Aesthetic Experience and Somaesthetics


This collection of essays explores the crucial connections between aesthetic experience and the interdisciplinary field of somaesthetics, while further advancing inquiry in both. After the editor’s introduction and three articles examining philosophical accounts of embodiment and aesthetic experience in existentialism, phenomenology, hermeneutics, and pragmatism, the book’s nine remaining articles apply somaesthetic theory to the fine arts (including detailed studies of the body’s role in painting, sculpture, architecture, poetry, music, photography, and cinema) but also to diverse arts of living, considering such topics as cosmetics and sexual practice. These interdisciplinary, multicultural essays are written by a distinctively international group of experts, ranging from Asia (China and India) to Europe (Denmark, Finland, Hungary, and Italy) and the United States.

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Richard Shusterman is the Dorothy F. Schmidt Eminent Scholar in the Humanities and Director of the Center for Body, Mind, and Culture at Florida Atlantic University. His major books include Pragmatist Aesthetics, Practicing Philosophy, Performing Live, Body Consciousness, and Thinking through the Body.

"somaesthetics has become the low-threshold platform for discussing the philosophy of the body. It has likewise become the most multicultural philosophical discourse on the soma when one thinks about its roots, where no philosophical traditions are absent. [...] All in all, Aesthetics and Somaesthetics is an engaging, well-written and well-edited book. [...] I can recommend the book to anyone interested in the philosophy of the body, not just somaesthetics. Here, somaesthetics has anyway showed its potential for being the philosophical discourse of the body for a long time to come." - Max Ryynänen, The Journal of Somaesthetics, vol. 4, issue 2, 2019.

“The reviewed book is a remarkable example of the significance of somaesthetics for contemporary thought. ... I am sure that [this] book is a significant argument for the fruitfulness of somaesthetics.” - Leszek Koczanowicz, SWPS University of Social Sciences and Humanities, in Pragmatism Today, vol. 9, issue 2, 2018.

"[The contributions in Aesthetic Experience and Somaesthetics give] testimony that somaesthetics not only allow[] for a better understanding of new phenomena present in the contemporary world but that it also enables us to read anew texts created in the past." - Krystyna Wilkoszewska, The Journal of Aesthetic Education, vol. 54, no. 3, 2020.
List of Illustrations
Notes on Contributors

Introduction: Aesthetic Experience and Somaesthetics
Richard Shusterman

Part 1: Embodiment in Philosophy and Aesthetic Experience

1 Nietzsche on Embodiment: A Proto-somaesthetics?
Catherine F. Botha

2 Experience and Aesthetics
Béla Bacsó

3 Art as Experience: Gadamer and Pragmatist Aesthetics
Alexander Kremer

Part 2: Somaesthetic Approaches to the Fine Arts

4 Olafur Eliasson, Art as Embodied and Interdisciplinary Experience: In Dialogue with Else Marie Bukdahl
Else Marie Bukdahl

5 Winckelmann’s Haptic Gaze: A Somaesthetic Interpretation
Yanping Gao

6 Rethinking Aesthetics through Architecture?
Bálint Veres

7 “The Co-Presence of Something Regular”: Wordsworth’s Aesthetics of Prosody
John Golden

8 Singing, Listening, Proprioceiving: Some Reflections on Vocal Somaesthetics
Anne Tarvainen

Part 3: Somaesthetics in the Photographic Arts and the Art of Living

9 Spectral Absence and Bodily Presence: Performative Writings on Photography
Éva Antal

10 Cosmetic Practices: The Intersection with Aesthetics and Medicine
Elisabetta Di Stefano

11 Santayana on Embodiment, the Art of Living, and Sexual Aesthetics
Nóra Horváth

12 Thinking through the Body of Maya: Somaesthetic Frames from Mira Nair’s Kamasutra
Vinod Balakrishnan and Swathi Elizabeth Kurian
All scholars, students, critics, and artists interested in the theory of aesthetic experience and somatic approaches to philosophy and the fine arts: painting, sculpture, architecture, poetry, music, photography, and film.
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