Research Article

Practical Aesthetic Knowledge: Goodman and Husserl on the Possibilities of Learning by Aesthetic Practices



In this article I aim to shed light on the question of whether aesthetic experience can constitute practical knowledge and, if so, how it achieves this. I will compare the approaches of Nelson Goodman and Edmund Husserl. Both authors treat the question of which benefits aesthetic experience can bring to certain basic skills. Though one could argue together with Goodman that repeated aesthetic experience allows for a trained and discriminating approach to artworks, Husserl argues that by viewing aesthetic objects we can learn to perceive in a more undiluted fashion and to qualify our own perceptions against the backdrop of the conceptual framework that shapes our everyday experience. As a consequence, aesthetic experience is not to be regarded as something that only contributes to a normatively loaded involvement in the distinct field of the ‘aesthetic’. Reading Goodman with Husserl and vice versa, I will argue in support of a practical aesthetic knowledge account that mediates cognitivist-constructivist and phenomenological concerns and can thus overcome some of their respective shortcomings. The account I present is useful for understanding the practical value of aesthetic experience in and beyond the confined field of the arts.

  • Year: 2015
  • Volume: 52 Issue: 2
  • Page/Article: 164-189
  • DOI: 10.33134/eeja.138
  • Published on 25 Nov 2015
  • Peer Reviewed