In light of many serious problems that plague today’s world, aesthetic concerns may appear to be rather inconsequential. In particular, the aesthetics of everyday life regarding objects of daily use, familiar environments, and regular chores may seem trivial and insignificant. However, Yuriko Saito argues that our aesthetic tastes, preferences, and judgments regarding everyday life have a surprisingly, though often unrecognised, power to affect the quality of life and the state of the world, both positively and negatively. Saito presents this power of the aesthetic by exploring everyday aesthetics’ contribution to the promotion of nationalism, environmental consequences, and the cultivation of moral virtues. Her overall thesis is that all of us are implicated in the collective and cumulative project of world-making as citizens, consumers, and community members, although many of us are not professional world-makers such as architects, designers, manufacturers, and policy-makers. As such, there is a need to cultivate aesthetic literacy and vigilance, as well as strategies to harness the power of the aesthetic toward better world-making.
Professor Yuriko Saito gave this presentation at The IAFOR North American Conference on Arts & Humanities 2014 in Rhode Island, USA.
Professor Yuriko Saito
Yuriko Saito, born and raised in Japan, received her BA in philosophy from International Christian University (Tokyo, Japan) and PhD in philosophy from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She has been teaching at the Rhode Island School of Design since 1981, where she received the Frazier Award for Excellence in Teaching in 1999. Her research area is aesthetics with a focus on everyday aesthetics, environmental aesthetics, and Japanese aesthetics. She teaches these subjects regularly, as well as introductory courses in philosophy. Her work and what she gained from teaching at RISD resulted in Everyday Aesthetics, recently (2008) published by Oxford University Press.