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One of his examples: Schmidhuber's theory explicitly distinguishes between what's beautiful and what's interesting , stating that interestingness corresponds to the first derivative of subjectively perceived beauty. Here the premise is that any observer continually tries to improve the predictability and compressibility of the observations by discovering regularities such as repetitions and symmetries and fractal self-similarity. Whenever the observer's learning process which may be a predictive artificial neural network ; see also Neuroesthetics leads to improved data compression such that the observation sequence can be described by fewer bits than before, the temporary interestingness of the data corresponds to the number of saved bits.

This compression progress is proportional to the observer's internal reward, also called curiosity reward. A reinforcement learning algorithm is used to maximize future expected reward by learning to execute action sequences that cause additional interesting input data with yet unknown but learnable predictability or regularity. The principles can be implemented on artificial agents which then exhibit a form of artificial curiosity.

Mathematical considerations, such as symmetry and complexity , are used for analysis in theoretical aesthetics. This is different from the aesthetic considerations of applied aesthetics used in the study of mathematical beauty. Aesthetic considerations such as symmetry and simplicity are used in areas of philosophy, such as ethics and theoretical physics and cosmology to define truth , outside of empirical considerations. The fact that judgments of beauty and judgments of truth both are influenced by processing fluency , which is the ease with which information can be processed, has been presented as an explanation for why beauty is sometimes equated with truth.

Since about , computer scientists have attempted to develop automated methods to infer aesthetic quality of images. The Acquine engine, developed at Penn State University , rates natural photographs uploaded by users. There have also been relatively successful attempts with regard to chess [ further explanation needed ] and music.

Evolutionary aesthetics refers to evolutionary psychology theories in which the basic aesthetic preferences of Homo sapiens are argued to have evolved in order to enhance survival and reproductive success. Another example is that body symmetry and proportion are important aspects of physical attractiveness which may be due to this indicating good health during body growth. Evolutionary explanations for aesthetical preferences are important parts of evolutionary musicology , Darwinian literary studies , and the study of the evolution of emotion.

As well as being applied to art, aesthetics can also be applied to cultural objects, such as crosses or tools. For example, aesthetic coupling between art-objects and medical topics was made by speakers working for the US Information Agency [79] Art slides were linked to slides of pharmacological data, which improved attention and retention by simultaneous activation of intuitive right brain with rational left.

It can also be used in topics as diverse as mathematics , gastronomy , fashion and website design. The philosophy of aesthetics as a practice has been criticized by some sociologists and writers of art and society. Raymond Williams , for example, argues that there is no unique and or individual aesthetic object which can be extrapolated from the art world, but rather that there is a continuum of cultural forms and experience of which ordinary speech and experiences may signal as art.

By "art" we may frame several artistic "works" or "creations" as so though this reference remains within the institution or special event which creates it and this leaves some works or other possible "art" outside of the frame work, or other interpretations such as other phenomenon which may not be considered as "art". Pierre Bourdieu disagrees with Kant's idea of the "aesthetic". He argues that Kant's "aesthetic" merely represents an experience that is the product of an elevated class habitus and scholarly leisure as opposed to other possible and equally valid "aesthetic" experiences which lay outside Kant's narrow definition.

Timothy Laurie argues that theories of musical aesthetics "framed entirely in terms of appreciation, contemplation or reflection risk idealizing an implausibly unmotivated listener defined solely through musical objects, rather than seeing them as a person for whom complex intentions and motivations produce variable attractions to cultural objects and practices".

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For the 19th century art movement, see Aestheticism. For the music genre, see Vaporwave. Plato Kant Nietzsche. Buddha Confucius Averroes. Main article: Evolutionary aesthetics. Applied aesthetics. Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Retrieved Richard Harmet, et. Merchandise Mart Plaza, , p. Michael Kelly". Art Documentation: Oxford Dictionaries - English. Retrieved 22 October Online Etymology Dictionary.

Values of Beauty: Historical Essays in Aesthetics. Cambridge University Press. Dickie, George , Letta Cole, Barbara; et. Grolier, 1 , p. Literary Fund, Zalta, Edward N. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Metaphysics Research Lab, Stanford University. A History of Six Ideas: Ideas and Beliefs in Architecture and Industrial design: How attitudes, orientations, and underlying assumptions shape the built environment. Oslo School of Architecture and Design. The Big Questions. A Reader in Philosophy of Arts. Southern Illinois University Press.

