Perception and Emotions in the Experience of Expressive Objects
2020, 198 S, Gb, (Gruyter)
A natural landscape can look serene, a shade of colour cheerful and a piece of music might sound heartrending. Why do we ascribe affective qualities to objects that can't entertain psychological states? The capacity that objects, and especially artworks, have to express affective states is a bizarre phenomenon that needs to be clarified in numerous respects. Philosophers are still struggling with the phenomenon of expressiveness being a matter of imagination, perception, or mnemonic association, and usually do not agree on the role that emotions and human bodily expressions play in it. Benenti questions the main theories that populate the aesthetics domain using the tools of philosophy of mind. This study deals with crucial debates concerning seeing-in, cognitive penetration, the relation between phenomenal character and representational content and between emotions and expressions. It aims at providing a viable account of the experience we have of expressive properties by casting light on its fundamentally perceptual nature. The outcome is an empirically informed and critical overview of a topic which has been rather neglected in the philosophy of mind.