Pragmatist and embodied approaches to aesthetics consider aesthetics to be the study of everything that goes into the human capacity to make and experience the bodily pre-linguistic cognitive, emotional and sensory-perceptual conditions of meaning constitution having its origins in the organic activities of living creatures and in their organism-environment transactions.
The 2nd conference on “Aesthetics and the Embodied Mind” aims at highlighting the role of the interdependent relation between emotion and cognition in the bodily mediated pre-linguistic meaning constitution in aesthetic experience and perception. It aims at doing this from an anti-dualistic point of view.
The rejection of the mind-body dualism and of the representationalist approaches to human cognition has led to recast the theoretical tenets of the relation between cognition and emotion in the process of meaning generation. It has contributed to the development of a truly enactive approach to emotions. The enactive approach to emotions has emphasized that cognition and emotions are embodied and interdependent. Accordingly, bodily events are constitutive of appraisal, both structurally and phenomenologically. Arousal needs no appraisal to be interpreted by the subject, for cognitive and emotional processes are simultaneously constrained by the global form produced by their coupling in a process of circular causality. Therefore, the emotional interpretation of a lived situation is a global state of emotion-cognition coherence. It comprises an appraisal of a situation, an affective tone, and an action plan. Emotions such as fear, joy, happiness are bodily mediated cognitive-emotional evaluations of the bodily sense-making of an adaptation to environmental factors the organism interacts with in the environment and of their viability. They allow to subjectively feel the cognitive-emotional qualitative dimension of the degree of value of our interaction with different environmental factors through the aroused lived body.