Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association

Volume 94, 2020

The Good, the True, the Beautiful: Through and of the Ages

Ryan Michael Miller
Pages 139-151

Aesthetic Truth Through the Ages
A Lonerganian Theory of Art History

Classical authors were generally artistic realists. The predominant aesthetic theory was mimesis, which saw the truth of art as its successful representation of reality. High modernists rejected this aesthetic theory as lifeless, seeing the truth of art as its subjective expression. This impasse has serious consequences for both the Church and the public square. Moving forward requires both, first, an appreciation of the strengths and weaknesses of the high modernist critique of classical mimetic theory, and, second, a theory of truth which makes adequate reference to both subject and object. This paper argues that Lonergan offers just such an account of truth, and so cashes out the high modernist rejection of classical mimesis in Lonergan’s terms, thereby creating the opportunity for a synthesis of the two views.