Paintings as Solid Affective Scaffolds
Saarinen, J. (2019). Paintings as Solid Affective Scaffolds. Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, 77 (1), 67-77. doi:10.1111/jaac.12610
Published inJournal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism
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© 2019 The American Society for Aesthetics.
We humans continuously reshape the environment to alter, enhance, and sustain our affective lives. This two‐way modification has been discussed in recent philosophy of mind as affective scaffolding, wherein scaffolding quite literally means that our affective states are enabled and supported by environmental resources such as material objects, other people, and physical spaces. In this article, I argue that under certain conditions, paintings function as noteworthy affective scaffolds to their creators. I begin with a theoretical overview of affective niche construction and affective scaffolding. Then, based on the criteria of robustness, concreteness, and dependability, I specify a more restricted, solid type of affective scaffolding and propound paintings as a cogent case of such. In support of my argument, I highlight two feelings typical to painterly creativity: the feeling of aesthetic resonance and the feeling of fusion. To conclude, I discuss the overall contributions and limitations of my account. ...