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Aesthetic Practice and the Critical Faculty: Examining the Educational Conditions of Aesthetic Experience

Project leader:
Iris Laner (IKW)

Funded by:
FWF - Austrian Science Fund | Hertha Firnberg (T835)

FWF | Hertha-Firnberg Fellow
Iris Laner, Institute for Art Theory and Cultural Studies
Projektlaufzeit: 1.3.2017 – 31.12.2022 (until 30.9.2020 at the Academy)

The project Aesthetic Practice and the Critical Faculty aims for a novel and timely understanding of the importance arts education has for training students to become critical and responsible agents. Within a phenomenological setting, it will examine the ways in which ten 14-year-old-students with different educational backgrounds respond to aesthetic situations and to what extent they are ready for learning by them.

The investigation will focus on the question of how the quantity and quality of aesthetic practice affect the capability of students to engage with a situation aesthetically, their aesthetic attitudes and their conception of aesthetic agency. Finally, it will investigate the students’ readiness to perceive and to think of a situation critically, viz. of relating their own perspective to the situation given to other possible views towards it and, potentially, adopting these views.

Based upon a thorough philosophical investigation combined with an exemplary and explorative empirical study, the current project will develop a nuanced account of the critical potential of aesthetic practice that considers the actual educational conditions of aesthetic experience.