patterns or pattern sequences classified as comparable by a given subjective observer, the subjectively most aesthetically pleasing one is the one with the shortest description, given the observer’s previous knowledge and his particular method for encoding the data. This is closely related to the principle of minimum description length. One of his examples: mathematicians enjoy simple proofs with a short description in their formal language. Another very concrete example describes an aesthetically pleasing human face (1998) whose proportions can be described by very few bits of information. He links this to previous, less detailed proportion studies of Leonardo da Vinci and Albrecht Dürer.

Schmidhuber's theory explicitly distinguishes between what's beautiful and what's interesting, stating that interestingness corresponds to the first derivative of subjectively perceived beauty. Here the premise is that any observer continually tries to improve the compressibility of the observations by discovering regularities such as repetitions and symmetries and fractal self-similarity. Whenever the observer's learning process (which may be a predictive neural network) leads to improved data compression such that the observation sequence becomes describable by fewer bits than before, the temporary interestingness of the data corresponds to the number of saved bits. This compression progress is proportional to the observer's internal reward, also called curiosity reward (1990). A reinforcement learning algorithm tries to maximize future expected reward by learning to execute action sequences that cause additional interesting input data with yet unknown but learnable regularities. The principles can also be implemented on artificial agents which then exhibit a form of artificial curiosity. Some of the references:

J. Schmidhuber. Low-complexity art. Leonardo, Journal of the International Society for the Arts, Sciences, and Technology, 30(2):97–103, 1997.

J. Schmidhuber. Facial beauty and fractal geometry. Cogprint Archive: , 1998

J. Schmidhuber. Curious model-building control systems. International Joint Conference on Neural Networks, Singapore, vol 2, 1458–1463. IEEE press, 1991

J. Schmidhuber. Developmental robotics, optimal artificial curiosity, creativity, music, and the fine arts. Connection Science, 18(2):173–187, 2006

J. Schmidhuber. Papers on artificial curiosity since 1990:

J. Schmidhuber. Papers on the theory of beauty and low-complexity art since 1994:

J. Schmidhuber. Simple Algorithmic Principles of Discovery, Subjective Beauty, Selective Attention, Curiosity & Creativity. Proc. 10th Intl. Conf. on Discovery Science (DS 2007) p. 26-38, LNAI 4755, Springer, 2007. Also in Proc. 18th Intl. Conf. on Algorithmic Learning Theory (ALT 2007) p. 32, LNAI 4754, Springer, 2007. Joint invited lecture for DS 2007 and ALT 2007, Sendai, Japan, 2007.

Schmidhuber's theory of beauty and curiosity in a German TV show:

Fleabox (talk) 17:40, 12 August 2008 (UTC)

Aesthetics and the philosophy of art[edit]

This section seems contentious and lacks in references. Artistic Judgement is not restricted to art work, and the recognition of art work involves aesthetic judgement.

It is not uncommon to find aesthetics used as a synonym for the philosophy of art, although it is also not uncommon to find thinkers insisting that we distinguish these two closely related fields. In practice we distinguish between aesthetic and artistic judgements, one refers to the sensory contemplation or appreciation of an object (not necessarily an art object), while the other refers solely to the recognition, appreciation or criticism of an art work.Research Method (talk) 17:00, 29 October 2008 (UTC)

Nothing about Tolstoy here?[edit]

Did I miss it? His own late writings, one of them explicitly devoted to the question "what is art?" need some treatment here. --Christofurio (talk) 15:02, 6 November 2008 (UTC)

There is an adequate Wikipedia article on What is Art?. Tolstoy criticized the kind of art that is applauded today. People who believe that today's art is of value will not want to call anyone's attention to Tolstoy's book.Lestrade (talk) 17:18, 10 November 2008 (UTC)Lestrade
The article is not good, and sourced additions would be welcome, imo.Peas & Luv (talk) 05:48, 11 November 2008 (UTC)

Art Object/Work of Art[edit]

I am puzzled by the distinction this article makes between these concepts. Are they not the same?Research Method (talk) 03:25, 10 November 2008 (UTC)

Some philosophers make a distinction between the two. The distinction is most evident in arts wich require performance (i.e. theatre, music, happenings) in wich there might be art objects (i.e. scripts, music sheets, sketches) but those objects don't make the whole of the work. Adolfo Sánchez Vásquez make a distinction between the Art Object, wich is percieveable through the senses, and the Work of art, wich contains the object of art but includes among other things intention and effect ["Of the impossibility and possibility of defining art", Deslinde Magazine, 1968, pp. 12-29] — Preceding unsigned comment added by Brancaquercus (talkcontribs) 18:25, 13 November 2012 (UTC) ------Brancaquercus (talk) 18:32, 13 November 2012 (UTC)

