Volume 1, 2018
Aesthetics and Philosophies of Art
The State of Aesthetics
Between Art and Everyday Life
Today there are various claims that aesthetics should be redefined and practised differently than the former branch of Western philosophy dealing with ‘fine’ arts. One major discontent regards the continuous association between aesthetics and art by which the aesthetic dimension and the artistic institution are conflated, then insulated from ordinary human life. This paper analyses some recent strategies to rethinking aesthetics and its status: from accounts that hold a ‘naturalistic’ approach of aesthetic facts whose proper horizon is anthropological (Schaeffer) or try to redefine aesthetic thinking in accord with the new regime of contemporary art thus extending it from an “art of seeing” to some ontological and sociological language-games (Michaud), to those - mostly in Anglo-American space - that tend to expand the realm of aesthetics by focusing on the aesthetic character of everyday life and argue that this should be examined on its own terms (Saito). My claims are, firstly, that anthropological-sociological challenges do not dismiss philosophical aesthetics; secondly, that extending the scope of aesthetics towards everyday life does not dismiss concepts of the aesthetic and aesthetic experience as shaped in relation to the arts. Instead, the corresponding practices of everyday life and contemporary art should be examined through a comparative approach that could disclose both their common features and specific modes of manifestation. I conclude that for overcoming tensions and inconsistencies within these accounts, a broader conception of aesthetics is needed, able to include both art and everyday life in a compelling conceptual framework.