Research seeking a scientific foundation for the theory of art appreciation has raised controversies at the intersection of the social and cognitive sciences. Though equally relevant to a scientific inquiry into art appreciation, psychological and historical approaches to art developed independently and lack a common core of theoretical principles. Historicists argue that psychological and brain sciences ignore the fact that artworks are artifacts produced and appreciated in the context of unique historical situations and artistic intentions. After revealing flaws (...) in the psychological approach, we introduce a psycho-historical framework for the science of art appreciation. This framework demonstrates that a science of art appreciation must investigate how appreciators process causal and historical information to classify and explain their psychological responses to art. Expanding on research about the cognition of artifacts, we identify three modes of appreciation: basic exposure to an artwork, the artistic design stance, and artistic understanding. The artistic design stance, a requisite for artistic understanding, is an attitude whereby appreciators develop their sensitivity to art-historical contexts by means of inquiries into the making, authorship, and functions of artworks. We defend and illustrate the psycho-historical framework with an analysis of existing studies on art appreciation in empirical aesthetics. Finally, we argue that the fluency theory of aesthetic pleasure can be amended to meet the requirements of the framework. We conclude that scientists can tackle fundamental questions about the nature and appreciation of art within the psycho-historical framework. (shrink)
Experiences with art have been of longstanding concern for phenomenologists, yet the psychological question of the appearing of art appreciation has not been addressed. This article attends to this lack, exemplifying the merits of a phenomenological psychological investigation based on three semi-structured interviews conducted with museum visitors. The interviews were subjected to meaning condensation as well as to descriptions of the first aesthetic reception, the retrospective interpretation, and the “horizons of expectations” included in the meeting with art. The findings (...) show that art appreciation appears as variations in experiential forms comprised of gratifying experiences of beauty, challenges to the understanding, and bodily-informed alterations of the emotions. The phenomenological psychology of actual, lived experience can embrace the phenomenological theories of art appreciation by Heidegger and Merleau-Ponty, yet highlight the psychological importance of experiences with art. (shrink)
Apparently snobbery undermines justification for and legitimacy of aesthetic claims. It is also pervasive in the aesthetic realm, much more so than we tend to presume. If these two claims are combined, a fundamental problem arises: we do not know whether or not we are justified in believing or making aesthetic claims. Addressing this new challenge requires an epistemological story which underpins when, where and why snobbish judgement is problematic, and how appreciative claims can survive. This leads towards a virtue-theoretic (...) account of art appreciation and aesthetic justification, as contrasted with a purely reliabilist one – a new direction for contemporary aesthetics. (shrink)
There seem to be at least two leading conceptions of art appreciation. The first, and by far the most popular, it seems to me, regards “appreciation” as a synonym for “approbation,” which itself can be a synonym for affection or even love. “To appreciate,” in this sense, is “to cherish.” This is the notion of appreciation that most plain speakers have in mind when they say things such as “I appreciate what you’ve done with your garden.” They (...) mean “I like what you’ve done with your garden.” Call this “appreciation-as-liking.” Although I’ve claimed that this is the popular construal of appreciation, it also possesses some estimable philosophical credentials. David Hume, for example, seems to hold a... (shrink)
A psycho-historical framework for the science of art appreciation will be an experimental discipline that may shed new light on the highest capacities of the human brain, yielding new scientific ways to talk about the art appreciation. The recent findings of the contextual information processing in the human brain make the concept of the art-historical context clear for empirical experimentation.
We applaud Bullot & Reber's (B&R's) attempt to encompass the function of artworks within their psycho-historical model of art appreciation. However, we suggest that in order to fully realize this aim, they require a clearer distinction between an artist's intentions toward an artwork and its proper functions. We also show how such a distinction improves the internal coherence of their model.
Art appreciation often involves contemplation beyond immediate perceptual experience. However, there are challenges to incorporating such processes into a comprehensive theory of art appreciation. Can appreciation be captured in the responses to individual artworks? Can all forms of contemplation be defined? What properties of artworks trigger contemplation? We argue that such questions are fundamental to a psycho-historical framework for the science of art appreciation, and we suggest research that may assist in refining this framework.
The target article presents a thought-provoking approach to the relation of neuroscience and art. However, at least two issues pose potential difficulties. The first concerns whether is a coherent topic for scientific study. The second concerns the degree to which processing fluency can explain aesthetic feeling or may simply be one component of a more complex account.
