Results for 'aesthetic experience'

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  1. Aesthetic Experience.Richard Shusterman & Adele Tomlin (eds.) - 2007 - London: Routledge.
    In this volume, a team of internationally respected contributors theorize the concept of aesthetic experience and its value. Exposing and expanding our restricted cultural and intellectual presuppositions of what constitutes aesthetic experience, the book aims to re-explore and affirm the place of aesthetic experience--in its evaluative, phenomenological and transformational sense--not only in relation to art and artists but to our inner and spiritual lives.
     
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  2. The Aesthetic Experience of Artworks and Everyday Scenes.Bence Nanay - 2018 - The Monist 101 (1):71-82.
    Some of our aesthetic experiences are of artworks. Some others are of everyday scenes. The question I examine in this paper is about the relation between these two different kinds of aesthetic experience. I argue that the experience of artworks can dispose us to experience everyday scenes in an aesthetic manner both short-term and long-term. Finally, I examine what constraints this phenomenon puts on different accounts of aesthetic experience.
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  3.  23
    The Aesthetic Experience of Kandinsky's Abstract Art: A Polemic with Henry's Phenomenological Analysis.Anna Ziółkowska-Juś - 2017 - Estetika: The European Journal of Aesthetics 54 (2):212-237.
    The French phenomenologist Michel Henry sees a similarity between the primordial experience of what he calls ‘Life’ and the aesthetic experience occasioned by Wassily Kandinsky’s abstract art. The triple aim of this essay is to explain and assess how Henry interprets Kandinsky’s abstract art and theory; what the consequences of his interpretation mean for the theory of the experience of abstract art; and what doubts and questions emerge from Henry’s interpretations of Kandinsky’s theory and practice. Despite (...)
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  4.  54
    Aesthetic Experience as Interaction.Bence Nanay - forthcoming - Journal of the American Philosophical Association:1-13.
    The aim of this article is to argue that what is distinctive about aesthetic experiences has to do with what we do -- not with our perception or evaluation, but with our action and, more precisely, with our interaction with whatever we are aesthetically engaging with. This view goes against the mainstream inasmuch as aesthetic engagement is widely held to be special precisely because it is detached from the sphere of the practical. I argue that taking the interactive (...)
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  5. Is Aesthetic Experience Possible?Sherri Irvin - 2014 - In Greg Currie Nj, Matthew Kieran, Aaron Meskin & Jon Robson (eds.), Aesthetics and the Sciences of Mind. Oxford University Press. pp. 37-56.
    On several current views, including those of Matthew Kieran, Gary Iseminger, Jerrold Levinson, and Noël Carroll, aesthetic appreciation or experience involves second-order awareness of one’s own mental processes. But what if it turns out that we don’t have introspective access to the processes by which our aesthetic responses are produced? I summarize several problems for introspective accounts that emerge from the psychological literature: aesthetic responses are affected by irrelevant conditions; they fail to be affected by relevant (...)
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  6.  80
    Aesthetic experience: From analysis to Eros.Richard Shusterman - 2006 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 64 (2):217–229.
    Richard Shusterman; Aesthetic Experience: From Analysis to Eros, The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, Volume 64, Issue 2, 18 April 2005, Pages 217–229.
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  7.  60
    Aesthetic Experience, Aesthetic Value.Jane Forsey - 2017 - Estetika: The European Journal of Aesthetics 54 (2):175-188.
    This paper offers a critical analysis of Robert Stecker’s account of aesthetic experience and its relation to aesthetic and artistic values. The analysis will demonstrate that Stecker’s formulation of aesthetic experience as it stands is incompatible with his arguments for nonaesthetic artistic values. Rather than multiplying the values associated with aesthetic experience, a deeper understanding of that experience will best serve to clarify problems at the core of the discipline.
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  8. Aesthetic experience revisited.Noël Carroll - 2002 - British Journal of Aesthetics 42 (2):145-168.
