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The Later Works, 1925-1953, Vol 10

3.94 of 5 stars 3.94  ·  rating details  ·  3,403 ratings  ·  59 reviews

Art as Experience evolved from John Dewey’s Willam James Lectures, delivered at Harvard University from February to May 1931.

In his Introduction, Abraham Kaplan places Dewey’s philosophy of art within the context of his pragmatism. Kaplan demonstrates in Dewey’s esthetic theory his traditional movement from a dualism to a monism” and discusses whether Dewey’s viewpoin

Paperback, 440 pages
Published September 25th 1989 by Southern Illinois University (first published 1934)
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Glenn Russell

Are there times in your life that are dull and dreary, a mechanical, mindless shuffling from one tedious task to another? According to American philosopher John Dewey (1859-1952), such moments in anybody’s life lack aesthetic quality. He writes in Art and Experience, “The enemies of the aesthetic are neither the practical nor the intellectual. They are the humdrum; slackness of loose ends; submission to convention in practice and intellectual procedure.” We may ask, by Dewey’s reckoning, what wi
Some labyrinths are worth descending into just to get a glimpse of the Minotaur, even if you can't yet defeat him. Art as Experience is one of those. It will require several more descents to get the clearest picture of the Minotaur and more familiarization with the territory in order to be able to face it head on. But I have seen the face of the Minotaur, and it is beautiful and terrifying. This is my attempt to follow the threads back out of the maze.

Dewey's monstrous work - and I use this as a
Why, in all my courses on aesthetics and art history, have I not been assigned this? Might it be because Dewey takes down Kant and his continental successors with a little common sense and a few grammatically legible sentences? Well, it sure doesn't hurt. I say, "legible," but that doesn't mean the reading here is not dense. Every page is work and reward; therefore, you may find yourself poking along at a snail's pace, five or ten pages at a time. I don't think Dewey's book can be read any more ...more
Perhaps this is anachronistic in our current mash-up culture (or maybe it isn't?), but I think writers should do some reading in aesthetic theory. Dewey's book, originally delivered as a series of lectures in 1932, is one I'd recommend, either to argue with or from which to seek inspiration. I first read this for a philosophy seminar and that kind of systematic studious reading is far different from how I read it now, which is to open it at random and read for a bit and then see where that takes ...more
The greatest book written by an American in the 20th Century. It's not just about aesthetics. He claims, in an even harder book to read, (I know, I know, but its worth the effort) Experience and Nature, that experience itself exhibits aesthetic characteristics (rhythm, flow, spatial and temporal relationships) and only when we understand this will we understand the nature of thinking, joy and fulfillment. This book goes with that insight and further elaborates on on the form of experience best s ...more
the gift
this is a later later addition: have I mistaken the relative connotations of 'pragmatic' and 'practical'- well this is a poetic question. and perhaps am thinking of 'pragmatic' as 'programmatic', that is, something of a scheme devised before application, before writing, with given goals and limits of the possible. for me, 'practical' is simply the 'practice' of writing, the doing, the words, which do not necessarily or instrumentally achieve a set goal or form or experience- is always a 'try' an ...more
Chris Bass
Every page is brilliance--seriously, I am not exaggerating. Dewey's insights and thoughts are as refreshing and relevant to us today as when the lecture was presented at Harvard (1932). As I read through the first few chapters, I found myself copying pages of each chapter to use in my classroom. He provides necessary theory to challenge and discuss the relevancy of education and function of English Education.

Nice thoughts:

"The moment of passage from disturbance into harmony is that of intense li
"Mountain peaks do not float unsupported; they do not even just rest upon the surface. The ARE the earth in one of its manifest operations."

Chris Beiser
Below is a very glowing review. It's hard for me to recommend this book more. This review is fairly overwrought, because this book has given me some incredible insights, and it's made a big impact on how I see the world. It may be better for you to just stop reading, buy a copy, and struggle through it. (AAE is so dense that I was unable to read it whenever heating or air conditioning was on, because it wasn't possible for me to filter out the sound and read the book simulatenously.)

