Film, Art, and the Third Culture

A Naturalized Aesthetics of Film—Précis

in Projections
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In this overview of my recent book, I outline its main themes, questions, and arguments. Part 1 explores the applicability of philosophical naturalism to aesthetics and the arts. Searching for the principles that might undergird a naturalistic or “third cultural” approach to the arts, I defend a model of “triangulation” that seeks consilience among phenomenological, psychological, and neurophysiological evidence and that relates to two further strategies: “thick explanation,” combining personal and “subpersonal” levels of analysis, and “theory construction,” conceived as an empirically oriented alternative to conceptual analysis. Part 2 examines emotion in the arts and in film as a relevant and fertile territory for a naturalized aesthetics, in relation to Charles Darwin’s account of the expression of the emotions, niche construction, and the theory of the “extended mind.”