Servaas van der Berg: "Appreciation and Non-Instrumental Motivation"

Högre seminariet i estetik

Servaas van der Berg, University British Columbia: "Appreciation and Non-Instrumental Motivation"

On a widely held view in aesthetics, appreciation requires disinterested attention. George Dickie famously criticises a version of this view championed by the aesthetic attitude theorists. This paper revisits his criticisms and extracts from them an overlooked challenge for accounts that seek to characterise aesthetic experience or appreciation in terms of a distinctive motivational profile. At minimum, such accounts must show that the motivational profile they propose makes a difference to how appreciative episodes unfold over time. The rest of the paper develops a proposal to meet this challenge by drawing an analogy between how attention is guided in appreciation, and how practical action is guided in “striving play”—a peculiar form of game play foregrounded in recent work by Thi Nguyen. The result is an account on which appreciation involves attention guided by cognitive goals that we take up instrumentally, for the sake of the cognitive activity that results from attending under the guidance of those goals.