    In this article I divide theories of aesthetic experience into three sorts: the affectoriented approach, the axiologically oriented approach, and the content-oriented approach. I then go on to defend a version of the content-oriented approach.
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  9.  55
    Aesthetic Experience and Intellectual Pursuits.Elisabeth Schellekens - 2022 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 96 (1):123-146.
    The main aim of this paper is to examine the practice of describing intellectual pursuits in aesthetic terms, and to investigate whether this practice can be accounted for in the framework of a standard conception of aesthetic experience. Following a discussion of some historical approaches, the paper proposes a way of conceiving of aesthetic experience as both epistemically motivating and epistemically inventive. It is argued that the aesthetics of intellectual pursuits should be considered as central (...)
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  10.  54
    Aesthetic experience and the revelation of value.Jeffrey Petts - 2000 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 58 (1):61-71.
    A Deweyan account of aesthetic experience countering skepticism about aesthetic experience after George Dickie, art-centered views after Arthur Danto and Noel Carroll, and disinterest theories after Kant. This account of aesthetic experience provides an integrated account of the aesthetic for both art and the everyday. Aesthetic experience is a critical, adaptive felt response, revealing value in the world. It is the live experience of value for human beings. An account of (...)
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  11.  6
    Blackening Aesthetic Experience.Nicholas Whittaker - 2021 - The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 79 (4):452–464.
    Contemporary philosophy of art generally assumes that aesthetic experience is constituted by a certain ontological-phenomenological structure: the apprehension by a subject of an object. This article explores an underexamined critique of this philosophical model found within the black intellectual and artistic tradition. I will specifically focus on the version of this critique proposed by the similarly underexamined black philosophers Adrian Piper and Fred Moten. This critique, which I dub the subjectivizing concern, takes issue with the notion of ontological (...)
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  12.  3
    The aesthetic experience according to Abhinavagupta. Abhinavagupta & Raniero Gnoli - 1968 - Varanasi,: Chowkhamba Sanskrit Series Office. Edited by Raniero Gnoli.
    Indian poetics and aesthetics; comprises the part of his Abhinavabhāratī which comments on the sutra 'Vibhāvānubhāvavyabhicārisaṃyogādrasaniṣpattiḥ' from the larger work entitled Nāṭya Śāstra by Bharata; Sanskrit text in roman script with English translation.
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  13. Aesthetics, experience, and discrimination.Robert Hopkins - 2005 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 63 (2):119–133.
    Can indistinguishable objects differ aesthetically? Manifestationism answers ‘no’ on the grounds that (i) aesthetically significant features of an object must show up in our experience of it; and (ii) a feature—aesthetic or not—figures in our experience only if we can discriminate its presence. Goodman’s response to Manifestationism has been much discussed, but little understood. I explain and reject it. I then explore an alternative. Doubles can differ aesthetically provided, first, it is possible to experience them differently; (...)
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  14. The phenomenology of aesthetic experience.Mikel Dufrenne - 1973 - Evanston [Ill.]: Northwestern University Press.
  15.  26
    Aesthetic Experience and the Unfathomable: A Pragmatist Critique of Hermeneutic Aesthetics.Mark Gilks - 2021 - British Journal of Aesthetics 61 (2):185-198.
    In his attack on the notion of immediate experience, Hans-Georg Gadamer argues that aesthetic experience should be absorbed into hermeneutics because alone it cannot account for the historical nature of experience ; predicated on an ontological theory of art, the unfathomable, therefore, is the sense we have of these infinite hermeneutic depths. I argue that this account is methodologically and existentially unacceptable: methodologically because it is overly speculative, and existentially because it betrays authentic existence. I critique (...)
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  16.  25
    The aesthetic experience as a characteristic feature of brain dynamics.Giuseppe Vitiello - 2015 - Aisthesis: Pratiche, Linguaggi E Saperi Dell’Estetico 8 (1):71-89.
