The Philosophy of Art and Aesthetics, Psychology, and Neuroscience

Noël Carroll, Margaret Moore and William P. Seeley

in Aesthetic Science

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780199732142
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199918485 | DOI:
The Philosophy of Art and Aesthetics, Psychology, and Neuroscience

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There is growing interest in the relationship between research in cognitive science and our understanding of art and aesthetics. Cognitive science, in its broadest sense, is the study of how organisms acquire, transform, and use information in the production of behavior. Artworks are artifacts designed to direct attention to the features responsible for their artistically salient aesthetic and semantic effects. In this regard, questions about the nature of our understanding and appreciation of art are questions that ultimately depend on an understanding of our psychological interactions with particular artworks. Therefore, research in psychology and neuroscience has bearing on a variety of topics relevant to the philosophy of art and aesthetics. We review examples from literature, music, and the visual arts that illustrate the potential of this interdisciplinary collaboration and provide counterarguments to philosophical skepticism about the relevance of psychology and neuroscience to the philosophy of art and aesthetics. These discussions point towards a rich and productive rapprochement between philosophy and cognitive science that can trace its roots to the 18th Century origins of contemporary aesthetics.

Keywords: aesthetics; attention; neuroscience; philosophy; psychology; music; visual art

Chapter.  15397 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Cognitive Psychology

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