Criticism as a Form of Cognition
Keywords:art criticism, cognition, Erlebnis, Erkenntnis
The question of the cognitive role of art criticism persists in twentieth and twenty-first century aesthetic theories. My approach to this topic is first to consider art criticism in reference to two aspects of cognition as represented in the German terms, Erlebnis and Erkenntnis. These concepts will represent the main forms of cognition as it relates to art criticism in the discussion offered here. Following this section, the focus will be on the views of three American philosophers, Monroe Beardsley, Arthur Danto, and Noël Carroll, whose writings attend prominently to art criticism in twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Of particular interest will be how Erlebnis and Erkenntnis are employed in the different approaches to criticism (evaluation, description, interpretation) and the priorities assigned in the writings of these aestheticians.
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