Sensorium: Aesthetics, Art, Life
Barbara Bolt, Felicity Colman, Ashley Woodward
Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2007 - Philosophy - 244 pages
This book presents a timely reconfiguration of the relations between art, philosophy, ethics, and aesthetics. Through connection with a range of contemporary social and philosophical issues and movements, this collection of essays highlights the imperative of sensorial aesthetics. The book focuses on the radical philosophical approach to aesthetics enabled by the works of Jean-Franois Lyotard and Gilles Deleuze. From these philosophers an older meaning of aesthetic has been recalled. Before it indicated primarily the theory of art and beauty, aesthetic referred to the sensibility, the capacity to receive sensations. In summoning this sensorial meaning of aesthetics in their respective works, Lyotard, Deleuze, and other recent thinkers turn the philosophical theory of aesthetics away from the dominance of cognitivist and reception theories, and towards a thinking of aesthetics through considerations of the movements of matter, affect, and sensation.
This vital transformation of aesthetics in turn allows a reconfiguration of the relationship between the domains of art, aesthetics, and philosophy. If aesthetics focuses on sensation, rather than cognition, then artists, musicians, and philosophers alike appear not only as phenomenological and empirical thinkers, but as experimenters with the parameters of the sensible, able to extend our perceptual interface with the world. Rather than artists deferring to philosophers in regard to the meaning of their works, this new understanding of aesthetics suggests that philosophers ought to defer to artists, who are understood as inventers in the realm of sensibility.