Book of Abstracts ESA 2024

This paper starts from the debates on whether the seemingly effortless creation of AI artworks, and by extension some Avant-Garde pieces, diminishes their artistic value. This leads to a broader inquiry into how effort, or the lack thereof, influences our perception of an artwork’s quality and significance. Traditionally, effort in art has been seen in two ways. On one hand, a skilled artist’s work, which may appear effortless, is often valued for its apparent ease, reflecting genius or inspiration. On the other hand, the Romantic era highlighted the artist’s internal struggle, shifting emphasis from technical proficiency to emotional and intellectual effort. This perspective was further developed in the Avant-Garde movement, where conceptual ideas were valued over physical labor.
Contemporary empirical research, including studies by Kruger et al. (2004) and Smith et al. (2014), formulate the existence of the ‘effort heuristic,’ suggesting that artworks perceived as requiring more effort are generally valued higher. This heuristic is also applied to AI art, where a perceived lack of effort leads to lower appreciation, as indicated by Chamberlin et al. (2018).
After discussing the different senses in which we could define the idea of “effort”, this paper suggest to define a notion of “distributed effort” as a category for the appreciation of content and artworks that are the product of complex influences, tradition, technological advancements. As a conclusion it is suggested to investigate the possibility of ‘artificial effort’ in AI-generated art.

When dealing with images of violence and historical testimonies documenting injustice committed by the state, the problem of (un)representability has long been central to the debate (Agamben 1998, Didi-Huberman 2007). In recent years, however, a new paradigm seems to have come to the fore: The question of a “Visual Justice” (Brenez 2018, Garnsey 2019) and its political and aesthetic implications. Such a concept raises several questions due to its heterogeneity: What is understood as such within the framework of visuality and how does a term from the register of the aesthetic relate to a philosophical-political concept such as justice?
Is it about visibility as a mode of presence, something that shows itself? And how does this relate to the complex temporality associated with the concept of justice – its entanglement between memory and potential future? (Derrida 1994)
This paper aims to explore the desideratum of a “Visual Justice”, shortly outline its history and discuss the problematic field that this concept opens up. Beginning with the event of the Nuremberg Trials, in which audiovisual material of the Allied soldiers was admitted as evidence in court for the first time in history, the relationship between documentary material, its cultural reception and aesthetic modification in Transitional Justice processes will be traced.
What are the tasks and ethical obligations of artistic ways of thinking in such processes and how do they relate to juridical and historiographical discourses? With reference to Jean-François Lyotard’s concepts of “the differend” and “the inhuman”, cinematic procedures will be discussed that are in particular characterized by a figurative approach to these questions (Brenez 1998, Martin 2012), also considering their relations to a concept of justice. This will be exemplified by the experimental documentary “Three Minutes. A Lengthening” (2022) by Bianca Stigter.

In a recent Science paper, Epstein, Hertzmann, et al. argue that generative AI doesn’t herald the demise of art but introduces a new medium with unique possibilities. They draw parallels with historical technological shifts, such as photography’s perceived threat to painting, emphasizing that new tools don’t replace but transform artistic practices. The ontological debate surrounding AI-generated artworks centers on authorship. Some argue for AI programs as potential authors, while skeptics insist on human involvement due to the absence of consciousness in generative AI. Others emphasize the role of social agency in traditional art creation. I argue that the ontological status of AI-generated photo-based images is better understood through contextual interpretation. Relying on theories of pictorial and photographic illocutionary acts, I argue that in the case of generative AI-produced images, audiences identify literal content and contextual cues. They acknowledge the generative AI’s role, perceiving the image as a manipulated rendering, not an indexical photograph. However, I question whether this leads to a new genre. On authorship, the interpretation attributes it to the human user of the generative AI, likening the programmer’s role to that of camera or darkroom equipment constructors. Generative AI is viewed as a complex tool for rearranging images, not an author. Based on the interpretation process described at the illocutionary act level, it can be concluded that audiences come to have true beliefs about the nature of photo-based images produced using generative AI, as long as the image’s nature is readable form it or deducible from the context. Audiences are not deceived in such cases. However, if the image’s nature is neither deducible from the context nor readable from the image itself, they might be deceived into interpreting it as an indexical photograph of a scene captured by a camera. I will present both deceptive and non-deceptive examples.

A crucial and old problem in aesthetics concerns whether critical discourse should be conceived as an argumentative practice starting from some premises and rationally leading to a conclusion (Beardsley 1962), or rather as an invitation to experience an object (typically an artwork or, more broadly, an artistic performance) in a certain way (Sibley 2001). The clash between these two approaches is patent: on the one hand there is the intuition that aesthetic criticism is a rational activity that can draw on shared principles and rational arguments. On the other hand, the idea is defended that aesthetic criticism should make people agree on what an artwork looks like.
In this talk I unpack the disagreement in terms of a different stand on the nature of perceptual experience and I exploit the notion of *perceptual learning* to mitigate this apparently inescapable contrast. In particular, I argue that certain aesthetic experiences involving the perceptual detection of aesthetic properties qualify as reason-responsive perceptual experiences and conclude that a theory of perceptual experience that admits the phenomenon of perceptual learning can better do justice to both the rational and to the perceptual nature of critical aesthetic discourse.

This paper addresses the issue of immersion as a key element in the construal of reading within the framework of fictional worlds theories. The fundamental problem is revealed by adopting the perspective of literary theorists influenced by the so-called second-generation cognitive sciences. From their viewpoint, the principle of immersion and the associated concept of the world is functional only if it remains a useful metaphor. If understood too literally, it becomes a concept whose implications can be, and indeed are, misleading.
After I briefly outline the position of immersion and related concept of fictional world within fictional worlds theory, I present the criticism that cognitivists apply to these two concepts used conjointly. The focus lies primarily on two fundamental objections or misleading implications usually associated with the term world: the problem of the preexistence and independence of the fictional world, and the problem of the stability and permanence of the fictional world. To those two objections, though compelling, I propose a third one from a slightly different position. This problem can be termed an (in general sense of the term) phenomenological problem of boundaries and it questions the concept of taking turns in entering and leaving a world. The question here is whether it is legitimate to exclude from the domain of a world (as fictional world theories usually do) various element on the grounds that they do not fit into the narrowly defined set of propositions that describe entities and events in a fictional world – such as various commentaries, allegories, or metaphors – which, nevertheless, help to build a readerly tension or expectation. In conclusion, I will outline a possibility for accounting for this temporal dimension of reading in the cognitivist terms.

The relationship between the pragmatic aspect of artefacts and their aesthetic qualities remains contentious within the fields of aesthetics and art. Some believe that aesthetic contemplation and pragmatic reasoning are incompatible in artistic engagement: the application of the former hinders, even undermines, that of the latter (cf., Kant, Croce, Collingwood). The opponents focus on the compatibility among them since the utilitarianism of artefacts facilitates the activity of aesthetic creation and appreciation (cf., Dewey, Gombrich, Zhu, Kelly). Whether emphasizing the compatibility or incompatibility, most of the existing studies tend to imply that the pragmatic aspect and aesthetic aspect are two different stages of artefacts and perform independently. This paper, however, argues that they are inseparable: the aesthetic qualities of artefacts rest on how well the aesthetic properties possessed by an artefact correspond with the features of its pragmatic function. The correspondence theory offers a standard for aesthetic judgment, which to some extent mitigates the adequacies of Dewey’s relativism and subjectivity regarding the issue of aesthetic value. My view is also different from everyday aesthetics which does attend to pragmatic function, but nevertheless misses out the role of pragmatic functions in aesthetic appreciation.

In this paper, I defend a new version of cognitive immoralism, the view that an immoral work of art can be artistically good in virtue of its immorality, and that this goodness is explained by some understanding that such a work provides. By inhibiting a natural emotional reaction that we would have in real life, such a work can get us to see what is genuinely admirable in some immoral perspective. Even if this perspective is overall highly problematic, it might still have a positive aspect to it. In order to truly recognise this positive aspect, we need to have a positive emotion that latches onto that aspect, a positive emotion that is naturally inhibited by our overall repulsion. By masking the negative aspects and encouraging the positive emotion, an immoral work can help us grasp the positive aspect of the immoral perspective. In this way, we end up in a better position to pass an overall judgment on this perspective.
In virtue of this understanding that they give us, immoral works help us see that the world is far from black-and-white and that even ethical judgments that seemed secure are shakier than we thought. Even more, they show us the tragic nature of ethics: that perhaps immoral people might some qualities that moral ones do not.

“Videogame photography” refers to the production of still images, similar in appearance to photographs, within videogames. Although limited, philosophical literature on these images has focused on whether they can, from an aetiological perspective, be called photographs (Campion, forthcoming).
I argue that the focus on aetiology misses what really makes these images photographic: their observance of the program of photography. Drawing on Vilém Flusser’s Towards a Philosophy of Photography (2000), I argue photography centres around a program: a set of cultural, technological, and institutional constraints which define the medium. Consider that, even though lenses focus a circular image, we nevertheless expect photographic images to be rectangular or square. This cultural constraint is embodied in a technological constraint: by default, photosensitive surfaces in cameras are rectangular or square.
Returning to videogame photography, one can see the program in action across the medium. Videogame graphics mimic the aesthetics expected of lens-based images, often including artifacts such as lens flares. Videogame photo modes, like smartphone photography, often utilise filters. Even when such traits are not features in a game by default, videogame photographers have been known to modify games to replicate them themselves (Sheely, 2009-12).
Videogame still images, therefore, are not related to photography through their ontology, but through their adherence to photographic conventions found within the program of photography. As well as allowing us to make sense of the relation of these images to photography, I argue that my view also helps us justify the categorisation and display of such images as photographic art, as this same program also embodies art historical and critical discourses surrounding photography as a medium

In this paper I aim to explore an alternative approach to the normativity involved in discussions about taste and the role of justification in aesthetic judgement. This alternative attempts to avoid two concerns identified in Peter Kivy’s (2015) understanding of correctness and why do we engage in aesthetic arguments: (i) his view stresses the objectivity of aesthetic judgements at the expense of diminishing its subjective nature; and (ii), it gives more prominence to the metaphysics of such disputes, a (realist) answer on why do we argue about aesthetic matters, than to how we do so. My alternative proposal, therefore, is twofold. Firstly, I stand for an idea of correctness that doesn’t give up subjectivity. To this end, I turn to Thi Nguyen’s (2019) account on autonomy and engagement with the aim of situating correctness, not in the place of an outcome nor a goal, but as the necessary shape our aesthetic practices adopt. This understanding of the normativity and correctness at stake when it comes to judging in aesthetics may reveal overlooked key aspects of aesthetic (dis)agreements. Secondly, I claim that a closer look at how the phenomenon of aesthetic discussions works leads to an investigation on the activity of giving and asking for reasons and the role of justification in aesthetic judgement. This paper outlines an account of justification as intrinsic to the activity of judging itself. I suggest that this perspective is preferable to a view of justification as an extrinsic complement. By drawing the attention to the normative relationship between aesthetic reasons and aesthetic judgement, I defend that one can’t agree on the reasons but not make the judgement, nor share the judgement but disagree on the reasons, which ultimately prevents us from interpreting situations of disagreement as genuine cases of aesthetic agreement.

