The OneWorld Beginner’s Guides series have been celebrated for offering in-depth insights into highly varied subject matter with titles as diverse as ‘Cancer’, ‘Christianity’, ‘Shakespeare’, ‘Magic’, ‘The Middle East’ and ‘Medieval Philosophy’. The series’ latest title ‘Aesthetics’ offers a straightforward and uncomplicated read that examines that age-old question: What is Art? By comparing works of artists from across the ages – from Socrates to ex-Beatle Ringo Starr – the book raises further philosophical debacles such as who in fact owns art, or what happens when artistic creation and morality collide? Chapter 1 is titled ‘What is Beauty?’ and quite brilliantly traces our Western idea of what constitutes beauty right back to the days of Plato. That’s what makes this book so special. It has the unusual ability to be able to melt history, philosophy and popular culture all into one intensely interesting read. If you’re one of those café, coffee-caressing philosophical types or a struggling philosophy student (you’re pretty much the same people these days, aren’t you?) then wow your fellow enthusiasts with what you glean from this one.
‘Aesthetics: A Beginners Guide’ by Charles Taliaferro is available in good book stores and online through OneWorld Publications.