In this article I argue that a high capacity for courage, in the sense of the strength of character that enables one to face distress, angst or psychological pain, is required of Hume’s ideal critics just as the other well-known five characteristics are. I also explore the implications of my proposal for several aspects of Hume’s aesthetics, including the one brought into relief by Shelley’s interpretation of Hume along the lines of distinguishing between the perceptual and affective stages in aesthetic (...)appreciation. (shrink)
Aesthetics and the Environment presents fresh and fascinating insights into our interpretation of the environment. Traditional aesthetics is often associated with the appreciation of art, but Allen Carlson shows how much of our aesthetic experience does not encompass art but nature--in our response to sunsets, mountains or horizons or more mundane surroundings, like gardens or the view from our window. Carlson argues that knowledge of what it is we are appreciating is essential to having an appropriate aesthetic experience and (...) that a scientific understanding of nature can enhance our appreciation of it, rather than denigrate it. (shrink)
This volume is a collection of essays in appreciation, analysis and honor of Paul Ziff, one of the leading American philosophers of the post-World War II period. The essays address questions that loomed large in Ziff's own work. Essays by Zeno Vendler, Jay Rosenberg, and Tom Patton address topics in philosophy of language: understanding, misunderstanding, rules, regularities, and proper names. Michael Resnik examines the nature of numbers, Rita Nolan addresses `mutant predicates', and Peter Alexander discusses microscopes and corpuscles. Douglas (...) C. Long ruminates on Ziff's claim that machines can neither think nor feel. The essays of Dale Jamieson, Bill E. Lawson, Douglas Dempster, and Joseph Ullian address various questions in aesthetics: aesthetic appreciation and morality, expression, the scope of appreciation, and the aesthetics of sport. In the spirit of Ziff, Douglas Stalker criticizes some of the `mush' that looms large in our intellectual lives. The volume begins with a reminiscence by Paul Benacerraf, and ends with selections from an unpublished volume of plays by Paul Ziff. The volume should appeal to anyone whose work has been influenced by Ziff, or is interested in central philosophical problems concerning language, mind, and art. (shrink)
Psychopaths are the bugbears of moral philosophy. They are often used as examples of perfectly rational people who are nonetheless willing to do great moral wrong without regret; hence the disorder has received the epithet “moral insanity” (Pritchard 1835). But whereas philosophers have had a great deal to say about psychopaths’ glaring and often horrifying lack of moral conscience, their aesthetic capacities have received hardly any attention, and are generally assumed to be intact or even enhanced. Popular culture often portrays (...) psychopaths in ways that suggest a great gap between their amorality and their aesthetic sensitivity. In The Silence of the Lambs (Jonathan Demme, 1991), Hannibal Lecter appreciates fine art, fashion, and wine, while he eats his way through his enemies. His real-life counterparts, however, do not demonstrate the same sensitivities. There is no evidence that psychopaths are capable of real aesthetic appreciation, and some evidence that they are not. In this paper, we set out the limited evidence for the psychopath’s deficient aesthetic sensitivity. The best explanations of what the psychopath lacks turn out to implicate abilities that are also thought to be central to moral thought and action: an impaired capacity for empathizing with others and deficient ability to take a disinterested attitude towards things (socalled distance). We endorse the latter explanation. Thinking about what underlies the psychopath’s deficient aesthetic understanding turns out to throw light on a difficult problem: the connection between ethics and aesthetics. (shrink)
To assess the impact of selected murals in the Workers’ Hospital in Santiago on different groups of clients, a quantitative and qualitative approach, including a semantic differential scale, was applied. The sample was composed of 120 subjects—40 patients, 40 visitors and 40 hospital staff. Appreciation of the paintings and assessment of the benefit of each painting varied widely. Differences in perceptions according to age, gender and educational level were not significant. Over two-thirds of the sample had a positive (...) class='Hi'>appreciation of the murals and considered them beneficial. Differences in perception relate to personal characteristics of the subjects and are also associated with certain characteristics of the murals, such as location, or the structure and style of the work. This study, the first of its kind in Chile, provides grounds for the development of an art-for-health policy in the future, showing that most people are willing to participate by giving their opinions and assessments. (shrink)
Traditional aesthetics is often associated with the appreciation of art, Allen Carlson shows how much of our aesthetic experience does not encompass art but nature. He argues that knowledge of what it is we are appreciating is essential to having an appropriate aesthetic experience and that scientific understanding of nature can enhance our appreciation of it, rather than denigrate it.
It is a cliché that most Greek art was religious in function. Yet our histories of Classical art, having acknowledged this truism, systematically ignore the religious nuances and associations of images while focusing on diverse arthistorical issues from style and form, or patronage and production, to mimesis and aesthetics. In general, the emphasis on naturalism in classical art and its reception has tended to present it as divorced from what is perceived as the overwhelmingly religious nature of post-Constantinian Christian art. (...) The insulation of Greek and Roman art from theological and ritual concerns has been colluded in by most historians of medieval images. Take for instance Ernst Kitzinger's monographic article entitled ‘The Cult of Images in the Age before Iconoclasm’. Despite its title and despite Kitzinger's willingness to situate Christian emperor worship in an antique context, this classic paper contains nothing on the Classical ancestry of magical images, palladia and miracle-working icons in Christian art. There has been the odd valiant exception , but in general it is fair to say that the religiousness of antiquity's religious art is skirted by the art historians and left to the experts on religion. (shrink)
Refuting the assumption that art is a representational practice, Bolt's striking argument engages with the work of Heidegger, Deleuze and Guattari, C.S.Peirce and Judith Butler to argue for a performative relationship between art and artist. Drawing on themes as diverse as the work of Cezanne and of Francis Bacon, the transubstantiation of the Catholic sacrament and Wilde's novel The Picture of Dorian Gray , she challenges the metaphor of light as enlightenment, reconceiving this revealing light as the blinding glare of (...) the Australian sun, and suggests that too much light may in fact reveal nothing. Finally she asks: how does an embodied practice fare within the culture of conceptual art? (shrink)