The Question


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Conrad Skinner
Date submitted: 1/5/99

(Re: Question 1.) Notions of aesthetic are manifold in both time and space. Surely one can have aesthetic experiences both inside and outside academe. As far as aesthetic events are private, and therefore subjective, they may be unwelcome in a place where the value of experience may depend on quantifiability and predictability (requirements of science). Aesthetics has no necessary connection to morality or ethics. Aesthetic events seem to have a kind of "figure/ground" relation in time and space. (I seem to be bleeding into question two.) "Beauty" is isolated against the drabness of the "everyday". "Beauty" is transitory as event but eternal as experience. In other words, an experience of beauty doesn't fade through one's life though the beautiful object may cease to exist. An aesthetic event may not necessarily be moral. Read DeSade. The sculptor Robert Smithson based his aesthetic on entropy. The pyramids of Giza seem to have aesthetic appeal, though the slave labor that built them would not be politically acceptable in the US today.

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