Journal of Consciousness Studies 15 (9):75-82 (2008)
So the central question here is phenomenological: What is the nature of the aesthetic zap? For it is this experience, or its promise, which gives art such a deep hold on human life. But the issue of representation, while secondary, is still pregnant with cognitive implications: Why is representation, of all the devices available to an artist, more likely to shift the odds in favour of eliciting and/or intensifying aesthetic experience? Assuming a Darwinian view of our species, it is likely that the answer to both questions will come from understanding how our capacity to enjoy art grows out of normal cognition.
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