In this speech I will explore the notion of “ecological imagination” and its significance in addressing the global ecological catastrophe. A. Ghosh famously claimed that the present ecological crisis is a “crisis of the imagination”: the modern imaginary of “Nature” as extra-cultural otherness fails to portray the complexity of ecological worlds, i.e. their non-linearity, socio-ecological hybridism and dissipative irreversibility. The crisis of the imagination thus consists in our inability to “produce images” of worlds or environments that are so characterized.
Following Kant and E. Garroni, I define imagination as the power of “making sense”: the ability to produce “images” that open up an intuitive and pre-conceptual dimension of “Sinn”. The problem of “ecological imagination” thus concerns the question of finding ways of imaginatively making sense of a complex world. After showing, through a scientific-epistemological definition of “complexity”, that an understanding of a complex reality always requires a sensitivity towards it (i.e., an affective connection, a “face-to-face” engagement), I will draw upon morphological theories from authors such as Warburg, Goethe and Latour to argue that practices of imagining ecological complexity can be characterized as productions/apprehensions of “pathos formulas”: images that enable us both to immerse ourselves in the complex “metamorphic zone” of the world, and to maintain a critical distance towards it.
As I will argue, imagining a complex world requires a “critical immersion”: a passionate but still analytically “detached” formulation of images of sense – and it thus resembles neither a neutral view from nowhere nor a mimetic post-humanism. I will conclude that, if we want to develop an ecological imagination that is able to discern and produce images that help us make sense of a complex world, then we should develop artistic, scientific, and political imaginative practices that allow us to follow its metamorphic vivacity.

In Aesthetics of Care, Yuriko Saito argues that the attitude of care ties aesthetics and ethics together, hereby intimately connected in our everyday life. According to her, aesthetic experience embodies a care relationship with the world as much as ethical relationships with others (whether humans or objects, artifacts or environments) are guided by aesthetic sensibility and manifested through aesthetic means. She sustains that the care given to us by everyday objects calls for a reciprocal care act by us for the maintenance and repair. At the core of her argument lies a parallel between care ethics and aesthetic experience grounded in the similarities of the attitudes that they both involve. This paper focuses on the premises of the argument: the use of the notion of care as the central site of the proposal and particularly the role that reciprocity plays in the understanding of such a notion. Saito alleges reciprocity, on the one hand, between the aesthetic and ethical in the sense of interdependence between these two dimensions of our lives but, on the other hand, reciprocity seems to be involved more fundamentally in the very attitude of care. The paper tries to show that these premises are problematic, both from the ethical and an aesthetic point of view, weakening the ambition of the proposal.

Conceptions of empathy abound throughout varying philosophical traditions. Generally understood, empathy concerns our ability to understand and share in the actions and emotions of others. However, many of the generally accepted conceptions of empathy rely on its configuration as a purely mental endeavor specifically related to mechanisms for simulation or imitation. This paper will approach a notion of empathy situated within the aesthetic experience of the musical genre of the Mexican ‘corrido’. I will argue that understood as an ‘aesthetic narrative’ the Mexican corrido can be opened to a phenomenological analysis via three ‘essential’ themes exhibited in this musical genre; 1) the figure of capable Man, 2) historical and geographic situatedness, and 3) as a countercultural form of expression. The aim of this analysis will be to critically examine the structures, often dominant and oppressive, which inspire this musical genre. This will entail a careful reflection of the aesthetic narrative of corridos as examples of marginalized histories. Moreover, corridos understood as aesthetic narratives may enrich our ability to empathize with its characters and their lived experiences as constituted within the broader milieu of social, political, and cultural identities. The hope is to broaden, illuminate, and provide a more inclusive and tolerant perspective of a particular way of knowing operating within colonial and dominant historical paradigms.

The intuition that historical fiction ought to be more tightly bound to the facts than other forms of fiction is commonplace in the general public, among critics and authors of historical novels. We find Goodreads reviews of Mantel’s Wolf Hall expressing a hope to learn about Thomas Cromwell by reading the novel and evaluating the novel according to the extent to which this hope has been met. The Guardian review of the novel praises Mantel as a ‘resurrectionist’ of Thomas Cromwell (Laing, 2009). In her discussion of her own historical novel, The Fraud, Zadie Smith reminds us that ‘The facts are important’ in historical fiction in particular (Holland and Sandbrook, 2023: 00:40:44). But good historical novels often depart from the facts.
In his review of Wolf Hall, Greenblatt points out the incompatibilities between the Cromwell of Mantel’s novel with the Cromwell suggested by historical record and praises Mantel for them. He claims that when it comes to good historical novels, ‘Historical accuracy is not the issue’, rather, what makes certain works of historical fiction better than others is the fact that it invites the reader to go ‘Yes, this is how it must have been’ (Greenblatt, 2009). In her Reith Lectures, Mantel herself comments on the limitations of facts in the remembrance of the past and subsequently in the creation of effective historical novels (Mantel, 2017).
The view put forward here is that historical fiction does not place demands with regards to adherence to the facts beyond those we place on realist elements in fiction more broadly. It is argued for through the discussion of three novels with seemingly very different relationships to the facts: Wolf Hall, The Golden Bowl, and The Lord of the Rings.

I present some work in progress from a project arguing for a way of doing the philosophy of art that departs from conventional approaches in both analytic and continental aesthetics. After setting out what I take to characterize these approaches I introduce my alternative, “philosophical criticism.” The methodology is critical in that it must first work out what concepts a given work calls for, where this need not be obvious. So conceived, the task is already philosophical, philosophers being trained in the fine-grained analysis of concepts employed unreflectively every day. Approached in this spirit, works of art even prove capable of exposing blind-spots in the literature mobilized to make sense of them.
My presentation models this methodology. I ask whether the philosophical literature on exploitation does justice to a practice that appears to participate in exploitation, if only to prevent it from passing unremarked. The three “remunerated actions” I focus on involve paying participants to do things that many might find morally questionable. I consider whether influential recent views of exploitation speak to what makes these practices wrong. That to exploit is: (i) to take unfair advantage of a vulnerability in circumstances where one should rescind from doing so (Bob Goodin); to extract excessive benefits from those who are in no position to refuse (Mikhail Valdman); a degrading failure to respect the value of what is being exploited (Ruth Sample). I point up some difficulties of applying these views to a practice that appears to stage exploitative interactions for the apparent benefit of non-participating third parties. I close by considering what, if any, difference should this make to whether we take the first order practices to be wrong and—if we do so take them—what implications, if any, this should have for our judgement of their value as art.

The following essay aims to reconstruct György Lukács’ reflections on Friedrich Schiller’s aesthetics. Such a reconstruction is intended to stand as a propaedeutic for a deepening in Marxist Lukacs’ aesthetics (subsequently elaborated in the so called Great Aesthetics [Die Eigenart des Ästhetischen]). Although the two aspects are closely related from the point of view of a history of ideas, an analysis of the Lukacs’ interpretation of Schiller constitutes an hardly discussed operation in the field of studies devoted to the history of aesthetics or Lukács’ aesthetics. Schiller’s idealism represents an important opportunity for confrontation, the outcome of which is twofold: if, on the one hand, this opens up a philosophical liquidation of Schillerian aesthetics itself, on the other hand, this constitutes a necessary stage for the elaboration of a Marxist aesthetics (capable of grasping the “artistic historicity” of objective reality) that explains social being in its historical objectivity, through therefore particular determinations by means of which historical reality shows itself to aesthetics not as ordered by a “supra-historical” essence (as the Romantic spirit might have appeared to be) but as a product of a praxis that is historically stratified even through art forms.

To this day, Rococo design represents the extremity of design. But what makes Rococo design so unique, what are the formal principles underlying its exuberant ornaments, and what makes them so engaging, their experience so intriguing? This paper aims to explore the questions regarding the formal and experiential features of Rococo design through revisiting perhaps the only full-fledged rococo aesthetics, William Hogarth’s The Analysis of Beauty (1753). The paper will attempt a re-interpretation of Hogarth’s often neglected Analysis through the lens of contemporary design studies and everyday aesthetics. Unlike most of his eighteenth-century contemporaries, Hogarth brings his paradigmatic examples neither from nature, nor from art, but from the design of dresses, hairpieces, candlesticks, table legs, i.e. the everyday rococo aesthetics of man-made interiors, artefacts and tools. The significance of Hogarth’s “everyday aesthetics” is often acknowledged in scholarship, but it has not been channelled into our contemporary discussions on the aesthetics of design and everyday aesthetics. Through reconstructing Hogarth’s dynamic, erotic and tactile concept of aesthetic form and experience, and revisiting his examples of everyday design objects, the paper argues that for Hogarth Rococo design was not an embellishment, but rather a part of an aesthetic transformation of our world. The serpentine forms of Rococo design stimulate our cognitive faculties and invite us to an imaginative, embodied and exploratory engagement with design objects, subverting and transforming our quotidian interactions with both our material and social environments.

This paper argues that we need to distinguish between two classes of epistemic virtues when we assess the epistemic value of different types of images. The two classes are virtues of delivering evidence and virtues of extracting information. It is shown that this distinction is especially important to keep in mind when discussing the relative merits of automatic and manual modes of image-making. In particular, the indexical quality of photography makes photographs capable of delivering demonstrative evidence that drawings cannot deliver. By contrast, the gestural nature of drawing enables drawings to extract information that photographs cannot extract. The paper uses this result to argue for a contextual conception of epistemic value with respect to images. Because mechanical and manual images differ with respect to their virtues of delivering evidence and extracting information, their epistemic value varies by context. Different contexts of inquiry demand call for different types of images. Since different contexts of inquiry call for different epistemic virtues, images do not have the same epistemic value across all contexts.

For many decades now, advances in artificial intelligence (AI) have been transforming the practices of musical composition as well as theories of musical creativity. From early attempts to use computer algorithms to generate new music to the co-creation and even improvisation with machine learning systems, musicians and scholars have been exploring whether and how AI could explain, emulate, substitute, or expand human musical creativity. A much more recent — and significantly less studied — phenomenon is the relevance of AI for music aesthetics. With the popularisation of streaming platforms, AI started to play a crucial and ever more autonomous role in how music is curated and experienced by listeners worldwide. This might be transforming how we approach, define, and measure fundamental concepts of music aesthetics, such as style, taste, relevance, and meaning. Thus, we must ask what could be the relevance of such transformations for the philosophical aesthetics of music. In this paper, I would like to introduce a historical perspective that could help us critically analyse such transformations. I will argue that the the Doctrine of the Affections movement offers a fascinating historical antecedent of contemporary AI-based music aesthetics. I will show that current applications of AI in the context of music streaming platforms repeat epistemic principles that characterise the Doctrine of the Affections movement. A central epistemic principle that will be addressed is the shift from experiences to taxonomic numerical representations in the analysis of music’s affective-rhetorical power. This historical perspective introduces not only descriptive concepts useful to make sense of the impact of recent developments of AI on music aesthetics, but also concepts much needed for a philosophical critique of the AI-based music aesthetics.

