Ineffability, aesthetic experience and affective effects

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


For reasons we do not really understand, art continues to pervade human culture (Kolaiti 2015; 2019; 2020; McCallum and Mitchell 2021); humans allocate energy and attention towards artistic phenomena and stimuli. According to relevance theory (Sperber & Wilson 1986/1995), the interpretation of intended meaning is built on a balanced relationship between effort and cognitive effects: the less processing effort required, the more cognitive effects are gained. These two factors make a stimulus relevant. In the case of artworks, it seems that something different occurs. Art appreciation results in aesthetic experiences, mental and physical states that observers find themselves in when triggered by a work of art. During these aesthetic experiences, memories and affective states might be evoked. These experiences are the result of what Fodor (2012) refers to as a conceptual connection between the observer and the artwork. I believe, that these aesthetic
experiences are a combination of propositional and non-propositional effects: cognitive effects and affective effects. The aim of this paper is to explore how the theoretical tool of affective effects (Wharton & Strey 2019; Saussure & Wharton 2020; Wharton et al. 2021; Wharton & Saussure 2023) is linked to the interpretation of art and aesthetic experiences.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages2
Publication statusPublished - 22 May 2024
EventInternational symposium on cognitive , intercultural and social pragmatics - Universidad Pablo de Olavide , Seville, Spain
Duration: 22 May 202424 May 2024
Conference number: XI


ConferenceInternational symposium on cognitive , intercultural and social pragmatics
Abbreviated titleEPICS
Internet address


  • ineffability
  • Relevance theory
  • aesthetic experience
  • Affective effects


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