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UAL Research Online

The disambiguation of the royal academy of arts

Quinn, Malcolm (2011) The disambiguation of the royal academy of arts. History of European Ideas, 37 (1). pp. 53-62. ISSN 0191-6599

Type of Research: Article
Creators: Quinn, Malcolm

This article uses Jeremy Bentham’s notion of disambiguation, which links language to power and ‘sinister interest’, to analyse criticisms of the Royal Academy of Arts by Benthamites and Philosophic Radicals at the Select Committee on Arts and Manufactures of 1835/6. This practice of disambiguation aimed to produce a distinction between the Royal Academy of Arts and the publicly funded art school. I situate this activity within the linguistic turn taken by Bentham’s ethics, and its relevance to a dilemma of pedagogy in commercial society framed by Adam Smith. Smith’s dilemma turns on the conflict between the requirement for a pedagogy that conforms to the principle of free trade, and an equally binding requirement for a virtue ethical model of pedagogy that offers a remedy for the corrupting effects of commerce on character. Adam Smith’s support for private academies of art asserted a hierarchy of virtue ethics over utility, thus safeguarding autonomous ethical reasoning within capitalist forms of social life. Bentham’s thought, in contrast, eschews the link between ethics and character, and places ethics itself within normative rules of language and cognition.

Official Website: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.histeuroideas.2010.10.002
Additional Information (Publicly available):

This article has been developed from funded sabbatical research undertaken at University of the Arts London in autumn 2009, and a seminar ‘The Idea of the Art School in Early Nineteenth-Century Britain’ that I organized at Tate Britain on 8 June 2010, which included papers from myself, Professor Philip Schofield, Professor Richard Whatmore, Dr Martin Myrone and Professor Sir Christopher Frayling. as well as an article,‘The Political Economic Necessity of Art Education 1835 -52’ in International Journal of Art Education 30 (1) 2011, pp. 62-70, and lectures ‘The Chamber of Horrors: Art Education and Mass Culture’ at University of Cambridge Faculty of Education on 28 February 2009 and ‘Reading Reynolds With Bentham: the Idea of the Art School in Early Nineteenth-Century Britain’ at the Bentham Project Seminars, Bentham Project, University College London 2 March 2011. My research on the legacy of utilitarianism began with a symposium I organised on J.S. Mill at Tate Britain in 2006, entitled ‘On Liberty and Art’.

Keywords/subjects not otherwise listed: Royal Academy of Arts, pedagogy, capitalism, Jeremy Bentham, Adam Smith, Henry Cole, teaching and learning research
Publisher/Broadcaster/Company: Elsevier
Your affiliations with UAL: Colleges > Wimbledon College of Arts
Date: March 2011
Copyright Holders: 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Digital Object Identifier: 10.1016/j.histeuroideas.2010.10.002
Related Websites: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/01916599, http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/journaldescription.cws_home/605/description#description
Related Websites:
Projects or Series: Research Outputs Review (April 2010 - April 2011)
Date Deposited: 10 Feb 2012 10:01
Last Modified: 28 Apr 2017 06:37
Item ID: 4300
URI: https://ualresearchonline.arts.ac.uk/id/eprint/4300

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