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Irvin, Sherri. Scratching an itch
2008, Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 66 (1):25-35.
Added by: Chris Blake-Turner, Contributed by: Christy Mag Uidhir
Introduction: In recent years, momentum has been gathering in defense of the appropriateness of aesthetic discourse in relation to a number of domains other than art and nature. Philosophers have argued that food, sports, and sex can be viewed aesthetically. It has been claimed that the "lower senses" of smell, taste, and touch may play legitimate or even exclusive roles in some aesthetic judgments. And there has been sustained criticism of the view that aesthetic judgments must be disinterested or must transport us out of the concerns of everyday life. Can this extension of the realm of the aesthetic be taken even further, so as to accommodate the idea that even the most mundane incidents of everyday life have an aesthetic character, or that there can be aesthetic experiences of such incidents? With attention to two especially hard cases, itches and scratches, I will argue that it is appropriate and worthwhile to think of even the simplest moments of everyday life in aesthetic terms. It is appropriate, because on the most plausible accounts of aesthetic experience there can be legitimate aesthetic experiences of itching and scratching; and it is worthwhile, because aesthetic attention to this domain offers the prospect of unique and significant satisfaction.


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