Structural understanding vs. emotional connection


Question: Is there a line of philosophical thought or a named theory/area-of-inquiry that deals with the phenomenon of a person perceiving/believing that appreciation for an event/topic/item decreases as a formal, intellectualized understanding for the event/topic/item increases?

Example/clarification: A person might feel as though their appreciation for a rock song, with which they have a very strong visceral reaction, is somehow tainted by learning that there is a tonal, possibly evolutionary reason for it being structured the way it is and having the impact that it does. This hypothetical person would argue that some things in the world are made to be appreciated only on an emotional level and are ruined by trying to quantify or explain them in any sort of concrete, scientific terms.


Posted 2011-09-18T14:49:10.150

Reputation: 13

Question was closed 2016-01-25T18:48:09.997

2Is this really a philosophical question, or a psychological one? If there has been writing about this phenomenon, I suspect it will be found in the psychological literature, and not the philosophical. – Michael Dorfman – 2011-09-18T18:17:22.737



I'm not sure there's a single word for that precise idea, but I would first begin by looking into the general idea of aesthetics in philosophy, which by itself is a huge field with a great deal of literature. Find out what makes people appreciate things in the first place.

Denis Dutton, for example, writes about the qualities that make an particular piece of art aesthetically appealing, and you could start there by identifying what makes a person appreciate something, which would then give insight as to why that appreciation might lessen as they learn more about the concept.

There are also some interesting articles that come up from googling "aesthetic depreciation" like this one on Emotion and Aesthetic value.


Posted 2011-09-18T14:49:10.150

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2Thanks for the help -- those articles were super interesting. I'll definitely dig into some general aesthetics! – Smovies – 2011-09-19T02:21:35.557