Aesthetic Experience Today

September 12, 2019 - September 13, 2019
The Department of Aesthetics, Charles University, Prague

Czech Republic

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  • Charles University Research Programme “Progres” Q 14 – Rationality Crisis and Modern Thought.
  • Czech Society for Aesthetics

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Prague (Post)Graduate Aesthetics Conference


Conference date: September 12 - 13

The aim of the conference is to present and discuss challenges that the concept of aesthetic experience faces in the current times and explore contexts in which it plays a significant role. The conference speakers include graduate students and early-career researchers coming from Central European universities and beyond.

The concept of aesthetic experience had been crucial to aesthetics as a philosophical discipline from the 18th through the mid-20th century when, at least in the Anglo-American context, it lost its central place. In the discourse of contemporary aesthetics, however, aesthetic experience has come to the fore again. There has been a surge of interest in neuroscientific and psychological research of aesthetic experience. Aesthetic experience has been discussed in relation to new and emerging art forms and current transformations in practices connected to displaying and exhibiting works of art. It has also been central to the work appearing in the thriving subfields of aesthetics, such as everyday aesthetics or virtue aesthetics. The conference aims at discussing the current understanding to the concept of aesthetic experience in a variety of contexts as well as historical perspectives.

Keynote speakers:

Madalina Diaconu (Universität Wien)

Erfahrung, Erlebnis, Erforschung

The triad of experience in contemporary aesthetics

After a review of the main stages in the history of the concept of aesthetic experience, John Dewey will serve to introduce to experience in general, considered as an integral process based upon the interaction of a living subject with the environment, which can be actively done or passively undergone, has an inner development and a meaning. These features can be found in three types of aesthetic experience: cumulative (Erfahrung), experiential (Erlebnis) and explorative (Erforschung). The lecture is an attempt to chart contemporary aesthetics according to this triptych on selected examples. The cumulative experience underlies the formation of skills and aesthetic education and it was rehabilitated along with the craftsmanship. The experiential experience, which still forms the core of the theories of aesthetic experience, is nowadays based upon perception in a very broad meaning and is supported by the extension of aesthetics to aisthetics. Finally, explorative experiences are essential in the artistic research and the aesthetics of science. Other theories, such as somaesthetics, the art of life and performance studies, participate to several types of experience.

Joerg Fingerhut (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin)

Twofoldness, Complexity, and Artistic Beauty 

Neuroaesthetics and empirical aesthetics have been under attack from philosophical accounts of the arts. I will address why we nonetheless need them to inform us about our appreciative practice. Discussing experimental work of our group (on motor-engagement with film, cross-cultural differences regarding preferences for complexity, as well as the role of beauty in art), I will demonstrate the prospects and limits of this growing field. 

For more information regarding the conference organization or your eligibility, please contact

Conference fee:

Unwaged (unemployed, part-time positions, and graduate students): EUR 15

Waged (full-time positions): EUR 40.

This conference is supported by the Charles University Research Programme “Progres” Q 14 – Rationality Crisis and Modern Thought.

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September 10, 2019, 9:00am CET

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Universitas Gadjah Mada

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