Miguel de Beistegui, "Aesthetics after Metaphysics: From Mimesis to Metaphor" (Routledge, 2009)


What is the nature of art? The question involves understanding the relation between art and reality and what we are expressing in art. Miguel de Beistegui, professor of philosophy at the University of Warwick, addresses these questions in his latest book, Aesthetics after Metaphysics: From Mimesis to Metaphor (Routledge, 2012). De Beistegui's framework for understanding art stands in contrast to a metaphysics that posits a sensible world of experience and a supersensible world of forms or essences, in which art - even non-representational and conceptual art, in some cases - exists as a mimetic go-between. De Beistegui suggests instead that art captures an aspect of reality that is literally there - an excess of the sensible, "the hypersensible", that is typically hidden by our everyday practical ways of interacting with and experiencing reality. Our grasp of these features is metaphorical in that they are shared by things that are usually put in distinct categories, but it is the sensible/supersensible distinction that gives rise to an impoverished notion of metaphor that prompts us to think that what is metaphorical is not literally true. In this richly suggestive and provocative volume, de Beistegui draws on thinkers from Plato and Nietzsche to Merleau-Ponty and Danto, and discusses works by a wide range of artists, including Proust, Holderlin, de Koonig and Chillida, to elaborate his view.

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Carrie Figdor

Carrie Figdor is professor of philosophy at the University of Iowa.

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