Numer 37/2010


  1. Arnold Berleant, Wrażliwość: wzrost pewnej estetyki
  2. Cheryl Foster, Bezinteresowność i pogarda a recepcja głównych koncepcji Berleanta
  3. Cheng Xiangzhan, Estetyka środowiskowa a estetyka ekologiczna: wpływ Arnolda Berleanta na estetykę ekologiczną w Chinach
  4. Krystyna Wilkoszewska, Arnolda Berleanta projekt estetyki postkantowskiej
  5. Crispin Sartwell, Otwarcie Berleanta
  6. Arnold Berleant, Notatka na temat ontologii


  1. Arnold Berleant, Spuścizna Deweyowskiej estetyki
  2. Yuriko Saito, Rola estetyki w kształtowaniu świata
  3. Mara Miller, Estetyka negatywna w sztuce, środowisku i życiu codziennym: teoria Arnolda Berleanta a powieści Kirino Natsuo


  1. Arnold Berleant, O czym milczą tytuły
  2. Alicja Kuczyńska, Falowanie materii w sztuce. Brancusi
  3. Lilianna Bieszczad „Ciało w ruchu” materią improwizacji tanecznej?>

Recenzje i sprawozdania

  1. Anna Chęćka‐Gotkowicz, Estetyczna transformacja świata w ujęciu Arnolda Berleanta
  2. Bogna J. Obidzińska, Allegro. Ma non troppo

Noty o Autorach

Disinterestedness, Disdain and the Reception of Berleant’s Major Ideas

Cheryl Foster

Arnold Berleant’s philosophical theories have proven to be prescient in their identification of an aesthetic interface between human beings and the natural world – the interface he calls “engagement”, a form of participatory aesthetics. This essay presents the context out of which Berleant’s theory of engagement has evolved and then touches upon the application of engagement first to cases of aesthetic appreciation and then to a very recent case in coastal ecology and management. It is suggested that Berleant’s elaboration of a “participatory aesthetics” both mirrors and informs the scientific model of “participatory re- search”, which in turn has implications for how philosophers might understand the relative roles of objectivity and engagement in aesthetic practice.

Estetyka środowiskowa a estetyka ekologiczna: wpływ Arnolda Berleanta na estetykę ekologiczną w Chinach

Cheng Xiangzhan

Since early 1990s, Professor Arnold Berleant has visited China many times and several of his chief publications have been translated into Chinese. Both his lectures and his works have produced a significant impact on scholars in China, especially on the development of Chinese ecological aesthetics, which generated a hot topic of “the relationship and difference between environmental aesthetics and ecological aesthetics” in China. This paper first outlines Berleant’s academic activities in China year by year, then concentrates on the impact of his environmental aesthetics on the ecological aesthetics proposed mainly by Chinese scholar Zeng Fanren. The paper analyses the relationship and difference between environmental aesthetics and ecological aesthetics, pointing out that Berleant’s environmental aesthetics is viewed as a part of the whole picture of ecological aesthetics because it fits the definition of ecology perfectly.

Arnold Berleant’s Project of Post-kantian Aesthetics

Krystyna Wilkoszewska

The first decade of the 21st century has been marked by art’s distancing itself from aesthetic values, and aesthetics’ linking itself with non-artistic activity. It has become a challenge for art and aesthetics to meet. Arnold Berleant had been one of the forerunners of the revision of aesthetics, already from the onset of his research. Firstly, he examined the relation of aesthetics to philosophy.

His critique went along with Nietzsche’s, Merleau-Ponty’s, James’ and Dewey’s, as well as with ecological and feminist, departure from the Kantian aesthetics. First he criticized the category of disinterestedness and the aesthetics of separation, isolation, contemplation and distance. Its critical analysis was linked to overcoming the notion of experience in western philosophy as based on the subject-object duality. Art, according to Berleant, provides a domain where experience relies on continuity and thus serves as a model for all experience.

This assertion leads us to Berleant’s view of aesthetics’ relation to art. Aesthetics should observe artistic processes “bottom-up” rather than produce theoretic notions to describe art. This will help overcoming the substantiation of the world, for the sake of engaging in its processes. Following the demands of the 20th century art, aesthetics should dissolve the supremacy of a visible object and engage also the senses of contact, formerly ignored. Sensual perception should be widened to include also material, biological, social and cultural influences as elements of the human environment. This helps to avert the subject-object relation between humans and the world. Thus, Berleant’s aesthetics of perception is proposed as a way of re-organising our reality.