Since the millennium’s onset, the arts have been progressively infused with advanced technologies like neural networks and artificial intelligence (AI), ushering in systems capable of critiquing and valuing art. AI’s image generation provided by LLM such as Chat Gpt et similia, has introduced new synthetic art forms, thanks to its capacity to be trained on extensive datasets. This development has sparked debate around the originality of AI-generated works reminiscent of historic artists or musical bands, and whether AI can embody genuine creativity.
The emergence of AI in art challenges traditional concepts of authorship and raises the possibility of AI as an independent creative force. Concurrently, “deepfake” technology presents new political challenges through its potential to spread misinformation. Yet, AI offers transformative artistic applications, exemplified by the digital-native collective Exquisite Workers and their AI Surrealism exhibition. This collective demonstrates how AI and blockchain can enhance creativity, moving digital technologies beyond imitation to enable immersive experiences.
The exhibition’s online accessibility and art sales for minimal costs or cryptocurrency represent a democratization of the art market. This shift echoes the crisis of presence within art identified by thinkers like Benjamin, who argued that mechanical reproduction diminishes art’s unique “aura”. However, it also democratizes art, altering its perception and engagement, and potentially leading to more politically engaged art forms.
The presentation contends with the relevance of Benjamin’s and Anders’ perspectives on art in the digital and Metaverse contexts. It explores the dichotomy between disruptive and proper uses of AI in visual arts, assessing the implications for the creator’s role and art’s function and engagement within a post-phenomenological framework.

Recent debate on the metaphysics of musical experience generally looks at the latter as fully associated with emotions. More specifically, it seems that if we want to capture the specific relationship between musical experience and emotions, we have two different options: We could focus either on how we feel when listening to music or on our ability to recognize specific emotions represented in music, without necessarily feeling them. Such debate has reached a point of stagnation. In particular, none of the two options allow to grasp exhaustively what characterizes musical experience.
In this paper, we want to offer a new perspective on the relationship between musical experience and emotions based on the concept of musical atmosphere. A musical atmosphere is a property of the musical object (a melody, a whole composition, a harmonic order, a rhythmic pattern, etc.), consisting in a peculiar emotional tone radiating over that musical object, and perceived as belonging to it (Lipps 1909; Kandinsky 1977 [1911]; Geiger 1911; Kepes 1964 [1944]; Arnheim 1966, 1974, 1986). Moreover, we will argue that the manifestation of an atmosphere is also accompanied by a certain kind of mental imagery.
The paper is structured as follows. In the first part, we will discuss the limitations of current theories of musical experience based on the relationship between music and emotions, and show the potential of the concept of atmosphere in order to rethink this relationship. In the second part, we will look at a case study – Gustav Mahler’s Adagietto, the second movement of his Symphony n. 5 in C-Sharp Minor – to test our own view on the characterization of musical experience based on the perception of atmospheres.

Aesthetic cognitivists attempt to understand 1) how art improves our cognitive standing and 2) how an artwork’s cognitive value explains its artistic value. When pursuing these questions, cognitivists are often under pressure to say how art’s epistemic contributions differ from other fields of inquiry. Inquiry conducted in the natural sciences is widely taken to be our best evidence of epistemic success, and so it has regularly been used as a comparison class for the arts. My aim in this presentation is to propose that there are three ways that art can be contrasted or identified with science – by the epistemic ends it pursues, by the tools it uses, and by the norms endorsed by inquirers. I will argue that the third item on this list has not been thoroughly investigated by cognitivists, and I argue that it is here that we see the greatest differences between inquiry in art and science. Whereas scientific communities highly value epistemic responsibility and clarity, I claim that communities in the arts have come to routinely encourage a normative exemption and rational opacity. In short, science cultivates epistemic discipline, whilst art resists it.

In the last few years, a remarkable convergence of interests and results has emerged between scholars interested in the arts and aesthetics from a variety of perspectives and cognitive scientists studying the mind and brain within the predictive processing (PP) framework. This convergence has so far proven fruitful for both sides: while PP is increasingly adopted as a framework for understanding aesthetic phenomena, the arts and aesthetics, examined under the lens of PP, are starting to be seen as important windows into our mental functioning. The result is a vast and fast-growing research programme that promises to deliver important insights into our aesthetic encounters as well as a wide range of psychological phenomena of general interest. So far, however, this research programme has been spearheaded mainly by psychologists and neuroscientists, and philosophical discussion on it has been sparse. In this paper, I try to remedy this lack by pointing to some of the ways in which PP might be relevant for philosophical aesthetics. I start by clarifying how the study of the arts and aesthetics encounters the PP picture of mental functioning. I then go on to outline how PP might productively inform particular debates in philosophical aesthetics, namely the nature of aesthetic pleasure, the scope of aesthetic experience, and the cognitive value of art. The upshot is a framework, rich in philosophical implications, within which aesthetics and cognitive science can partner up to illuminate crucial aspects of the human mind.

Carlson (1979) and Saito (1998) have argued that, for cognitive and moral reasons, we need to appreciate nature on its own terms. Accordingly, they maintain that we should appreciate nature guided by scientific knowledge, common sense, mythology and folklore. Budd (2002) criticised this account based on (i.) the large variety of natural objects and (ii.) the lack of a criterion of correctness. 
Consider the following cases: 
– A contemplates the falling leaves in autumn thinking of the caducity of the human as well as other-than-human life. 
– B admires the valley of Culloden Field in Scotland thinking of the role of the moor in Bonnie Prince Charlie’s army defeat. 
– C is on a boat trip on Lake Como, in Northern Italy and enjoys the dramatic reflections of the mountains upon the lake, recalling descriptions from a popular book by a local writer.
– D looks at a starry night in awe, knowing that large parts of what they are observing – the universe – lie beyond the limits of human perception. 
These examples show that what we aesthetically experience as nature – what is not a human artefact – includes a large variety of objects that also exhibit important differences, which cannot be explained by Carlson’s and Saito’s accounts. Considering Budd’s criticism, I propose that the object of our aesthetic experience in nature is constructed through appreciative practices, within traditions and communities. Keeping the requirement that one needs to know the nature of the object appreciated to avoid a trivial or inappropriate experience, I maintain that scientific knowledge alone is not enough for this aim and that one needs other types of knowledge as well, as the proper object of nature aesthetics is not a natural environment alone but also its historical and cultural associations. 

This paper presents two theses on Moses Mendelssohn’s theory of mixed sentiments. (I) In a historical sense, I argue that Mendelssohn is not a mere transitional figure in the history of classical German aesthetics. Rather, Mendelssohn is the trigger for the historical transformation of this discipline. Thanks to Mendelssohn, German aesthetics transited from an objective (Baumgarten) to a subjective (Kant) point of view. This aesthetic revolution was caused by Mendelssohn’s theory of mixed sentiments. This theory states that the aesthetic perception of negative objects arouses pleasure. (II) In a systematic sense, I define this theory as the aesthetics of non-being. According to the principle of sufficient reason, every negative object represents a lack of being. In light of this ontological principle, I conclude that Mendelssohn’s theory represents a reflection on non-being. In the conclusion, I reflect on the essence of negative aesthetics.

In recent years, there has been a growing interest in repatriating artworks, driven by ethical, moral, and cultural motivations to address historical injustices and the legacies of colonialism. While international law mandates the return of illegally obtained items (La Haye 1954), repatriation cases spark complex debates involving ethical, moral, legal, political, and economic considerations. Often overlooked in these discussions are the aesthetic and artistic values of contested items, which are central to their identity as works of art. This paper explores the impact of acknowledged artistic and aesthetic worth on repatriation claims, utilizing Nelson Goodman’s theory of “activation” (1982; 2005) to shed light on decisions concerning the repatriation of contested cultural artefacts. I argue that when interaction with the original context is crucial for the work’s aesthetic activation, as in the case of situated art, it strengthens the case for repatriation. Integrating “contextual activation” into the repatriation decision-making process enhances the overall approach and fosters a more profound and nuanced reflection.

In this paper, I argue that appreciation in literary works is partly determined by their capacity to evoke mental imagery through language. Contrary to common approaches that overlook mental imagery in literary appreciation, I will demonstrate how works are highly appreciated for their aspectuality, i.e., the property of literary descriptions to bring properties and objects to appearance in triggering mental imagery. Aspectuality, I claim, provides certain works with a defining character, greatly appreciated for their technical skills in conveying sensations that are paradigmatic of their genre. My understanding of aspectuality will be as well informed by research in cognitive literary science, something that the philosophical debate has poorly acknowledged. Taking this into account will also reveal how mental imagery can lay the basis for further inquiry on phenomena such as vividness and immersion. This discussion will expose how a minimal understanding of our engagement risks making the appreciation of literary works reductive.

Many theories purport to explain musical expressiveness: resemblance theories, arousal theories, etc. Nelson Goodman’s theory of expressiveness as metaphorical exemplification, although once influential, has not been very popular of late. Recently, James O. Young, who defends a mixed theory of musical expressiveness (a combination of resemblance and arousal theory) has argued that Goodman’s is at best an unnecessarily prolix version of the resemblance theory. Earlier, he criticised Goodman on different grounds. My aim is to reverse Young’s verdict and argue that the resemblance theory favoured by philosophers such as him and Stephen Davies is in fact a deficient version of what I call a ‘frame theory’ (of which Goodman’s theory is the prime exemplar). Enthusiasts of the resemblance theory forget the fundamental role of selection and framing (hence ‘frame theory’) in establishing the relevant features for expressiveness. With the appropriate frame (or in the appropriate context), the resemblance between the Sun and bleach becomes more salient than the resemblance between the Sun and a flickering flame. I illustrate this point with a visual device popular in the 1950s: the droodles (a pormanteau of ‘drawing’ and ‘riddle’), whose functioning is better explained by a frame theory than by a (naked) resemblance theory. Goodman was too radical in claiming that resemblance is not necessary for representation, but his contention that resemblance is not sufficient is quite plausible. What lies between both is, I argue, the ‘frame’. I also consider the ‘singularity argument’ against metaphorical exemplification: the idea that expressiveness and exemplification are incompatible, because samples must refer to shareable properties beyond themselves, whereas the expressive properties of a musical work must be uniquely bound to it. I conclude that metaphorical exemplification still has a lot to give in the debate about expressiveness.

I argue that as a philosopher of music Cavell adopts and adapts Wittgenstein’s paradigm shift in the philosophy of music, particularly in regarding the idea of the interaction between music and language. I argue that this enforces on Cavell’s discussion a notion of musical depth in the metaphoric terms of a journey, so that Cavell’s fundamental question as to how music, or music-making both provides a figure of mind for philosophy and accommodates philosophizing may be answered in terms of one’s ability and often also urge to halt one’s journey toward depth as we regain intimacy with ourselves, with others, and with the world.

