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Ever read a book on aesthetics and wondered what it all had to do with actual works of art? Ever had the uneasy feeling that aesthetics may have become so interested in abstract ideas about art that it had forgotten about art itself? Then rest assured, Ruth Lorand's book is not like that. Dr Lorand speaks about aesthetics with the voice of someone who is interested not only in analysing ideas about art and beauty, but also in how those ideas relate to the books she's read, the films and paintings she's seen, and artworks of all kinds. It is the voice of someone who has thought long and hard about the philosophy of art without losing sight of its ultimate raison d'être. The result is a truly impressive and original book. While always ready and able to situate her thoughts within a broader philosophical context, Lorand strikes out in interesting new directions in aesthetics, producing an approach to art that will give thinkers in this area a lot to chew over for a long time to come. "Aesthetic Order: A Philosophy of Beauty and Art" is exactly what its title suggests - a theory of art and beauty resting on the notion of aesthetic order. The thesis is worked out in careful, methodical detail and expressed in the kind of clear, unambiguous prose that one always looks for in works on philosophy but, regrettably, does not always find. To some extent, Lorand's book is reminiscent of Mary Mothersill's well-known work, "Beauty Restored", both authors being keen to rescue the idea of beauty from the cloud of philosophical suspicion that, for some aestheticians at least, has hung over it for some time. Mothersill's Beauty is, however, a rather pale and insubstantial creature, nourished, one senses, on a little too much of the thin gruel of analytical philosophy.Read more ›
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