Encyclopedia of Global Archaeology

2014 Edition
| Editors: Claire Smith

Aesthetics in Archaeology

  • Thomas HeydEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-0465-2_1622

Introduction and Definition

The term “aesthetics” was coined in the eighteenth century by Alexander Baumgarten, who thought of it as “the science of sensible cognition” ( 1961[1750-1758]: §1, p. 107). As such, it concerns the study of how to think the sensible appearance (the look/sound/feel) of things when the focus is on their perceptual qualities as such. Immanuel Kant further added to this conception by proposing that aesthetic judgment involves a claim not based on an (objective) coming to know of the world but on a particular (subjective) feeling produced in the encounter with objects of perception. The feeling in question is produced when the faculties of imagination and understanding are in “free play” while provoked by various objects of perception (Kant 1790 trans. 1987: Pt. 1, Book 1, Section 9).
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of VictoriaVictoriaCanada