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Epistemology of aesthetics: facts, models and theories


Epistemology of aesthetics: facts, models and theories
IMéRA, Aix-Marseille University, 20th October 2016




Aesthetic knowledge is a fundamental dimension of the human culture and it has been crucial in the development of a scientific understanding of the natural world. However, a study of the anthropological meaning of aesthetic behaviours faces currently with countless problems. Philosophical aesthetics traditionally oscillates between a theory of knowledge and a theory of art. As a result, all attempts of conceptual framing of aesthetics have failed and so far, there isn’t anaccepted definition of aesthetic behaviour. Nevertheless, human sciences like archaeology, social anthropology, psychology or neurobiology adopt the aesthetic theories proposed in the occidental philosophical tradition in order to analyse the complexity of the aesthetic dimension. This fact causes several conceptual and epistemological problems for the scientific approach to aesthetic domain. What we need is an epistemology of aesthetics – a theory of how we know (and what we know about) the world through an aesthetic experience. The aim of the workshop is an epistemological clarification of the aesthetics as a mode of knowledge culturally diversified and anchored in our cognitive architecture: What is aesthetic knowledge? Which kind of epistemology for theaesthetic knowledge? What is the place of the knowledge through art? What lesson from the historical tie between aesthetic and scientific theory can be applied today?

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