    The brain constructs within itself an understanding of its surround which constitutes its own world. This is described as its Double in the frame of the dissipative quantum model of brain, where the perception-action arc in the Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenology of perception finds its formal description. In the dialog with the Double, the continuous attempt to reach the equilibrium shows that the real goal pursued by the brain activity is the aesthetical experience, the most harmonious “to-be-in-the-world” reached through reciprocal actions, (...)
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  17. Aesthetic experience and aesthetic object.Roman Ingarden - 1960 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 21 (3):289-313.
    The purpose here is to give a thorough phenomenological account of the aesthetic experience. The difference between cognitive perception of a real object and the aesthetic experience of an esthetic object is discussed at length. Elements and phases of an esthetic experience are delineated; illustrations of a preliminary emotion of esthetic experience are given, All of which suggest a fundamental change of attitude. From normal perceiving to esthetic perceiving there is a change from categorical (...)
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  18.  13
    Aesthetic Experience: From Analysis to Eros.Richard Shusterman - 2006 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 64 (2):217-229.
    Richard Shusterman; Aesthetic Experience: From Analysis to Eros, The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, Volume 64, Issue 2, 18 April 2005, Pages 217–229.
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  19.  22
    The aesthetic experience of nursing.Kitt Austgard - 2006 - Nursing Philosophy 7 (1):11-19.
    This article highlights the distinction between the ‘art of nursing’ and ‘fine art’. While something in the nature of nursing can be described as ‘the art of nursing’, it is not to be misunderstood as ‘fine art’ or craft. Therefore, the term ‘aesthetic’ in relation to nursing should not be linked to the aesthetic of modern art, but instead to a broader and more general meaning of the word. The paper's main focus is the aesthetic experience, (...)
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  20.  2
    The Aesthetic Experience of Kandinsky’s Abstract Art: A Polemic with Henry’s Phenomenological Analysis.Anna Ziółkowska-Juś - 2020 - Estetika: The European Journal of Aesthetics 54 (2):212.
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  21.  35
    Aesthetic Experience, Medical Practice, and Moral Judgement. Critical Remarks on Possibilities to Understand a Complex Relationship.Marcus Düwell - 1999 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 2 (2):161-168.
    The aim of the paper is to examine the possible relationships between the different dimensions of aesthetics on the one hand, and medical practice and medical ethics on the other hand. Firstly, I consider whether the aesthetic perception of the human body is relevant for medical practice. Secondly, a possible analogy between the artistic process and medical action is examined. The third section concerns the comparison between medical ethical judgements and aesthetic judgement of taste. It is concluded that (...)
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  22. The aesthetic experience.Derek Matravers - 2003 - British Journal of Aesthetics 43 (2):158-174.
    This paper joins recent attempts to defend a notion of aesthetic experience. It argues that phenomenological facts and facts about aesthetic value support the Kantian notion that aesthetic experience lies between, but differs from, pleasures of the agreeable and pleasures stemming from cognitions. It then shows that accounts by Beardsley, Levinson, and Savile fail to resolve clear tensions that surface in attempting to characterize such an experience. An account of aesthetic experience—as involving (...)
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  23. Aesthetic experience and aesthetic value.Robert Stecker - 2006 - Philosophy Compass 1 (1):1–10.
    What possesses aesthetic value? According to a broad view, it can be found almost anywhere. According to a narrower view, it is found primarily in art and is applied to other items by courtesy of sharing some of the properties that make artworks aesthetically valuable. In this paper I will defend the broad view in answering the question: how should we characterize aesthetic value and other aesthetic concepts? I will also criticize some alternative answers.
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  24.  17
    Aesthetic experiences and flourishing in science: A four-country study.Christopher J. Jacobi, Peter J. Varga & Brandon Vaidyanathan - 2022 - Frontiers in Psychology 13.
    In response to the mental health crisis in science, and amid concerns about the detrimental effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on scientists, this study seeks to identify the role of a heretofore under-researched factor for flourishing and eudaimonia: aesthetic experiences in scientific work. The main research question that this study addresses is: To what extent is the frequency of encountering aesthetics in terms of beauty, awe, and wonder in scientific work associated with greater well-being among scientists? Based on a (...)
