Dear sir/madam I'm a phd student of philosophy of art in Iran. as it's a new field of study here, we, all the students, are not completely familiar with recent topics and new approaches in this field at the latest decade. i would appreciate it if you could tell me please how can i get to know these topics or you just suggest some new approaches or books that opened a new look to aesthetics. best regards, Hana H.

Greetings to you. For the last decade, you might want to logon to the British Journal of Aesthetics and the Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism. The latest topics seem to be a continuation of the classical questions: what is beauty? what is the meaning of a work of art (does the intention of the artist bear on this question)? The difference between art and non-art continues to be vexing, there is new work on the theory of the meaning of music (on this point, I highly recommend the work of Lydia Goehr at Columbia University--perhaps check out her home page for references). Noel Carroll continues to do brilliant work exploring almost every area of the art world and experimenting with what might be called beyond aesthetics in terms of works of art. There is an interesting cross-over in philosophy of art and philosophy of religion in such books as The Image in Mind and Turning Images, and in the work of David Brown, Mark Wynn, and Douglas Hedley. Pragmatism in art has made something of a come-back in the work of Richard Shusterman. For an update until 2001 I recommend the reliable reference work The Routledge Companion to Aesthetics. I wrote for Oneworld Press: Aesthetics: A Beginner's Guide, which (obviously) I recommend (and not just out of self-interest) but it is intended for a general, well-educated readership, and not focussed (as I think you are) on the cutting edge, though attention is given to the "avant guarde."

I should add, though, that while it is commendable to be up-to-date on the latest work, often the long-term, "classical" questions still remain for deeper reflection and engagement. I think that when 20th century aesthetics is reviewed in the course of time, there will be a place for Kandinsky, etc., but I would bet my money that Monroe Beardsley will be remembered as a reliable guide to the field of aesthetics. His insights, sensitivity, and charm are hard to resist, even though I disagree with him on a range of points. So, if I was in Iran today, I would get my hands of Beardsley's work, followed by the extraordinary and well argued perspective of Colin Lyas and Gary Iseminger. Then, check out the journals noted above, which should prove useful and fruitful for further engagement!

All good wishes, Charles

Read another response by Charles Taliaferro
Read another response about Art