Art and Its Significance

An Anthology of Aesthetic Theory, Third Edition

Edited by Stephen David Ross

Subjects: Aesthetics
Paperback : 9780791418529, 706 pages, January 1994

Alternative formats available from:

Table of contents


I. Historical Background

Republic II, III, X
Ion (complete)

Nicomachean Ethics

David Hume
Of the Standard of Taste (complete)

Immanuel Kant
Critique of Judgment

G. W. F. Hegel
Philosophy of Fine Art (Introduction)

Friedrich Nietzsche
The Birth of Tragedy
Attempt at a Self-Criticism (complete)

Leo Tolstoy
What is Art?

II. Recent Systematic Theories

Clive Bell

R. G. Collingwood
Principles of Art

John Dewey
Art as Experience

Susanne Langer
Feeling and Form

Nelson Goodman
When Is Art? (complete)
Languages of Art

Martin Heidegger
The Origin of the Work of Art

Maurice Merleau-Ponty
Eye and Mind

Stephen David Ross
A Theory of Art: Inexhaustibility by Contrast

III. Interpretation and Criticism

Stephen Pepper
The Work of Art

E. D. Hirsch, Jr.
Validity in Interpretation

Hans-Georg Gadamer
Truth and Method

Paul Ricoeur
The Problem of Double Meaning as Hermeneutic Problem Solving and as Semantic Problem (complete)

Jacques Derrida
The Truth in Painting (Passe-Partout, Parergon, Restitutions)
Letter to Peter Eisenman (complete)

Michael Foucault
The Order of Things (Preface, Las Meninas)

IV. Discussions

Edward Bullough
'Psychical Distance' as a Factor in Art and as an Aesthetic Principle

Arthur Danto
The Artworld (complete)

Mikhail Mikhailovich Bakhtin
Discourse in the Novel

Psychology and Art: Freud, Jung, Vygotsky

Sigmund Freud
The Relation of the Poet to Day-Dreaming (complete)

Carl Gustav Jung
Psychology and Literature (complete)

Lev Vygotsky
The Psychology of Art

Marxism and the Frankfurt School

Walter Benjamin
The Work of Art in the Age of its Technical Reproducibility

Theodor W. Adorno
On the Fetish-Character in Music and the Regression of Listening

Herbert Marcuse
The Aesthetic Dimension


Jean-Francois Lyotard
What Is Postmodernism?

Feminist Theory

Heide Gottner-Abendroth
Nine Principles of a Matriarchal Aesthetic (complete)

Luce Irigaray
Any Theory of the "Subject" Has Always Been Appropriated by the "Masculine" (complete)

Craig Owens
The Discourse of Others: Feminists and Postmodernism

Multicultural Theory

V. Y. Mudimbe
The Invention of Africa

Trinh T. Minh-ha
Woman, Native, Other

James Clifford
On Collecting Art and Culture

Tony Fry and Anne-Marie Willis
Aboriginal Art: Symptom or Success?

Artist's Declarations

F. T. Marinetti
Futurist Painting: Technical Manifesto (complete)

Umberto Boccioni
Technical Manifesto of Futurist Sculpture (complete)

Kasimir Malevich
Suprematism (complete)

Wassily Kandinsky
Concrete Art (complete)

Piet Mondrian
Plastic Art and Pure Plastic Art (complete)

Sol LeWitt
Sentences on Conceptual Art (complete)


This anthology has been significantly expanded for this edition to include a wider range of contemporary issues. The most important addition is a new section on multicultural theory, including important and controversial selections ranging from discussions of art in other cultures to discussions of the appropriation of nonWestern art in Western cultures.

The material from Kant's Critique of Judgment has been expanded to include his writing on aesthetical ideas and the sublime. The selections from Derrida have been updated and considerably expanded for this edition, primarily from The Truth in Painting. One of Derrida's most interesting provocations has also been added, his letter to Peter Eisenman on architecture. In addition, the section on feminist theory now includes a chapter from Irigaray's Speculum of the Other Woman.

The anthology includes the most important writings on the theory of art in the Western tradition, including selections from Plato, Aristotle, Hume, Kant, Hegel, and Nietzsche; the most important philosophical writings of the last hundred years on the theory of art, including selections from Collingwood, Langer, Goodman, Heidegger, and Merleau-Ponty; contemporary Continental writings on art and interpretation, including selections from Gadamer, Ricoeur, Derrida, Lyotard, and Foucault; also writings on the psychology of art by Freud and Jung, from the Frankfurt School by Benjamin, Adorno, and Marcuse, in feminist theory, multiculturalism, and postmodernism. The anthology also includes twentieth-century writings by artists including discussions of futurism, suprematism, and conceptual art.

Stephen David Ross is Professor of Philosophy and Comparative Literature, State University of New York at Binghamton.