Aesthetics in Archaeology

  • Thomas HeydEmail author
Living reference work entry

Introduction and Definition

The term “aesthetics” was coined in the eighteenth century by Alexander Baumgarten, who thought of it as “the science of sensible cognition” (Baumgarten 1961 [1750–1758]: §1, 107). As such, it concerns the study of how to think the sensible appearance (the look/sound/feel) of things when the focus is on their perceptual qualities. Immanuel Kant further added to this conception by proposing that aesthetic judgment involves a claim not based on an (objective) coming to know of the world but on a particular (subjective) feeling produced in the encounter with objects of perception. The feeling in question is produced when the faculties of imagination and understanding are in “free play” while provoked by various objects of perception (Kant 1790 trans. 1987: Pt. 1, Book 1, Section 9).

Accordingly, aesthetics is concerned with the claim that the particular wayin which things are present in our awareness may lead to a certain kind of object-related but subjective...

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of VictoriaVictoriaCanada

Section editors and affiliations

  • Inés Domingo Sanz
    • 1
  • Danae Fiore
    • 2
  • Ewa Dutkiewicz
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.Departament de Prehistòria, Història Antiga i ArqueologiaICREA/Universitat de Barcelona/SERPBarcelonaSpain
  2. 2."CONICET - AIA - UBA Asociación de Investigaciones Antropológicas"Buenos AiresArgentina
  3. 3.Museum für Vor- und Frühgeschichte Staatliche Museen zu Berlin – Stiftung Preußischer KulturbesitzBerlinGermany
  4. 4.Department of Early Prehistory and Quaternary EcologyUniversity of TübingenTübingenGermany