The evolution of aesthesis

Katya Mandoki

pp. 117-133

Based on the understanding of aesthetics as the study of all processes and activities related to aesthesis in his original etymological sense as «sensibility», this paper argues that an evolutionary approach must follow the evolution of aesthesis from its inception. A degree of sensibility may perhaps be traced already at molecules sensing borders in DNA replication. The next stage, which may be defined as “cyto-aesthesis”, refers to evidence of cells’ actions to antigens, virus, enzymes or bacteria and other significant elements in the intercellular fluid by their receptors’ sensibility to ligands. Darwin explored plants’ irritability specifically at their tendrils and petioles and there are studies on their sensibility to surface, nutrients, touch, water, temperature, seasonal cycles, color, gravity, and light. All animal species, including human beings, have evolved a keen sensitivity to predators and mates upon which their survival depends following evolutionary priorities and conditions. There is consequently no particular experience that we may call «aesthetic experience», a redundant term, since the whole spectrum of activities and effects of various species’ sensibility involves experiencing the world, namely, aesthesis.

Publication details

DOI: 10.4000/estetica.1441

Full citation:

Mandoki, K. (2013). The evolution of aesthesis. Rivista di estetica 54, pp. 117-133.

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