Vol. 15 No. 2 (2022): Aesthetics & Ontology in Étienne Souriau

Souriau’s Animal Aesthetics In Context: Nature, Sensibility, and Form

Maddalena Mazzocut-Mis
Università degli Studi di Milano
Andrea Scanziani
Università degli Studi di Milano

Published 2023-02-06


  • Souriau,
  • Animal Aesthetics,
  • Nature,
  • Form,
  • Sensibility

How to Cite

Mazzocut-Mis, M., & Scanziani, A. (2023). Souriau’s Animal Aesthetics In Context: Nature, Sensibility, and Form. Aisthesis. Pratiche, Linguaggi E Saperi dell’estetico, 15(2), 15–27. https://doi.org/10.36253/Aisthesis-13982


The work defines three aspects of Souriau’s animal aesthetics by stressing their relevance in the context of early and contemporary ethology: in (1), the concept «biological nature» which is interpreted by Souriau as a realm of appearances and as intrinsically aesthetic; in (2), the concept of animal sensibility, which makes it possible to reframe animals’ artistic behaviours and the sense by which such phenomena establish a meaningful relationship with the environment; in (3), the concept of form, in the description of natural appearances, is presented as it enters into the process of institution that, accordingly to Souriau’s interpretation of biological nature, encompasses non-human animals and humans. All three definitions will allow us a), to present Souriau’s critique of anthropomorphism and his proposal of an «healthy» zoomorphism; b) to reformulate animals’ sensibility in a non-reductionistic fashion; and finally, c) to address the issue with the supposedly sole communicative function of animal artistic behaviors.


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