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Functional Beauty$
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Glenn Parsons and Allen Carlson

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199205240

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199205240.001.0001

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(p.228) 9 Conclusion
Functional Beauty

Glenn Parsons (Contributor Webpage)

Allen Carlson (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter presents a synthesis of the discussions in the preceding chapters. It argues that in cases of art appreciation, aesthetic judgements become more weighty or take on a greater critical significance, when they are based on an understanding of the object of appreciation. If this is correct, then Functional Beauty, construed in the ‘internal’ sense, has a central position in aesthetic appreciation and evaluation. For the proper function of an object plays a key explanatory role with respect to that object, such that to grasp the function is to grasp something fundamental about the object. Thus, an appreciation of the apparent fitness of a shark, or an aeroplane, or a courthouse captures something more significant about the aesthetic character of that object than does appreciation of its colour, its pattern, its shininess, or its imposing grandeur. If this line of thought is on the right track, then rather than being just one further, and possibly marginal, element in the aesthetic character of functional things, Functional Beauty may occupy a central and primary place in all of our aesthetic experience.

Keywords:   Functional Beauty, aesthetics, art appreciation, aesthetic evaluation, aesthetic character

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