2nd Conference on Aesthetics and the Embodied Mind

Call for Papers


Pragmatist and embodied approaches to aesthetics consider aesthetics to be the study of everything that goes into the human capacity to make and experience the bodily pre-linguistic cognitive, emotional and sensory-perceptual conditions of meaning constitution having its origins in the organic activities of living creatures and in their organism-environment transactions.

The 2nd conference on “Aesthetics and the Embodied Mind” aims at highlighting the role of the interdependent relation between emotion and cognition in the bodily mediated pre-linguistic meaning constitution in aesthetic experience and perception. It aims at doing this from an anti-dualistic point of view.

The rejection of the mind-body dualism and of the representationalist approaches to human cognition has led to recast the theoretical tenets of the relation between cognition and emotion in the process of meaning generation. It has contributed to the development of a truly enactive approach to emotions. The enactive approach to emotions has emphasized that cognition and emotions are embodied and interdependent. Accordingly, bodily events are constitutive of appraisal, both structurally and phenomenologically. Arousal needs no appraisal to be interpreted by the subject, for cognitive and emotional processes are simultaneously constrained by the global form produced by their coupling in a process of circular causality. Therefore, the emotional interpretation of a lived situation is a global state of emotion-cognition coherence. It comprises an appraisal of a situation, an affective tone, and an action plan. Emotions such as fear, joy, happiness are bodily mediated cognitive-emotional evaluations of the bodily sense-making of an adaptation to environmental factors the organism interacts with in the environment and of their viability. They allow to subjectively feel the cognitive-emotional qualitative dimension of the degree of value of our interaction with different environmental factors through the aroused lived body.

The submission of contributions that highlight the interdependent relation between emotion and cognition and the global state of emotion-cognition coherence (appraisal of a situation, an affective tone, and an action plan) in bodily sense-making in aesthetic experience and in the perception of the environment is encouraged.

The conference welcomes contributions from the following disciplines: Philosophy of mind, Philosophy of emotion, Literary studies, Artificial Intelligence, Neuroscience, Developmental psychology, Aesthetics, Psychology of aesthetics.

When?: 24th August 2015 – full day

Where?: Birkbeck College London, UK

Languages: English, though a workshop in German will be organized as a parallel workshop. So you can send your abstract in German, too.

Deadline for abstract submission: 25th March 2015

Please send your abstract (max. 300 words) not later than 25th March 2015 to enactiveaestheticsatbirkbeck@gmail.com

For all the information, please visit: enactiveaesthetics

Communicated by Alfonsina Scarinzi

Call for papers: Research Topic for Frontiers in Human Neuroscience

There is new call for papers for a Research Topic for the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience on Neuroaesthetics.

Get all the information here.

  • Deadline for abstract submission: 31 October 2014.
  • Deadline for full article submission: 31 March 2015.

Note that the journal’s publishing fees are reduced when the paper is part of a Research Topic.

Text of the call for papers:

GT Fechner

There is general consensus that the publication of Gustav Theodor Fechner’s (1876) Vorschule der Aesthetik marks the birth of the field of psychological aesthetics. As a psychophysicist, Fechner worked under the assumption that there is a correspondence between the physical properties of stimuli and the sensations that they cause. Of course, at the time of Fechner’s writings there was no possibility to observe the neural processes that mediate the hypothesized relationship between variations in the physical properties of stimuli and their psychological consequences (e.g., sensations). Nevertheless, he distinguished between outer psychophysics which involves the relationship between variations in the physical properties of stimuli and the sensations that they cause, and inner psychophysics which involves the relationship between those sensations and the neural activities that underlie them. In this sense, he was truly ahead of his time by anticipating one of the main goals of the modern neuroscience of aesthetics, which is to establish correspondences between neural function and perceptual, cognitive and affective processes that make up aesthetic experience. Arguably, the cognitive neuroscience of aesthetics is properly viewed as a natural extension of Fechner’s empirical goal to understand the interaction between the object’s features and the subject’s active engagement with the world that lies at the core of aesthetic experience.

Having said this, the relevant empirical scope, limits, and prospects of the cognitive neuroscience of aesthetics are hotly debated. In large measure this is due to disagreements about the nature of aesthetic experience. Should the field focus on studying the contribution of general-purpose perceptual, reward, memory, and decision-making mechanisms to aesthetic experience, or should it focus on isolating only those mechanisms that contribute to strong feelings of awe? Do aesthetic emotions differ from common emotions, and if so, what are the biological concomitants of this difference? How did aesthetic behavior evolve? Given the strong historical association of the concepts of beauty and art with aesthetics, should the study of how artifacts evoke a sense of beauty hold a privileged position in the field? To what extent is the search for a “beauty module” central to the aims of the field? What are some of the social and contextual contributors to aesthetic experience that might elude neuroscientific approaches? Can the role of personal and cultural significance in aesthetic experience be understood at a biological level? We welcome contributions that will serve to sharpen our understanding of neuroaesthetics with respect to the aforementioned questions. We look forward to receiving empirical manuscripts that contain behavioural, neuropsychological, brain stimulation, evolutionary and brain imaging data. We also encourage the submission of critical reviews of the field, manuscripts focusing on methodology, and opinion papers that raise foundational concerns to stimulate renewed thinking about the aims of the field. Given the central role played by aesthetic considerations in a host of important life decisions, it is our hope that this collection of papers will further energize the field by motivating new ways of searching for its bases.

Le sensible a l’oeuvre : The body between aesthetics and neurosciences

 Interdisciplinary Colloquium


CRAL/CEHTA/EHESS – 15 May 2014 – at the INHA Auditorium, Paris

The interdisciplinary colloquium Le sensible à l’oeuvre: the body between aesthetics and neurosciences aims to examine the stakes and perspectives of the research projects often grouped under the label “neuroaesthetics,” and to explore the main questions and debates arisen by them.

More information here.



Stimulating research on the biological basis of aesthetics

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