Art and Pornography: Philosophical Essays

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Hans Maes, Jerrold Levinson
OUP Oxford, Nov 29, 2012 - Philosophy - 344 pages
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Art and Pornography presents a series of essays which investigate the artistic status and aesthetic dimension of pornographic pictures, films, and literature, and explores the distinction, if there is any, between pornography and erotic art. Is there any overlap between art and pornography, or are the two mutually exclusive? If they are, why is that? If they are not, how might we characterize pornographic art or artistic pornography, and how might pornographic art be distinguished, if at all, from erotic art? Can there be aesthetic experience of pornography? What are some of the psychological, social, and political consequences of the creation and appreciation of erotic art or artistic pornography? Leading scholars from around the world address these questions, and more, and bring together different aesthetic perspectives and approaches to this widely consumed, increasingly visible, yet aesthetically underexplored cultural domain. The book, the first of its kind in philosophical aesthetics, will contribute to a more accurate and subtle understanding of the many representations that incorporate explicit sexual imagery and themes, in both high art and demotic culture, in Western and non-Western contexts. It is sure to stir debate, and healthy controversy.

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About the author (2012)

Hans Maes received his PhD from the University of Leuven, Belgium, and conducted postdoctoral research at the University of Helsinki, Finland, and University of Maryland, USA. He is currently Lecturer in History and Philosophy of Art at the University of Kent and Associate Director of the Aesthetics Research Group. He has authored papers on a variety of subjects in aesthetics, including the role of intention in the interpretation of art, the notion of free beauty, and the relation betweenart and pornography. In 2010 he was elected President of the Dutch Society for Aesthetics. Jerrold Levinson is Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the University of Maryland, College Park, where he has taught since 1976. He is the author of Music, Art, and Metaphysics (Cornell University Press, 1990), The Pleasures of Aesthetics (Cornell University Press, 1996), Music in the Moment (Cornell University Press, 1998), L=art, la musique, et l=histoire (Editions de l'eclat, 1998), La musiquede film: fiction et narration (Presses Universitaires de Pau, 2000), and Contemplating Art (OUP, 2006), as well as editor of Aesthetics and Ethics (CUP, 1998) and The Oxford Handbook of Aesthetics (OUP, 2003), and co-editor of Aesthetic Concepts (OUP, 2001).