2021-04Discussion Papers, Comments, Book Reviews
The Erotic and the Political: The Somaesthetics of Sex in Social Context

Preview:

/Commentary: Richard Shusterman, Ars Erotica: Sex and Somaesthetics in the Classical Arts of Love (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2021), 436 pages./

Richard Shusterman’s work is remarkable, among other things, for extending the range and power of the discipline of aesthetics, conceived by him as fundamental to many dimensions of human experience. Indeed, he has driven aesthetics into entirely new ranges of phenomena and strategies for research, and also perhaps returned to an ancient sense of the centrality of aesthetic concepts such as beauty to virtually every human endeavor. In many ways, I think, Shusterman is fulfilling John Dewey’s vision as expressed in Art as Experience, as well as spelling out in detail the implications of his own early book Pragmatist Aesthetics, exploring the aesthetic dimensions of all sorts of human activities. Schusterman’s somaesthetics, however, takes what we might call the aesthetics, or ordinary experience, and centers it on the body in a way that Dewey could not have foreseen.
The book might have been titled The Aesthetics of Sex, and as soon as he broaches the topic it strikes one that this subject has been remarkably neglected within philosophical aesthetics, or even in Western philosophy as a whole. Considered as dimensions or arenas of human experience, the aesthetic and the erotic, as Shusterman shows in replete multi-cultural detail, are bound up entirely and from the origins in many or even all cultures.

How to cite:

Sartwell, Crispin. “The Erotic and the Political: The Somaesthetics of Sex in Social Context.” Eidos. A Journal for Philosophy of Culture 5, no. 4 (2021):  152-155. https://doi.org/10.14394/eidos.jpc.2021.0048.

Author:

Crispin Sartwell
Department of Philosophy, Dickinson College
50 N. West St, Carlisle, PA 17013, USA
https://orcid.org/0000-0003-0649-8949
crispinsartwell@gmail.com

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