Aesthetics and economics, both born as scientific disciplines in the 18th century, have represented polarized and mutually exclusive realms of experience for a long time. The disinterestedness traditionally ascribed to the ideal dimension of the aesthetic has symmetrically paralleled the direct instrumentality that has typically connoted the practical dimension of the economic. Yet, today, this oppositional relationship is greatly confuted by the constant redefinition of their actual traits. Both aesthetics and economics, in fact, are no longer fields in which “ideal” and “practical” modes of experience are exclusively and respectively carried out: it is as naïve to claim that focused and disinterested contemplation is the distinctive feature of aesthetic experience as it is unthinkable to maintain that use value is the value which orientates current market dynamics. “Capitalisme artiste” (Lipovetsky and Serroy 2013) and “Ästhetischer Kapitalismus” (Böhme 2016) are only two of the most recent labels coined to describe a coupling that is proving to be increasingly inextricable. Thus it can be said that the relationship between aesthetics and economics went from being polarized to being circular. A reconciliation that both qualifies the aesthetic as a fundamental factor in the valorisation processes which are typical of economic activity and allows the economic to diversify and to make gratifying (hence aesthetic) aspects of experience explicit and accessible. Not least it is noteworthy that these two fields borrow models and motifs from each other and employ them in their own practices. On the one hand current forms of management and organization are guided by artistic-aesthetic principles, on the other hand it is quite common for artistic-aesthetic production to incorporate managerial components into its articulation. And in both of them the paradigm and the decisive role of creativity is reconsidered as the specific trait of our age (see Reckwitz 2013). This issue includes contributions on the topic of the relationship between aesthetics and economics addressed thrpugh the lens of various philosophical lines of research such as: - an “empirical-experimental” line carrying out an analysis of phenomena in which the centrality of emotional and cognitive responses of the subjects in experience is emphasized, using methodologies typical of psychology and neuroscience; - a German neo-phenomenological line in its “critical” connotation (Critical Theory) and partly a French phenomenological line; - an “analytical-empirical” line in which an analysis is carried out from a more immediately practical-concrete point of view (i.e. organiza- tional); the label “analytical-empirical” underlines the attention paid to the concreteness of phenomena by these contributions, but under- stood as conceptual analysis; - a speculative-dialectic line, which tends to be problematizing and convoluted; - a Kantian line, indicated by the almost ethereal and abstract clarity which is typical of formalism.
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