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Guest lecturer

Appearance of Beauty

How can we understand the human capability to be moved by beauty in art? Ever since antiquity, philosophers have been marveling, wondering, speculating about the nature of the beautiful. They have explored questions such as: Does beauty belong to the object or to the subject? Can an object be functional and still be beautiful? How does experiencing beauty relate to experiencing love? In what sense does beauty involve pleasure and desire?

In this PhD project, some of the questions, which historically have been discussed by philosophers, are drawn into a psychological context. Here, beauty’s affective, cognitive, bodily and existential dimensions are examined and discussed.

The main study is an empirical investigation of the question of how beauty appears to human consciousness. This question is addressed through qualitative interviews with visitors of art museums in Denmark. The aim here is 1) to formulate a descriptive account of beauty phenomena 2) to discuss the findings in relation to relevant literature within the field of phenomenology and aesthetics, and 3) to offer a psychological account of how beauty experience happens. The latter question thus relates experience of beauty to broader questions on subjectivity and developmental psychology. 

Further, the initial empirical study will be followed up with an interview study focusing on the bodily dimensions of beauty experience. The central question here is: How do does the body appear during experiences of beauty? During a research stay at University of Stony Brook, the empirical material for this study will be gathered at public art institutions in New York. 

ID: 240292725