I went into
"Art celebrates with peculiar intensity the moments in which the past reinforces the present and in which the future is a quickening of what now is." (17)

"'Spontaneity' is the result of long periods of activity, or else it is so empty as not to be an act of expression." (75)

"There are values and meanings that can be expressed only by immediately visible and audible qualities, and to ask what they mean in the sense of something that can be put into words is to deny their distinctive existence." (
Regina Andreassen

What a wonderful book! Aesthetics, as perceived by John Dewey, is more than just philosophy; is, as Baumgarten stated, the science of perception, while Art is perhaps the most sublime expression of human aesthetics. Moreover,Dewey reminds us that art is not exclusive to art galleries, museums, or expensive collections but is born in our daily experiences. A brilliant work, written in an elegant, dynamic style!
I would give this 6 stars if I could. Had to read most of it twice because John Dewey was way smarter than I might ever be! Killed 8-10 highlighters on this one.
Dewey shows how Art is not a specialized realm, but is rather at play in all ordinary experience.
Profound and sensible.
Many books on aesthetics treat art as mere grist for philosophy's mill. The results are sometimes thought-provoking, but too often seem tangential to the real-life problems and pleasures of art. "Art as Experience" is different. It is philosophically ambitious, and its ideas do come together within a larger world view, but its arguments always feel rooted in the actual empirical experience of making and viewing art. It's also engagingly written; devoid of academic jargon and full of vivid, illum ...more
Nelson Zagalo
Masterpiece. Thanks John Dewey for writing this book, even more because it was written in 1934.

This should be obligatory read for anyone studying/researching Art Communication. Before the domain of Communication Sciences even existed, before Emotion Studies were seriously accepted by the academy, Dewey has written a profound and dense work on the subject of Art Experience. It was done from a philosophical approach, however Dewey, clearly influence by his Pragmatics companion, William James, the
Super verbose to the point where he'd spend pages to get to a single point. The author's writing style was also very dry and hard to wrap my head around. I had to read this for a class, and I was reading it early and I'm glad I did because I could not be able to finish this quickly. I often could only read a few pages a day and call it major progress. If I wasn't reading this for a class, I'd never ever read this book and do not recommend it.
Ian Saville
The guy is dry as hell - will put you to sleep - BUT, his ideas are amazing. Will help you reframe how you talk about and engage with the arts.
Dilan Qadir
A deeply theoretical approach to the relation between art and experience, or more accurately art as experience.
Andrew Gonzales
A reminder of the highest responsibilities that art, society, and individual experience have always owed each other.
Allison Keilman
Not exactly a light read, but fascinating and obviously quite thought-provoking.
Apr 09, 2007 michelle rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all artists, philosophers, lovers of life
I am still in the progress of reading this book. My first experience with Dewey was a couple small quotes in a book about Arte Povera. Then I read a few passages from this book when it happened to be included in the textbook for my Aesthetics class in college. It has partially inspired artworks of my own, and I think it is beautifully thought out and beautifully written (although, like most philosophy, it is dense and therefore slow reading).
Caleb King
Very well thought out and argued position. I found myself at times totally agreeing with Dewey and then disagreeing, only to then come around and agree again. It is hard not to see from his perspective and not to have that challenge your own views on the subject.

Though sometimes difficult to suss out the specific meaning he is attempting to convey, this is hands down one of the best books I've read in years.
I found this book leading me to new thoughts on almost every page -- and it's a long book. Even when I thought I knew what Dewey was going to say, he often surprised me with insights that I would have missed.

That said, Dewey's prose is obtuse. It would seem he's never met a grammatical construct he doesn't like. Getting through the book was a slog, but well worth it for the content.
OK, so I didn't read the whole thing. But I read the first three chapters for a grad class this summer, and it took me longer to do that than to re-read the entire Twilight series. So I'm counting it towards my books this year.

Ideas: amazing.

Style: sucks.

Readability: omygod.
Constance Dunn
Used it as one of the theory foundations for my thesis. Although idealistic at first skim, pragmatic at its core. A true genius of aesthetic theory and absolutely on point about those individuals who think aesthetically, and deeply, being the foundation of a solid democracy.
This is an excellent book about art, useful and inspiring to both the artist and the viewer. Published in 1934, it's as relevant today as then, or even more so as we're slipping into an age where art in the purest sense of translating a felt human experience is disappearing.
Another text that has changed my understanding about art and living. This text helped me to continue to emphasize the importance of the arts and the imagination in school. Dewey clearly demonstrates how art is a natural and important part of life.
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John Dewey was an American philosopher, psychologist and educational reformer whose ideas have been influential in education and social reform. Dewey, along with Charles Sanders Peirce and William James, is recognized as one of the founders of the philosophy of pragmatism and of functional psychology. He was a major representative of the progressive and progressive populist philosophies of schooli ...more
More about John Dewey...
Experience and Education Democracy and Education How We Think The School and Society/The Child and the Curriculum The Public and its Problems

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“Like the soil, mind is fertilized while it lies fallow, until a new burst of bloom ensues.” 13 likes
“Every art communicates because it expresses. It enables us to share vividly and deeply in meanings… For communication is not announcing things… Communication is the process of creating participation, of making common what had been isolated and singular… the conveyance of meaning gives body and definiteness to the experience of the one who utters as well as to that of those who listen.” 4 likes
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