I'm not looking to have a debate on stackexchange about wether aesthetics is a branch in itself.

However, I am looking for sources, or just recommendations of writers of aesthetics, who view Aesthetics as an application of other parts of Philosphy, rather than a branch in itself. For example, Ethics is (fairly undisputedly) an independant, generically (in general terms) studied field of Philosophy which can be applied to a diverse range of actual situations. By contrast, the Philosphy of Medicine is a application of Epistimnology, Philsophy or mind, Philosophy of Psychology and Ethics (among other fields) to medical problems. The difference is in the common ground. For a field of philsophy, the common ground is the type of problem studied, or perhaps the approach, for an application, the common ground is the content of problem, regardless of type.

Ideally, books/articles/papers conrtasting the two viewsof aesthetics are perfect, but those which put the view either view specifically are also fine.

Note: I ask for the view in the title as it appears to be less comon, but articles which specifically but the other view are also acceptable.


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    I would look into Eric Alliez, who did his PhD under Gilles Deleuze, as he is perhaps the most prominent philosopher to do aesthetics as an applied practice in europe in recent years. In particular look for "La Pensée-Matisse", "The Brain-Eye: New Histories of Modern Painting", and "L’Œil-Cerveau. Nouvelles histoires de l’art moderne". I've seen these books referred to in the US as art history, but that's entirely false, he doesn't do history, he's exploring the concept in art and the thought contained in artistic experimentation. Jun 7, 2017 at 1:16

1 Answer 1


Before sharing a list, I'd like to share a few preliminary thoughts.

If the question is To which branch of Philosophy could we assign the discipline of Aesthetics?, I think all branches of Philosophy could be conceived as specialized sub-branches of Epistemology, and that is because (notwithstanding the supposed epistemological basis of any subsequent philosophical inquiry) new epistemological dilemmas can pop up with each new field of study (for example the Copenhagen interpretation, in the field of quantum mechanics).

Nevertheless, I can't think of Aesthetics as a mere application of another branch of Philosophy, mainly because it is theoretical and fairly complex in itself.

On the other hand, you could argue that Aesthetics can be studied anthropologically, as a function of culture or community identity. Or even psychologically as a means of therapy or self expression. In other words, there could be a study of Aesthetics as a means to an end. That could be done, but it may not do justice to it, because it may overlook what is perhaps the most important thing with Aesthetics, namely its value in itself.

That being said, here's a narrow list of topics and articles that might present interest regarding your question:

  1. Axiology - a merge-discipline of both ethics and aesthetics.
  2. Value Theory - encompassing all branches of moral philosophy, social and political philosophy and aesthetics.
  3. Aesthetic Functionalism - which argues that aesthetic value is completely determined by and therefore reducible to practical function.
  4. Treating and teaching aesthetics as personality - essay arguing that Aesthetics can be thought of as mere personality.
  5. Aesthetics as an adaptive system. An evolutionary approach on aesthetics and sustainable city design
  6. Li Zehou’s Aesthetics as a Form of Cognition
  7. Aesthetics as metaphysical meaning-making in the face of death

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