Der Entwurf singulärer Räumlichkeiten ist ein wesentlicher Aspekt der bildenden Künste. Die Affizierung, derer ein Werk mächtig ist, resultiert zumal aus dem Widerspiel räumlicher, materieller und eventuell zeitlicher Parameter. Die Intervention untersucht dieses Widerspiel am Beispiel zweier ungleichartiger künstlerischer Verfahrungsweisen: der Erfindung einer nicht-illusionären Tiefenräumlichkeit in der neueren Malerei und der Erschaffung einer hybrid-skulpturalen Räumlichkeit am Beispiel von Alberto Burris Cretto im Bereich der Land Art. Es geht bei dieser Untersuchung vor allem darum, das Intervall auszumessen, das die philosophisch-begriffliche Reflexion von Raumverhältnissen und deren sinnliche Präsentation, welche das Werk ist, zugleich trennt und verbindet. Dieser Grenzgang wird auf doppelte Weise durchgeführt. Die Ausführungen Benjamins und Merleau-Pontys zeigen, wie die Farbigkeit in der Malerei auf der Fläche eine eigentümliche Raumtiefe zu erzeugen vermag. Heideggers Meditation Die Kunst und der Raum liefert wichtige Hinweise darauf, wie die Vorstellung der Weite mit der Auszeichnung eines singulären Orts verbunden ist und pointiert, wie indirekt auch immer, was in einem Werk wie dem Cretto auf dem Spiel stehen könnte.

In this paper, I want to propose an enlarged concept of fiction that allows the articulation of the interplay between the arts in todays intallation works. In order to fulfill this comparative function, the notion of fiction must be liberated from the focus on literature that dominates the philosophical debates of the last decades. I will modify the current conception of fiction correspondingly and focus on the creation of fictional spaces. Drawing on examples, I will defend the claim that musical space, pictural space and sculptural space should be conceived as intensive fictional spaces that can be entangled in artistic installations. 

“Reading the Socratic dialogues, one has the feeling: what a frightful waste of time! What’s the point of these arguments that prove nothing & clarify nothing.” (Wittgenstein 1998: 21)
The latest edition of Wittgenstein’s Koder Diaries, entitled Movements of Thought: Ludwig Wittgenstein Diary 1930-1932 and 1936-1937 (Rowman & Littlefield 2023) was published in 2023. The book is a translation of a manuscript that was handwritten by Wittgenstein over seven years in the 1930s. As indicated by editors, James C. Klagge and Alfred Nordmann, this notebook is “unusual” in the sense that it contains “both personal and philosophical remarks,” ranging from Wittgenstein’s reflections on the events of the day to notes on the primacy of praxis or the foundations of religious beliefs. Upon encountering such convergence of philosophical and personal notes one is bound to revisit a contentious point in Wittgenstein philosophy: His style of writing. In what follows, I situate Wittgenstein’s remarks in the Socratic tradition of philosophy and I argue that contrary to Wittgenstein’s misjudgment about the role and the impact of the Socratic conception of philosophy, embodied in his definitional dialogues, Wittgenstein’s own way of doing philosophy shares much in common both in terms of orientation and rhetorical style with the writings of philosophers in the tradition of “philosophy as spiritual exercises.” Specifically, I argue that the convergence of philosophical and personal remarks in Wittgenstein’s handwritten manuscripts is the result of writing in the form of hypomnemata or private notes or exhortations to the self with the intention of capturing the movements of thought and, more importantly, practicing askesis, or working on oneself according to an ideal of wisdom.

My presentation has two aims: to use the work of Levinas and Merleau-Ponty to demonstrate the importance of phenomenological tools in the current debate on the aesthetics of everyday life; and to argue that what is specific to the aesthetics of everyday life consists in understanding that our daily life is inherently based on aesthetic elements that are integrated into our lives unconsciously. In turn, these aesthetic elements, despite their unconscious nature, constitute an essential element in the construction of our sub-jectivity and our own world. We will use Levinas’s concept of enjoyment to establish an ethics of everyday life; and we will use Merleau-Ponty’s reflections on embodiment to describe the phenomenology of this experience. The characteristic closeness, inattention and lack of analytical differentiation of the aesthetics of the everyday will, in turn, constitute one of the main differences with other aesthetic theories characterized by contemplation and disinterest.

It has been a highly debated issue in the philosophy of art if relevant knowledge about works of art may be gained through testimony as well or only through acquaintance. In relation to photos taken of (visual) works of art, it might be argued that a photographic reproduction of a work of art displays the relevant features counterfactually. If that is so, then it can be questioned to what extent the photographic reproduction can be considered testimony and to what extent it can be considered an experience equivalent to perceptual acquaintance. 
Kendall Walton argues that looking at a photograph of a person is equivalent to the original perception of the person – which he calls the transparency of photographic images. Walton also notes that photographs preserve real similarity relations (such as shapes) as opposed to verbal descriptions that may also be counterfactually dependent on the visual properties of the scenes that they describe.
In my talk I will not argue for or against the transparency thesis itself, but I will rely on the idea that our visual experience when seeing photographs is counterfactually dependent on the visual properties of the scene photographed (and that they also preserve real similarity relations). I present architectural examples in which photographic testimony is arguably more fruitful (richer, more detailed, more relevant, etc.) from the point of view of aesthetic knowledge than the first-hand experience, the acquaintance itself. I analyse three examples (belonging to two types) to support the argument that acquainting oneself with the built environment does not necessarily require personal perception and experiences; for all relevant purposes equally sufficient (or even richer, more detailed, more relevant) information can be obtained through photographs.

Philosophical and empirical aesthetics cover their own scholarly realms due to a great deal of specialization. Does this give good reasons for the institutional and epistemic divide, or is it backed up by essentialist ideas about the nature of each field that should be challenged? I weigh some core methodological, epistemic, and ontological reasons to defend the existing segregation and see if they hold. The stakes are that if they don’t, it would evoke the question whether it would be better to teach philosophical and empirical aesthetics together to some extent. Merging possible levels of abstraction is not desirable but seeing the contribution, limits, and potential of philosophical and empirical aesthetics in relation to each other rather than only within each tradition might be.

A strand of the discussion about the moral limits of our imaginative engagement with immoral narratives in fiction focuses on the role of empathetic engagement with the perspective of vicious characters. In this paper, I discuss Olivia Bailey’s account of the “puzzle about the relation between empathy and virtuousness”: the virtuous person cannot empathize with vicious perspectives, because part of what it means to be virtuous is that one cannot perceive the world in a less-than virtuous manner. Yet, people who are less than virtuous sometimes need to be empathised at their “minorly vicious” perspectives, because they desire for their emotions to be “appreciated” at first-hand. I argue that Bailey’s account, if successful, can explain how one’s progress on the path to virtuousness relates to certain types of resistance one may experience in empathetic engagement with rough heroes. As I argue, Bailey’s account fails to consider the role of reflective thinking and remorse in vicious narratives: what makes a vicious perspective candidate for the virtuous’ empathetic response or compatible with is that the vicious agent expresses some kind of remorse or relates with her own reprehensible emotions in a reflective way. I then focus on the second challenge posed by Bailey, namely whether the fact that one’s degree of virtuousness impedes empathetic engagement with vicious perspectives is in any way morally problematic, by discussing the problem of rough heroines. As I argue, exercising our empathetic imagination to engage with the perspectives of rough heroines and emotionally enter their situation can be a useful way to tackle sexist biases and challenge androcentric ways of seeing the world. In a way, I conclude, it is our moral duty to listen to rough heroines’ stories and take in their emotionally vicious perspective as a means of recognizing their subjectivity and accepting their agency.

In this paper, I aim to present Cassirer’s philosophy as a possible candidate for replacing Kant’s Transcendental Aesthetics. In this way, I will defend the idea that Cassirer’s aesthetics encompasses more than a theory of perception and directly extends to the creativity of subjects and their impulses to formation in general. I will show that “expression” as one of the basis phenomena is pivotal to understand the starting point of the cultural world, but it is not sufficient to follow up on further developments that involve the other original “operators”, such as “representation” and “signification”. The result of such an interplay is that art is not merely expressive but can be located at the crossroads between all these factors and also serves to purpose of covering the path that goes from daily to scientific experience. To evaluate Cassirer’s proposal, I will compare and contrast it with Nietzsche’s “will to power” as it eventuates in a will to form. It will turn out that Nietzsche’s conception of subjectivity and its expressive power is blind to the equal impulse to formation that occurs in the sphere of objectivity, once that it has been injected by the subject. Nietzsche’s aesthetics is related to his philosophy of life and I would like to underline that also the concept of the avowal of the tragic is reminding of what Cassirer would frame as mythical thinking. In a nutshell, I will defend the idea that Nietzsche’s aesthetics is too limited for being used as a fundamental theory of worlds formation, for it leaves aside as inauthentic all non-subjective manifestation of the expressive creativity of subjects.

Why do people enjoy sad music? Recently, empirical studies on this issue exploded and offer valuable insights into this issue. Importantly, it appears that people listen to sad music especially when they feel sad. Studies also reveal the personal traits that predict the enjoyment of sad music, notably high empathy and absorption. And the perils of sad music, particularly cognitive rumination, are well documented. This article aims at refining the paradox of sad music with the help of these findings. I criticize the main solutions to the paradox (particularly Davies’, Levinson’ and Sizer’s) and argue that they fail to address the refined paradox and to capture the specificity of sadness. As a remedy, I offer a new solution that relies on the epistemic function of sadness. Sadness motivates reflection and thus comes with epistemic benefits, such as more realistic beliefs and an analytic mindset. I claim that sadness’ epistemic value illuminates the allure of sad music. People listen to sad music, especially when they feel sad, because they exploit the analytic mindset of sadness. As sad music channels and intensifies sadness, it offers a perfect occasion to reflect. I develop this idea with the help of three arguments. First, the account explains why people listen to sad music especially when they feel sad: reflection is the function of sadness and results in long-term benefits. Second, the proposal nicely captures dysfunctional uses of sad music: reflection importantly differs from rumination. Lastly, reflection is key to the personal determinants of the love of sad music, from absorption to neuroticism and empathy. As sad music helps us to reflect on what really matters, it is no wonder that people consider it among the most profound musical experiences.

Giambattista Vico’s (1669-1744) philosophy proposes a model of poetic creation closely related to pictorial work. If in the first New Science (1725) – dedicated to the broader issue of the “common nature of nations” – the poetic language of primitive peoples is defined as a “painted speech”, in the contemporary Letter to Gherardo degli Angioli the association of painting and poetry concerns the specific domain of art. Relying on the analysis of this letter, written as a commentary on some sonnets sent to him by a young student, the aim of the paper is to demonstrate how the Neapolitan philosopher challenges the mimetic paradigm of art, maintaining at the same time the principle of similarity between the two arts. Therefore, the inventive model of artistic creation offered by Vico appears alternative to what will be proposed by Lessing in his famous Laocoon (1766), where criticism of the concept of art as mimesis will result from the divorce between poetry and painting. On the contrary, for Vico, both poetry and painting do not produce copies of reality but sensible ideas. In this way, it is precisely painting that reveals the essence of artistic praxis – constituting also a model for literary creation – insofar as it constructs its ideas in an immediately sensible manner, without passing through the abstraction inherent in verbal language.

