Living Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Educational Philosophy and Theory

pp 1-4

Date: Latest Version

Aesthetic Education


Aesthetics; Beauty; Transcendentalis​m; Complex pragmatism

Aesthetic education seems to be most easily defined by what it is not. It is not the teaching of logical form or matters of fact, and it is not satisfied to remain at the level of surface text. Generally, aesthetics seems to be the defining characteristic of the arts, with which it is usually identified.

Monroe Beardsley saw the central task of aesthetic education as the improvement of taste, claiming that this required the development of two dispositions: (1) the capacity to obtain aesthetic gratification from increasingly subtle and complex objects that are characterized by various forms of unity and (2) an increasing dependence on beautiful objects as sources of aesthetic satisfaction. Beautiful objects for him were inherently beautiful. They were perfect. They adhered to the rules of good composition. They allowed people to feel pleasure when they contemplated the objects disinterestedly. They caused pleasure due to in ...

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