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Experimental Philosophical Aesthetics and Human Nature

Final Report Summary - X-PHI AESTHETICS (Experimental Philosophical Aesthetics and Human Nature)

The Experimental Philosophical Aesthetics and Human Nature project is the first to conducted a systematic empirical investigation into non-perceptual aspects of people’s aesthetic experiences. The main research findings of the project are as follows: (1) people tend to treat aesthetic testimony as having some epistemic value, albeit lesser than mundane testimony; (2) one difficulty in aesthetic communication arises from the weird linguistic behavior of aesthetic adjectives; (3) people think of art concepts as containing both a descriptive element and a value element; (4) people’s ethical judgments impact their aesthetic judgments in a complicated way.

The project has achieved impact in multiple ways. The research results can inform museum curators and other industry professionals on aspects of people’s aesthetic experience that were previously unknown or unproven. Equally importantly, the research results demonstrate the fruitfulness of connecting experimental philosophy with philosophical aesthetics, thus encouraging further work in the area by researchers in Europe and elsewhere.

More extensive summaries available at and .