Reference maintenance[edit]

There were some <ref> tags after the {{reflist}} template, causing a cite error to appear on the page. They linked to reviews of Kelly's Encylopedia of Aesthetics. My hunch is that they're not really necessary in this article - if we had one on that encyclopedia itself they'd fit there, but they seem superfluous here. Pasting them over here anyway in case someone can make use of them.

reviews: [1] [2] [3] <ref></ref> <ref></ref> <ref>[ IngentaConnect Encyclopedia of Aesthetics<!-- Bot generated title -->]</ref>

Gonzonoir (talk) 22:34, 4 February 2009 (UTC)

I think this page should list Aesthetic Realism, important in the development of thought about art in the latter part of the 20th century and continuing now. ( See for example ) So I put it in the list. Hope that's all right. -- B.K.S.J. (talk) 21:35, 21 January 2010 (UTC)


if you are dealing with an aesthetic you cannot then start using terms like sub-Africa because aessthtics do not wrap around colonial terms. These r not real boundaries religiously or culturally so why would they be aesthetically. There is far more difference between Ethiopia and SA than Ethiopia and SUdan and Egypt. So lets just deal with an African aesthetic including the North or alternatively split it into each country (which isnt practical). But the aesthectic of Sudan and Mali is worlds apart from Congo and Angola.--Halqh حَلَقَة הלכהሐላቃህ (talk) 15:49, 15 March 2010 (UTC)

Who's Kennick?[edit]

"Perhaps (as in Kennick's theory) no definition of art is possible anymore." <-- who's Kennick? (talk) 10:29, 10 October 2010 (UTC)

--Kennick is William Kennick, former professor of philosophy at Amherst College. Mediaphd (talk) 17:58, 1 February 2011 (UTC)

intro edit[edit]

While I agree, in the last edit, that the last lines do not belong, that does not mean it should be deleted entirely from the article. It can be placed somewhere else, especialy the part about axiology and difining the difference between the philosophy of art and aesthetics, which is challenging and should not be avoided. Shabidoo | Talk 04:19, 2 February 2011 (UTC)

Errors in the Islamic aesthetics section[edit]

In this section statement that in Islamic culture portrayal of animal and people was forbidden is inaccurate. Article never mentions such important art form in Islamic Civilization as miniature(Persian miniature, Ottoman Miniature and Mughal miniature) in which we can see numerous examples of animal and human depiction. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Shahin44 (talkcontribs) 05:32, 18 June 2011 (UTC)

Child in the crowd and nudity.[edit]

These are my cynical, very amateur observations, theories and questions. I welcome criticism, advice and syntax/editing improvements. I mention 3 points here and if any are perhaps worthy of including in the article proper, I will clean it up and add verification sources. I felt compelled to write this because (1)the biological roots were not mentioned, and (2)similarly the relevance of the old saw of "form follows function" was missed. These are primal and relevant roots of aesthetics. Point(3):Good scientific methodology has shown evidence of much self deception amongst probably sincere aesthetes. Personally I find anaesthetics is more interesting and fun!

Point (1)Some aesthetic values are biologically based: a "healthy" looking and thus usually very fertile "mate" is a "good" choice to breed with and thus evolution has retained a successful, genetic "library" of what we consider as beautiful. Similarly, because it signals a greater probability of quick mating, a sexually aroused woman appears more beautiful, hence the use of lipstick, rouge, nail polish and earrings (which attract the gaze to possibly suffused earlobes) are thought of as enhancing beauty. Conversely we have evolved a natural distaste and uneasiness for that which may potentially cause us to be dis eased (sic - because I am trying to point out the construction of the word "disease") The above evolutionarily derived preferences can be overshadowed by the temporally dynamic and culture specific traits that we notice our peers perceive as beautiful and thus desirable while we are maturing . Note how the "ideal woman" has changed from Rubenesque (which is probably the most natural) to the present day shaved early pubertal look and shape foisted on us by profit driven advertizing primarily because so few woman can maintain that image without great expenditure of money. (The Rubeneque chubbiness was also probably a status signal from the husband, "Look! I am successful enough to overfeed my wife!")

Point (2)I do not think I read anything in the article or discussion about how all "forms that follows function efficiently" are beautiful, either in nature or even when "efficiently" designed by humans. Everything (including mathematical proofs) that is minimal and functions perfectly is elegant! (especially to engineers)(Sharks, because they exhibit dangerous looking teeth, AND appear so perfectly adapted are an example that elicits paradoxical simultaneous disgust/fear and admiration in many people.

