Open Access

A Husserlian Approach to Aesthetic Experience: Existential Disinterest and Axiological Interest


As early as 1905, Husserl made clear that, when it comes to aesthetic consideration, our “interest” is not directed toward the existence of the object as such, but rather toward the object’s way of appearance. Husserl’s famous letter to Hofmannsthal (1907) goes as far as to suggest that any existential concerns are potentially even a menace to the purity of aesthetic experience. This position clearly echoes Kant’s account of aesthetic judgment presented in the third Critique, notably as regards the notion of disinterestedness. However, this is not tantamount to claiming that aesthetic attitude implies the suspension of all interest: this paper aims to show that it would be more appropriate to discuss it in terms of a change of interest: from an existential interest to an axiological one.