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The word asthetics is traceable to a work termed Æsthetica,” published in Germany in 1750, by A. G. Baumgarten. The word was derived from the Greek alóontinós 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.l., 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 de. partments both of sight and of sound in which can be applied the principles underlying effects that can be “fitted to be perceived," seem to render it appropriate and important that in Englisk the science treating of them should be termed æsthetics.
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