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Attentional Engines – A Perceptual Theory of the Arts - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Attentional Engines: A Perceptual Theory of the Arts

William P. Seeley


What is it about art that can be so captivating? How is it that we find value in these often odd and abstract objects and events that we call artworks? My proposal is that artworks are attentional engines. They are artifacts that have been intentionally designed to direct attention to critical stylistic features that reveal their point, purpose, or meaning. My suggestion is that there is a lot that we can learn about art from interdisciplinary research focused on our perceptual engagement with artworks. These kinds of studies can reveal how we recognize artworks, how we differentiate them from ... More

Keywords: aesthetics, attention, cognitivist film theory, cognitive science, depiction, embodied cognition, neuroaesthetics, metakinesis, musical expression, philosophy of art

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2020 Print ISBN-13: 9780190662158
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2020 DOI:10.1093/oso/9780190662158.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

William P. Seeley, author
Adjunct Lecturer in Philosophy, University of New Hampshire, Manchester

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