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

I think “it is official” now. Ars Erotica will become some sort of classic. There are several reasons why. Some (even adult philosophers, as I have seen when Richard Shusterman has spoken on the topic at a conference), just cannot stop giggling when they hear the word sex. Many will grab the book out of curiosity, and maybe some, although I do not believe that many, will even do it for camp reasons. Many of these readers have a neurotic and/or complicated relationship to sexuality, and hopefully at least some of them will find the book helpful, as they reflect on themselves and their sexual lives through the text.
On the other hand, I cannot imagine anyone in aesthetics or with a scholarly interest in sexuality who would not find the book helpful. Nothing comparable on the relationship of aesthetics and sexuality has been done and the book embraces the topic globally – featuring Shusterman’s vast and deep knowledge – about not just Western philosophy and culture, but also Chinese and Japanese thinking among others.

How to cite:

Ryynänen, Max. “Updating Artes Vulgares.” Eidos. A Journal for Philosophy of Culture 5, no. 4 (2021): 129-132.


Max Ryynänen
Department of Art, Aalto University
P.O. Box 11000 (Otakaari 1B), FI-00076 AALTO, Finland

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