Aesthetics as Philosophy of Perception

Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press UK (2016)
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Abstract

Bency Nanay brings the discussion of aesthetics and perception together, to explore how many influential debates in aesthetics look very different, and may be easier to tackle, if we clarify the assumptions they make about perception and about experiences in general. He focuses on the concept of attention and the ways in which the distinction between distributed and focused attention can help us re-evaluate various key concepts and debates in aesthetics. Sometimes our attention is distributed in an unusual way: we are attending to one perceptual object but our attention is distributed across its various properties. But in other aesthetic contexts our attention is not at all distributed but very much focused. The book closes with an analysis of some paradigmatic aesthetic phenomena in which this is the case: identification and engagement with fictional characters. It argues that the conflict and interplay between distributed and focused attention is an important feature of many artworks.

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Chapters

Aesthetics

The claim defended in this chapter is that aesthetics is about experiences, so philosophy of perception is the natural place to turn if we want to engage with debates in aesthetics. This approach does not entail that all aesthetic phenomena are perceptual phenomena because philosophy of pe... see more

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Bence Nanay
University of Antwerp

Citations of this work

Threefoldness.Bence Nanay - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (1):163-182.
Playfulness versus epistemic traps.C. Thi Nguyen - 2022 - In Mark Alfano, Colin Klein & Jeroen de Ridder (eds.), Social Virtue Epistemology. Routledge.
Trompe l’oeil and the Dorsal/Ventral Account of Picture Perception.Bence Nanay - 2015 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 6 (1):181-197.
Perception is not all-purpose.Bence Nanay - 2021 - Synthese 198 (Suppl 17):4069-4080.
The Ethics of Attention: Engaging the Real with Iris Murdoch and Simone Weil.Silvia Caprioglio Panizza - 2022 - New York, NY, USA: Routledge Studies in Ethics and Moral Theory.

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