Irene Martínez Marín: "Towards a New Emotional Story for Aesthetics"

The Higher Seminar in Aesthetics

(NB, moved from April 24)

Irene Martínez Marín, Uppsala universitet: "Towards a New Emotional Story for Aesthetics"

Against the standard perceptual model of emotions, this paper aims to show that emotions do not constitute reasons or evidence for our aesthetic judgements in a similar way to how perceptions constitute reasons for empirical beliefs. As we will see, what emotions can do is to motivate an agent in the search for reasons that will support her aesthetic judgement. I propose that emotions are better understood as ‘mediators’ that connect aesthetic experience with our explanations of value. This is a novel way of understanding the relation between emotions and reasons that might be promising for aesthetic normativity.

According to the structure of the presentation, I start by presenting how any account of art appreciation understood as a form ofaesthetic understanding’ (Hills 2017) requires, (1) a grasp of the reasons that make the claim about the good-making features of an artwork true, (2) providing an explanation that demonstrates why the features that we recognize as contributing to the aesthetic value of the object are good-making features. My argument will reveal that “intellectual emotions” (Stocker 2009, 2004), being these higher cognitive emotions involved in our inquiry activities, can play a significant epistemic role in our appreciative practices since they: (a) help us focus our attention in a deliberate way, and (b) place the appreciator in a state of second-order awareness of one’s mental states. I conclude by showing how these two epistemic tools (a, b) can help the appreciator to meet (1, 2).