Talons Philosophy

An Open Online Highschool Philosophy Course


The Experience of Beauty

 Three fundamental questions:

  1. What can I know?
  2. What ought I do?
  3. What can I hope for?

And one, into which every other question flows: What is man?


Basically, the contemplation and the production of beauty depend exclusively upon characteristics that only man possesses and that thus allow him to be ontologically distinguished from all other beings which differ from him.
We judge beauty beginning from the feeling of what is agreeable and disagreeable.
And the representation of feeling can be sorted in:

that of ‘pleasant’(simple animal), that of ‘good’(rational being), that of ‘beautiful’(only human).
The experience of beauty originates from freedom.

The beauty of work of art

This shows itself to have characteristics which do not permit going back to a mechanistic model of comprehension, in both of its internal organization and in the means of production.

What in the work of art contrast to its mechanistic reduction is constituted by man characteristics, which place it in an intermediary position between the human techno-practical production, on the one hand,     and the way in which nature produces the organized beings, on the other.

One must be aware that it is art, and not nature.

The basis for the originality and the beauty of the work of art are the inventions or ideations, which Kant calls ‘aesthetic ideas’ are not in control, as to their origins, of the artist who brings them into being.
What the source might be upon which these prerogatives of the work of art depend, Kant’s answer may seem disarming in its simplicity: at the origin of the creation of beauty there is a particular proportion, in which the power of the imagination and the discipline of the intellect play freely with each other.
In man there is an original accord between three heterogenous faculties:

  1. Imagination as the faculty of intuitions
  2. Intellect as the faculty of rules.
  3. Reason as the faculty of ideas.

The other aspect which takes the work of art away from a physico-deterministic consideration is constituted by that complex of characteristics which makes it related to the beings organized by nature.
In the work, considered as whole:

  • Every part is bound to every other part in such a way as to be mutually each to other the cause and effect of their form;
  • Furthermore, every part of the work exists only through all of the others and its existence makes sense inasmuch as it is in view of the others and of the whole

Neural Correlates of Beauty:

A number of researches have demonstrated that every pronouncement of an aesthetic judgement corresponded to the activation of a set of specific cerebral areas (the medial orbito-frontal cortex, the anterior cingulate, the parietal cortex and the motor cortex), operating interconnectedly, even though their quotients of activity were differentiated according to the type of experience.

Nevertheless it is wise to ask:

  • Is this side of research, in addition to being recognized as necessary, sufficient enough to explain the artistic phenomenon?
  • Is the process of naturalization or, the mechanistic understanding capable of exhausting the entire realm of the experience of beauty?

Experts, which are critically attentive, generalized the mind-brain relationship concerns into the following:

Those which are initially presented as neurally ‘correlated’, as substratums or ‘involved’ neural processes, ‘subtended’ or ‘associated’ with the of beauty, are transformed insensitively or with brusque passages (with no forewarning as with those of the authors) into neural processes that ‘generate’ aesthetic judgment, ‘determine the creation’ of the work of art, ‘originate’ the fundamental properties of the conscious experience of the beautiful.



To sum up, a free use of the cognitive faculties is the specific experience of freedom which is the basis of the work of art and that, opening the access to the beautiful, allows for the actuation of a way of being that only man can experience.




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