The debate on imaginative resistance has traditionally been characterized by two opposite views, i.e., ‘cantian’ theories and ‘wontian’ theories. If the former locate the origin of resistance in an inability to imagine what the work prescribes, the latter refer to a refusal or lack of desire to imagine what is fictionally true. A lot of progress has been made since the phenomenon was originally stated. Nevertheless, cantian and wontian theories are still conceived as conflicting and incompatible views on the same phenomenon. My proposal is to interpret cantian and wontian theories as referring to different but compatible levels of resistance, i.e., lower-level resistance and higher-level resistance. On a first level, resistance occurs when the reader cannot make sense of what the text requires to imagine. In this case, the reader experiences a cognitional effort in processing the information given in the text. Since emotions are intentional in nature, the lack of a clear content in cognition prevents the subject from having an appropriate emotion at this level. On a higher level of resistance, the reader has discerned the content in cognition, but she or he refuses the way in which that content is presented or ‘framed’. The present account manages to reconcile the two main trends in the debate and provides a unified explanation of imaginative resistance.

Art and specific forms of aesthetic engagement hold existential significance for individuals. A film, for instance, can unexpectedly trigger an epiphany, reshaping our core values. Writing poetry becomes a vessel for imbuing existence with meaning, offering lasting therapeutic effects. Meanwhile, standing in awe before a majestic waterfall can etch itself into the fabric of our memories as one of life’s most cherished moments. “Existential aesthetics” is the field that seeks to scrutinize these profound experiences and practices from a philosophical standpoint. In this paper, I aim to refine and revisit the account I previously presented of this burgeoning subarea of aesthetics (2022). My goal is to enhance our comprehension of the existing landscape, underscore its significance, and foster more focused philosophical discourse in this direction.

This paper analyses asemic writing, with a focus on Luigi Serafini’s 1981 Codex Seraphinianus. Asemic writing, i.e. writing characterized by a lack of semantic meaning, is explored through the lenses of literature and aesthetics, emphasizing intentionality, non-semantic meaning, and shared value. Positioned at the intersection of avant-garde literature and abstract art, the linguistic analysis of asemic writing reveals the intricate relationship between graphemes and phonemes, generating a pluri-semantic text with “open” interpretation.
The paper proposes a reconsideration of the concept of sense within asemic writing, identifying a pre-linguistic and pre-semantical field that prompts reflection on conventional writing practices. Reader engagement is discussed, highlighting asemic writing’s accessibility to a broad audience and its cooperative nature. A minimal set of shared conventions allows for unique freedom, fostering a striving game over an achieving one.
The case study, the Codex Seraphinianus, is examined through various lenses, including an intellectual “striving” reading by Italo Calvino and deciphering attempts. These analyses unveil the text’s nature as a presuppositional machine, contributing to the understanding of asemic writing as a complex, cooperative interplay between authors and readers.

In this paper I argue against Irene Martinez and Elisabeth Schellekens’ notion of attunement as a solution to the antinomy of taste between its objective and subjective dimensions. Along these lines, I claim that they fail to account for the totality of aesthetic appreciation of artistic and non-artistic objects, and that the way in which attunement successfully explains the connection between perceptual discernment and emotional sensibility in the exercise of taste does not work in the first stage of aesthetic experience. Firstly, I introduce Martinez&Schellekens’ proposal, which leads me to both outline the ambivalence of taste and present their treatment of the notion of attunement as a cognitive process capable of explaining our affective relationship with the aesthetic qualities perceived in the objects of appreciation. Secondly, I express my concerns with Martinez&Schellekens’ approach, mainly attending two issues. On the one hand, I focus on the stage of perception and claim that attunement as understood can’t fully account for the exercise of taste involved in the perceptual discernment of aesthetically relevant qualities. On the other hand, I claim that by identifying the “aesthetic character” with categories of art, they fail to explain how we become attuned to objects that don’t belong in any aesthetically relevant category, namely natural objects. Finally, I consider an alternative notion of attunement that Martinez&Schellekens initially dismiss, namely Rita Felski’s, and explore its explanatory advantages towards the issues at hand. I then argue that Feslki manages to account for the overall exercise of taste in aesthetic appreciation while acknowledging the possibilities of art criticism and aesthetic evaluation, which to my purposes only sheds light on the main weaknesses of Martinez&Schellekens’ approach. 

The thesis I will argue in this paper is that the experience of dance is a phenomenon of the emergence of an “aesthetic” sense, understood as a way of experiencing “with” the world (Matteucci 2019). The latter manifests itself in a new way of feeling and being that unites the dancer, the spectator, and the environment, and that is specific to each staging of the dance performance. My basic idea is that the emergence of this shared way of being does not begin after learning the dance technique, but at the very moment of learning it, through the instructions given by the teacher and the repeated practice of certain motor patterns. It is therefore on the learning process that I intend to focus my analysis, which will be introduced by examining Barbara Montero’s (2010, 2016) and Richard Shusterman’s (2012) positions on the acquisition of motor expertise. I will show that these positions do not effectively highlight the fact that, for the dancer, the motor mastery acquired through such expertise is aimed at improving “affective” sensibility rather than physical performance. Drawing on the categories and vocabulary of Hermann Schmitz’s “new phenomenology”, I will explore how practice, by inducing the formation of motor habits and automatisms (Pelgreffi 2019, Bertinetto 2023), transforms a “controlling” attitude towards one’s own body into a “pathic” attitude (Straus 1930). The latter places the dancer in a state between the active and the passive, the voluntary and the involuntary, the conscious and the unconscious, which allows him to “meaningfully condense” – through his expressivity” the “atmospheric affordances” (Griffero 2022, 94) of the environment. This leads him to see what surrounds him not as something whose effects on his movements are to be diminished, but as something that favours the emergence of unpredictable forms of encounter with the environment.

According to a currently popular discourse, architectural education is guilty of promoting an optical culture at the expense of recognizing the import of the other senses in architectural design. The antidote to this alleged visuocentric malaise would be a design culture that centres on the haptic experience of, and embodied engagement with, buildings. Besides being unfounded and short-sighted, such generalizing claims disregard the fact that there are at least two irreducible modes of relating to buildings: one that can indeed be called haptic, and another that is inevitably ocular. Rather than praising one and condemning the other, I will draw on the historical repertoire of aesthetics to enrich our understanding of the relation between feeling and ocular perception. This will allow me to develop a different approach to the visual appreciation of so-called iconic buildings. By comparing a number of concrete cases, I will demonstrate a criterion for distinguishing between two forms of iconic architecture, one of which is more promising than the other. Finally, I will invoke the aesthetics of architectural drawing to show that the latter form aspires to something beyond visual delight.

Biodiversity loss is the greatest ecological crisis of our time. But while ‘biodiversity’ has become a buzzword in media and policy, conservationists have found it difficult to build a common understanding on the nature and severity of biodiversity loss and the means to tackle it. Perhaps surprisingly, several biologists and philosophers have proposed that biodiversity might be best defended with reference to its aesthetic value. In our presentation, we explore whether aesthetic values could provide strong support for biodiversity conservation. By examining the question from the viewpoints of species diversity, ecosystem diversity, and genetic diversity, we argue that there is a mismatch between apparent and real biodiversity and that aesthetics can give a limited support for biodiversity conservation at best.

In the opening paragraphs of Kant’s third Critique, aesthetic judgments are described to be subjective and thereby not cognitive. Judgments of taste are highly subjective precisely because they are responses to and are validated by pleasure or displeasure. The question then is how such a thought of the subjectivity of judgment could be harmonized with the thought of the truth-aptness of aesthetic judgment. The fundamental idea of the third Critique is an explanation of how aesthetic judgment advances a thought as true, and not how it secures its own truth. 
Following Michael Thompson’s treatment of Kantian purposiveness, I will argue that given that anything that has parts is constituted by them, we might go on to infer with a special metaphysical abandon that if p is placed under a particular concept, then this very conceptualization of p — i.e., the reduction of p into a particular concept — makes p what p is. This identification of p as p by virtue of its reduction into a concept is one mark of the aesthetic representation of purposiveness, whereby p is also a “cause of itself”—and thus, as Kant argued, also “cause and effect of itself, though in different senses.” (KU, AA 5:370) 
In this paper, I will attempt to arrive at the Kantian idea that judgements of taste are subjective and, at the same time, universally and necessarily valid. I will also sketch out the proper objectives and utilities of the Kantian concept of purposiveness that is logically employed to prove and secure the universal and necessary validity of our judgments of taste. What can aesthetic judgment, as opposed to moral judgment, teach us about purposiveness? 

In this paper, I argue against what I call the reflective-experience condition, namely the widespread assumption that attentiveness is a necessary condition of everyday aesthetic experience. In this manner, I maintain that everyday aesthetic experience can take place under the conscious radar, that is, while we remain in the unreflective attitude pervading ordinary everyday life. In the first place, I introduce the reflective-experience condition and express my concerns about it. Secondly, in line with my thesis, I bring to the fore a recurrent but undeveloped intuition in the literature suggesting that everyday life is sometimes aesthetically experienced somehow unreflectively. In the last section, I aim to offer a plausible account of this undeveloped intuition in two steps. On the one hand, clarifying how perception works in everyday life, I claim that we are aware of many perceptions we ordinarily have despite not adopting an attentive attitude. Thus, I maintain that the reflective-experience condition should be construed in a weaker form. On the other hand, however, I adduce that discussions on everyday aesthetic experience have been cast too much in psychological terms. Therefore, my main argument is intended to reconsider the reflective character of everyday aesthetic experience based on the normativity usually associated with aesthetic judgment as part of our rational agency. In this vein, I argue for a normative sense of reflectiveness for everyday aesthetic experience that emphasises the subject’s responsibility in one’s aesthetic judgment and the rational capacity to account for it (even retrospectively). Understood this way, my point is that we can ordinarily find ourselves expressing aesthetic attitudes in everyday life unreflectively–that is, without being conscious that we do so.

In this paper, I examine the impact of AI-driven creative technologies, which I define as ‘responsive artifacts’ due to their surprising nature, and their outputs, which I call ‘artistic deepfakes,’ on the metaphysics and epistemology of technical artifacts and artworks. I argue that these emerging artifacts challenge, first, the traditional metaphysical framework that distinctly categorizes objects into natural (e.g., humans, gold, water) and artifactual (e.g., paintings, tables, televisions), a dichotomy based on the belief that natural objects exist independently of human creation, possessing defining natures, whereas artifacts are human-made and fully epistemically accessible. I show how responsive artifacts challenge this dichotomy, suggesting that AI generative artifacts constitute a unique subclass due to their original and unpredictable nature. Moreover, I point out how artistic deepfakes underline further that the cultural realm also encompasses discoveries and epistemic mysteries. Through imagined and real scenarios, I illustrate the challenges in distinguishing AI creations from authentic works, which thereby questions the traditional identification of art with the artist’s intent and thus further challenges the distinction between technical artifacts and works of art, a distinction based on the latter having no function. As these cases show, we seem to necessitate a reevaluation of our understanding of both natural and artifactual objects.

