« PreviousContinue »
PROFESSOR OF ÆSTHETICS IN THE GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY
FORMERLY PROFESSOR IN PRINCETON UNIVERSITY
AUTHOR OF A SYSTEM OF COMPARATIVE ÆSTHETICS AS PRE-
SCULPTURE, AND ARCHITECTURE"
if possible, the qualities causing excellence in the higher arts, and to increase his appreciation of them. The volume has been prepared by request for readers whose time is too limited to study the minutiæ of the subject, and for teachers who need a text-book. Many extended comments upon the different historic theories, schools, and methods of art, and many analyses, explana. tions, classifications, arguments, and suggestions, which seemed indispensable to completeness of presentation when I was writing the work of which this is a compen. dium, will not be found in these pages. With this material omitted, however, together with all that might be termed merely speculative or controversial, it is believed that enough has been included to accomplish the object of the undertaking. The phenomena of the arts of the highest class have been traced to their sources in material nature and in the human mind; the different arts have been shown to be developed by exactly similar methods; and these methods have been shown to characterise the entire work of artistic imagination, from the formulation of psychical concepts to that of their most physical expressions in rhythm, proportion, and harmony. Conjointly with these subjects, the effects of all the arts together upon everything that makes for culture and for humanity have been considered in themselves, as well as in their relations to religion and to science, to both of which art is somewhat allied, and yet in such ways as to make it important that the three should be differentiated. WASHINGTON, D, C.,
GEORGE LANSING RAYMOND. November
The word æsthetics is traceable to a work termed “ Æsthetica," published in Germany in 1750, by A. G, Baumgarten. The word was derived from the Greek alo0ntiuus meaning “fitted to be perceived," and is now used to designate that which is fitted to the requirements of what philosophers term perception ; in other words, fitted to accord with the laws, whether of physiology or psychology, which make effects appealing to the mind through the organs of perception-i.c., through the senses-satisfactory, agreeable, and, as we say, beautiful. If such effects need to be “fitted" to be perceived, they, of course, need to be made to differ from the condition in which they are presented in nature. That which causes them to differ from this is art. Æsthetics is the science of the beautiful as exemplified in art. The latter has to do with the processes through which a sight or a sound may be fitted to be perceived"; the former, with the effects after it has been put through these processes. One cannot be artistic without being able to design and produce; he may be æsthetic, when able merely to appreciate and enjoy the results of design and production,
The German term for the science, which some have tried to introduce into English, is æsthetic. But this term, except when employed as an adjective, seems to be out of analogy with English usage. According to it, the singular ending ic, as in logic and music, commonly designates some single department in which the methods of the science produce similar results. The plural ending ics, as in mathematics, physics, mechanics, and ethics, commonly designates a group of various departments, in which similar methods produce greatly varying results. The many different departments both of sight and of sound in which can be applied the principles underlying effects that can be “ficted to be perceived," seem to render it appropriate and important that in Englist the science treating of them should be termed asthetics.