Artistic and Aesthetic Experience

  • Simon Høffding
Part of the New Directions in Philosophy and Cognitive Science book series (NDPCS)


In this chapter, I use scholarship from the phenomenology of bodily self-awareness to expand on the expertise debates. Using Legrand and Ravn’s ethnographically inspired work on absorption in dance as well as Dufrenne’s notion of “adherent reflection” to characterize a general aesthetic attitude, I show that the very distinction between reflective and pre-reflective processes, as found in the expertise debate, is too crude to capture the complex phenomenology of absorption. I argue that the absorbed musician probably develops entirely new forms of bodily self-awareness through her practice and that this bodily form of intentionality underlying artistic and aesthetic activity has an empathetic or resonant quality. This leads to the conclusion that the most suitable investigation of musical absorption ought to depart from an understanding of how the musician is affected, rather than what he does, or in Dufrenne’s words in the context of the aesthetic object: “we should speak of its reverberation within me, since the language of intentionality applied to feeling obscures the element of the undergone [subi]” (Dufrenne 1973, 376).

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© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Simon Høffding
    • 1
  1. 1.University of OsloOsloNorway

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