Following a naturalist-realist point of view, this paper attempts to contribute to the metaphysical question of whether or not reality includes aesthetics. During evolution, cognitive agents have constructed (goal-directed) regulatory abilities forming anticipatory contents in the form of feelings regarding opportunities for interaction. These feelings are considered to be the fundamental part of an evaluative or (what in this paper considered as aesthetic) behavior through which agents show a preference to aspects of their external world. Thus, ‘aesthetic’ denotes an agential behavior based on an organization of processes integrated in a form that identifies, evaluates, and compares sources of interaction-success or error in specific aspects of external reality. While agents approach the same aspects of reality as they all interact with the same world, our claim is that aesthetic normativity cannot be an objective feature of this reality. This model overcomes problems of correspondence in the sense that an agent’s actions and thoughts ought to react to any pre-given (aesthetic) quality or norm, while at the same time it emphasizes the self-directedness of aesthetic behavior that enables the development of creative forms of cognition.
Xenakis, I., & Arnellos, A. (2017). Aesthetics as evaluative forms of agency to perceive and design reality: a reply to aesthetic realism. New Ideas in Psychology, in press. doi:10.1016/j.newideapsych.2017.03.014