Art versus Science no more?

24 March 2013

In a new article published in the April issue of the journal Behavioral and Brain Sciences, philosopher Nicolas Bullot from Macquarie University, Australia and Rolf Reber from the University of Bergen, Norway, are bridging the gap between ‘art’ and ‘science’ by addressing the criticisms that have surrounded recent scientific research about art.

“The art communities have criticised scientific research into art as groundless. They argue that the historic nature of the arts cannot be explained by the universal mechanisms of art appreciation posited by scientists. We suggest that if you work within a framework that combines historical inquiry with psychological theories, productive scientific research on art becomes possible,” says Nicolas Bullot, Macquarie University

The article outlines how this approach would work using a psycho-historical program for the integrative science of art. The authors say that the key to this is to find a commonality between the two fields.

“By showing how scientists can build theories and empirical studies that take the historical nature of art into account we can demonstrate how scientific research about art appreciation is possible,” say Bullot

The controversial article is accompanied by 27 peer commentaries by scholars from different fields associated with the project of an integrative science of art, including neuroscience, psychology, cognitive archaeology, philosophy, and English literature.

“The divide between the sciences and the humanities has been going on for far too long. We hope that our psycho-historical framework will help bridge the gap between the psychological and historical approaches, and lead to an integrated science of art appreciation that accounts for what makes us love and understand good art,” says Bullot.

Article: The artful mind meets art history: Toward a psycho-historical framework for the science of art appreciation, Nicolas J. Bullot, Macquarie University, Rolf Reber, University of Bergen, Behavioral and Brain Sciences; Volume: 36 / Issue 02 /April 2013, Article first published online: 18 March 2013


Filed under: Faculty of Arts Humanities Research Science & nature Social sciences