Reading and Discussion Questions for Ruiz, Chapter 4
Why is “Four hours at my notes. Extraordinary pleasure” supposedly ironic?
Ruiz offers the following account of the purpose of great art: “in its intensity, beauty, horror, or specific themes [it] touches, moves, and changes the observer.” Do the academic disciplines— philosophy, art history, history, and so on—do something else, or is art unique in its ability to accomplish those effects?
Throughout the chapter, Ruiz attempts to explain the specific upsides to a life spent in pursuit of beauty and knowledge. Does it seem to you that he is explaining one big upside, or several interconnected ones? To put that differently, according to Ruiz, does Medea offer me the same sort of escape from the terror of history as Felon? What about The Republic? Be careful now: what about On the Nature of Things?
Why does Ruiz think utopias are aesthetically motivated, and why do you think he includes a discussion of utopias in this chapter?
What reason does Ruiz provide for the impermanence of aesthetic glory?
Is his book itself just another mere escape? Says who?!?

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