Experience as art

Asian Philosophy 9 (2):107 – 122 (1999)
Chinese philosophy views experience as intrinsically aesthetic. This world view could be elucidated through a consideration of John Dewey's aesthetics and features of Chinese art. Dewey's philosophy of art starts with an understanding of experience as 'live processes' of living creatures interacting with their environment. Such processes are autopoietic in being self-sustaining, ever-changing, capable of increasing complexity, capable of generating novelty, direction and progress on its own. Its autopoietic character is a precondition of the aesthetic in the process of experience. An aesthetic experience is rhythmic, focused, consummatory, and reaches beyond the transitory boundaries of concrete existence. The aesthetic is not confined to what is conventionally identified as art. Most important, the ethical-political, the natural and the cosmic all have an aesthetic aspect, as the paper attempts to show by examining classical Confucianism.
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