Dewey on Functional Beauty and the Realm of the Aesthetic
Robert Kubala

In their recent book Functional Beauty, Glenn Parsons and Allen Carlson (henceforth P&C) offer an argument from linguistic practice that purports to establish a firm distinction between aesthetic and bodily pleasures, as against a Deweyan approach to aesthetics that draws no such distinction. In this essay, I shall criticize the linguistic practice argument and argue that the realm of the aesthetic includes bodily pleasures. After an introductory section, I highlight the similarities between Dewey and P&C, suggest some general worries for the linguistic practice argument, and finally argue that although Dewey is open to criticism in certain respects, his emphasis on the multi-modal nature of perception provides a strong reason to reject P&C’s distinction.

About the author
Robert Kubala is an MPhil student in the department of History and Philosophy of Science, Cambridge. His primary research interests are in the philosophy of mind and psychology, with a focus on the nature and content of perceptual experience. After
earning his BA from Boston College, he completed the MLitt at the St Andrews and Stirling Graduate Programme in Philosophy as a Marshall Scholar. In the fall he will begin his PhD in Philosophy at Columbia University.
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