Naturalizing Aesthetic Experience

The Role of (Liberated) Embodied Simulation

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  • 1 University of Parma vittorio.gallese@unipr.it
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Abstract

The naturalization of the aesthetic experience of film and art can benefit from the contribution of neuroscience because we can investigate empirically the concepts we use when referring to it and what they are made of at the level of description of the brain-body. The neuroscientific subpersonal level of description is necessary but not sufficient, unless it is coupled with a full appreciation of the tight relationship that the brain entertains with the body and the world. In this article, I will discuss aspects of Murray Smith’s proposal on the aesthetic experience of art and film as presented in his Film, Art, and the Third Culture against the background of a new model of perception and imagination: embodied simulation.

Contributor Notes

Vittorio Gallese, MD and trained neurologist, is Professor of Psychobiology and Cognitive Neuroscience at the Dept. of Medicine & Surgery of the University of Parma, Italy, Professor in Experimental Aesthetics at the Institute of Philosophy, School of Advanced Study, University of London, U.K., Adjunct Senior Research Scholar, Dept. of Art History and Archeology, Columbia University, New York, USA and Einstein Fellow in Berlin. His research focuses on the relationship between the sensory-motor system and cognition by investigating the neurobiological basis of intersubjectivity, empathy, language and aesthetics. He is the author of more than 200 scientific publications and two books. Email: vittorio.gallese@unipr.it

Projections

The Journal for Movies and Mind

  • Angelini, Monica, Marta Calbi, Annachiara Ferrari, Beatrice Sbriscia-Fioretti, Michele Franca, Vittorio Gallese, and M. Alessandra Umiltà. 2015. “Motor Inhibition During Overt and Covert Actions: An Electrical Neuroimaging Study.” PLoS One 10 (5): e0126800. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0126800.

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  • Casetti, Francesco. 2015. The Lumiè re Galaxy: Seven Key Words for the Cinema to Come. New York: Columbia University Press.

  • Flanagan, Owen. 1992. Consciousness Reconsidered. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

  • Gallese, Vittorio. 2001. “The ‘Shared Manifold’ Hypothesis: From Mirror Neurons to Empathy.” Journal of Consciousness Studies 8 (5–7): 3350.

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  • Gallese, Vittorio. 2011a. “Neuroscience and Phenomenology.” Phenomenology & Mind 1: 3348.

  • Gallese, Vittorio. 2011b. “Embodied Simulation Theory: Imagination and Narrative.” Neuropsychoanalysis 13 (2): 196200.

  • Gallese, Vittorio. 2012. “Aby Warburg and the Dialogue among Aesthetics, Biology and Physiology.” pH 2: 4862.

  • Gallese, Vittorio. 2014. “Bodily Selves in Relation: Embodied Simulation as Second-Person Perspective on Intersubjectivity.” Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 369 (1644): 20130177. doi:10.1098/rstb.2013.0177.

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  • Gallese, Vittorio. 2016. “Finding the Body in the Brain: From Simulation Theory to Embodied Simulation.” In Goldman and his Critics, ed. Brian McLaughlin and Hilary Kornblith, 297317. Malden, MA: Blackwell.

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  • Gallese, Vittorio. 2017a. “Visions of the Body: Embodied Simulation and Aesthetic Experience. Aisthesis 1 (1): 4150.

  • Gallese, Vittorio. 2017b. “Neoteny and Social Cognition: A Neuroscientific Perspective on Embodiment.” In: Embodiment, Enaction and Culture: Investigating the Constitution of the Shared World, ed. Christoph Durt, Thomas Fuchs, and Christian Tewes, 309332. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

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  • Gallese, Vittorio, and Valentina Cuccio. 2015. “The Paradigmatic Body: Embodied Simulation, Intersubjectivity and the Bodily Self.” In Open MIND: Philosophy and the Mind Sciences in the 21st Century, ed. Thomas Metzinger and Jennifer M. Windt, 122. Frankfurt: MIND Group.

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  • Gallese, Vittorio, and Michele Guerra. 2012. “Embodying Movies: Embodied Simulation and Film Studies.” Cinema: Journal of Philosophy and the Moving Image 3: 183210.

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  • Gallese, Vittorio, and Michele Guerra. 2014. “The Feeling of Motion: Camera Movements and Motor Cognition.” Cinéma et Cie: International Film Studies Journal 14 (22–23): 103112.

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  • Gallese, Vittorio, and Michele Guerra. 2015. Lo Schermo Empatico: Cinema e Neuroscienze. Milan: Raffaello Cortina Editore.

  • Gallese, Vittorio, and Michele Guerra. 2018. “L’Empathie d’une machine.” In Des pouvoirs des ècrans, ed. Mauro Carbone, Anna Caterina Dalmasso, and Jacopo Bodini, in press, Sesto S. Giovanni, xItaly: Edition Mimésis.

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  • Gallese, Vittorio, and Corrado Sinigaglia. 2011. “What Is so Special about Embodied Simulation?Trends in Cognitive Sciences 15 (11): 512519.

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  • Heimann, Katrin, Sebo Uithol, Marta Calbi, M. Alessandra Umiltà, Michele Guerra, and Vittorio Gallese. 2017. “‘Cuts in Action’: A High-Density EEG Study Investigating the Neural Correlates of Different Editing Techniques in Film.” Cognitive Science 41 (6): 15551588.

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  • Heimann, Katrin, M. Alessandra Umiltà, Michele Guerra, and Vittorio Gallese. 2014. “Moving Mirrors: A High-Density EEG Study Investigating the Effects of Camera Movements on Motor Cortex Activation during Action Observation.” Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 26 (9): 20872101.

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  • Merleau-Ponty, Maurice. 1964. Sense and Non-Sense. Trans. Hubert L. Dreyfus and Patricia Allen Dreyfus. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press.

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  • Smith, Murray. 2017. Film, Art, and the Third Culture: A Naturalized Aesthetics of Film. Oxford: Oxord University Press.

  • Wojciehowski, Hannah Chapelle, and Vittorio Gallese. 2011. “How Stories Make Us Feel: Toward an Embodied Narratology.” California Italian Studies 2 (1). https://escholarship.org/uc/item/3jg726c2.

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  • Wojciehowski, Hannah Chapelle, and Vittorio Gallese. 2018. “Introduction.” Costellazioni: Rivista di lingue e letterature 5: 922.

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