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Art, Aesthetics, and the Brain$
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Joseph P. Huston, Marcos Nadal, Francisco Mora, Luigi F. Agnati, and Camilo José Cela Conde

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199670000

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199670000.001.0001

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Art, meaning, and aesthetics: The case for a cognitive neuroscience of art

Art, meaning, and aesthetics: The case for a cognitive neuroscience of art

(p.19) Chapter 2 Art, meaning, and aesthetics: The case for a cognitive neuroscience of art
Art, Aesthetics, and the Brain

William P. Seeley

Oxford University Press

Empirical aesthetics and philosophy of art are often framed as disciplines in conflict with one another. Psychologists working in empirical aesthetics argue that philosophical theories of art reflect the evaluative biases of critics and experts and so fail as objective accounts of artistic practice. Philosophers argue that the causal psychological explanations appealed to in empirical aesthetics cannot account for the role normative conventions play in appreciative judgements, and so fail to differentiate artworks and artistic practices from ordinary artifacts and behaviours. This putative conflict can be dissolved by paying attention to the productive role shared normative conventions play in our perceptual engagement with works of fine art. This chapter sketches a hierarchical theory derived from a biased competition account of selective attention that can be used to model these cognitive influences in our engagement with artworks.

Keywords:   aesthetics, art, attention, categorization, empirical aesthetics, neuroaesthetics, object recognition, philosophy

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