New Bearings in Esthetics and Art Criticism

A Study in Semantics and Evaluation

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4*                                 PROBLEMS IN MEANING
beauty." 76 Such a difficulty as this can only be important and exasperating to those who, like Collingwood, Croce, Venturi, Coomaraswamy, and Stace, are determined to seek and to find the "true nature/' "Essence," or "Reality" of mythological referents or "ghosts."
Since part of my purpose in discussing real definitions has been to show the seriousness of the confusions which they produce, a number of examples have been chosen from the works of a few influential scholars. But since my purpose also is to suggest the extensiveness in the use of these definitions and since I wish to avoid giving the impression that I am merely attacking the writings of a few specific individuals, I shall now add four examples of what I take to be real definitions, each by a different author. All of these and many more may be found in the selections from Rader's A Modern Book of Esthetics. Having considered real definitions at some length, we need not analyze these final samples; yet I would call attention particularly to the striking and basic contradictiona by no means uncommon phenomenon in esthetic theorybetween the two pronouncements upon art, both of which, one should observe, contradict in an equally striking and basic manner the real definition of Venturi previously cited, (i) "Art is the partly innate and partly acquired capacity of man to give to himself and others a pleasure based upon illusion and free from any conscious aim except the immediate enjoyment" (Lange). (ii) "In order correctly to define art, it is necessary, first of all, to cease to consider it as a means to pleasure, and to consider it as one of the conditions of human life. Viewing it in this way, we cannot fail to observe that art is one of the means of intercourse between man and man" (Tolstoy) (my italics). (iii) "The beautiful is what gives joy, not all joy, but joy in knowledge; not the joy pecu-
76. Ibid., p. 121.