Encounter epistemically dark phenomenology


Modern philosophical aesthetics has been concerned with the special field of art and artistic expression, but always with a view to its implications for our understanding of sensation, emotion and their relationship to the wider field of conceptual thinking and knowledge.  The wider and the special inquiries intertwine because art is thought to be an arena in which our cognitive and affective powers play in unusual and problematic ways. Just what is an emotion if I can feel pity for a fictional character, or fear the monster in the horror film? Is this self-understanding just an artifact of a naïve, folk concept of emotion, as Kendall Walton (1990) has argued?

Aesthetics also suggests new ways of understanding the field of the sensible itself and its relation to abstract or conceptual thought. As Jean-Francois Lyotard observes in The Inhuman, a musical phrase is ‘not determined’ as a Platonic essence ‘once and for…

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