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The central focus of Dewey's criticism of the tradition of ethical thought is its tendency to seek solutions to moral and social problems in dogmatic principles and simplistic criteria which in his view were incapable of dealing effectively with the changing requirements of human events. In Reconstruction of Philosophy and The Quest for Certainty , Dewey located the motivation of traditional dogmatic approaches in philosophy in the forlorn hope for security in an uncertain world, forlorn because the conservatism of these approaches has the effect of inhibiting the intelligent adaptation of human practice to the ineluctable changes in the physical and social environment.

Ideals and values must be evaluated with respect to their social consequences, either as inhibitors or as valuable instruments for social progress, and Dewey argues that philosophy, because of the breadth of its concern and its critical approach, can play a crucial role in this evaluation. In large part, then, Dewey's ideas in ethics and social theory were programmatic rather than substantive, defining the direction that he believed human thought and action must take in order to identify the conditions that promote the human good in its fullest sense, rather than specifying particular formulae or principles for individual and social action.

He studiously avoided participating in what he regarded as the unfortunate practice of previous moral philosophers of offering general rules that legislate universal standards of conduct. But there are strong suggestions in a number of his works of basic ethical and social positions.

In Human Nature and Conduct Dewey approaches ethical inquiry through an analysis of human character informed by the principles of scientific psychology. The analysis is reminiscent of Aristotelian ethics, concentrating on the central role of habit in formulating the dispositions of action that comprise character, and the importance of reflective intelligence as a means of modifying habits and controlling disruptive desires and impulses in the pursuit of worthwhile ends. The social condition for the flexible adaptation that Dewey believed was crucial for human advancement is a democratic form of life, not instituted merely by democratic forms of governance, but by the inculcation of democratic habits of cooperation and public spiritedness, productive of an organized, self-conscious community of individuals responding to society's needs by experimental and inventive, rather than dogmatic, means.

The development of these democratic habits, Dewey argues in School and Society and Democracy and Education, must begin in the earliest years of a child's educational experience. Dewey rejected the notion that a child's education should be viewed as merely a preparation for civil life, during which disjoint facts and ideas are conveyed by the teacher and memorized by the student only to be utilized later on.

The school should rather be viewed as an extension of civil society and continuous with it, and the student encouraged to operate as a member of a community, actively pursuing interests in cooperation with others. It is by a process of self-directed learning, guided by the cultural resources provided by teachers, that Dewey believed a child is best prepared for the demands of responsible membership within the democratic community. Dewey's one significant treatment of aesthetic theory is offered in Art as Experience , a book that was based on the William James Lectures that he delivered at Harvard University in The book stands out as a diversion into uncommon philosophical territory for Dewey, adumbrated only by a somewhat sketchy and tangential treatment of art in one chapter of Experience and Nature.

The unique status of the work in Dewey's corpus evoked some criticism from Dewey's followers, most notably Stephen Pepper, who believed that it marked an unfortunate departure from the naturalistic standpoint of his instrumentalism, and a return to the idealistic viewpoints of his youth. On close reading, however, Art as Experience reveals a considerable continuity of Dewey's views on art with the main themes of his previous philosophical work, while offering an important and useful extension of those themes. Dewey had always stressed the importance of recognizing the significance and integrity of all aspects of human experience.

His repeated complaint against the partiality and bias of the philosophical tradition expresses this theme. Consistent with this theme, Dewey took account of qualitative immediacy in Experience and Nature , and incorporated it into his view of the developmental nature of experience, for it is in the enjoyment of the immediacy of an integration and harmonization of meanings, in the "consummatory phase" of experience that, in Dewey's view, the fruition of the re-adaptation of the individual with environment is realized. These central themes are enriched and deepened in Art as Experience , making it one of Dewey's most significant works.

The roots of aesthetic experience lie, Dewey argues, in commonplace experience, in the consummatory experiences that are ubiquitous in the course of human life. There is no legitimacy to the conceit cherished by some art enthusiasts that aesthetic enjoyment is the privileged endowment of the few.

Whenever there is a coalesence into an immediately enjoyed qualitative unity of meanings and values drawn from previous experience and present circumstances, life then takes on an aesthetic quality--what Dewey called having " an experience. The process of intelligent use of materials and the imaginative development of possible solutions to problems issuing in a reconstruction of experience that affords immediate satisfaction, the process found in the creative work of artists, is also to be found in all intelligent and creative human activity.

