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« Still Life | Main | Times Arts Frownlines 4 »

August 27, 2002

Scruton for a Day

Friedrich --

From an interview with my favorite prissy-and-stuffy, contemporary-Right philosopher, Roger Scruton:

Our appreciation and understanding of works of art is in the first instance isolated from life -- that's the whole point of aesthetic experience, that it enables us to contemplate life from a position of solemn detachment. Works of art are not there to influence or guide our actions. They are there to be contemplated; but from the act of contemplation we gain a sense of what is meaningful. And this feeds our moral sense.

The fact that there are bad people moved by works of art doesn't taint those works of art; you have to think of all the good people moved by them too. And maybe the only good thing about these bad people is that they were moved by those great works of art.

The interview, which ran in The Philosopher's Magazine, isn't online. (The TPM site is a lot of fun to explore, here.)

Voice of Reaction -- and I Mean That Admiringly

I often don't agree with Scruton, but I always find it enjoyable to wrestle with his arguments and to watch his prose march by. He's a wonderful writer -- dismal, but sonorously dismal, like Elgar.

There's plenty of other Scruton on the web. He gets off some good ones in an article for City Journal about art and kitsch, here. Salon ran a long q&a with him, here. Scruton's own website is here.

Are there thinkers you're fond of similarly?



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