Ontological and conceptual challenges in the study of aesthetic experience

Philosophical Psychology 36 (3):510-552 (2022)
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We explain that most of the explanations that traditionally have been used to conceptually and ontologically differentiate aesthetic experience from any other are not compatible with a naturalistic framework, since they are based on transcendental idealistic metaphysics, reductions, and on the assumption that the aesthetic is an a priori special ontology in the object and the mind. However, contemporary works that propose as an alternative to apply directly evidence and theory from the science of emotions to the problem of aesthetics introduce Aesthetic Science into a new set of problematic assumptions. We argue that conceptually equating or ontologically reducing the aesthetic to the theory of rewards cannot provide a clear alternative for any Aesthetic Science to naturalize the aesthetic experience as a heterogeneous class of events that are not already explained by affective science. This practice introduces a serious danger of making the term “aesthetic” and the respective scientific field pretty weak or completely redundant and unnecessary.



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Author Profiles

Ioannis Xenakis
University of the Aegean
Argyris Arnellos
University of the Basque Country

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References found in this work

Critique of Pure Reason.I. Kant - 1787/1998 - Philosophy 59 (230):555-557.
Naturalized Phenomenology: A Desideratum or a Category Mistake?Dan Zahavi - 2013 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 72:23-42.
Aesthetic and nonaesthetic.Frank Sibley - 1965 - Philosophical Review 74 (2):135-159.

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