Visual Past, 5/2018, Special Issue: Image Senses (2020)

Martina Sauer
Institute for Image and Cultural Philosophy
What distinguishes humans form animals? Acknowledging that humans are part of nature, that can process psychologically their affective-vital reactions to nature, and thus be held responsible for cultural processes, is the result of art historical, cultural-philosophical and life science research over the past two centuries. This line of argumentation led to the consideration that there must also be a connection between affective-psychological reactions and formal, a-historical mechanisms that are usually used by the arts. However, influenced by classical aesthetic theory, no connection to culturally relevant communication processes has been established. It is the concern of the following scientific-historical study to establish this possible connection between the three in retrospect of research from the mid-19th century to the Hamburg circle around the art historian Aby Warburg, the philosopher Ernst Cassirer and the developmental psychologist Heinz Werner in the 1920s and the emergence of embodiment theories in the second half of the 20th century.
Keywords vitality affects  formal structure  cultural process  action theory  art theory  Aby Warburg  Ernst Cassirer  Heinz Werner
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