David Huron

in Oxford Handbook of Music Psychology

Published in print December 2008 | ISBN: 9780199298457
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology


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Aesthetics is commonly defined as the study of beauty, and its opposite, ugliness. Some philosophers conceive of aesthetics as applying solely to the arts or to artistic experience. Beginning in the 1960s, the field of cognitive science became increasingly influential in the philosophy of mind. While much of this influence relates to the nature of thought, reasoning, and consciousness, the impact of cognitive science has expanded to other areas of philosophy, including aesthetics. This article focuses on how cognitive science influences modern thinking in musical aesthetics. It argues that cognitive neuroscience is poised to overtake philosophical aesthetics: rather than influencing aesthetic philosophy, aesthetic philosophy is receding to a sideline ‘advisory’ role, while cognitive science takes an unaccustomed leadership position.

Keywords: cognitive science; musical aesthetics; aesthetic philosophy; music

Article.  5368 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Cognitive Psychology

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