Concluding our treatment of Roger’s Scruton’s Beauty (2009), ch. 5-9, from part one. We consider why we’d really be attracted to something that according to Scruton’s account takes a lot of work. Dylan brings in architecture, which Scruton also wrote about, leading us to wonder about the form/function distinction and whether that standard in architecture (the fact that a building is functional is part of its appeal) can be applied to Scruton’s purist take on human beauty (i.e. human bodies can’t have a function that we appreciate as part of appreciating their beauty).
In the full episode, we discuss how Scruton goes through various representations of Aphrodite and other women in paintings to say which ones are properly reverent as opposed to pornographic, e.g. the Manet which is OK vs. the Boucher which is not. He criticizes our “reality addiction” which is what he says is really driving the preference for porn (and reality TV, gossip, etc.) over art. To further elucidate one of Scruton’s distinctions: fantasy seeks a copy of reality, while imagination is about aesthetic representation.
We return to comparing Scruton and Plato on art (and bring in Nietzsche), moralizing and transcendence in art, art as truth-telling, and expression vs. representation.