• Aesthetics and the Unity of Experience

    Author(s):
    Arnold Berleant (see profile)
    Date:
    2013
    Subject(s):
    Aesthetics, Aesthetic theory, Value theory
    Item Type:
    Essay
    Tag(s):
    aesthetic value, aesthetic engagement, aesthetic disinterestedness
    Permanent URL:
    http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/M6CC0TS8F
    Abstract:
    This essay considers the powerful influence of dualistic thinking in aesthetics and the capacity of aesthetics to transcend and heal that division. I locate the origins of this influence in a distinctively Western cultural tradition that begins in classical Greek philosophy, especially in Plato, is carried forward in early modern philosophy and aesthetics by Kant, and has continued in various forms to the present day. This kind of thinking presumes that aesthetic value must have an objective status and tries to locate this value in a separate object, and it claims further that aesthetic satisfaction can only be subjective. I argue, on the contrary, that we must develop an understanding of aesthetic value in relation to appreciative experience and the contexts in which such experience occurs. These occasions exhibit a unified, holistic character that can be characterized by the concept of aesthetic engagement. Replacing the dualism inherent in the Kantian theory of aesthetic disinterestedness, aesthetic engagement offers an alternative account of appreciation that has implications for a broader and more inclusive understanding of the aesthetic.
    Metadata:
    Status:
    Published
    Last Updated:
    10 months ago
    License:
    Attribution-NonCommercial
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