These three images show Mona Lisa's smile filtered to show selectively lowest (left) low (middle) and high (right) spatial frequencies
indicating that we see her smile only via peripheral vision. Margaret Livingstone, Science, 290, 1299.
Aesthetics and Cognitive Science
This seminar offers an examination of issues surrounding attempts to explain art and aesthetic experience by reference to the natural psychological processes subserving perception and cognition. The aim of the course is to investigate what role psychology can play in an explanation of art and aesthetic experiences. The first part of the course introduces issues surrounding any attempt to naturalize aesthetics: what is an aesthetic experience?; how do aesthetic judgments differ from ordinary perceptual judgments?; what is the role of an artwork in an aesthetic experience?; how does the choice of a theory of art shape a theory of aesthetic experience?; what does it mean to 'naturalize' aesthetics? The second part of the course examines the role an understanding of the perceptual relationship between viewers and works of visual art can play in explanations of our understanding, experience, and appreciation of art generally. This section investigates the general methodology underlying the study of aesthetics and cognitive science, the application of current theories of perception to an understanding of aesthetic experiences, and whether these studies reveal limitations to the project of naturalizing aesthetics.
CSES 221b (JE), Spring 2010 - Yale University
Phil/Psy/SPM 379, Spring 2006 - Franklin & Marshall College
CSES391a (BR), Fall 2005 - Yale University
CSTD361a (PC), Fall 2003 - Yale University
Philosophy of Art - Bates College, 2013
Philosophy of Film: A Cognitivist Approach - Bates College, 2011
The Power of Art - Bates College, 2009
Art, Meaning, & Perception - Franklin & Marshall College, 2008