What distinguishes artistic creation is the relative stress laid upon the immediate enjoyment of unified qualitative complexity as the rationalizing aim of the activity itself, and the ability of the artist to achieve this aim by marshalling and refining the massive resources of human life, meanings, and values. The senses play a key role in artistic creation and aesthetic appreciation. Dewey, however, argues against the view, stemming historically from the sensationalistic empiricism of David Hume, that interprets the content of sense experience simply in terms of the traditionally codified list of sense qualities, such as color, odor, texture, etc.

It is not only the sensible qualities present in the physical media the artist uses, but the wealth of meaning that attaches to these qualities, that constitute the material that is refined and unified in the process of artistic expression. The artist concentrates, clarifies, and vivifies these meanings in the artwork. The unifying element in this process is emotion--not the emotion of raw passion and outburst, but emotion that is reflected upon and used as a guide to the overall character of the artwork.

Although Dewey insisted that emotion is not the significant content of the work of art, he clearly understands it to be the crucial tool of the artist's creative activity. Dewey repeatedly returns in Art as Experience to a familiar theme of his critical reflections upon the history of ideas, namely that a distinction too strongly drawn too often sacrifices accuracy of account for a misguided simplicity.

Two applications of this theme are worth mentioning here. Dewey rejects the sharp distinction often made in aesthetics between the matter and the form of an artwork. What Dewey objected to was the implicit suggestion that matter and form stand side by side, as it were, in the artwork as distinct and precisely distinguishable elements. For Dewey, form is better understood in a dynamic sense as the coordination and adjustment of the qualities and associated meanings that are integrated within the artwork.

A second misguided distinction that Dewey rejects is that between the artist as the active creator and the audience as the passive recipient of art. This distinction artificially truncates the artistic process by in effect suggesting that the process ends with the final artifact of the artist's creativity. Dewey argues that, to the contrary, the process is barren without the agency of the appreciator, whose active assimilation of the artist's work requires a recapitulation of many of the same processes of discrimination, comparison, and integration that are present in the artist's initial work, but now guided by the artist's perception and skill.

Dewey underscores the point by distinguishing between the "art product," the painting, sculpture, etc. Ever concerned with the interrelationships between the various domains of human activity and concern, Dewey ends Art as Experience with a chapter devoted to the social implications of the arts. Art is a product of culture, and it is through art that the people of a given culture express the significance of their lives, as well as their hopes and ideals.

Because art has its roots in the consummatory values experienced in the course of human life, its values have an affinity to commonplace values, an affinity that accords to art a critical office in relation to prevailing social conditions. Insofar as the possibility for a meaningful and satisfying life disclosed in the values embodied in art is not realized in the lives of the members of a society, the social relationships that preclude this realization are condemned.

Dewey's specific target in this chapter was the conditions of workers in industrialized society, conditions which force upon the worker the performance of repetitive tasks that are devoid of personal interest and afford no satisfaction in personal accomplishment.

Art History

The degree to which this critical function of art is ignored is a further indication of what Dewey regarded as the unfortunate distancing of the arts from the common pursuits and interests of ordinary life. The realization of art's social function requires the closure of this bifurcation. Dewey's philosophical work received varied responses from his philosophical colleagues during his lifetime. There were many philosophers who saw his work, as Dewey himself understood it, as a genuine attempt to apply the principles of an empirical naturalism to the perennial questions of philosophy, providing a beneficial clarification of issues and the concepts used to address them.

Dewey's critics, however, often expressed the opinion that his views were more confusing than clarifying, and that they appeared to be more akin to idealism than the scientifically based naturalism Dewey expressly avowed. Notable in this connection are Dewey's disputes concerning the relation of the knowing subject to known objects with the realists Bertrand Russell, A. Lovejoy, and Evander Bradley McGilvery.

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Whereas these philosophers argued that the object of knowledge must be understood as existing apart from the knowing subject, setting the truth conditions for propositions, Dewey defended the view that things understood as isolated from any relationship with the human organism could not be objects of knowledge at all. Dewey was sensitive and responsive to the criticisms brought against his views. He often attributed them to misinterpretations based on the traditional, philosophical connotations that some of his readers would attach to his terminology.

