UN’ESIGENZA DI PROFONDITÀ: LA MODERNITÀ DEL PENSIERO ESTETICO DI ARCHIBALD ALISON
Parole chiave:Associational theory, Expression, Form, Profundity, Contemporary art.
Archibald Alison’s Essays on the Nature and Principles of Taste (1790) is usually praised for having assigned a previously unrecognized central role to emotions in aesthetic phenomena, within an associational perspective on judgments of taste. In this paper of mine I’m going to defend a formalistically-oriented reading of Alison’s aesthetic thought, by taking into account those sections of the Essays where he stresses the importance of form, not so much in itself but rather as naturally or intentionally aimed at satisfying an expressive purpose. Thus reinterpreted, Alison’s aesthetic theory, while avoiding the risk of radical subjectivism and relativism which is often (albeit, as I will argue, mistakenly) attributed to it, will reveal itself as theoretically coherent and compelling and also, to some extent, as predictive with respect to some of the current trends in the fields of contemporary music and visual arts.