Aesthetic Experience and Value

Dissertation, University of Missouri - Columbia (1984)

Richard McCarty
East Carolina University
The "aesthetic attitude" is the primary concept in this aesthetic theory. I argue that it is capable of accounting for both the experiential and the axiological parts of the aesthetic. In the first Part of this dissertation I defend against past and recent criticism such concepts as "aesthetic disinterestedness" and "psychical distance." They are accurate but negative descriptions of the aesthetic attitude. I present as a positive formulation of the aesthetic attitude a theory of "aesthetic attention": a mode of attention whose object is a phenomenal object grounded in the objective self. ;In Part II I explain the value in aesthetic experience as arising from the relation of a subject's immediate or intrinsic interest to an object of aesthetic attention. This theory of value is relational and therefore recognizes no absolute standard for aesthetic value judgments. Authoritative criticism is possible, however, insofar as the critic represents a tradition or community of interests
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