Rethinking Veridicality: Motor Response, Empirical Evidence, and Dance Appreciation

Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 81 (1):57-68 (2023)
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Recent debates in the philosophy of dance have focused on the relationship between motor response and dance appreciation. Some philosophers argue that motor responses to dances are an important part of dance appreciation. Proponents of such a claim are often backed with support from cognitive science. But it has not remained uncontroversial. Despite its controversy, the concept of motor response remains under-analyzed. As a result, assumptions about the idea and purpose of motor response get borrowed from cognitive science. I argue that one such assumption, that motor response is supposed to be veridical, runs us into several problems. It runs us into something of a paradox, where it is claimed that motor responses happen as part of our general perception of movement. However, few people experience such responses. Furthermore, it seems that the motor responses that are appropriate for a dance might not be the ones the dancer is feeling. As a result, we should prefer an account of motor response that emphasizes its flexibility and its ability to change and adapt to the movement we see.



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Representation and make-believe.Alan H. Goldman - 1990 - Inquiry: Critical Thinking Across the Disciplines 36 (3):335 – 350.
Aphantasia, imagination and dreaming.Cecily M. K. Whiteley - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 178 (6):2111-2132.
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Understanding Dance.Graham Mcfee - 1993 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 51 (4):644-646.

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