The first 241 words from
Which "Aesthetics" Do You Mean? : Ten Definitions

“Aesthetics is pervasive in our lives and behavior. It's basic, it's primal. The way we dress, style our hair, decorate our homes, prepare our food, give names to things—these are all aesthetic activities. Then there's the novels we read, the music we listen to, the movies we view, the video games we play, the art we make and collect....

"Our aesthetic predispositions also intrude into what we believe to be the domains of reason. We often rely on aesthetic cues to determine whether the information we receive from others is true, false, or in-between. Our susceptibility to "honest" eyes, a "sincere" tone of voice, "solid" facts, and an "elegant" argument suggests that even the foundations of our rational knowledge are subject to aesthetic mediation. Some thinkers go further still in asserting that the structure of our "selves"—and the structure of reality itself—is based on aesthetic principles.

"But you know most of this already, right? If you have this book in your hands, you're most likely a creator or culture worker who, on any number of occasions, has been seized by the desire to wrestle the terms "aesthetic" and "aesthetics" to the ground and strip them of their pretensions. This has probably occurred when you've heard or read "aesthetic" or "aesthetics" used in some vague or ambiguous way whose main purpose, it seemed, was to fill semantic dead space, as in I really like his uh, uh, ummm, aesthetics. . ."

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