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  25.  90
    The aesthetic experience of nursing.R. N. Austgard - 2006 - Nursing Philosophy 7 (1):11–19.
    This article highlights the distinction between the ‘art of nursing’ and ‘fine art’. While something in the nature of nursing can be described as ‘the art of nursing’, it is not to be misunderstood as ‘fine art’ or craft. Therefore, the term ‘aesthetic’ in relation to nursing should not be linked to the aesthetic of modern art, but instead to a broader and more general meaning of the word. The paper's main focus is the aesthetic experience, (...)
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  26.  52
    Sport, Aesthetic Experience, and Art as the Ideal Embodied Metaphor.Tim L. Elcombe - 2012 - Journal of the Philosophy of Sport 39 (2):201-217.
    Despite a prevalence of articles exploring links between sport and art in the 1970s and 1980s, philosophers in the new millennium pay relatively little explicit attention to issues related to aesthetics generally. After providing a synopsis of earlier debates over the questions ‘is sport art?’ and ‘are aesthetics implicit to sport?’, a pragmatically informed conception of aesthetic experience will be developed. Aesthetic experience, it will be argued, vitally informs sport ethics, game logic, and participant meaning. Finally, (...)
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  27.  44
    Aesthetic Experience, Mimesis and Testimony.Roger W. H. Savage - 2012 - Études Ricoeuriennes / Ricoeur Studies 3 (1):172-193.
    In this article, I relate the demand that Paul Ricoeur suggests mimesis places on the way we think about truth to the idea that the work of art is a model for thinking about testimony. By attributing a work’s epoché of reality to the work of imagination, I resolve the impasse that arises from attributing music, literature, and art’s distance from the real to their social emancipation. Examining the conjunction, in aesthetic experience, of the communicability and the exemplarity (...)
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  28. The Aesthetic Experience of Artwork.Mika Suojanen - 2014 - In Kaisa Koivisto, Jani Kukkola, Timo Latomaa & Pirkko Sandelin (eds.), Experience Research IV. Rovaniemi: Lapland University Press. pp. 57–72.
    What is beautiful or ugly vary from one person another, from time to time and from culture to culture. However, at the same time, people are certain that there are aesthetic properties in the nature, artworks and other persons and, furthermore, they can be perceived by the naked eye. This article argues that experience does not reveal the aesthetic properties of the objects.
     
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  29.  3
    Aesthetic Experience and Empathy in Vasily Sesemann’s Phenomenological Aesthetics.Dalius Jonkus - 2023 - Journal of Aesthetics and Phenomenology 10 (2):211-225.
    Vasily Sesemann’s aesthetics is a transcendental philosophy that seeks to answer the question of how an experience of beauty is possible. Sesemann insists that aesthetics should focus on the study of the aesthetic object itself, and through it go to the problematics of the act of perception and creativity. Sesemann states that not only the relationship between the work of art and the perceiver is important in order to understand the aesthetic object, but also the relationship between (...)
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  30. Aesthetic experience regained.Monroe C. Beardsley - 1969 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 28 (1):3-11.
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  31.  13
    Aesthetic Experience, Aesthetic Value.Jane Forsey - 2020 - Estetika: The European Journal of Aesthetics 54 (2):175–188.
    This paper offers a critical analysis of Robert Stecker’s account of aesthetic experience and its relation to aesthetic and artistic values. The analysis will demonstrate that Stecker’s formulation of aesthetic experience as it stands is incompatible with his arguments for nonaesthetic artistic values. Rather than multiplying the values associated with aesthetic experience, a deeper understanding of that experience will best serve to clarify problems at the core of the discipline.
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  32.  94
    IV—Aesthetic Experience as a Metacognitive Feeling? A Dual-Aspect View.Jérôme Dokic - 2016 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 116 (1):69-88.
