Aesthetic experiences are generated in encounters with cultural objects and such experiences are marked by the free play of cognitive and numinous experience unstructured by concepts. Kant’s famous three types of pleasure, made infamous in social theory by Pierre Bourdieu, are examined in relation to the critical theoretical concept of aura, the social psychology of “flow,” and cognitive explanations of perception to explain experience in aesthetic fields. Theories of aesthetic experience developed at the crossroad of critical social thought and cognitive science hold promise for a social analysis able to avoid the usual sociological pitfalls of either ignoring aesthetics or reducing it to structurally determined differences of taste.

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Aesthetics Commons



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