Peace Education: Exploring Ethical and Philosophical Foundations. The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism. New York: The Creation of Art. International Review of the Aesthetics and Sociology of Music. The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism. Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Transforming McLuhan: Cultural, Critical, and Postmodern Perspectives. Peter Lang Publishing. Retrieved 10 March Expression after Deleuze and Guattari. Routeledge, Northwestern University Press. Princeton Essays on the Arts, 1. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, Perception of aesthetics and its relation to content, usability, and personality traits.

Correlates and consequences of beauty. Hekkert Eds.


Product Experience. In Empirical Studies of the Arts , 25 2 , p. Aesthetics as information processing. Cogprint Archive. Archived from the original on 30 November Also in Proc. Curious model-building control systems. Papers on artificial curiosity since Developmental robotics, optimal artificial curiosity, creativity, music, and the fine arts.

Connection Science, 18 2: Archived from the original on 3 June Is beauty in the perceiver's processing experience? Truth or Beauty: Science and the Quest for Order.

New Haven: Yale University Press. A Tear at the Edge of Creation: Free Press. Natural Computing and Computational Aesthetics.

The nature and scope of aesthetics

Natural Computing and Beyond. Proceedings in Information and Communications Technology. Retrieved 19 June Penn State University. Archived from the original on 9 May Retrieved 21 June Principles, Algorithms and Systems, Ed. Weng, IGI Global publication, Aesthetic Science: Connecting Minds, Brains, and Experience. Oxford University Press. Journal of Clinical Pharmacology. Applications of these theories on the use of nature in urban settings are lacking. Jay Appleton's ; prospect and refuge theory is related to information seeking and understandable information and has its roots in human biology.

Prospect refers to having open, unobstructed views. Refuge refers having safe and sheltered places to hide. Prospect presents speedy understanding of the visual information in the environment, thereby resulting in a more preferred visual experience. Refuge offers a kind of curiosity also contributing to a more positive response to the visual scene by increasing visual attractiveness. A more general habitat theory suggests that humans prefer environments that satisfy their biological needs namely that of survival.

The more specific prospect refuge theory is based upon the hunting experience. Porteous describes this analogy quite well by saying:. The huntee must have wide vistas all around prospect plus the chance of getting away to a hidden place refuge. Consequently, creatures explore the environment to seek open opportunities of vision prospect and opportunities for hiding refuge. In that respect, environments having both attributes, prospect and refuge, are aesthetically pleasing.

To further emphasize the innate nature of this reaction, images of nature depicting the African Savannah were found to be highly preferred compared to other types of natural scenes. This conclusion led biological supporters of biological interpretations of aesthetic judgments to explain this result by bringing up the hypothesis that Homo sapiens are believed to have originated in the African savannah environment, thus instinctively attracted to it.

This theory, however, remains largely untested for the urban environment. James Gibson's theory of affordances stems from his ecological approach to perceiving the environment. He argues that meaning is inherently embedded into the environment and all humans have to do is decipher them. Ecological perception of the environment is thereby dynamic and mobile, more direct with less emphasis on cognition or higher levels of processing the information , and more holistic in that environmental features are perceived in a meaningful entity as a whole; the latter of which is similar to Gestalt perception in this regard.

Characteristics of the environment are perceived as either affording a certain activity or meaning or not. These perceived characteristics he called the object's invariant functional properties such as surface, texture, and angle of view. These properties become affordances a noun that he invented if perceived as meaningful and affording a certain activity. For example a hard surface parallel to the floor may afford sitting. Therefore beautiful scenery for example can be achieved by altering the environment in a way that affords that aesthetic objective.

The following is a quotation from his writing:. But I have also described what the environment affords animals, mentioning the terrain, shelters, water, fire, objects, tools, other animals, and human displays. How do we go from surfaces to affordances? And if there is information in light for the perception of surfaces, is there information for the perception of what they afford?

Perhaps the composition and layout of surfaces constitute what they afford. If so, to perceive them is to perceive what they afford. Moreover, it would explain the sense in which values and meanings are external to the perceiver. Environmental aesthetics is the term used to cover all the theories of environment behavior aesthetics that are generally empirically based. The theories presented fall under one of two modes of or approaches to the study of perception.

Aesthetics - Wikipedia

The constructivism model treats perception as an active process where sensory stimuli or information are analyzed, compared with past experience, manipulated and perceptual judgments made; i. Examples of this approach are the Kaplans' model and others in landscape research. The nativistic approach treats perception as a direct process where it is biologically caused and environmentally embedded; i. Examples of this model are the biophilia and Gibson's affordances. Aesthetics are generally classified into two kinds: Formal aesthetics include dimensions such as shape, proportion, scale, complexity, novelty, illumination, coherence, order, enclosure, mystery, openness, spaciousness, density, etc.

