Sensory Knowledge and Art

Open Angle Books, 2018
ISBN 978-0-9567623-1-3
Available from:  www.ypdbooks.com
Cover illustration by Alice Gilliam

In this book, I present an enquiry into relations between sensory experience and the distinctive knowledge that is acquired through art,and develop ideas originally put forward in Forms of Enlightenment in Art, 2010.
In Part 1, sensory perception is related to the constitution of the physical object and to various aspects of inner experience. Consequently, by integrating aesthetics, psychology and metaphysics I illuminate the ways in which art is generated by sensory knowledge.
In Part 2, this theory is demonstrated and elaborated in an interpretation of Titian’s Assumption of the Virgin, Shakespeare’s Sonnets 18 and 5, and Hamlet. Here we see how,in physical art forms,sensory perception leads naturally into sensory expression; how this kind of expression is paralleled in poetry; and how drama explores the intersubjectivity that underpins and informs our experience. Thus, I show that art can assimilate the psychology of sensory perception into its form, and thereby elucidate the self-interested inclinations that commonly bias our perception and understanding.
Forms of Enlightenment in Art - Free Copies

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Please email me, Brian Nelson, at:  brianrnelson88@gmail.com

Forms of Enlightenment in Art

Open Angle Books, 2010
ISBN 978-0-956762306
Available from the author
Cover illustration by Alice Gillham

In opposition to the ideas of mimesis that we find in Aristotle's Poetics and Plato's Republic, I present a new conception of art as a form of knowledge. In this respect I see art as the portrayal of reflective life in action. This theory is demonstrated in connection with the work of Sophocles, Shakespeare, Bach, Beethoven, Turner and C├ęzanne. Interpretations of twenty-seven works of art explore the meaning and significance of each complete work as a representation of life. Reflective life is defined as a life that is valued in itself, and the analysis of art in this book shows how the portrayal of reflective life in action reveals the interconnection between inner experience, the form of reflective life and the life-defining forms of a community.

The Basis of Morality and its Relation to Dramatic Form in a Study of David Copperfield

Edwin Mellen Press, 1998
ISBN 077348390X
Available from: www.mellenpress.com
Cover illustration: Recent Memory 11 soft pastel by Thanasis Manousis 

In this book I present a theory of the nature of morality in Part 1, and, in Part 2, relate this to a conception of dramatic form as a coherent representation of a person's psychological development. The moral theory is formulated in opposition to empirical theories by Hume (in his Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals) and Freud (in his Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis), and Kant's abstract theory in the Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals. Part 2 shows how the complex characterization of the hero in David Copperfield represents a person's development in accordance with the intricacies of our morally determined responses to life.