The Age of Observation
Plato and Aristotle both concerned themselves with beauty and aesthetics to a remarkable degree. Plato's forms were said to align around the highest form: The Form of Beauty or Truth Itself: The Sun. Aristotle devoted an entire treatise to the theory of beauty and aesthetics, a pronouncement that was in keeping with his theory of temperance in virtue, which might have a value for qualities that did not require great labor or sacrifice.
The Age of Eschatology
Eschatology, n. The study of the Apocalypse.
Perhaps observing the nuances of the Biblical testament, critical ideation became concerned with the question of 'what is the concern', and thus frequently returned to the central answer: that the central concern is the 'greatest concern', the subjects of conflict, transcendence, and intelligence were highly important during this period.
A number of key works emerged, which express a typical devotion to 'topicalities' which are supposed to be fulfilling in themselves, yet which are neither games nor sciences:
The Phenomenology of Perception, Merleau-Ponty
The Production of Space, Lefebvre
The Metaphysics of Morals, Kant
The Social Contract, Rousseau
These were escapes from the question of aesthetics, as much as they were embodiments of a specific sentimental approach to classical views of aesthetic. One might suspect that these writers have fetishes for culture but no developed opinion on the subject of genuine beauty. Essentially, they borrowed from the classical when it came to aesthetics.
The Emerging Mathematical Ideal
Geometry had long held a special place in the hearts of intellectuals, after the schools of Euclid and Pythagoras. Mathematicians were forever encountering a limit on the functionality of mathematics, however. Not only in its practical applications, but in the range of theorems and especially shapes and figures which could evince the theory. This was not the popularized, 'endless variety'. Very occasionally, somone would find a new entity to analyze, such as a vector, an axis, or a Klein Bottle, but most of these developments seemed to depend upon rejecting Euclidean Space. Mathematics became a devotion to an inhuman kind of beauty.
Neo-Perspectivism and Modern Art
Perhaps as a result of mathematical modeling such as the Klein Bottle, new perspectives began to emerge about the theory of dimension in art.
M.C. Escher became famous for his ideas of tessellating objects and landscapes which could fool the eye. The tessellations became important for the philosophical concept of social cohesion and the modular citizen.
The Op-Artists extended Escher's concept into abstract objects which presented a bold, textured quality which seemed to dissobey physics.
In philosophy these qualities heralded a new age of exceptionalism. Indeed, some of the linguists seemed to be right that there was 'no end' to human creativity. Ironically, in the post-modern age, conceptualism seemed to just be beginning. But unlike previously, these new theories always seemed to adopt some formalism, some pigeon-hole, before declaring something new about the world. Gone were the days of large books which contained only one idea.
Just as the obsession with beauty became an obsession with mathematics, so too the obsession with mathematics became an obsession with form. And the obsession with form became an obsession with dimension, and then the obsession with dimension became an obsession with 'doing something'.
The subjects of several books have been noted for their introduction of a new principle of activity, a hyperbolic quality which goes beyond ordinary conceptions of beauty by a few degrees. These were partly an eventuality of developments made by Wittgenstein:
1. Einstein's Space and Van Gogh's Sky is a book which addressed intuitive subjects from an empirical vantage point.
2. Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions
3. Bogost's Alien Phenomenology
4. Coppedge's The Dimensional Philosopher's Toolkit, introduces the concept of objective coherentism as though there could be an exponential system of knowledge.
Overall, the view on aesthetics appears to be increasingly informational, divergent, and yet hypothetically perfectible. Relationships, once proven logical, might also provide correspondences between multiple aesthetic ideals and ideations.