  33. Evolution and Aesthetics.Evental Aesthetics - 2015 - Evental Aesthetics 4 (2):1-170.
    Is aesthetics a product of evolution? Are human aesthetic behaviors in fact evolutionary adaptations? The creation of artistic objects and experiences is an important aesthetic behavior. But so is the perception of aesthetic phenomena qua aesthetic. The question of evolutionary aesthetics is whether humans have evolved the capacity not only to make beautiful things but also to appreciate the aesthetic qualities in things. Are our near-universal love of music and cute baby animals essential to our (...)
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  34.  15
    Aesthetic Experience Revisited.NoË Carroll - 2002 - British Journal of Aesthetics 42 (2):145-168.
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  35.  21
    Capturing Aesthetic Experiences With Installation Art: An Empirical Assessment of Emotion, Evaluations, and Mobile Eye Tracking in Olafur Eliasson’s “Baroque, Baroque!”.Matthew Pelowski, Helmut Leder, Vanessa Mitschke, Eva Specker, Gernot Gerger, Pablo P. L. Tinio, Elena Vaporova, Till Bieg & Agnes Husslein-Arco - 2018 - Frontiers in Psychology 9:360346.
    Installation art is one of the most important and provocative developments in the visual arts during the last half century and has become a key focus of artists and of contemporary museums. It is also seen as particularly challenging or even disliked by many viewers, and-due to its unique in situ, immersive setting-is equally regarded as difficult or even beyond the grasp of present methods in empirical aesthetic psychology. In this paper, we introduce an exploratory study with installation art, (...)
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  36.  90
    Aesthetic experience in shaftesbury: Richard Glauser.Richard Glauser - 2002 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 76 (1):25–54.
    [Richard Glauser] Shaftesbury's theory of aesthetic experience is based on his conception of a natural disposition to apprehend beauty, a real 'form' of things. I examine the implications of the disposition's naturalness. I argue that the disposition is not an extra faculty or a sixth sense, and attempt to situate Shaftesbury's position on this issue between those of Locke and Hutcheson. I argue that the natural disposition is to be perfected in many different ways in order to be (...)
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  37.  59
    Aesthetic Experience, Subjective Historical Experience and the Problem of Constructivism.Jonathan Owen Clark - 2013 - Journal of the Philosophy of History 7 (1):57-81.
    This article takes as its starting point the recent work of Frank Ankersmit on subjective historical experience. Such an experience, which Ankersmit describes as a ‘sudden obliteration of the rift between present and past’ is connected strongly with the Deweyan theory of art as experiential, which contains an account of aesthetic experience as affording a similar breakdown in the polarization of the subject and object of experience. The article shows how other ideas deriving from the (...)
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  38.  48
    Aesthetic Experience, The Aesthetic Object and Criticism.Martin Eshleman - 1966 - The Monist 50 (2):281-298.
    The aesthetic experience, In husserl's language, Brackets or suspends the natural standpoint. Consciousness perceives the work of art not as an object of the factual world, But as a man-Made artifact to be enjoyed just for certain immediately experienced qualities. The work of art is neither a real physical entity nor a real psychical entity, But a purely intentional object, For which the physical object serves as a substratum. The critic must recreate the purely intentional object by completing (...)
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  39.  5
    Beauty, aesthetic experience, and emotional affective states / Andrej Démuth.Andrej Démuth - 2019 - Bratislava: VEDA.
    The monograph is focused on the subjectivity of aesthetic experience and the problem of rational interpretation of emotionality. The text studies why does an aesthetic experience exist, what is its content and what is its informational role and structure? Has beauty any cognitive value? Can we analyse beauty? In what sense we can think about the information content of aesthetic experience? The second topic of the book is a cognitive role of emotionality and its (...)
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  40.  13
    Aesthetic Experience: Beauty, Creativity, and the Search for the Ideal.George Hagman (ed.) - 2005 - Rodopi.