The objective of this paper is to reassess the role of conservation in light of developments in contemporary art. 
Conservation, traditionally defined as the practice of maintaining the original condition of a work of art over time, encounters a difficulty when dealing with what we might call transient art forms like installations, performances, and conceptual art. In this paper, I propose two potential solutions for rethinking conservation in contemporary art. The first, termed the positive solution, emphasises preserving the conceptual identity of artworks, irrespective of the persistence of materials. The second, the negative solution, dismisses the possibility of conservation, asserting that embracing the ephemeral nature of these art forms is crucial to respecting their originality. The presentation critically analyses the limitations and possibilities of each proposed solution, contributing to the delineation of the future of conservation in contemporary art.

Identity criteria for fictional entities typically have the following form: necessarily, fictional objects x and y are identical iff P – where “P” should be replaced with whatever conditions are necessary and sufficient for the identity of x and y. When it comes to determining the relevant P, there are two possibilities are open: (i) either P only include features of the relevant fictional entities that do not involve their ‘creators’ (i.e., the authors of the stories in which they first figure out) or (ii) P also or only include features of the relevant fictional entities that do involve their ‘creators’. I shall argue that the following dilemma is in order: (1) if one opts for (i) (i.e., P only include features of the relevant fictional entities that do not involve their authors), then some counterexamples are in order; (2) if one opts for (ii) (i.e., P also or only include features of the relevant fictional entities that do involve their authors), then some implausible results are in order and the relevant identity criteria run into the risk of being circular. Assume that A is some relevant act/intention/relation/feature that involves the author of a fictional entity. To resist (2), I shall argue that we should reject the principle: (AI) if A determines or contributes to determining the identity conditions of a fictional entity, then A partakes in P, i.e., in the identity conditions of that fictional entity. I shall motivate the rejection of (AI).

Arthur Danto’s critique of the aesthetic definition of art brought with it the denunciation of taste as the basis of artistic evaluation. Analytic aesthetics joined that way the main idea of post-avantgarde art – anti-retinal, anti-formalist, anti-aesthetic, anti-illusionist, conceptual. They also shared the critique of the 18th-century conception of taste, as an incorrigible sentiment, which can be universalizable depending on whether it is disinterested or free of prejudice, well-informed and well-educated. Judgement of taste was considered a mystification, elitist, non-reliable, and, basically, subjective. That is why they thought that criticism should not be based on taste, but the evaluation of artworks ought to be backed by reasons, objective reasons. It is not that Danto thought that critics cannot have taste, but that their taste is subjective, a matter of personal preference, that should not interfere with art criticism. 
It is in principle theoretically possible that a critic evaluates a work she dislikes in objective terms. For Danto, analysing how content and expression relate to each other. For Carroll (2009), analysing if the work offers what is expected, accomplishing the purposes for which it was created. This kind of criticism would be impartial and objective. But it is not only that this impartiality is impossible, but is in the end undesirable. In Gombrich’s words: “this ‘cold’ appreciation … is a poor substitute for the experience a work of art can give us” (Gombrich 1994, 84). The main thesis I want to present is that the exercise of taste to evaluate artworks is not a matter of indulging in personal likes, but of making justice to the artwork as such.

The last few years have witnessed the emergence of an emphasis on aesthetics in the field of conservation sciences, in terms of a so-called “aesthetic bias”, understood as operating in contrast to the real, objective needs for protection and conservation (e.g. the real risk of extinction) of animals or plants. Recent research seems to suggest that biological conservation, at many levels, is biased towards protecting not what is actually at risk but what humans like the most (i.e. what is most beautiful). 
In this paper I set out to raise two main points: a) to briefly discuss the state of the art in relation to the role of aesthetics in biological conservation sciences, in the light of the most recent publications on this topic; b) to argue, in a more theoretical-philosophical sense, about the impact of these recent publications on our discipline. In particular, in relation to b), I intend to ask how and to what extent these studies modify the way in which we are used to addressing the role of aesthetics in relation to the “environmental question”: no longer in terms of “environmental aesthetics” or “aesthetics of the landscape” or “aesthetics of nature” (as it has been done, in particular, in the Anglo-Saxon world over the last fifty years or so) but, fairly problematically, in terms of a perceptual bias (?) that strongly operates in the very dynamics of science making and with a more definite and specific focus on conservation. 
In support of my argument, I will briefly present the results of a quantitative-qualitative study, of which I was the coordinator for two years at my university, concerning the issues of the interconnection between aesthetics and biological conservation.

The fundamentally symbolic nature of human experience is a shared conviction of Susanne K. Langer and her former teacher A.N. Whitehead. Although their main theoretical attention and elaboration took different directions, there are many similarities between the two authors that can be discussed in order to illumine the nature and function of art symbols and to delineate the relationship between logic and aesthetics.
Throughout the course of her oeuvre, Susanne Langer developed a formal logic, a theory of the arts and a philosophy of mind. This paper focuses on three notions that stand out as central pillars of her philosophy – feeling, symbol and logic. These notions will be discussed in their reciprocal involvement and in their relevance for an aesthetic theory that puts relational structures and their temporal coherence into focus. The main goals of this paper are 1) to clarify the influences of Whitehead’s philosophy on Susanne Langer, 2) to work out central elements of a process-relational aesthetics that a mutual discussion of the two authors provides for further research and 3) to give an example of how this framework can be applied to a specific aesthetic situation, in the reception of literature. 

One claim widely made about the value of art is: Fictional Encounters: One valuable experience artworks offer is encountering, in some way, a fictional point of view that is not one’s own. However, little attention has been given to explaining the value of encountering a fictional point of view that is not one’s own – this is the task I am undertaking. So, I have three aims here:
(i) To motivate that the value of imaginatively encountering a fictional point of view admits the same explanation as the value of imaginatively encountering a non-fictional one. 
(ii) To present the obstacles to giving the fictional and non-fictional cases the same explanation. 
(iii) To motivate what I take to be the best way of overcoming the obstacle.
To (i), I argue that experiences of imaginatively encountering fictional and non-fictional points of view are alike with respect to both their content and structure, such that they seem to admit the same explanation of their value. For the non-fictional cases, this explanation is usually given in epistemic and interpersonal terms – they are valuable because they improve our epistemic situation and illuminate the relations we stand in to others. So, the fictional cases presumably can be explained in these terms too. To (ii), I argue that the non-fictionality of the point of view imaginatively encountered seems to do important explanatory work in these explanations, seemingly blocking them from explaining the fictional cases. Finally, to (iii), I argue that the non-fictionality of the point of the view does not do the explanatory work it first appears to, and that the value of the fictional cases can also be explained in terms of how it improves our epistemic situation, and more surprisingly, how they illuminate the nature of the relations we actually stand in to others.

By taking under consideration the many and varied facets of art in public space from the commissioned monuments to the illegal graffiti and street art practices, this study wants to look at the way the aesthetics impacts the way in which the viewers react to the artworks. Without giving away the conclusion, it is clear that just because a work is sanctioned, or even if it commemorates an event that is held in high regard, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it will also be successful. On the other hand, it is by now common knowledge that works which started out as vandalism have come to be very popular with the public and are well into an ongoing process of artification. Can aesthetics explain the apparent paradox that is observed when a monument commemorating the heroic victims of a revolution is vandalized while an illegal stencil referencing freedom is protected by Plexiglas? Both actions begin to challenge the initial status of each work, the very thing which defines them – the monument, instead of permanent suddenly begins to demonstrate vulnerability, while the stencil is denied its formerly inevitable ephemerality. Surely the reasoning for such behaviors is more complex and perhaps goes beyond the aesthetics, but this doesn’t mean that this aspect should in any way be ignored or its importance diminished.

This talk aims to revisit the debate about the definition of the concept of music. First, the two most salient definitions, furnished by Jerrold Levinson and Andrew Kania, are considered. I offer new criticisms, in addition to those previously raised by Stephen Davies and Jonathan Mckeown-Green, concerning their material adequacy and the methodology through which they are obtained. In the second part of the talk, I introduce what I call the simple view about the concept of music, according to which the concept of music is an artistic category that classifies the things of the world that have in common a specific artistic medium. On the grounds of this approach, I defend a new definition of music: x is music if and only if (1) x is temporally organized sound that (2) is placed in an adequate context for either (3a) manifesting to have basic musical features or (3b) manifesting its disposition to be listened to for such features. 

This paper aims to open up new analytical perspectives on some understated and neglected areas of our ordinary aesthetic life: the nightly aesthetic phenomena, activities, experiences and objects. While Everyday Aesthetics (EdA) employ the “everyday” as a key concept for understanding the characteristics of our daily aesthetic life, I use the concept of “everynight” for offering insights into the complementary area of our nightly aesthetic life, and exploring the possibility of genuine subfield called Everynight Aesthetics (EnA). I argue for EnA as an equivalent of EdA but complementary to it, aiming to map out, explore and account for different areas of the ordinary nightly aesthetic life: the world of night work; the regular, ordinary social nightlife and the private nightlife, as practices of self-expression, self-fashioning and well- being; the dreams, from wakeful dreams to nighttime reveries or dreams; the night objects. These are familiar to everyone yet remains largely unnoticed and not really addressed until now. The main questions concern how everynight or nightly activities are enacted by people and how this nightness affect their aesthetic life as well as the status of nightly objects compared to daily ordinary objects. In answering these questions, this paper is not only promoting a more inclusive and diverse understanding of our ordinary aesthetic life but also seizing a current major mutation in understanding “aesthetics” and the “aesthetic”.

The lecture is dedicated to the phenomenon of scarcity from an aesthetic and epistemological perspective. The aim of the lecture is to show that scarcity structures perception and cognition in such a way that it creates a world with alternative semantics. Building on this, it will be shown that there is a ‘counter-knowledge’ of scarcity. This knowledge can have a subversive effect in three dimensions:
Firstly, it reveals an alternative approach to the perceived object. Secondly, it undermines narratives of the rationally acting homo oeconomicus. Thirdly, it reveals the aesthetic dimensions of capitalism and its dialectic.
To show all this, the lecture parallels bell hooks’ biographical descriptions in Where we stand: class matters with motifs from Karl Marx’s Capital. Finally, the results will be linked to some thoughts on the semiology of capitalist dialectics from Jean Baudrillard’s Symbolic exchange and death.

