BULLOUGH’S ESSAY, “Psychical Distance as a. Factor in given some attention to psychical distance; N1nd Essays Edward Bullough (Stanford, California. , , et passim. 6 Edward Bullough, ‘Psychical Distance’ as a Factor in Art and an Aesthetic Principle,”. The British Journal of Psychology, V (June. The concept of “physical distance” developed by Edward Bullough in his well- known article1has come to be generally accepted as an aesthetic principle.

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An axiom of Euclid belongs to nobody, just because it psuchical everyone’s assent; general conceptions like Patriotism, Friendship, Love, Hope, Life, Death, concern as much Dick, Tom and Harry as myself, and I therefore either feel unable to get into any kind of personal relation to them or, if I do so, they become at once, emphatically or concretely, my Patriotism, my Friendship, my Love, my Hope, my Life and Death.

Paragraph numbering below has been added to facilitate class discussion. In the source, the second quotation is mostly italicised.

Naoko Korita, Edward Bullough’s Concept of ‘Psychical Distance’ – PhilPapers

Special mention must be made of a group of artistic conceptions which present excessive distance in their form of appeal rather than in their actual presentation – a point illustrating the necessity of distinguishing between distancing an object and distancing the appeal of which it is the source. It is a term constantly occurring in discussions and criticisms, though its sense, if pressed at all, becomes very questionable.

Many an artist has seen his work condemned, and himself ostracized for the sake of so-called ‘immoralities’ which to him were bona fide aesthetic objects. In giving preference therefore to the term ‘impersonal’ to describe the relation between the spectator and a work of Art, it is to be noticed that it is not impersonal in the sense in which we speak of the ‘impersonal’ character of Science, for instance.

In point of fact, he will probably do anything but appreciate the play. Psychical Distance and the Aesthetic Appreciation of Wilderness. Wilkinson, introduction to Aestheticsxii. After a short illness [40] resulting from an internal operation, [41] Bullough died in a nursing home in Bath on 17 September The discussion questions, bibliographic references, and hyperlinks have been added by Julie Van Camp.


In this most general sense, Distance is a factor in all Art. Tad Bratkowski – unknown. By mere force of generalisation, a general truth or a universal ideal is so far distanced from myself that I fail to realise it concretely at all, or, when I do so, I can realise it only as part of my practical actual beingi.

Several studies have been made on the definition and validity of ‘Psychical Distance’. For certain forms of Art, such as lyrical poetry, are said to be ‘subjective’; Shelley, for example would usually be considered a ‘subjective’ writer. In Bullough resigned his university post, [27] wishing to concentrate instead on Italian.

‘Psychical Distance’ as a Factor in Art and an Aesthetic Principle

Imprint Academic,— This concept has the capacity to extend over the various forms of Art. It is a difference of outlook, due – if such a metaphor is permissible – to the insertion of distance. Such works have consequently profited greatly by lapse of time and have reached the level of art only with the help of temporal distance, while others, on the contrary, often for the same reason have suffered a loss of distance, through over -distancing.

Consequently, this distanced view of things is not, and cannot be, our normal outlook. Bowes and Bowes,xii. It will be seen later that this is actually true, for it appears that over-distanced Art is specially designed for a class of appreciation which has difficulty to rise spontaneously to any paychical of distance. Rouse Ball and J. His personal implication in the event renders it impossible for him to formulate and present it in such a way as to make others, like himself, feel all the meaning and fullness which it possesses for him.

The lectures are first announced, to begin on 14 Octoberin the Cambridge University Reporter 37, no. Attempts to raise ‘culinary art’ to the level of a Fine Art have failed in spite of all propaganda, as completely as the creation of scent or liquer ‘symphonies.

It is this interplay that makes it possible to take the concept of ‘Psychical Distance’ both as an act and as properties. They appeal to everybody and therefore to none. A New Look at Psyhcical Distance. Bullough accounted for the contrary theories of Art by using ‘Psychical Distance’. Crossley – – Idealistic Studies 3 1: Finally, it may claim to be considered as one of the essential characteristics of the ‘aesthetic consciousness,’ – if I may describe by this term that special mental attitude towards, and outlook upon, experience, which finds its most pregnant expression in the various forms of Art.


Distance, as I said before, is obtained by separating the object and eddard appeal from one’s own self, by putting it out of gear with practical needs and ends. The individual tends, as I just stated, to under-distance rather djstance to lose Distance by over-distancing. The same qualification applies to the artist. Vision and Philosophy in Michael Oakeshott Exeter: This difference, so well known as to be almost trivial, is generally explained by reference to the knowledge that the characters and situations are ‘unreal,’ imaginary.

This distance appears to lie between our own self and its affections, using the latter term in its broadest sense as anything which affects our being, bodily or spiritually, e. In reality, the concordance will merely render him acutely conscious of his own jealousy; by a sudden reversal of perspective he will no longer see Othello apparently betrayed by Desdemona, but himself in an analogous situation with his own wife.

Edward Bullough

Spychical theory, therefore, not only the usual subjects of Art, but even the most personal affections, whether ideas, percepts or emotions, can be sufficiently distanced to be aesthetically appreciable. Temporal distance, remoteness from us in point of time, though often a cause of misconceptions, has been declared to be a factor of considerable weight in our appreciation.

History of Western Philosophy. In their interplay they afford one of the most extensive explanations for varieties of aesthetic experience, since loss of distance, whether due to the one or the other, means loss of aesthetic appreciation.

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