Symbolic aesthetics include various forms of meaning, whether denotative such as function and style, or connotative such as friendliness and imposition. Naturalness, upkeep, and intensity of use are other sources of symbolic aesthetics Nasar, Attributes, according to Lang , Nasar a and others, are classified into formal and symbolic.

These dimensions have been further differentiated between physical features of the environment or cognitive attributes of the environment Gabr, A clear distinction made in environmental aesthetics is the separation between features and attributes of the environment. Features of the environment are the physical features or elements architectural, urban, and natural that viewers see notice and perceive. Examples include windows, doors, roof, height, bricks, trees, green areas, plants, and water.

For purpose of better benefiting from features in design, they have been categorized into fixed feature elements such as those mentioned above, semi-fixed feature elements such as furniture, and non fixed feature elements such as people and their behavior in space Rapoport, Architects typically have more control over the fixed features, less on the semi-fixed and the least on the non fixed. Yet the reverse order seems to be more influential in generating meanings to the public. Accordingly non fixed features produce more meaning than the semi-fixed or fixed features.

Tables 3 and 4 summarize a number of key attributes resulting from environment and behavior research that affect aesthetic design and judgment. Clearly the emphasis is on the formal attributes. Future research has do undertake the challenge of examining symbolic attributes as they are fundamentally important in determining aesthetic quality.

Beautification of cities can take the form of cosmetic treatments without regard to function or meaning or it can take a more meaningful treatment that accounts for the function and use of the buildings and spaces. Cosmetic aesthetics are often undesirable as they do not gain public support and appreciation.

Instead, meaningful aesthetics are desirable with which the public tend to interact more positively. This also coincides with the notion of aesthetics as not just representing a visual experience but that involves the experiences of all other senses, hearing, touching, smelling, and tasting.

The extent to which an environment contains new or previously unnoticed characteristics Bell et. Alternatively, they may be in harmony. Once again, it can only be at the end point of our philosophy that we shall be able to decide. Initially, it must be assumed that the three approaches may differ substantially, or merely in emphasis, and thus that each question in aesthetics has a tripartite form.

The third approach to aesthetics begins with a class of aesthetic objects and attempts thereafter to show the significance of that class to those who selectively respond to it. The term aesthetic object, however, is ambiguous , and, depending on its interpretation, may suggest two separate programs of philosophical aesthetics.

This distinction, a legacy of the Scholastic philosophers of the Middle Ages, has played a major role in recent Phenomenology. It may be briefly characterized as follows: When someone responds to object O, his response depends upon a conception of O that may, in fact, be erroneous. O is then the material object of his response, while his conception defines the intentional object. A person is frightened by a white cloth flapping in a darkened hall, taking it for a ghost. Here, the material object of the fear is the cloth, while the intentional object is a ghost.

A philosophical discussion of fear may be presented as a discussion of things feared, but if so, the phrase denotes the class of intentional objects of fear and not the infinitely varied and infinitely disordered class of material objects. In an important sense, the intentional object is part of a state of mind , whereas the material object always has independent and objective existence. It is in this sense that the term occurs in the writings of Phenomenologists e.

The study of aesthetics deals with art criticism and

Which of those two approaches should be adopted? We can already see one reason for adopting the approach that puts the aesthetic experience first and examines the aesthetic object primarily as the intentional object of that experience. It is, after all, to experience that we must turn if we are to understand the value of the aesthetic realm—our reason for engaging with it, studying it, and adding to it.

Until we understand that value, we will not know why we ought to construct such a concept as the aesthetic, still less why we should erect a whole branch of philosophy devoted to its study.

A further reason also suggests itself for rejecting the approach to aesthetics that sees it merely as the philosophy of art, because art, and the institutions that sustain it, are mutable and perhaps inessential features of the human condition. While we classify together such separate art forms as poetry, the novel, music , drama , painting , sculpture , and architecture , our disposition to do so is as much the consequence of philosophical theory as its premise.

Would other people at other times and in other conditions have countenanced such a classification or seen its point? And if so, would they have been motivated by similar purposes, similar observations, and similar beliefs?

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Considered materially i. The only answer to be extracted from Bell is this: In any normal understanding of the words, a traffic warden is a significant form, at least to the motorist who sees himself about to receive a ticket. Moreover, it is of the greatest philosophical importance to attend not only to the resemblances between the art forms but also to their differences. It is true that almost anything can be seen from some point of view as beautiful. At the same time, however, our experience of beauty crucially depends upon a knowledge of the object in which beauty is seen.

