How to characterize aesthetics has been revived with Bence Nanay’s Aesthetics as Philosophy of Perception. Reviewing criticisms made by Dustin Stokes, this paper makes the argument that Nanay’s problem is broader than what Stokes points to, as it involves the problem of property attribution and the difference between perceiving a property in a nonaesthetic situation and an aesthetic one. The latter context involves not attributing a property to an object, but rather the process of perceiving low-level features. The problem of how to characterize aesthetics is thus solved by looking at three things: recent research into gist perception, Gareth Evans’ notion of nonconceptual information, and, most importantly, the way visual artists look at the world: All of this points to the centrality of low-level perceptual features that can be doubted, revised, and rearranged. In turn, this explains the core of imaginative viewing and the pleasure of aesthetics, giving it a satisfactory characterization that distinguishes it from the nonaesthetic.

Included in

Aesthetics Commons



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.