A Brief History of Aesthetics Essay

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A Brief History of Aesthetics

Aesthetics is the theoretical study of the arts and related types of behavior and experience. It is traditionally regarded as a branch of philosophy, concerned with the understanding of beauty and its manifestations in art and nature. However, in the latter 20th century there developed a tendency to treat it as an independent science, concerned with investigating the phenomena of art and its place in human life. Yet, what in a field with a hazy line in between being classified as a science or study of beliefs is considered data for determining what can be studied? It can simply be drawn to the only three things involved in the process of art : The creator, the person experiencing, and the art itself.
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Kunstwissenschaft propelled more scientists , specifically G. T. Fechner to turn the definition of from “philosophy of beauty” to the empirical psychology and sociology for artistic creation and appreciation. His work emphasized the statistical study of individual aesthetic preferences for standardized types of object, such as rectangles. The subjects’ heart rate, visual reaction, and perspiration levels were monitored , thus giving “proof” of reaction to the standardized objects. After his death, Fechner’s work was carried out by C.W. Valentine in England, although is declined in activity due to more pressing matters during World War II.

General psychology also provided a framework within which can focus its special studies on the creation and appreciation of art and related varieties of experience. It includes the unconscious and preconscious realms of human experience as revealed by depth psychology, with the light it throws on dreams and creative imagination. This consists of the evolutionary account of the human species with its innate perceptual, mental and affective functions, predispositions and aptitudes, especially man’s power to learn and to accumulate “culture”. The most important contributors to the general psychology of were Freud, Jung, and most notably, K. Koffka’s and his writing, Problems in the Psychology of Art.

Early in the 20th century, Max Dessoir, professor at the University of Berlin, sought to

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