Harri Mäcklin: "Aesthetic Self-Forgetfulness"

  • Date: –16:00
  • Location: Zoom (contact Irene Martinez Marin for link)
  • Organiser: Department of Philosophy
  • Contact person: Irene Martinez Marin
  • Seminarium

The Higher Seminar in Aesthetics

Harri Mäcklin, University of Helsinki: "Aesthetic Self-Forgetfulness"

Intense aesthetic experiences are often described in terms of self-forgetfulness, where the perceiver becomes immersed in the aesthetic phenomenon to the extent of losing consciousness of being the subject of the experience. Although such experiences have been described from the early eighteenth century onwards, there is still a surprising lack of detailed investigation on the precise nature of aesthetic self-forgetfulness. What happens in this experience, and precisely what is the ‘self’ that is forgotten? Building on phenomenological theories of self-consciousness, I argue that aesthetic self-forgetfulness cannot be understood as an absolute eradication of the self, as a pre-reflective self-consciousness stays intact even in deeply immersive aesthetic experiences. Thus, I argue that talk of self-forgetfulness is to some extent misleading, and the changes in the subject’s self-relation during aesthetic experience is better understood in terms of an altered sense of agency.