This was clearly a fair assessment with respect to some of his critics. To take one example, Dewey used the term "experience," found throughout his philosophical writings, to denote the broad context of the human organism's interrelationship with its environment, not the domain of human thought alone, as some of his critics read him to mean. Dewey's concern for clarity of expression motivated efforts in his later writings to revise his terminology. Thus, for example, he later substituted "transaction" for his earlier "interaction" to denote the relationship between organism and environment, since the former better suggested a dynamic interdependence between the two, and in a new introduction to Experience and Nature, never published during his lifetime, he offered the term "culture" as an alternative to "experience.

The influence of Dewey's work, along with that of the pragmatic school of thought itself, although considerable in the first few decades of the twentieth century, was gradually eclipsed during the middle part of the century as other philosophical methods, such as those of the analytic school in England and America and phenomenology in continental Europe, grew to ascendency.

Recent trends in philosophy, however, leading to the dissolution of these rigid paradigms, have led to approaches that continue and expand on the themes of Dewey's work. Quine's project of naturalizing epistemology works upon naturalistic presumptions anticipated in Dewey's own naturalistic theory of inquiry. American phenomenologists such as Sandra Rosenthal and James Edie have considered the affinities of phenomenology and pragmatism, and Hilary Putnam, an analytically trained philosophy, has recently acknowledged the affinity of his own approach to ethics to that of Dewey's.

The renewed openness and pluralism of recent philosophical discussion has meant a renewed interest in Dewey's philosophy, an interest that promises to continue for some time to come. Dewey's complete correspondence has know been published in electronic form in The Correspondence of John Dewey, 3 vols. Charlottesville, Va: Intelex Corporation. An authoritative collection of Dewey's writings is The Essential Dewey, 2 vols.

Alexander, eds. Richard Field Email: rfield at nwmissouri. John Dewey — John Dewey was a leading proponent of the American school of thought known as pragmatism , a view that rejected the dualistic epistemology and metaphysics of modern philosophy in favor of a naturalistic approach that viewed knowledge as arising from an active adaptation of the human organism to its environment.

Theory of Knowledge The central focus of Dewey's philosophical interests throughout his career was what has been traditionally called "epistemology," or the "theory of knowledge. Metaphysics Dewey's naturalistic metaphysics first took shape in articles that he wrote during the decade after the publication of Studies in Logical Theory, a period when he was attempting to elucidate the implications of instrumentalism. Ethical and Social Theory Dewey's mature thought in ethics and social theory is not only intimately linked to the theory of knowledge in its founding conceptual framework and naturalistic standpoint, but also complementary to it in its emphasis on the social dimension of inquiry both in its processes and its consequences.

Aesthetics Dewey's one significant treatment of aesthetic theory is offered in Art as Experience , a book that was based on the William James Lectures that he delivered at Harvard University in Critical Reception and Influence Dewey's philosophical work received varied responses from his philosophical colleagues during his lifetime. References and Further Reading a.

Secondary Sources Alexander, Thomas M. Boisvert, Raymond D.

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Dewey's Metaphysics. New York: Fordham University Press, John Dewey: Rethinking Our Time. Bullert, Gary. The Politics of John Dewey. Buffalo, NY: Prometheus Books, Campbell, James. Chicago and La Salle: Open Court, Damico, Alfonso J. Dykhuizen, George. The Life and Mind of John Dewey. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, Eames, S. Elizabeth R. Eames and Richard W. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Vol. August May 16, Tombstone, Deadwood, and Dodge City.


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Jun 1, Crane, Susan A. September Ten Design Principles. Michelle K. Berry and Emily Wakild. Duke University Press. May Tyina Steptoe. American Quarterly vol March Benjamin N. Medical Anthropology, vol Painting the scene with several different viewpoints and multiple perspectives is another common characteristic of Chinese painting. It is a sprawling and detailed masterpiece of mountain scenery in the typical Tang style using only blues and greens. The original is lost but a later copy can be seen at the Palace Museum of Taipei.