It is absurd to suppose that I could present you with an object that might be a stone, a sculpture, a box, a fruit, or an animal, and expect you to tell me whether it is beautiful before knowing what it is. Features that we should regard as beautiful in a horse—developed haunches, curved back, and so on—we should regard as ugly in a human being , and those aesthetic judgments would be determined by our conception of what humans and horses generally are, how they move, and what they achieve through their movements. In a similar way, features that are beautiful in a sculpture may not be beautiful in a work of architecture, where an idea of function seems to govern our perceptions.

In every case, our perception of the beauty of a work of art requires us to be aware of the distinctive character of each art form and to put out of mind, as largely irrelevant to our concerns, the overarching category of art to which all supposedly belong. But if that is so, it is difficult to see how we could cast light upon the realm of aesthetic interest by studying the concept of art.

Whether or not that concept is a recent invention, it is certainly a recent obsession. Medieval and Renaissance philosophers who approached the problems of beauty and taste— e. Thomas Aquinas , Peter Abelard , and even Leon Battista Alberti—often wrote of beauty without reference to art, taking as their principal example the human face and body.

The distinctively modern approach to aesthetics began to take shape during the 18th century, with the writings on art of Jean-Jacques Rousseau , Charles Batteux, and Johann Winckelmann and the theories of taste proposed by the 3rd Earl of Shaftesbury, Francis Hutcheson , Lord Kames Henry Home , and Archibald Alison. This approach materialized not only because of a growing interest in fine art as a uniquely human phenomenon but also because of the awakening of feelings toward nature , which marked the dawn of the Romantic movement.

Art, for Kant, was not merely one among many objects of aesthetic interest; it was also fatally flawed in its dependence upon intellectual understanding. Even without taking that extreme position, it is difficult to accept that the fragile and historically determined concept of art can bear the weight of a full aesthetic theory.

Leaving aside the case of natural beauty, we must still recognize the existence of a host of human activities dress, decoration, manners, ornament in which taste is of the essence and yet which seems totally removed from the world of fine art. It has been common, following the lead of Batteux, to make a distinction between the fine and the useful arts, and to accommodate the activities just referred to under the latter description; but it is clear that this is no more than a gesture and that the points of similarity between the art of the dressmaker and that of the composer are of significance only because of a similarity in the interests that these arts are meant to satisfy.

Whichever approach we take, however, there is an all-important question upon the answer to which the course of aesthetics depends: Only beings of a certain kind have aesthetic interests and aesthetic experience, produce and appreciate art, employ such concepts as those of beauty, expression, and form. What is it that gives these beings access to this realm?

The question is at least as old as Plato but received its most important modern exposition in the philosophy of Kant, who argued, first, that it is only rational beings who can exercise judgment—the faculty of aesthetic interest—and, second, that until exercised in aesthetic judgment rationality is incomplete. It is worth pausing to examine these two claims. Kant argued that reason has both a theoretical and a practical employment, and that a rational being finds both his conduct and his thought inspired and limited by reason.

The guiding law of rational conduct is that of morality , enshrined in the categorical imperative , which enjoins us to act only on that maxim which we can at the same time will as a universal law. By virtue of practical reason, the rational being sees himself and others of his kind as subject to an order that is not that of nature: Moreover, he looks on every rational being—himself included—as made sacrosanct by reason and by the morality that stems from it.

The rational being, he recognizes, must be treated always as an end in himself, as something of intrinsic value, and never as a mere object to be disposed of according to purposes that are not its own. The capacity to see things as intrinsically valuable, irreplaceable, or ends in themselves is one of the important gifts of reason. But it is not exercised only practically or only in our dealings with other reasoning beings. It may also be exercised contemplatively toward nature as a whole.

In this case, practical considerations are held in abeyance , and we stand back from nature and look on it with a disinterested concern. Such an attitude is not only peculiar to rational beings but also necessary to them. Without it, they have only an impoverished grasp of their own significance and of their relation to the world in which they are situated through their thoughts and actions. This disinterested contemplation and the experiences that arise from it acquaint us, according to Kant, with the ultimate harmony that exists between the world and our faculties.

They therefore provide the guarantee, both of practical reasoning and of the understanding, by intimating to us directly that the world answers to our purposes and corresponds to our beliefs. Disinterested contemplation forms, for Kant, the core of aesthetic experience and the ground of the judgment of beauty.

He thus concludes 1 that only rational beings have aesthetic experience; 2 that every rational being needs aesthetic experience and is significantly incomplete without it; and 3 that aesthetic experience stands in fundamental proximity to moral judgment and is integral to our nature as moral beings. Modern philosophers have sometimes followed Kant, sometimes ignored him. Rarely, however, have they set out to show that aesthetic experience is more widely distributed than the human race. For what could it mean to say of a cow, for example, that in staring at a landscape it is moved by the sentiment of beauty?

