Access to the full content is only available to members of institutions that have purchased access. If you belong to such an institution, please log in or find out more about how to order.



Enactivism and aesthetics

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-M067-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 2021
Retrieved June 21, 2024, from

Article Summary

Article Summary

While we may not always agree about what exactly aesthetics is, it should be uncontroversial to say aesthetics begins with perception. Whether it is characterised as a theory of beauty or a theory of art, beautiful things and things called art must be perceived. As so often noted, Alexander Gottlieb Baumgarten described aesthetics as a science of sensuous cognition, scientia cognitionis sensitivae (Baumgarten 2007: §1). And while aesthetics has come to mean something more than that, today, it is at least that or, at least, it begins with a sensuous engagement with an artefact or a distinctive feature of everyday life. Enactivism is, first of all, an account of sensuous cognition that may contribute to our understanding of aesthetics. Of course, aesthetics only begins with perceiving. It, crucially, involves thinking about – appreciating, interpreting, evaluating – what we perceive and sharing what we think with others. Enactivism, potentially, offers a distinctive entrée into how we think about artworks and forms of life as well as how we share our thoughts about them. In what follows, enactivism is clarified and the varieties of enactivism are catalogued before a picture of enactivist aesthetics is drawn and an endorsement is offered for the value of an enactivist approach to aesthetics, to perceiving, appreciating, evaluating, and sharing what we think about artworks and distinctive forms of life.

Citing this article:
Carvalho, John M.. Enactivism and aesthetics, 2021, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-M067-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2024 Routledge.

Related Articles