Philosophy and Aesthetics Inform Science: illuminating the complex dynamics of seeing

  • Suzanne Noel-Bentley University of Otago
  • Grant Gillett University of Otago
Keywords: arts phenomenology, philosophy, cognitive neuroscience, aesthetic responsivity, phenomenology


Aesthetic responsivity and the phenomenology of arts processes reflect integrative self-world engagements, and are informative about the nature of the world and our biology in ways that are often not be made evident through scientific research. Akins’ and Hahn’s research regarding human trichromatic visual perception brings together the art of photography, neuroscience, and psychophysics, along with analyses of perspectives on vision in science and philosophy, to invoke anti-reductive, holistic understandings of how we see colour. We bring aesthetics and the phenomenology of arts processes to bear in exploring creaturely re-sponsivity to the complex inter-relational dynamics of light perception, and o˙er reflective metaphors for human engagements that challenge Darwinian utilitarian conceptions. We argue that attending to aesthetic and phenomenological aspects of experiences is essential to understanding how the shared circuits of cognition and sensory-motor engagement shape our perceptive responsive interactions.

Author Biographies

Suzanne Noel-Bentley, University of Otago
PhD Bioethics, MA, BMus
Grant Gillett, University of Otago
Bioethics Centre, Professor