Beauty from a Pragmatist and Somaesthetic Perspective: A Conversation with Richard Shusterman

  • Falk Heinrich Aalborg University
  • Stefano Marino


Richard Shusterman is an American pragmatist philosopher, currently Dorothy F. Schmidt Eminent Scholar in the Humanities, Professor of Philosophy and English, and Director of the “Center for Body, Mind, and Culture” at Florida Atlantic University (FAU). Shusterman is mostly known for his contributions in the field of pragmatist aesthetics and the emerging field of somaesthetics. Among the main topics of his original development of a pragmatist philosophical perspective one can mention experience (and aesthetic experience, in particular), the definition of art, the question of interpretation, the philosophical defense of the value and significance of popular art (in comparison to the frequent devaluation of the latter by many philosophers and intellectuals), the revaluation of the idea of philosophy as an art of living, and finally the strong emphasis of the role of the body in most (or perhaps all) human practices, activities and experiences. This deep concern for embodiment led to his proposing the field of somaesthetics, and eventually to the existence of The Journal of Somaesthetics, of which he is one of the founding editors. Since pragmatist aesthetics is one of the leading trends in contemporary aesthetics, and since beauty is one of the guiding concepts of all research in aesthetics since its foundation with Baumgarten and Kant until today, we thought it would be interesting to ask Shusterman about the role that beauty played in his philosophical thought and in his vision of somaesthetics.