Within phenomenology enquiries into the nature of aesthetic experience frequently focus on how to interpret the work of art correctly. Although interpretation in phenomenology is commonly linked to feelings, such an analytical move represents an attempt to avoid reception theory that marginalizes the aesthetic object itself. A normative assumption is that aesthetic experience should be constrained by the artwork’s form and content and not include subjective feelings, such as interested pleasure. One consequence of this assumption is that the open-ended question of phenomenological psychology – how art is experienced in facticity – is hardly asked at all. To remedy this lack I take my point of departure in museum visitors’ own descriptions of intense experiences with visual art with a focus on the experience of pleasure since pleasure is the response most often invoked in aesthetic theory. With Kant, disinterested pleasure became the normative condition for how art should be experienced. The assumption of disinterested experience has some major consequences as the subjectivity of experience and thereby the subjectivity of pleasure is largely ignored. In this talk, I will show how art can work when we experience it with interest that is affective, subjective, and pleasurable.I present an experiential structure of aesthetic pleasure through a presentation of historical and contemporary pleasurable experiences with visual art that are structured by the work of art in the encounter with a viewer in their subjective totality.

The development of generative artificial intelligence in recent years has raised concerns regarding the status and authorship of AI-generated art. Although there is a growing acceptance of AI art as a legitimate kind of art, empirical research suggests that people resist recognizing AI as an artist even when they recognize its outputs as art. In this paper, I aim to consolidate the philosophical foundations of these intuitions, arguing that we can coherently recognize AI art as art without recognizing AI as the artist by attributing the authorship of the work to the human agents involved in the process of artistic creation. The question “can AI create art?” should thus be understood, in more precise terms, as “is AI art created by AI?”. In response to this question, I further argue that, although the status of AI as an artist and author is hindered by its limited agency, there are reasons to conceive of a weak and dissymmetric form of collaboration between AI and humans in the creation of AI art. 
In the first part of the paper, I examine whether AI-generated objects can qualify as art based on contemporary theories of art, concluding that this only poses a problem for theories that refer to the author’s intentions (or other mental states), such as Levinson’s intentional-historical definition of art. In the second part, I explain the resistance or refusal to recognize AI as an artist based on the latter’s lack of autonomy, especially the autonomy to define its own goals, and lack of responsibility over the finished object. Finally, I address some of the persisting difficulties in settling the authorship of AI-generated art, such as the relative autonomy of AI and the uncertainty regarding the individual responsibility of the human agents involved. 

My presentation focuses on a possible contribution of Gadamer’s aesthetics in the recent and promising field of Everyday Aesthetics, stressing the continuistic and anti-exceptionalist perspective at the core of Gadamerian philosophy. I aim to show how, properly reassessed as an anti-elitist and performative philosophy, Gadamer’s aesthetics can contribute to the so called “inclusive” trend of Everyday Aesthetics. As it emerges in the critique of “aesthetic differentiation”, Gadamer highlighted the continuity between artistic experience and everyday life. In particular, I will focus on the Gadamerian concepts of repetition and occasion. The former manifests the characteristic proper to every form of aesthetic experience, namely being iterable in a way that does not contradict its uniqueness. Repetition does not entail a loss of the “aura”. The concept of occasion draws attention on the specificity of every aesthetic experience, manifesting its “extraordinary” character within ordinary life. These hermeneutical concepts can contribute to the definition of everyday aesthetic experiences taking into account their uniqueness as well as their societal and democratic character.

One of the main attacks against a theory of aspects inspired by Wittgensteinian ideas consists of the claim according to which the fact of making someone see an aspect is just persuading (or convincing) him of something. In other terms, from this critical approach, an aesthetic theory of aspects (or aspectism, as I call it) would not, supposedly, be more than a persuasivism. The main aim of my paper is to argue against that line of attack. I will develop different sub-arguments to justify it and I will support my ideas with some examples about understanding in music.

Adriano Olivetti (1901- 1960) was an entrepreneur, politician, publisher, and urban planner who marked the economic-political history of post-World War II Italy. This presentation explores the hypothesis that Adriano Olivetti’s aesthetic-political thought aligns with the tradition of “beautiful democracy,” emphasizing architecture and urban planning as crucial tools for shaping social citizenship and political representation. Firstly, it outlines the “beautiful democracy” philosophical tradition, focusing on Friedrich Schiller’s aesthetic education and Hannah Arendt’s interpretation of political categories, revealing architecture as a political means to civic education. The second part delves into Olivetti’s historical context, set in post-fascist Italy during the ’50s and ’60s, showcasing his commitment to urban projects and presidency at the National Institute of Urban Planning, collaborating with influential figures globally. Lastly, it analyzes Olivetti’s political and aesthetic philosophy, envisioning a federal state with administration rooted in the “concrete community,” where urban planning becomes a cross-disciplinary science expressing political will. For Olivetti, this intertwining of urban planning and social progress forms a social ethic, with architecture serving ethical and supra-individual purposes. Illustrating key passages from Olivetti’s texts and utilizing case studies, the presentation demonstrates how Olivetti’s urban and architectural designs embody and promote a specific social citizenship and political representation. 

In the ongoing debate surrounding the nature of fictional entities (ficta), particularly within the analytic tradition, philosophers have extensively explored various facets of their ontological and metaphysical characterization, yet they have neglected reference to interpretation practices. This gap becomes perplexing when focusing on literary characters as the subset of ficta related to literary texts. We argue that reference to interpretations, in particular to the sort of interpretations provided by the empirical interpreters that are literary scholars and critics, plays a fundamental role for the analysis of literary ficta. Essentially, because we acquire knowledge about them by reading texts, and robust scholarly traditions emphasize that texts are open to multiple and possibly conflicting interpretations. Building on this main consideration, our conclusion is that a philosophical theory of literary characters must cover, if not a full-fledged theory of interpretation, at least reference to interpreters and their critical methods. We shall discuss in the talk what the consequences of this “interpretational move” are for the ontological characterization of literary ficta, in particular, with respect to relations between characters, as well as between characters, texts, authors, and interpreters. By recognizing the role of interpretation, our proposal aims to contribute to a more nuanced and interdisciplinary exploration of fiction that aligns with the social, normative, and empirical practices of literary studies.

Several philosophers in the course of history have regarded art as a domain of truth – that is, to put it broadly, a necessary domain of humanity’s access to the transcendent source of its historical self-understanding. Such a notion seems to imply a plurality of domains endowed with a similar vocation, and indeed for some thinkers, art is inscribed in a clearly defined, and supposedly exclusive, array of other truth regions. Paradigmatic for this conception is Hegel’s famous triad of art, religion, and philosophy as authentic modes of the Absolute Spirit. In the late 20th century this idea gained a systematic development in the work of Alain Badiou, who theorized art as one of the generic truth-procedures alongside politics, science, and love. It is sometimes held that Heidegger, whose truth-conception of art is probably the most influential in this tradition, has also endorsed truth-regionality. Indeed, a famous passage in “The Origin of the Work of Art” (1935-36), saying that truth occurs in “a few essential ways,” seems to suggest that art shares its aletheic nature with philosophy, politics, ‘the proximity of the being which is most in being’ (usually interpreted as divine revelation), and ‘essential sacrifice’ (the interpretation of which remains the most controversial). In this paper, I pursue two aims. First, I will discuss the very idea of truth-regionality by way of schematically comparing its structure in Hegel, Heidegger, and Badiou, with an emphasis on the relation of art and philosophy in these doctrines. Second, I will propose a new reading of Heidegger’s ‘essential ways’ passage, claiming that while compatible with truth-regionality it conveys a more profound and original insight if the plurality asserted in it is understood in terms of art’s internal dimensions. 

In order to develop an alternative to Jesse Prinz’s widely-accepted ‘Affective Theory of Appreciation’, which states ‘When we appreciate [art]works, the appreciation consists in an emotional response’ (Prinz 2011, 71), this paper explores three related theses: 1) Values drive emotional responses to artworks, 2) People’s positive emotional responses reflect familiarity, priming and preferences, though not necessarily aesthetic appreciation, 3) Lab research tests tend to over-emphasize emotions, since they conflate subjective responses with aesthetic appreciation. To defend these three theses, I employ results from the Swiss national research project eMotion, conducted over five years by Volker Kirchberg and Martin Tröndle (2015). 
Prinz focuses on emotions because he considers measuring people’s emotions easier than knowing what they believe. According to Quassim Cassam, our beliefs remain opaque to us until we act on them (2014). The eMotion survey suggests that appreciative attitudes track core or emergent values. For example, some people are driven to construe otherwise ineffable artworks, while others believe that creativity itself must be protected at all costs. 
I rather propose that emotional responses signal values, but they are not sine qua non. Prior to the eMotion research, no one knew what motivated appreciative attitudes. Is it beauty, priming, familiarity, emotions, reasons or values? No doubt, what people go to bat for is what they value, and thus truly appreciate. Rather than look for a connection between appreciative attitudes and ‘strong positive emotions’, they should track the connection between aesthetic appreciation and values, which coheres with eMotion’s findings. People’s core values tend to change as their beliefs change. Changed values move people to act differently. This paper uses recent research to demonstrate that values are antecedent to emotions, which proves that aesthetic appreciation reflects values, rather than emotional responses.

This paper addresses the question of the epistemic role digital visualizations play in modelling objects of cultural heritage. I first briefly introduce the scope of today’s applications of digital technologies to visualize artefacts. I then explain the meaning of art-historical empiricism (AHE) and provide two case studies of digital art history – one that avoids AHE (Criminisi, Kemp, and Zisserman 2002) and one that commits to it (Whiteman 2021). I close by discussing the stakes involved in endorsing or eschewing AHE in digital art history.

This paper proposes a new account of depiction, namely the ‘artifactual theory’, which aims to supplement the so-called “experiential accounts”. The latter characterize pictures as eliciting a perceptual experience of what is represented. Drawing on philosophical accounts of technical artifacts and on their notions of structure and function, the artifactual theory casts the generation of a peculiar perceptual experience as the function that pictures perform in virtue of their structure. The paper argues that the artifactual theory leads us to a compelling taxonomy of pictorial kinds that accounts for not only paradigmatic two-dimensional pictures such as paintings but also “three-dimensional pictures” such as statues, and even “immaterial pictures” such as those of virtual reality. Specifically, the artifactual theory enables us to individuate the three basic pictorial kinds thereby situating virtual reality, statues and paintings in the pictorial realm in an effective and insightful way that captures both what they have in common and what makes each of them special.

In this paper, I compare the aesthetic experience of eating comfort food and listening to pop music and argue that the comparison of those experiences lets us extract from them some salient features of everyday aesthetic appreciation. In particular, what is common to those experiences is that they put an agent in a position to appreciate the distinctive value of repetition which in turn grounds intimate aesthetic reasons.
First, I will analyse what is common to the experiences in question. Second, I will defend the claim that such experiences qualify as forms of genuinely aesthetic experience. Third, I will explicate the relevant aesthetic value that such experiences enable one to appreciate and its normative significance.

No organism and no society could survive without exerting a certain level of control over itself, the world and others (in this sense, ‘out of control’ refers to control as the cause or motive for our actions, as in ‘out of responsibility’). But the opposite is also true: every experience also implies as its condition of possibility a relationship with that which is beyond control (which is ‘out of control’ in the more usual sense of the phrase). I argue that artistic practices are a privileged laboratory in which the relationship between control and non-control, their enhancing interplay, can best be shown and investigated. In artistic practices, in fact, this relationship cannot be interrupted, on pain of failure of the work. It is on this basis, however, that they can show the tendency of dis-entanglement between the two poles in our daily lives, on an existential, social and political level. This talk is based on my research on control of which my last book (The Conundrum of Control, 2024) is a first partial result. As I am continuing to work on this conundrum, here I try to rework, fine-tune, and correct some of the theses from that book also in dialogue with other authors from different backgrounds (Alva Noë, Hartmut Rosa and Michael Tomasello, in particular).

