A Portrait of the Artist as an Aesthetic Expert

In Gregory Currie, Matthew Kieran & Aaron Meskin (eds.), Aesthetics and the Sciences. Oxford University Press (2014)
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For the most part, the Aesthetic Theory of Art—any theory of art claiming that the aesthetic is a descriptively necessary feature of art—has been repudiated, especially in light of what are now considered traditional counterexamples. We argue that the Aesthetic Theory of Art can instead be far more plausibly recast by abandoning aesthetic-feature possession by the artwork for a claim about aesthetic-concept possession by the artist. This move productively re-frames and re-energizes the debate surrounding the relationship between art and the aesthetic. That is, we claim Aesthetic Theory so re-framed suggests that the aesthetic might have a central and substantial explanatory role to play within both traditional philosophical enquiries as well as recent and more empirical enquiries into the psychological and cognitive aspects of art and its practice. Finally, we discuss the directions this new work might take—by tying art theory to investigations of the distinctive sensorimotor capacities of expert artists, their specialized aesthetic conceptual schemata, and the ways these distinctive capacities and schemata contribute to the production of artworks.
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