This Is Your Brain on Art: What Can Philosophy of Art Learn from Neuroscience?, by David Davies

01/01/2014View on timeline

We concur with the philosopher David Davies (2014, 12) that empirical evidence of the kind provided by the new discipline might “inform” aesthetics but that “most of the significant philosophical issues cannot be resolved by appeal to this work.” For neuroaesthetics, such an objection is not even comprehensible, since its entire project assumes that aesthetics was for the most part misguided until it began to take the brain into account.

Vidal, Fernando and Ortega, Francisco. Being Brains: Making the Cerebral Subject (Forms of Living)....


Davies considers the potential for, and scope of, appeals to the results of empirical research in the philosophy of art. He then examines, in light of these considerations, some attempts to illuminate specific issues in the philosophy of art by appeal to recent work in cognitive neuroscience on the nature and cognitive functions of ‘mirror neurons’. Such work is used to support sometimes surprising claims about how receivers respond to the manifest features of instances of artworks. Davies argues that, while the philosophy of art is richer for being informed by experimental work of this sort, the significant philosophical issues, which are often normatively inflected, are only rarely significantly illuminated by appeal to such work. Normatively inflected philosophical questions about art are not, however, to be addressed by simple appeal to armchair intuitions but require that we bring our practices and the goals of those practices into a rational equilibrium.

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Davies, David. 2014. "This Is Your Brain on Art." What Can Philosophy of Art Learn from Neuroscience...

David Davies has taught at McGill university since 1987. For the past 20 years his research has focu...

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Below, you can watch a lecture by David Davies:
David Davies "Evidence of facture and the appreciative relevance of artistic activity"



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Published in 18/01/2019

Updated in 19/02/2021

All events in the topic Chap. 2: Neuroaesthetics:

Invalid DateCoining of the word NeuroaestheticsCoining of the word Neuroaesthetics
Invalid DateNeuroaesthetics as a field of studyNeuroaesthetics as a field of study
Invalid DateCoining of the term NeuroarthistoryCoining of the term Neuroarthistory
Invalid DatefMRI Experiment on Art Creation, by Robert SolsofMRI Experiment on Art Creation, by Robert Solso
Invalid DateAndy Warhol's Brillo BoxAndy Warhol's Brillo Box
Invalid DateThe Power of Images, by David FreedbergThe Power of Images, by David Freedberg
Invalid DateDavid Freedberg's articles on neuroaesthetics
Invalid DateDiscovery of Mirror NeuronsDiscovery of Mirror Neurons
Invalid DateAndy Warhol: Brillo Box, by Arthur DantoAndy Warhol: Brillo Box, by Arthur Danto