The origin of the notion of aesthetic attitude is usually derived from I. Kant and English eighteenth-century philosphers (A. Shaftesbury, E. Burke and others). Historians of philosophy, however, have discovered that the first one to use the notion of aesthetic attitude was Arthur Schopenhauer in his work of 1818, Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung (Book III, paragraph 38). Characterizing aesthetic experience, Schopenhauer came to the conclusion that it is a contemplation in which the subject concentrates exclusively on what stands in front of him, getting immersed in the object of contemplation and leaving behind his ordinary practical attitude. The experiencing subject’s state of mental surrender to an object Schopenhauer labelled contemplation, aesthetic enjoyment, (aesthetisches Wohlgefallen), i.e., aesthetic attitude (aesthetische Betrachtungsweise). Even though there has never been a unanimity among the twentieth-century theoreticians as to the precise meaning of this notion, it has become a popular claim that “aesthetic attitude” is a key notion for aesthetic considerations and that it may become an efficient epistemological tool to separate aesthetic phenomena and define their specific nature.

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