London Aesthetics Forum

London Aesthetics Forum
18 October 2017, 4.00pm - 6.00pm
Room 234, Second Floor, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU

Art, Exemplars, Knowledge

Keith Lehrer (Arizona)


I am an epistemologist who turned to painting. I now want to paint a new conception of knowledge, truth and evidence derived from aesthetic experience. My argument (2012) is that aesthetic response in perception of art leads to a new theory of knowledge as the exemplars of aesthetic experience become vehicles of representation. As we attend to the aesthetic experience, it becomes both vehicle and referent of the meaning of our thoughts about the work of art. I call the process of representation exemplarization. It is argued that this form of representation resolves the dispute between Bullough (1912) and Dickie (1964) concerning esthetic distance modifying the idea of a presentational symbol in Langer (1957) and exemplification in Goodman (1968). The insertion of the experience into the meaning of our thoughts about the object creates empirical evidence out of meaning as the aesthetic experience becomes an exemplar representation of itself. I have called this focus reflexive and ostensive exemplarization. That focus may block and bracket other thoughts and conceptions creating aesthetic distance as the exemplar representation of the experience distances itself from other thoughts and conceptions. The experience shines in brilliant isolation in the aesthetic response of exemplar representation looping back onto itself and showing it what it is like. Exemplar representation explains how we know what conscious experience of the artwork is like.


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