Aesthetics for Birds

Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art for Everyone

April 7, 2020
by Alex King
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AFB’s Terms of Art #12: Phenomenology

Now that increasing numbers of people are stuck at home and sheltering in place, I figured I’d do a little series. Every weekday for the duration of this intense period, I’ll post a short definition of some term in/related to aesthetics and philosophy of art. Let’s see how this goes! See them all here. Terms of Art #12: phenomenology

May 23, 2017
by Aesthetics for Birds
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Indian Aesthetics: Rasa Theory

There is a familiar puzzle in philosophy of art: How do fictions provoke real feelings in us? This raises other questions: Are those real feelings? Do we feel real fear, or some fear-like thing when we watch a scary movie? How do actors or written words get us to feel those things, whatever they are? Over at the podcast The History of Philosophy Without Any Gaps, Peter Adamson (LMU Munich, King’s College London) talks about the rasa tradition that starts with Bharata’s Nāṭya-Śāstra (Treatise on Drama) and its distinctive approach to answering these questions. The text dates back to 200 BCE – 200 CE, so it’s roughly as old as Aristotle’s Poetics. What is rasa? An aesthetic response elicited by the drama. It’s not the emotion itself, but it derives from the emotion. There are eight kinds of rasa, corresponding to eight basic emotional dispositions: the erotic the comic the pathetic the furious the heroic the … Continue reading