Berleant’s Opening

Crispin Sartwell

Throughout modernity, aesthetics had been marked by a significant narrowing of its subject matter, the peak of this trend being Kantian aesthetics of disinterestedness and modernist formalism based on distance. Arnold Berleant’s mission in aesthetics has been to re-open its domain towards all elements of every-day life, including consumer products, political systems, and the environment. By defining the aesthetic field as an environment of continuity between the self and the non-self, Berleant has managed to transform the Kantian subject-object relation into one of unity. However, the paper argues that such an environmental aesthetics requires a basically realist or materialist ontology of perceiving bodies in a physical environment that seems incompatible with the sort of ontology Berleant deploys. Thus, in Berleant’s perspective, a sensory or aesthetic field and a material, partly-external environment seem to be two ways of articulating the same space. But this elides or collapses a series of key distinctions. The paper argues that the status of “woods” or “mountains” as objects outside our sensorium, objects not constituted by interpretation, is ultimately needed for a fully responsive and responsible environmental ethics and aesthetics. Nevertheless, despite this difficulty, Berleant’s opening in aesthetics is extremely salubrious.

The Role of Aesthetics in World-Making

Yuriko Saito

Arnold Berleant has been tirelessly working on restoring aesthetics’ connection to the rest of our life, a subject that has been largely neglected by modern Anglo-American aesthetics. In this paper I join his endeavor by first highlighting the crucial role aesthetics plays in the humanity’s joint project of world-making. Through several examples, I show how our seemingly innocuous and trivial aesthetic tastes and preferences regarding everyday objects and activities have a surprisingly significant power to shape our attitudes, judgments, and actions. Although we generally do not realize it, our everyday aesthetics often has serious political, environmental, and moral implications, for better or worse, ultimately determining the quality of life and the state of the world. In light of this power of the aesthetic, I argue for the responsibility for all of us, aestheticians in particular, to cultivate aesthetic literacy, become vigilant about the ramifications of our aesthetic life, and direct our aesthetic life toward better world-making.

Negative Aesthetics in Art, Environment, and Everyday Life: Arnold Berleant‘s Theory and the Novels of Kirino Natsuo

Mara Miller

Arnold Berleant’s valuable analysis of ‘negative aesthetics’ in his 2010 book Sensibility and Sense. The Aesthetic Transformation of the Human World provides an analytic framework not only for general investigation of negative aesthetics but for their extension into daily life and literature. It illuminates the work of Japanese novelist Natsuo Kirino (1951- , 桐野夏生), just as her novels illustrate Berleant’s negative aesthetics. In Kirino’s narratives, negatively aesthetic landscapes determine characters’ mindsets, even as they mirror the moral and aesthetic bleakness of society at large, revealing characters’ internal dynamics and the larger social world, with the same destructive efficacy Berleant points out—an efficacy we ignore to our peril.

Heave of Matter in Art. Brancusi

Alicja Kuczyńska

The distinction between reason and senses, maintained in philosophy until recently, has now grown to cause serious doubts. The situation requires creating new forms of cognitive continuity revealed on various levels of emotional experience. Constantin Brancusi’s art is analysed as an example of transgression of this distinction through building a vinculum between the earthly and the heavenly, and between the external and the internal. The author refutes the common attribution of Brancusi’s art to the Parisian trends or to primary organic forms. In Brancusi’s understanding, art creates its own philosophy whose aim is to attain the essence of being. Thus, through his sculpture expressing flight the artist explores the possibilities of transgressing the domination of sight, for idea, imagination or thought. He captures a fleeting moment of balance between the meeting forces. It is constantly in statu nascendi, only announced, perceived by the artist right before, as anticipated. It lasts as a being in suspension. Thus Brancusi expresses his fascination with Plato’s theory of hierarchic transcendence of consequent stages of knowledge. According to this ethos, art attempts to reach the inside of matter so as to restore the lost unity with the universe. A column, as axis mundi, becomes the most expressive form of communication between the human process of transgression and the transcendent ideal of eternity.

Is Body in Motion Matter of Improvisation in Dance?

Lilianna Bieszczad

The argument is based on an assumption that Merleau-Ponty’s ideas presented in „Phenomenology of Perception” are helpful in philosophical exploration of the 20th and 21st century phenomenon of dance. His anti-dualist attitude towards the understanding of the body and his concept of movement as „directed at” the world, enables the better comprehension of, especially improvisational, dance activities in which the focus on one’s body gives the impulse for motion. Merleau-Ponty’s notion of the body as a „pool of forces” and his dilemmas as to the manner of comprehension of the body’s movement, are analysed. The author also reflects on the primary character of perceptions of a moving body and on the idea of space. In order to present similarities between the notion of „thinking” through the body by Merleau-Ponty and by the improvising danc-ers, Maxine Sheets-Johnsone’s concept of improvisation as „exploration of the world through movement” is brought in. Presented theses are exemplified with certain dance activities from late 20th century.

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