Branch of philosophy that studies the nature of art

Aesthetics is a branch of philosophy that explores the nature of art, beauty and taste, with the creation and appreciation of beauty. In its more technical epistemological perspective, it is defined as the study of subjective and sensori-emotional values, sometimes called judgments of sentiment and taste. Aesthetics studies how artists imagine, create and perform works of art; how people use, enjoy and criticize art, and what happens in their minds when they look at paintings, listen to music or read poetry, and understand what they see and hear. It also studies how they feel about art—why they like some works and not others, and how art can affect their moods, beliefs and attitude toward life.

Articles

FAQ: What does Objectivism Consider to be Art (Aesthetics), by William Thomas, 15 Mar 2002
"Many conventional accounts of aesthetics confuse decoration with art because they center aesthetics on the question of 'what is beauty?' ... because one's idea of beauty is inevitably informed and affected by one's sense of values, it is an issue that, like art in general, depends for its explanation on man's dependence on philosophical principles."
The Market Is a Beautiful Thing, by Sheldon Richman, Future of Freedom, Jul 2013
Explores whether most people's aversion to the market is aesthetic and explains the beauty in the dynamics of the (freed) market, with quotes from Bastiat and Adam Smith
"During the Q&A a woman asked, in all sincerity, why society couldn't do without money, since so many bad things are associated with it. ... I don't know whether my response prompted her to rethink her objections to the market, but I am confident her objection was aesthetic. For her, money and competition are ugly. ... Like that nice woman, many decent people dislike markets because they find them unattractive. And they associate markets with other things they find unattractive besides money and competition: (rugged, atomistic) individualism, selfishness, and profit. ... The objections must be met on an aesthetic level."

Books

The Romantic Manifesto: A Philosophy of Literature
    by Ayn Rand, 1969
Partial contents: The Psycho-Epistemology of Art - Philosophy and Sense of Life - Art and Sense of Life - Art and Cognition - Basic Principles of Literature - What is Romanticism? - The Esthetic Vacuum of Our Age - Bootleg Romanticism

The introductory paragraph uses material from the Wikipedia article "Aesthetics" as of 23 Oct 2018, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.