Beauty and aesthetics


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Beauty and aesthetics
The great swindle

From pickled sharks to compositions in silence, fake ideas and fake emotions have elbowed out truth and beauty

Roger Scruton

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Beauty and aesthetics
The sea was never blue

The Greek colour experience was made of movement and shimmer. Can we ever glimpse what they saw when gazing out to sea?

Maria Michela Sassi

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Art
How wonder works

One emotion inspired our greatest achievements in science, art and religion. We can manipulate it – but why do we have it?

Jesse Prinz

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Beauty and aesthetics
Against popular culture

For Adorno, popular culture is not just bad art – it enslaves us to repetition and robs us of our aesthetic freedom

Owen Hulatt

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Beauty and aesthetics
The copy is the original

In China and Japan, temples may be rebuilt and ancient warriors cast again. There is nothing sacred about the ‘original’

Byung-Chul Han

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Beauty and aesthetics
Rise of the ripped

With bodies sculpted to look like comic-book heroes, today’s muscle men create an impossible template for masculinity

Clarissa Sebag-Montefiore

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Music
Musical pleasures

We know music is pleasurable, the question is why? Many answers have been proposed: perhaps none are quite right

Roger Mathew Grant

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Beauty and aesthetics
The puzzle of beauty

Rather than a golden ratio or a moral judgment, beauty is more like a radical jolt that awakens us to the world

Shahidha Bari

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Beauty and aesthetics
Beauty ≠ truth

Scientists prize elegant theories, but a taste for simplicity is a treacherous guide. And it doesn’t even look good

Philip Ball

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Beauty and aesthetics
Eye candy

The pleasure we take in beauty must have been shaped by evolution — but what adaptive advantage did it give us?

Mohan Matthen

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Design and fashion
What do clothes say?

Clothes can be forms of thought as articulate as a poem or equation. Why then does philosophy like to dress them down?

Shahidha Bari

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Beauty and aesthetics
A circus of the senses

It makes letters colourised and numbers pulsate with cosmic time: a rare gift, or are we all on the synaesthetic spectrum?

Shruti Ravindran

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Computing and artificial intelligence
Art by algorithm

From book critiques to music choices, computation is changing aesthetics. Does increasingly average perfection lie ahead?

Ed Finn

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Beauty and aesthetics
Whys of seeing

Experimental psychology is providing concrete answers to some of the great philosophical debates about art and its meaning

Ellen Winner

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Beauty and aesthetics
It is and it isn’t

Marcel Duchamp’s ‘Fountain’ is not just a radical kind of art. It’s a philosophical dialetheia: a contradiction that is true

Damon Young & Graham Priest

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Making
Material intelligence

The chasm between producers and consumers leaves many of us estranged from beauty and a vital part of an ethical life

Glenn Adamson

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Beauty and aesthetics
Against flow

In the myth of flow, the performer soars when the music starts. But it’s grit and self-analysis until the very last bar

Barbara Gail Montero

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Art
La bella vita

True beauty pleases the eye and the mind – but can it help us to become better people?

John Armstrong