Recent attempts, naturalistically inspired, to re-interpret the aesthetic and the arts beyond the ancient dichotomies (culture vs. nature, form vs. content, mind vs. world) have not been entirely successful so far. With some - although promising - exceptions, neither contemporary evolutionary aesthetics, the main aim of which is to investigate the evolutionary origin of the human aesthetic attitude, nor empirical aesthetics have been able to overcome once and for all the dualistic views according to which 1) the arts and the aesthetic are the most sophisticated fruits of cultural evolution in humans; 2) form, assumed as contextually impermeable, is the real source of the aesthetic/artistic experience; 3) the aesthetic experience is localized in the brain/mind of the individual, with almost no attention paid to the context/world in which it is embedded. Pragmatist theories, such as Dewey's and James', intended, as one of their major aims, to get rid of these dualistic views. As Dewey remarks in Art as Experience, the dichotomies between nature and culture, the mind and the world, constitute "a bias, and one, which, most unfortunately, is just the one most fatal to aesthetic understanding". The interest in the notion of habit and the understanding of experience as a process of habit formation inscribe themselves into this general aim of overcoming ancient, detrimental dichotomies. Now, it is known that Charles Darwin paid special attention to the notion of habit and developed an idea of experience (including aesthetic experience) as a process of habit formation, both at the individual and collective level. The influence of Darwin's views on pragmatist philosophers, particularly on Dewey, is undisputed. What is an aesthetic habit? What does it mean to understand aesthetic experience as a process of habit formation? How might these two notions, aesthetic habit and aesthetic experience, help us to overcome the nature/culture divide? The aim of the present paper is twofold: first, we intend to summarize and discuss Darwin's views on habit and his idea of the (aesthetic) experience as a process of habit formation; second, we intend to show how contemporary evolutionary biology, with particular reference to niche construction theory and evidences emerging from epigenetics (including its possible inheritance), can provide useful tools to look at human (and nonhuman?) habits from a new, fruitful perspective, beyond the nature/culture dichotomy and in line with the "core" of philosophical pragmatism. An inherent connection between pragmatism, evolution and aesthetics is expected to result from our paper.
Aesthetic habits and aesthetic experience: an evolutionary view / Portera, M; Mandrioli, Mauro. - (2017). ((Intervento presentato al convegno The Pragmatist Turn and Embodied Cognition tenutosi a Parma (Italy) nel 5-7 aprile 2017.
|Data di pubblicazione:||2017|
|Titolo:||Aesthetic habits and aesthetic experience: an evolutionary view|
|Autore/i:||Portera, M; Mandrioli, Mauro|
|Nome del convegno:||The Pragmatist Turn and Embodied Cognition|
|Data del convegno:||5-7 aprile 2017|
|Luogo del convegno:||Parma (Italy)|
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