Art as Orientation

Metaphilosophy 42 (5):642-657 (2011)

Abstract
What is it that we lack in everyday life that causes us to value art so highly? This article argues that (almost) all values are to be understood in terms of a needs-satisfaction system, and hence that the value of art can be understood only with reference to the state of the appreciator prior to engagement with the artwork. Aesthetic appreciation can be analysed as a process, which can be described in empirically based psychological terms, leading to a functional view of aesthetic experience as potentially enhancing the individual's orientation at sensory, cognitive, and interpersonal levels; our motivation is a special form of pleasure. Various objections are then considered, with particular attention to the role of pleasure in connection with tragedy; the relation of art to related cultural pursuits is also briefly indicated
Keywords tragedy  function  motivation  aesthetic pleasure  personal construct theory  homeostasis
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DOI 10.1111/j.1467-9973.2011.01720.x
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Critique of Judgement.Immanuel Kant - 2005 - Oxford University Press.
The Gay Science.Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche - 1974 - New York: Vintage Books.
Art as Experience.John Dewey - 1934 - G. Allen & Unwin.

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