Babies even when dirty, smelly and noisy are considered to be "beautiful" due to genetic programming. The alternative is extinction.

Point (3)Is it possible that most of the "art and culture world" is unaware that the emperor's clothes they wear might be imaginary? Is perhaps the bulk of accepted art and aesthetics just due to placebo effects? (As mentioned, much of it differs in different cultures. Is it self sustaining only because so many people have so much of their social, material and spiritual (read egotistical) lives invested in it? (The US criminal justice industry is analogous to this.) Wine tasting and appreciation is notorious for blatant inconsistencies and errors of judgment, even with the "experts," especially when double blind tested. This is so embarrassingly obvious that wine "experts" in recent decades refuse this mode of aesthetic judgment and declaration. This has also occurred with self proclaimed expert audiophiles and sound equipment quality judgment.

"Fashion is designed to be so abominable that it must change every 6 months." Oscar Wilde paraphrased? I have been told that I am SO unfashionable that I have style. I was intentionally and neatly left with doubts of the speaker's sincerity. Ecstatist (talk) 01:05, 24 August 2011 (UTC)

Marxist aesthetics?[edit]

This is a shock. Absolutely no mention of Marxist aesthetics? This article is not a very good one without including in it the most devastating critique of existing ideas about things, of states of affairs, which remains the Marxist one. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:45, 1 December 2011 (UTC)

Do you have any verifiable references from reliable sources to back up that claim?   — Jeff G. ツ (talk) 04:48, 1 December 2011 (UTC)

Incorrect Style[edit]

This article is written in a style that is neither encyclopedic or consistent with Wikipedia's style of articles. Questions are used too frequently throughout the text, and at some points, the articles starts to should like a thesis paper (issues with style are more apparent because there are also fluctuations, which can be quite jarring to the reader). Especially see sections with interrogative titles. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:59, 29 February 2012 (UTC)

Re recent editing[edit]

Aesthetic Realism [] is not a religious organization but a philosophy. It is based on principles, a key one of which is "All beauty is a making one of opposites, and the making one of opposites is what we are going after in ourselves."

The Terrain Gallery in SoHo, NYC, founded in 1955, has run continuously since that date. It is based on a landmark investigation about the nature of beauty by Eli Siegel, founder of Aesthetic Realism, "Is Beauty the Making One of Opposites?" Its current exhibition, titled "Surface to Begin With," features works by, among others,Robert Blackburn, Harold Krisel, and Ken Kimmelman.

The first sentence of this Wikipedia entry states that aesthetics "is a branch of philosophy dealing with the nature of beauty, art, and taste, and with the creation and appreciation of beauty." So it is right for Aesthetic Realism to be here. Nathan43 (talk) 04:12, 28 March 2012 (UTC)

Dutton and Aesthetic Universals[edit]

This section needs major revision since it cites a summary of universals from Steven Pinker, rather than Dutton's own work, The Art Instinct. In that book he describes a list of cluster criteria (and expands them to 12). None are necessary or sufficient characteristics of art, but the more an artifact has, the better it fits into the category. This covers the majority of things called art without becoming bogged down in accounting for the edge cases, such as Duchamp.

The section also needs to include other authors that have similar lists.FigureArtist (talk) 04:16, 5 January 2013 (UTC)

The "nine great civilizations"[edit]

Rome should not be included in this list, as it is not unique, for its culture is very derivative of that of Greece. There are other significant civilizations that were far more unique than Rome: for example, the Andean Chavin culture. The inclusion of Rome seems eurocentric, when so few civilizations are mentioned from the Americas, and none are mentioned from sub-Saharan Africa. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:17, 30 July 2013 (UTC)

Experimental aesthetics[edit]

It isn't clear why 'experimental aesthetics' suddenly appears in the sub-category 'post-modern aesthetics', it either needs to be stated why or removed or made in a different place on this page (another sub head 'experimental aesthetics' could include the Graz school and Meinong e.g.).

Plus, a fair amount of the material seems like original research amd non neutral opinion.

Ninjabeard (talk) 20:42, 1 January 2014 (UTC)


Virtually the whole page is truly awful. I didn't stop cringing. Amateurish (although that denigrates amateurs), frequently ungrammatical, just embarrassingly bad. Most of it reads like a first-week uni student's paper. Or high school. Is this the best that we can do?! Geez. I just deleted a sentence/paragraph on 'pneumaist' aesthetics that seemed a obscure joke. Who knows. A total shambles. Can someone tag the page with something indicating that it desperately needs work? Yes, it is that bad. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:53, 24 May 2014 (UTC)

  1. ^ Encyclopedia of Aesthetics. - book review | Art Bulletin, The | Find Articles at BNET
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