Vol. 8 No. 1 (2015): The Aesthetic Mind and the Origin of Art

Epigenesis and Coherence of the Aesthetic Mechanism

Published 2015-05-18


  • Aesthetic Mind,
  • Aesthetic mechanism,
  • Primary emotions,
  • Epigenesis

How to Cite

Desideri, F. (2015). Epigenesis and Coherence of the Aesthetic Mechanism. Aisthesis. Pratiche, Linguaggi E Saperi dell’estetico, 8(1), 25–40. https://doi.org/10.13128/Aisthesis-16204


Can we properly define and explain the human mind an aesthetic mind? The purpose of the paper is to answer this and the related questions that it implies. How do we understand the conceptual field of the aesthetic? What do we mean when we speak about an aesthetic experience or when we express an aesthetic judgement? The first move consists in shaping the outlines of the «aesthetic» as a cluster-concept. Having identified the conceptual core of aesthetic as an expressive synthesis between the emotional and cognitive layers of the experience, I try to develop a theoretical paradigm consistent with it and, consequentially, a mental mechanism of the aesthetic. The next step consists, therefore, in replacing the causal monism involved in the adaptationist paradigm by a plurality of factors. Consequently, I claim that at the origin of the aesthetic mechanism there are four factors. These factors are: 1) the mimetic assimilation of the real; 2) the "seeking" or the pleasure of exploration; 3) the pleasure of exercising preferences as a degree of freedom and an advantage in the conduct of life; 4) the impulse to play (the intra specific and cooperative practice of learning through the exercise and the simulation reinforced by the pleasure). All these factors are dispositions rooted in the system of primary emotions and represent the preconditions for the epigenetic emergence of the aesthetic mechanism. Conclusively, this mechanism is considered a dynamic activity of the brain that integrates into a single space of mutual resonance and harmonization neocortical and subcortical neural circuits: aspects of mental life emotionally attuned and aspects that are specific of cognitive processing of information.


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