Explanations : aesthetic and scientific
Date of Issue2014
School of Humanities and Social Sciences
In recent years, aesthetics – like many other philosophical areas – has gradually replaced conceptual analysis projects with theory construction projects. For example, in a presidential speech of the American Society for Aesthetics, Kendall Walton advocates for the theory-construction methodology, which does not primarily aim to capture the meaning of aesthetic terms in ordinary English. Instead of trying to define what beauty or art is, philosophers have shifted their focus to explaining aesthetic phenomena that arise from our interactions with narratives and artworks. We are experiencing a shift from what Jonathan Weinberg and Aaron Meskin call the ‘traditional paradox-and-analysis model’ to a new paradigm, the ‘phenomenon-and-explanation model’. The methodology of the new paradigm explicitly takes its cue from the sciences: look for observable data, propose theories that aim to explain the data, adjudicate competing theories, and repeat.
Royal institute of philosophy supplement
© 2014 The Royal Institute of Philosophy. This paper was published in Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement and is made available as an electronic reprint (preprint) with permission of The Royal Institute of Philosophy. The paper can be found at the following official DOI: [http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S135824611400023X]. One print or electronic copy may be made for personal use only. Systematic or multiple reproduction, distribution to multiple locations via electronic or other means, duplication of any material in this paper for a fee or for commercial purposes, or modification of the content of the paper is prohibited and is subject to penalties under law.