Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Museums and aesthetics

An EU team combined philosophical and psychological techniques in a novel way. The study considered aesthetics in relation to morality and language, ultimately helping to enhance visitors' experience of museums.
Museums and aesthetics
The EU-funded X-PHI AESTHETICS (Experimental philosophical aesthetics and human nature) project applied empirical methods to philosophical questions. The interdisciplinary study evaluated whether aesthetic processes are linked to morality and language.

The investigation was the first to combine traditional philosophical tools with cognitive methods. Work was intended to illustrate non-perceptual aspects to aesthetic engagement, and to uncover subtle value-relationships undetectable with philosophical tools alone.

Researchers also pursued a knowledge-transfer agenda, involving summer schools, workshops and collaboration with museums. The work also yielded one podcast programme.

Results supported four previously unknown conclusions about aesthetic experience. Firstly, people treat aesthetic testimony as having epistemic value, although less than mundane testimony. Additionally, difficulty in aesthetic communication arises from the unusual properties of aesthetic adjectives. People also think of art concepts as containing descriptive and visual elements. Finally, ethical judgements affect aesthetic judgements.

The project's work established the value of combining philosophical and psychological methods. The outcomes thereby helped museums enhance aesthetic experience.

Related information

Keywords

Philosophical, aesthetics, X-PHI AESTHETICS, morality, language, museums
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