Eric Newton Meaning of Beauty (Pelican)

ISBN 13: 9780140205800

Meaning of Beauty (Pelican)

9780140205800: Meaning of Beauty (Pelican)

Excerpt from Meaning of Beauty

But logic, that rather clumsy machine for detecting fallacies, can never succeed in discovering truth. Having exposed St. Thomas's fallacy, and having raised a pair of shocked eyebrows on finding that so good an Aristotelian should have paid so' little attention to his master's teaching, logic may retire. Logic can get rid of a certain amount of encumbering dead wood, but whoever attempts to analyse beauty is concerned with a living growth. And for that another method must be used.

It is clear then that an enquiry into the nature of visual beauty must be prepared to examine two sets of phenomena - the quality itself and the emotion it produces. It is equally clear that the presence of the quality is only revealed by the presence of the emotion. And one might easily be tempted to conclude that, since the only proof that beauty exists at all is the fact that human beings are susceptible to its power, therefore the only clue to its nature is to be fo'und in an analysis of the emotions. That is surely the pit into which most of the writers on aesthetics have disappeared: the fruits of their labours have been rather psychological than aesthetic. To write a book on the aesthetic emotions in the hope that it' will shed light on the nature of beauty seems to me rather like examining the construction of a mirror in the belief that by so doing the nature of the universe reflected in it will be revealed.

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