Feeling the Aesthetic: A Pluralist Sentimentalist Theory of Aesthetic Experience

Estetika: The European Journal of Aesthetics 57 (2):116–134 (2020)
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Sentimentalist aesthetic theories, broadly construed, posit that emotions play a fundamental role in aesthetic experiences. Jesse Prinz has recently proposed a reductionistic version of sentimentalist aesthetics, suggesting that it is the discrete feeling of wonder that makes an experience aesthetic. In this contribution, we draw on Prinz’s proposal in order to outline a novel version of a sentimentalist theory. Contrasting Prinz’s focus on a single emotion, we argue that an aesthetic experience is rudimentarily composed of a plurality of emotions. We acknowledge and discuss significant problems that follow from such a theory, arguing that a pluralist version of sentimentalism is nonetheless the soundest position within sentimentalist aesthetics.

Author Profiles

David Sackris
Arapahoe Community College
Rasmus Rosenberg Larsen
University of Toronto at Mississauga


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