In the eighteenth century the category of the aesthetic sought to bridge the gap between the prevalent dualities of Cartesian thought: art and science, history and science, prejudice and truth. This special issue of boundary 2
addresses current debates about the status of art in the context of global modernity. The range of arguments represented here cover a broad historical scope—from Cartesianism to present-day global modernity—of cultural discourse on the aesthetic to bring a focus to contemporary discussions of the corollary concepts of beauty, virtue, taste, and truth. These essays present a rich and provocative account of the place of the aesthetic in late-twentieth-century culture.
Included in this volume are considerations of the relation between theories of art and the avant-garde; art’s relation to cognition; the aesthetic as history; the aesthetic as a unique access to modernity; and its impact on problems of identity formation, ideology, and resistances to the institutional powers inherent in dominant social formations.
Contributors. Charles Altieri, Peter Burger, David Carroll, Anthony J. Cascardi, Howard Caygill, Allen Dunn, Eric Gans, Agnes Heller, Ronald A. T. Judy, Marie-Rose Logan, Daniel T. O’Hara, Donald E. Pease, Alan Singer