Genesis and development of "making special"

is the concept relevant to aesthetic philosophy?

Ellen Dissanayake

pp. 83-98

Noting that the ethological notion of «making special» (now also called «artification») has gained attention in several fields, including aesthetic philosophy, a brief history is presented of its origin and development over forty years. Its origin is traced to «proto-aesthetic» elements of interactions that evolved in Middle Pleistocene mothers and infants: simplification or formalization, repetition, exaggeration, elaboration, and manipulation of expectation. These operations upon visual, vocal, and gestural modalities were subsequently used by individuals and cultures in creating and responding to their various arts. Artification is a broader human proclivity than «art». Unlike other notions of art it does not imply beauty or skill although in its motivation to mark importance, the ordinary is made extraordinary. In its emphasis on preverbal, presymbolic, pancultural, participative, affective, and affinitive aspects of aesthetic cognition and behavior, the artification hypothesis provides further directions to cognitivist and neuroscientific studies in contemporary philosophical aesthetics.

Publication details

DOI: 10.4000/estetica.1437

Full citation:

Dissanayake, E. (2013). Genesis and development of "making special": is the concept relevant to aesthetic philosophy?. Rivista di estetica 54, pp. 83-98.

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