A Study on the Interface Between Arts and Sciences: Neuroesthetics and Cognitive Neuroscience of Art

A Study on the Interface Between Arts and Sciences: Neuroesthetics and Cognitive Neuroscience of Art

Alexandre Siqueira de Freitas (Universidade Federal do Sul da Bahia, Brazil)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5478-3.ch003
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This chapter discusses issues related to two fields of knowledge: neuroesthetics and cognitive neuroscience of art. These two fields represent areas that link historically dichotomic instances: nature and culture. In the first section, the author introduces a brief discussion on this dichotomy, reified here as science and art/aesthetics. Based on a preliminary analysis of these fields, as well as potential interfaces and articulations, the author then situates neuroesthetics and cognitive science of art. In both cases, the main definitions, usual criticisms, and comments on potential expectations regarding the future of these two areas will be presented.
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Background: Science, Art And Aesthetics

Science, as we know it today, bears great expectations about “how” and “why” general phenomena occur. It's primarily focused on the cognition of the “natural world” and reflects the necessity of extracting order structures from a vast, chaotic background from time to time. According to Júlio Plaza (2003, p. 38), influenced by Ortega's ideas, knowledge is the mental effort that extracts information, or language, from disorder. Plaza also argues that in order to actually know something we must reach its very “being”. This “being” is not achieved through perception, but through an intellectual model. The production of knowledge is thus the construction of intellectual models that results from a work process based on complex information (Srour apudPlaza, 2003, p. 38). Scientific knowledge is grounded on the faith in empirical information, with which scientists usually create massive theoretical structures to link observation and reality (Wilson, 2001, p. 19). Science pursues ways of effectively acting upon reality and, therefore, “builds conceptual models or representations that reflect, with some isomorphy, aspects of the world's objective organization” (Vieira, 2006, p. 48).

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