In the realm of artistic research and the exploration of the future, the concept of “proleptic realism” emerges as a compelling framework, challenging traditional views on the relationship between reality and time. Rooted in ancient Greek philosophical traditions and revisited by contemporary thinkers, proleptic realism posits that our perception of reality extends beyond the present, encompassing future events. This philosophical conception is particularly relevant in the face of contemporary challenges such as the Great Recession, environmental crises, the collapse of neoliberalism, and the rise of AI.
While foresight is commonly associated with scientific practices in disciplines like climatology, demography, and epidemiology, artistic research introduces a unique perspective. Art, unburdened by the constraints of objectivity, connects with what should be rather than what is. Proleptic realism in the arts aims not only to highlight dystopian futures but also to design plausible and desirable ones. It becomes an avenue for “an educator of the desire to be and live differently.”
The positive, affirmative version of proleptic realism is exemplified in the literary works of Kim Stanley Robinson, particularly in The Ministry for the Future (2020). Robinson envisions possible futures grounded in meticulously researched scientific and sociopolitical frameworks. The narrative unfolds in a world grappling with severe climate change, where an international organization, the Ministry for the Future, advocates for the rights of future generations. The novel integrates nonfiction history chapters and real-life policy proposals, blurring the lines between fiction and reality.
Robinson’s proleptic realism has profound implications for our collective perception of the future. It enhances scientific literacy, fosters environmental awareness, prompts sociopolitical reflection, and raises ethical considerations. Through this lens, readers become active participants in shaping the trajectory of humanity. In the hands of Kim Stanley Robinson, proleptic realism becomes a transformative tool.

Among the several striking claims Heidegger makes on behalf of art in ‘The Origin of the Work of Art’, central is his view of artworks as privileged loci of ontological manifestation. The statement is made most explicitly in the course of Heidegger’s (in)famous engagement with van Gogh’s painting Shoes. The painting is construed by Heidegger as not merely representing its ostensible subject, but rather and primarily as that in and through which the being of the shoes may ‘first’ and ‘only’ come to light. After outlining the claim in its context (§1), I foreground an incisive concern raised about it in the secondary literature (§2) and suggest one way in which Heidegger’s account may be seen as eschewing it (§3). In the process, I show the far-reaching implications of this issue for the very core of Heidegger’s influential conception of artistic production and experience. Voiced by several commentators, the objection in question denies that Heidegger’s account has the resources to ascribe to artworks a sui generis status with respect to ontological manifestation, inasmuch as artistic experience should be seen as continuous with ordinary experience, differing from the latter in degree rather than kind. My interpretive proposal aims to vindicate Heidegger’s claim by understanding it in the context of the later Heidegger’s being-historical framework, a lack of appreciation for which I regard as vitiating the objection. In particular, I distinguish between a being-historically contingent and a being-historically necessary sense in which artistic experience can be seen as relevantly distinctive, both of which I argue to hold on Heideggerian principles. The former vindicates such distinctiveness as grounded in the peculiar ontological condition of the present being-historical epoch, the latter as grounded in the peculiar role Heidegger ascribes to artworks in the emergence and constitution of the field of intelligibility as such.

People have recently debated whether one can experientially perceive absences, where by talking of an absence that is purportedly experientially perceived I mean the fact that one grasps that a certain item is not present in the perceived scene (e.g., a laptop being no longer present on a table). At least three different positions can be defended in the debate: 1) the perceptualist one (Farennikova 2013, 2015, Mumford 2021), according to which one genuinely perceives absences, 2) the cognitivist one, according to which grasping absences is a matter, if not of beliefs and expectations, of intellectual seemings (Gow 2021), and 3) the metacognitivist one (Martin-Dokic 2015), according to which one’s experiences are affected by absences only at the level of cognitive phenomenology, by their being imbued with a feeling of surprise. As they stand, however, none of these positions is particularly satisfying. 2) does not account for the phenomenology of absence experience; 3) does not provide sufficient conditions for i1; 1) either problematically appeals, from a perceptual point of view, to cognitive penetration, or conversely, it does not properly account for the role of expectations in absence experiences.
In this paper, first of all, I claim that the perceptualist position can be retained, once one explains the proper role that the relevant expectations play in the absence experience. Such expectations prompt one to note what is no longer there by unveiling something that was occluded before, so that not only the phenomenal character, but also the presentational character of one’s perceptual experience changes. Once this is the case with ordinary perceptual experiences of absences, a similar result can be applied to pictorial perceptual experiences of absences: given the relevant expectations, depicted absences can be perceived as well.

This paper revisits a debate about the respective roles of tactility and opticality in sculptural appreciation between the prominent art critics Herbert Read and Clement Greenberg. Each respective critic championed a particular version of modernism: on the one hand the cast or carved sculpture of Henry Moore inviting touch, on the other the constructed sculpture of David Smith and Anthony Caro for which direct touch was seen as irrelevant. My interest in the debate relates to a wider claim that a consideration of the engagement with sculpture for blind or partially blind beholders challenges existing ontologies of sculpture. Superficially, anyone arguing against excluding blind beholders would immediately align themselves with Read against Greenberg’s ocularcentric position; nevertheless, the binary terms on which the discussion plays out negates the inherently crossmodal nature of sculptural appreciation. Replacing Read’s unnecessarily narrow definition of ‘touch-space’ for one that accommodates proprioception and kinaesthesia, I argue that an expanded notion of touch not only encompasses direct physical contact with the hands, but a fully embodied beholding which plays a vital role in experiencing a work’s outer but also inner reality: its distinctive ‘mode of virtual space’ to use Susanne Langer’s terminology. In constructing such an argument for an extended role for touch, I claim it plays an important role in (1) recovering the creative process, and (2) experiencing misalignments between a sculpture’s kinetic volume (as perceived by Langer) and its organisation of the space of the gallery. In so doing, I will draw upon Mathew Fulkerson writing about extended touch experiences, which in turn adapts aspects of Gareth Evans writing on informational links and demonstrative thought.

Emotional responses to artworks could be a source of cognitive value (John, 1998; Elgin, 2008; Green, 2008; Brick, 2023). However, these accounts depend on some relevant parallel between emotional responses to artworks and emotional responses to the real world, which is called into question by the existence of discrepant affect cases. Discrepant affect is the occurrence of the apt emotional response to an object being different depending on whether the object is presented in an artwork or is experienced unmediated. If, as these cases show, our emotional responses to artworks are governed by different aptness conditions than those responses in the real world, then they may be a source of cognitive decline, leading us astray, rather than cognitively benefitting us. In this paper I draw on Camp’s (2017, 2019) notion of perspectives, developing it by appealing to the features of themes, aesthetisation (Alcaraz León, 2011) and epistemic leisure to explain why the aptness conditions differ. In some cases, the artwork perspective may be more apt than the previously-held real-world perspective, and can be taken on by the agent. However, in cases where the aptness conditions are irreconcilably different, I argue, following Sliwa (forthcoming), that some perspectives can be cognitively enriching, even if they are not the practically apt perspective. I conclude that some discrepant affect cases can be a source of unique cognitive benefit rather than a problem for the view that emotional responses to artworks can be cognitively valuable.

This paper explores the question of whether the dilettante is getting aesthetic life wrong. The dilettante is a person who engages shallowly with a wide range of aesthetic practices. Recent literature suggests that we would do better to engage deeply with a narrow range of aesthetic practices and pursue expertise within them. I criticise the implicit argument apparently motivating this position, offer some points in favour of dilettantism, and suggest that the question really turns on considerations about the role of aesthetic engagements in personal identity.

Many authors have remarked on the relationship between the experiences of the uncanny and the sublime. However, few have gone beyond noting superficial similarities between them to a deeper theoretical understanding of their relationship. Such is my aim in this paper. More specifically, building on a suggestion made by Cynthia Freeland, I aim to show that the uncanny can fruitfully be understood as an inversion of the Kantian sublime: the uncanny is the ‘anti-sublime’. For Kant, a sublime object is one that exceeds the capacity of the subject’s sensible faculties. However, in doing so, it prompts an awareness in the subject of the superiority of her faculty of reason over nature. In the case of the ‘mathematically sublime’, an object that exceeds the subject’s imagination is successfully comprehended under a rational concept. In the case of the ‘dynamically sublime’, an object that exceeds the subject’s capacity for physical resistance prompts an awareness of her moral autonomy. Both kinds of sublime experience theorised by Kant, I argue, can shed light on the nature of uncanny experiences. In the first case, the uncanny object can be represented by the imagination, but it is incoherent: it cannot coherently be brought under a rational concept. In the second case, the uncanny object need not, and often does not, overwhelm the subject’s capacity for physical resistance, but it disables the subject’s capacity to exercise moral freedom, or, worse still, it reveals that capacity to be an illusion. Whereas the positive feeling of the sublime represents a triumph of the power of reason and freedom to act apart from nature’s causal laws, the negative feeling of the uncanny represents a cognitive failure to make sense of and act freely in the world, of being bound by contingent forces outside of one’s control.

This paper focuses on what makes Virtual Reality (VR), as a form of artistic media, special. That is, whether there is some feature –or features– of VR that no other form of art possesses, and which thereby allows specific possibilities for, and constraints on, artistic expression and representation. Although philosophical interest in VR has increased in recent years, this question has received little attention. We consider one possibility drawn from Tavinor (2021): perhaps VR’s aesthetic specificity lies in it exhibiting a unique form of twofoldness? In the first part of the paper, we consider and criticize this idea, arguing that there are phenomenological and psychological reasons to reject it. In the second part, we put forward our positive view, arguing that VR has two features that make it aesthetically unique. First, it allows for what we call otherworldly immersion: VR’s capacity to transport users to worlds which are very different from the real world. Second, VR is capable of inducing Virtual Body Ownership (VBO) of bodies which are very different from human bodies.

Most of the time we experience things and that things are in a certain way, but sometimes it also happens to us to experience that things exist. To express this idea in a manner that echoes Wittgenstein’s remark on the mystical, most of the time we experience how things are, but sometimes we also experience that things are. According to what I shall call the existential view, to experience the sheer existence of something can be a source of aesthetic experience. In this paper I shall argue that the existential view can indeed be found in Wittgenstein’s early remarks on aesthetics. I shall argue that for Wittgenstein there is a class of aesthetic experiences in which we are struck by the appreciation that the world is what he describes as an absolute miracle, that is, something that is beyond any possible explanation. I shall argue that this interpretation makes sense of several passages in which Wittgenstein describes what he regards as paradigmatic aesthetic experiences. In this way, I shall explain the otherwise enigmatic claims that we find in his Notebooks 1914-16 according to which “aesthetically, the miracle is that the world exists”.

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