Aesthetic Dis/interestedness and Affects
LOGOS Research Group in Analytic Philosophy
Conference 19-20, May 2022
Affects (emotions, moods etc.) often play a central role in aesthetic experience. Many accept this as almost a truism, even when they are puzzled by some aspects of this phenomenon (cf. paradox of fiction, paradox of negative emotions). Indeed, there is a recent trend in aesthetics of even defining aesthetic experience in terms of particular affects (e.g. wonder). Also widespread is an understanding of the ideal of aesthetic experience as one that is disinterested, i.e. disconnected from personal interests or desires. On the face of it, however, such disinterestedness is in tension with the nature of many affects as typically related to the affected person’s personal interests. To appreciate this prima facie tension, consider for instance how often we make emotions intelligible by means of the dis/satisfaction of one’s conative attitudes in general (she is happy because she passed the exam, which was her desire), or how relevant interests are to characterizing the formal object of an emotion (e.g. the formal object of fear is often defined in terms of dangerousness for the emoter, or for someone/something she cares about). The exploration of such a prima facie tension between aesthetic disinterestedness and the interestedness of affects can disclose important insight about emotions, aesthetic attitudes and the relation between them.
This conference aims to present analyses of this prima facie tension, including discussing to what extent it is a real tension, and what ways out of it there are, if any. Several other questions will also be relevant to pursuing this goal, including:
Aaron Alvarez Gonzalez
The mini-conference was attended by upwards of 40 attendees. Our apologies for not having pictures of everyone. Please contact the SPE if you have pictures of the event which you would like us to include on this website.