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Title: The myth of psychical distance in aesthetic experience
Author: Bazin, Jacqueline H. M.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3452 2649
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 1997
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The object of the present thesis is: 1. to question the modem and prevalent view that some kind of ‘psychical attitude’ is necessary to the emergence and success of an aesthetic experience. Edward BULLOUGH’s theory of ‘psychical distance’ has been chosen and thoroughly analyzed as a significant example of the above view. 2. to offer an alternative to the above theory, which is based on a teleological/cosmological argument, and which makes an aesthetic experience dependent on a metaphysical ‘intuition’ of our ‘attunement’ to, and ‘symbiosis’ with, the world. In support of my research, I examine and discuss: i. the aesthetic experience of ‘beautiful’ nature, ‘beautiful’ craftsmanship, and art, and I suggest some distinctions between them which have an important bearing on my rejection of ‘psychical distance’ as a viable aesthetic process. ii. how the unique nature and role of ‘genius’ in art provides us, not only with arguments supporting the views expressed in my theory, but with more reasons to believe that art is in a league apart in aesthetics, and could perhaps benefit further from its study through a philosophy of mind. iii. ‘expression’ and ‘communication’ as fundamental sources of, and constituents of art, and their application through a form of ‘Representational Symbolism’ developed in S. LANGER’s theory of aesthetics. iv. the need for a thorough familiarization and understanding of the content, context, and genetic sources of works of art, in order to achieve a rapprochement/communion between artists and the observers of their works. v. H.G. GADAMER’s theory of ‘play’, 1) as an explanation of how the essence of works of art, though shaped by the thoughts and feelings of artists, interpreters, and observers, is protected by the work’s ‘circle of meaning’ which sets observers at an ‘absolute distance’ from the work, making therefore ‘any practical purposive share’ in it impossible; and 2) as a hermeneutical approach which allows Gadamer to solve problems of ‘contemporaneity’ in art. vi. some important aspects of M. MERLEAU-PONTY’s theory of ‘perception’; in particular, his emphasis on the necessity, for an understanding of, and communion with, the world, of a grasp of nature’s language.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: BH Aesthetics