    "George Hagman looks anew at psychoanalytic ideas about art and beauty through the lens of current developmental psychology that recognizes the importance of attachment and affiliative motivational systems. In dialogue with theorists such as Freud, Ehrenzweig, Kris, Rank, Winnicott, Kohut, and many others, Hagman brings the psychoanalytic understanding of aesthetic experience into the 21st century. He amends and extends old concepts and offers a wealth of stimulating new ideas regarding the creative process, the ideal, beauty, ugliness, and -perhaps (...)
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  41.  2
    Aesthetic Experience and Somaesthetics.Richard Shusterman (ed.) - 2018 - Boston: Brill.
    This essay collection explores the crucial connections between aesthetic experience and the interdisciplinary field of somaesthetics. After examining philosophical accounts of embodiment and aesthetic experience, the essays apply somaesthetic theory to the diverse fine arts and the art of living.
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  42. Aesthetic experience of beautiful and ugly persons: a critique.Mika Suojanen - 2016 - Journal of Aesthetics and Culture 8 (1).
    The question of whether or not beauty exists in nature is a philosophical problem. In particular, there is the question of whether artworks, persons, or nature has aesthetic qualities. Most people say that they care about their own beauty. Moreover, they judge another person's appearance from an aesthetic point of view using aesthetic concepts. However, aesthetic judgements are not objective in the sense that the experience justifies their objectivity. By analysing Monroe C. Beardsley's theory of (...)
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  43.  8
    Aesthetic Experiences and Classical Antiquity: The Significance of Form in Narratives and Pictures.Jonas Grethlein - 2017 - New York: Cambridge University Press.
    In this bold book, Jonas Grethlein proposes a new dialogue between the fields of Classics and aesthetics. Ancient material, he argues, has the capacity to challenge and re-orientate current debates. Comparisons with modern art and literature help to balance the historicism of classical scholarship with transcultural theoretical critique. Grethlein discusses ancient narratives and pictures in order to explore the nature of aesthetic experience. While our responses to both narratives and pictures are vicarious, the 'as-if' on which they are (...)
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  44.  15
    Aesthetic Experience and the Powers of Possession.Richard Shusterman - 2019 - Journal of Aesthetic Education 53 (4):1-23.
    Since the second half of the twentieth century, the influential concept of aesthetic experience has been strongly criticized by powerful voices both in analytic philosophy and in continental theory, sometimes to the point of rejecting its significance for art or even to denying its very existence. Nonetheless, it stubbornly reasserts itself as central to understanding art's meaning and value. Philosophical critique of aesthetic experience takes multiple forms. Theorists seeking a definition of art generally reject aesthetic (...)
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  45.  2
    Aesthetic Experience in Schopenhauer's Metaphysics of Will.Alex Neill - 2010 - In Robert Stern, Alex Neill & Christopher Janaway (eds.), Better Consciousness. Oxford, UK: Wiley‐Blackwell. pp. 26–40.
    This chapter contains sections titled: References.
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  46.  50
    Aesthetic Experience, Transitional Objects and the Third Space: The Fusion of Audience and Aesthetic Objects in the Performing Arts.Ian Woodward & David Ellison - 2010 - Thesis Eleven 103 (1):45-53.
    Aesthetic experience has been relativized and marginalized by recent social and cultural theory. As less attention has been paid to understanding the nature of aesthetic experience than mapping the distributed social correlates of tastes, its transformative potential and capacity to animate actors’ imaginations and actions goes unexplored. In this paper we draw upon a large number of in-depth interviews with performing arts audiences around Australia to investigate the language and discourse used to describe aesthetic experiences. (...)
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  47.  70
    Aesthetic experience and human evolution.Ellen Dissanayake - 1982 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 41 (2):145-155.
  48.  30
    Aesthetic Experience in Forests.Holmes Rolston - 1998 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 56 (2):157 - 166.
