ABSTRACT

John Dewey argued in his Art as Experience that the significance of art as experience was of incomparable importance for the adventure of philosophical thought. He claimed that while both move in the medium of imaginative mind, art provides a “unique control” for the “imaginative ventures of philosophy.” In this article I examine, relying on a range of sources, some pivotal implications of this claim and especially how various forms of art and aesthetic experience can exemplify and further ways of formulating, presenting, and critically engaging focal issues, both methodological and substantive, of the tasks of philosophy. The originary context of philosophy is agonistic, wresting meaning from the noise of meaninglessness or discerning order in a seeming world of chaos, not merely that of winning an argument. Both philosophy and art have attempted to fill a “hole in sense” by various practices, discursive in the case of philosophy and nondiscursive or “presentational” in the case of art. But art forms offer us models for a plurality of philosophical approaches to the task of enabling us to maintain and restore our existential and experiential balance within what Dewey called the “moving unbalanced balance of things.”

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