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This is something I'm not sure I've got a good grip on yet. So can anyone explain how esthetics must be a branch of philosophy?

asked Jan 31 '12 at 11:11

FCH's gravatar image


I'm not sure the answer has really been satisfactory yet... Let me reiterate the problem I'm having: what specifically is it about art that warrants inclusion among the other branches of philosophy and differentiates it from other human pursuits, such as, say, industry?

(Feb 18 '12 at 12:29) FCH FCH's gravatar image

Paraphrasing from Philosophy: Who Needs It (A) Rand lays out the five branches of philosophy thus:

  1. What is the nature of existence? This is domain of Metaphysics.
  2. How do I know it? This is the domain of Epistemology.
  3. How should I act? This is the domain of Ethics. Rand calls this philosophy's technology.
  4. How should I treat others? This is the domain of Politics.
  5. What is it like to live in a world where things are as they ought to be? This is the domain of Esthetics.

I'd highly recommend Rand's "The Romantics Manifesto" as a good 'deep dive' into this area. To quote from the chapter "The Goal of My Writing" she says of art:

Art is the technology of the soul.

Art is the product of three philosophical disciplines: metaphysics, epistemology, ethics. Metaphysics and epistemology are the abstract base of ethics. Ethics is the applied science that defines a code of values to guide man's choices and actions-the choices and actions which determine the course of his life; ethics is the engineering that provides the principles and blueprints. Art creates the final product. It builds the model. (A, pg 169)

A. Rand, Ayn. Philosophy: Who Needs It, New York, Signet, 1984

B. Rand, Ayn. The Romantic Manifesto, New York, Signet, 1975.

answered Feb 01 '12 at 22:48

Jason%20Gibson's gravatar image

Jason Gibson ♦

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Asked: Jan 31 '12 at 11:11

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Last updated: Feb 18 '12 at 12:29