Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Beyond anticipation: Exceeding of expectation and aesthetics
by Skorin-Kapov, Jadranka, Ph.D., State University of New York at Stony Brook, 2007, 334; 3299720
Abstract (Summary)

In this work I analyze the significance of irreducibly exceeded expectation in encounters with the environment (including nature proper and artworks). It is argued that the significance is properly aesthetic, independently of culture and taste.

Because of one's inability to represent it, the encounter with irreducible newness creates a break since prior to it one was active in creating representations. Recuperation from such a break results in gaining one's sensibility and reflection, i.e. one's representational powers. This is experienced as the phenomenon of surprise. I propose a phenomenology of surprise as a complex process in which one first regains sensibility, then reflection, leading from astonishment to wonderment and further to admiration and responsibility.

The consideration of the "expectation of the irreducible exceeding of expectation" provides a depiction of desire for encountering irreducible alterity. The irreducibility of the properly aesthetic is denoted as desire\\surprise to indicate a break (excess, immediacy, the unrepresentable) separating desire stemming from one's past experiencing and surprise that acknowledges the birth of one's sensibility and reflection, enriching each in the process.

Following this thematic and a preliminary characterization of the properly aesthetic experience, it is argued that the properly aesthetic can happen in our interaction with nature as well as in our experience of artworks. Arguments are presented for carrying over Kant's theory of sublimity from nature to art. The concept of experience as related to the aesthetic is analyzed. In discussing expectations, it is argued that the seemingly opposing views of Heidegger and Blanchot on death can be brought together by considering death as the negation of the irreducible exceeding of expectation. The notion of excess is analyzed as it relates to desire and the impossibility of immediacy. A phenomenology of the irreducible exceeding of expectation as surprise is viewed as a series of announcements starting with the announcement of sensibility, proceeding with astonishment announcing reflection, then wonderment engendered in sublimity, and subsequently branching into admiration (characterizing art evaluation) and responsibility (characterizing moral judgments). The unfolding of surprise is contrasted with the becoming of knowledge and in particular Hegel's absolute knowledge.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Casey, Edward S.
School: State University of New York at Stony Brook
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-A 69/01, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Art education, Philosophy, Educational theory
Keywords: Aesthetics, Ecstatic experience, Ethics, Phenomenology of surprise, Philosophy of art, Surprise
Publication Number: 3299720
ISBN: 9780549444084
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