Oana SerbanJan 12, 2023
After Thomas Kuhn
The Structure of Aesthetic Revolutions
de Gruyter 2022
Thomas Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions revolutionized the way philosophers and historians of science thought about science, scientific progress, and the nature of scientific knowledge. But Kuhn himself also considered later on how his framework might apply to art. In After Thomas Kuhn: The Structure of Aesthetic Revolutions (De Gruyter, 2022), Oana Serban elaborates on the suggestions and proposals of Kuhn and others to develop a new view of aesthetic and artistic progress and change based in Kuhn’s work. Serban, who is a lecturer in philosophy at the University of Bucharest, adds the key concept of aesthetic validity to the Kuhnian analysis as central to the concept of an aesthetic revolution. The dominance of a particular aesthetic paradigm depends on broadly political factors and are responses to particular ideological questions, such as “What is the relation between humans and God?” Artistic revolutions, in contrast, are stylistic expressions of these ideological frames, such that the norms, values, and styles in art can be transgressive without being Kuhnian revolutions.
Carrie Figdor is professor of philosophy at the University of Iowa.