Bartlett, Ethel Marjorie (1934)
The analysis of some types of aesthetic judgment (an attempt to discover a more satisfactory method for the study of the philosophy of aesthetics).
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The thesis is intended primarily as an essay in method. It is an attempt to determine the 'philosophical significance of the very varied data of Aesthetics, e.g. Metaphysical theories of the nature and status of Beauty, psychological analysis of experience, etc. This involves in the first place the discovery of the correct starting-point and leads to a discussion of the false simplification which may arise if the metaphysical question is introduced too soon. The theories of lascelles Abercrombie, Clive Bell Croce and Kant are criticised from this point of view. The possibility is next discussed of finding the correct starting-point in either the analysis of objects or of experience. An examination of theories such as those of the psycho-analysts, of S. Alexander and of W. McDougall leads to the conclusion that the correct starting-point lies in the analysis of a range of situations in which both objects and experiences are involved. These situations involve an Aesthetic Judgment of one kind or another and can best be understood through the analysis of the Judgment. The generally accepted form of the Judgment -"This is beautiful" - is taken and the conclusion is reached that it is far more important to understand the reference of the "This" than the meaning of the predicate. The relevant situations seem to be of four chief types. An attempt is made to determine what is common to all. The concept of Externalisation is suggested and its relation to such concepts as Bullough's "Psychical Distance" and Richards' "Equilibrium" is discussed. The remainder of the thesis is devoted to the discussion of how externalisation is involved in the four types of situation, i.e. those yielding only the Aesthetic Minimum; the artists' process of Inspiration and Externalisation in a medium; the nature of the work of art and of the recipient's appreciation of it; and the experience of natural beauty.
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Institution: University of London, Bedford College (United Kingdom).