The Cognitive Basis of Aesthetics
Cassirer, Crowther, and the Future
This book seeks to fill a void in contemporary aesthetics scholarship by considering the cognitive features that make the aesthetic and artistic worthy of philosophical study. Aesthetic cognition has been largely abandoned by analytical philosophy, which instead tends to focus its attention on the ‘non-exhibited’ properties of artwork or issues concerning semantic and syntactic structure. The Cognitive Basis of Aesthetics innovatively seeks to correct the marginalization of aesthetics in analytical philosophy by reinterpreting aesthetic cognition through an integration of Ernst Cassirer’s philosophy of symbolic forms with Paul Crowther’s theory of imagination and philosophy of art. This integration has three important outcomes: 1) it explains why the aesthetic and artistic constitute a unique form of knowledge; 2) it shows the role this plays in the formation of aesthetics as a discipline; and 3) it describes why aesthetic cognition is so deeply engaging. This book’s unique theoretical approach engages with important works of visual, conceptual, and digital art, as well as literature, music, and theatre.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Aesthetic Cognition, Cassirer, and Crowther 1. The Philosophy of Symbolic Forms 2. Crowther, Imagination, and the Origins of Symbolic Form 3. Cassirer on the Rise of Aesthetics 4. Cassirer’s Theory of Art and Crowther’s Aesthetics 5. Visual Art and Symbolic Forms 6. Literature, Theatre, and Music as Symbolic Forms Conclusion: Aesthetic Cognition and the Future
Elena Fell received her diploma in philosophy from St. Petersburg State University and her doctorate in philosophy from the University of Central Lancashire. She is Assistant Professor at Tomsk Polytechnic University, and is the author of Duration, Temporality, Self: Prospects for the Future of Bergsonism (Peter Lang, 2012).
Ioanna Kopsiafti obtained her master's degree in art history at the University of St. Andrews, and her doctorate in art history and theory at the University of Oxford. She is Assistant Professor at Hellenic American University in Athens, Greece, and is also an Adjunct Professor at the Rome campus of Loyola University Chicago. Elena and Ioanna are co-authors of Thinking Space, Advancing Art. Cassirer and Crowther (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2015).