Dating to CE the Over 7, figures of warriors, horses and several chariots were set to guard the tomb of the 3rd-century BCE Qin emperor. Much effort was made to render each figure unique despite them all being made from a limited repertoire of assembled body parts made from moulds. Faces and hair, in particular, were modified to give the illusion of a real army composed of unique individuals. Regarding smaller-scale works, the Shang Dynasty c. Common shapes of bronze vessels are three-legged cauldrons, sometimes with the legs made into animals, birds, or dragons.

They can be circular or square, and many have lids and handles. Sharp relief decoration includes repeating patterns, masks, and scroll motifs. The Shang artists also produced vessels in the form of three-dimensional animals such as rams, elephants, and mythological creatures. In the Han period, small-scale sculpture took the form of stone or bricks stamped and carved with relief scenes and they are particularly common in tombs.

Outstanding examples come from the Wu Liang Shrine at Jiaxiang. Also in the Han period, cast bronze sculptures of horses were popular. These are usually depicted in full gallop with only one hoof resting on the base so that they almost appear to be flying. Earthenware figurines of single standing women, men, and servants are common from the Han period. Cast bronze was used to make small figurines and ornate incense burners.

One superb piece is a gilded bronze oil-lamp in the form of a kneeling servant girl, which dates to the late 2nd century BCE. By the time of the Tang dynasty, the wealth of the Buddhist monasteries permitted a great production of religious art. Unlike in previous periods, figures became much less static, their suggested flowing movement even drawing criticism from some that serious religious figures, on occasion, now looked more like court dancers. The Chinese were the masters of pottery and ceramics. They produced everything from heavy and functional storage jars in earthenware to exquisitely decorated bowls in the most delicate of porcelain, from vases to garden stools, teapots to pillows.

Early developments in techniques and kilns led to both higher firing temperatures and the first glazed pottery during the Han period. Pottery, especially the vessels painted with a grey slip commonly found in Han tombs, very often imitated the shape and decoration of bronze vessels, and this would be a goal of many potters in later periods. Clay was used to produce small unglazed models of ordinary houses which were set in tombs to accompany the dead and, presumably, symbolically meet their need for a new home. Many such models are complete with adjacent animal pen and figurines of their occupants and animals.

Tang potters reached a level of technical proficiency greater than any of their predecessors. New colour glazes which were developed in the period included blues, greens, yellows, and browns, which were produced from cobalt, iron, and copper. Colours were mixed, too, producing the three-coloured wares the Tang period has become famous for. Rich inlays of gold and silver were also sometimes used to decorate Tang ceramics.

In the Yuan CE and Ming CE periods even more famous ceramics would be produced with their distinctive and much-copied blue on white decoration which itself copied earlier Chinese paintings for design ideas. Gold, silver, copper, bronze, ivory, coloured glass, enamel, precious stones, semi-precious hard stones, silk, wood, and amber were all materials transformed into art objects by gifted craftsmen, but perhaps the most quintessential Chinese materials of the minor arts were jade and lacquer.

Jade was especially esteemed in China for its rarity, durability, purity, and association with immortality. Using circular cutting drills and iron tools, the hard material was carved into all manner of jewellery items, everyday objects and figurines of animals, people, and mythical creatures, especially dragons. The state sponsored and supervised the production of lacquerware, with different schools of lacquer art producing common forms but with recognisably distinct designs.

Dewey, John | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Lacquerware took the form of plates, cups, and jars. Like pottery, they often imitated metal vessels, but they were decorated more elaborately, particularly with scenes of mythical creatures appearing from behind clouds and probably representing the spirit world of the afterlife. Editorial Review This Article has been reviewed for accuracy, reliability and adherence to academic standards prior to publication. We're a small non-profit organisation run by a handful of volunteers.

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Become a Member. Cartwright, M. Ancient Chinese Art. Ancient History Encyclopedia. Cartwright, Mark. Last modified October 13, Ancient History Encyclopedia, 13 Oct This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon this content non-commercially, as long as they credit the author and license their new creations under the identical terms. Please note that content linked from this page may have different licensing terms.

We publish the digital edition of Timeless Travels , the unique magazine for lovers of history, culture, and travel. The Purpose of Art An important difference between China and many other ancient cultures is that a large proportion of Chinese artists were not professionals but gentlemen amateurs and a few ladies who were also scholars.