While a cow may be uninterested, it cannot surely be disinterested, in the manner of a rational being for whom disinterest is the most passionate form of interest. It is in pondering such considerations that one comes to realize just how deeply embedded in human nature is the aesthetic impulse, and how impossible it is to separate this impulse from the complex mental life that distinguishes human beings from beasts. This condition must be borne in mind by any philosopher seeking to confront the all-important question of the relation between the aesthetic and the moral.

Such considerations point toward the aforementioned approach that begins with the aesthetic experience as the most likely to capture the full range of aesthetic phenomena without begging the important philosophical questions about their nature. Can we then single out a faculty, an attitude, a mode of judgment, or a form of experience that is distinctively aesthetic? And if so, can we attribute to it the significance that would make this philosophical enterprise both important in itself and relevant to the many questions posed by beauty, criticism, and art?

While there is certainly something of interest to be said along those lines, it cannot be the whole story. Just what kind of distance is envisaged? Is the lover distanced from his beloved? If not, by what right does he call her beautiful? Does distance imply a lack of practical involvement? If such is the case, how can we ever take up an aesthetic attitude to those things that have a purpose for us—things such as a dress, building, or decoration? But if these are not aesthetic, have we not paid a rather high price for our definition of this word—the price of detaching it from the phenomena that it was designed to identify?

He described the recipient of aesthetic experience not as distanced but as disinterested, meaning that the recipient does not treat the object of enjoyment either as a vehicle for curiosity or as a means to an end. Regarding it thus, a person could come to see the Idea that the object expressed, and in this knowledge consists aesthetic appreciation Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung [; The World as Will and Idea ].

Such thoughts have already been encountered. The problem is to give them philosophical precision. They have recurred in modern philosophy in a variety of forms—for example, in the theory that the aesthetic object is always considered for its own sake, or as a unique individual rather than a member of a class. Those particular formulations have caused some philosophers to treat aesthetic objects as though they were endowed with a peculiar metaphysical status. Alternatively, it is sometimes argued that the aesthetic experience has an intuitive character, as opposed to the conceptual character of scientific thought or the instrumental character of practical understanding.

The simplest way of summarizing this approach to aesthetics is in terms of two fundamental propositions:. The aesthetic object is an object of sensory experience and enjoyed as such: The aesthetic object is at the same time contemplated: The first of these propositions explains the word aesthetic, which was initially used in this connection by the Leibnizian philosopher Alexander Baumgarten in Meditationes Philosophicae de Nonnullis ad Poema Pertinentibus ; Reflections on Poetry.

The second proposition is, in essence, the foundation of taste. It describes the motive of our attempt to discriminate rationally between those objects that are worthy of contemplative attention and those that are not. Nevertheless, subsequent theories have repeatedly returned to the idea that aesthetic experience involves a special synthesis of intellectual and sensory components, and that both its peculiarities and its value are to be derived from such a synthesis.

The idea at once gives rise to paradoxes. The most important was noticed by Kant, who called it the antinomy of taste. As an exercise of reason , he argued, aesthetic experience must inevitably tend toward a reasoned choice and therefore must formulate itself as a judgment. Aesthetic judgment, however, seems to be in conflict with itself. It cannot be at the same time aesthetic an expression of sensory enjoyment and also a judgment claiming universal assent. Yet all rational beings, by virtue of their rationality, seem disposed to make these judgments.

On the one hand, they feel pleasure in some object, and this pleasure is immediate, not based, according to Kant, in any conceptualization or in any inquiry into cause, purpose, or constitution. But how can this be so? The pleasure is immediate, based in no reasoning or analysis. So what permits this demand for universal agreement? However we approach the idea of beauty, we find this paradox emerging. Our ideas, feelings, and judgments are called aesthetic precisely because of their direct relation to sensory enjoyment.

Hence, no one can judge the beauty of an object that he has never encountered. But I cannot take you as my authority for the merits of Leonardo or Mozart if I have not seen or heard works by either artist.


It would seem to follow from this that there can be no rules or principles of aesthetic judgment, since I must feel the pleasure immediately in the perception of the object and cannot be talked into it by any grounds of proof. It is always experience, and never conceptual thought, that gives the right to aesthetic judgment, so that anything that alters the experience of an object alters its aesthetic significance as well.

Such a conclusion, however, seems to be inconsistent with the fact that aesthetic judgment is a form of judgment. When I describe something as beautiful, I do not mean merely that it pleases me: