Minerva's Night Out: Philosophy, Pop Culture, and Moving Pictures

Rafe McGregor

    Research output: Contribution to journalBook/Film/Article review

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    Noël Carroll requires no introduction and his reputation comes courtesy of the quality and quantity of his contributions to analytic aesthetics over a period of thirty years. Where his most recent collection, Art in Three Dimensions (Oxford: OUP, 2010), targeted aestheticism, formalism, and artistic autonomy, the focus of Minerva’s Night Out is broader: the philosophical questions raised by the phenomenon of mass art. Carroll concurs with the traditional classification of the popular arts in general as emotional arousal, charts the relationship between popular and mass art which developed in the twentieth century, and characterises the latter in terms of its intended consumption, i.e. large numbers of people, often separated by great distances. He justifies his choice of subject on the first page of the first paper, “The Ontology of Mass Art” (originally published in The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism in 1997): ‘mass art, or, if you prefer, mass entertainment, is probably the most common form of aesthetic experience for the largest number of people’ (9). The phenomenon is indeed one which philosophers should not ignore, and although the last two decades have seen increased attention paid to popular film, popular music, song, photography, and comics, the mass arts remain under-represented in academic philosophy. As such, Minerva’s Night Out is a very welcome addition to the literature.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)252-255
    Number of pages4
    JournalBritish Journal of Aesthetics
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2015


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