Chapter

Aesthetic Theory and Aesthetic Science

Vincent Bergeron and Dominic McIver Lopes

in Aesthetic Science

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780199732142
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199918485 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199732142.003.0024
Aesthetic Theory and Aesthetic Science

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Researchers from different disciplinary backgrounds propose competing explanations of aesthetic response. Though sometimes heated, these disagreements are not fundamental. Fundamental disagreement occurs when researchers from different backgrounds have different, even incompatible, conceptions of the phenomenon to be explained. There is currently a great deal of fundamental disagreement in research into aesthetic response. The remedy is ideally integration, wherein researchers in the different aesthetic sciences and humanistic studies converge on a common conception of what they are trying to explain, even if they continue to disagree about how to explain it. If it is to be successful, this convergence will require that researchers in both the scientific and humanistic disciplines be sensitive to the limitations that are inherent in each of these two different approaches. On the one hand, we should not expect a conception of aesthetic response that is productive for research across disciplines to be given a precise a priori definition. Aesthetic science, by identifying the mechanisms behind our aesthetic responses, tells us a great deal about the nature of this phenomenon that we would otherwise be unable to discover. On the other hand, aesthetic science must acknowledge that aesthetic response is embedded in critical practice, about which the humanities have a lot to say.

Keywords: aesthetic response; aesthetic science; convergence; critical practice; definition; explanation; humanities; integration; humanism

Chapter.  8420 words. 

Subjects: Cognitive Psychology

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