  49. Authenticity and the Aesthetic Experience of History.Erich Hatala Matthes - 2018 - Analysis 78 (4):649-657.
    In this paper, I argue that norms of artistic and aesthetic authenticity that prioritize material origins foreclose on broader opportunities for aesthetic experience: particularly, for the aesthetic experience of history. I focus on Carolyn Korsmeyer’s recent articles in defense of the aesthetic value of genuineness and argue that her rejection of the aesthetic significance of historical value is mistaken. Rather, I argue that recognizing the aesthetic significance of historical value points the way (...)
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    Aesthetic experience and aesthetic analysis.David E. W. Fenner - 2003 - Journal of Aesthetic Education 37 (1):40-53.
    In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:The Journal of Aesthetic Education 37.1 (2003) 40-53 [Access article in PDF] Aesthetic Experience and Aesthetic Analysis David E. W. Fenner The "raw data" that aesthetics is meant to explain is the aesthetic experience. People have experiences that they class off from other experiences and label, as a class, the aesthetic ones. Aesthetic experience is basic, and allother things (...)aesthetic properties, aesthetic objects, aesthetic attitudes — are secondary in their importance to aesthetic experiences. 1Considering aesthetic experience as the raw data that philosophical aesthetics seeks to explain is a relatively recent phenomenon. This was certainly not the focus in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Aesthetic judgment was the focus of Shaftesbury, Hutcheson, Hume, and Kant: "How do we make meaningful judgments (hopefully real ones) about the aesthetic quality of (certain) objects and events?" But with George Santayana, John Dewey, and Jerome Stolnitz, the focus changes. Now the interest is in the aesthetic experience: what makes those experiences we label "aesthetic" special? Why do we separate those experiences from others?The movement from the Taste Theories to those focused on aesthetic experience is not a movement that is over and done with — far from it. There is still (and I think there will always be) a tension between these two very basic aspects of philosophical aesthetics. And, although I claim that aesthetic experience is the most basic thing that aesthetics studies, I recognize that this is challengeable and only true from a certain temporal viewpoint.I recently taught the most rewarding undergraduate course in aesthetics. The reason that it was so rewarding was that the students carried the class with deep and insightful discussions, and they were not shy about challenging what was coming out of my mouth. One of the challenges that informed our entire semester focused on the tension between experience and judgment. I lectured comfortably about aesthetic experience as our "raw data," and I lectured equally comfortably about how taking an aesthetic view of an object or event meant focusing primarily, if not exclusively, on [End Page 40] what is available to us through simple sensory acquaintanceship with the object. "Aesthetics," I said, "is about the sensuous aspects of our experiences." And so we could, for instance, take an aesthetic view of a Robert Mapplethorpe photograph which precluded our experiences being mired in the themes that the more famous Mapplethorpe photos take as their content. "Mapplethorpe is a great photographer," I argued, "and one can see this if one is willing to focus strictly on what meets your eye when you look at the picture." In short, I held the position that the aesthetic view is the formal one.Without saying more, what I did was conflate two different things. On the one hand, I argued that aesthetic experience is a natural part of life that aesthetics seeks to explore. On the other, I argued that appreciating something aesthetically was to appreciate its formal qualities, those qualities that one could access simply through looking, hearing, touching, for example. But these really are two different things.Aesthetic experiences, if we are to treat them as "raw data," must be explored without pre-conception, prejudice, or limitation. And, truly enough, the vast majority of aesthetic experiences are not focused exclusively, in terms of their contents, on formal or simple-sensory matters. Aesthetic experiences are, first, experiences. They are complex things, having to do with things as tidy as the formal qualities of the object under consideration and with things as messy as whether one had enough sleep the night before, whether one just had a fight with his roommate, whether one is carrying psychological baggage that is brought to consciousness by this particular aesthetic object. Later in this essay, I want to explore some of this complexity.The other side of what was happening in my class, the formal focus on the sensory as the basis for an aesthetic viewing, is not the substance of "aesthetic experience" per se. It is rather the basis of what we might call "aesthetic analysis." Aesthetic analysis has to do with separating out from our... (shrink)
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