In ENAMARE I will integrate research on well-founded phenomena as rhythms and entrainment in an original interdisciplinary model explaining aesthetic component of experience functionality in sense-making and engagement. Unlike past studies, I will offer a deep study of the aesthetic implication in the processes through which we reappraise the environment and ourselves. The most innovative methodological aspect of this project is the implementation of the enactive approach in a model that links agent and environment. By doing this, I follow innovative lines of research proposed in Giovanna Colombetti’s The Feeling Body: Affective Science Meets the Enactive Mind, Schiavio et al.’s Enacting musical emotions, sense-making, dynamic systems and the embodied mind or Shaun Gallagher’s Enactivist Interventions: Rethinking the Mind.

In the last years, there has been a coming together between philosophy and neurosciences to consider aesthetic as a particular component of general perception, which constrains and conditions it in everyday life. Despite its big implications, there is still a lack of models addressing this ubiquitous influence of the aesthetic. This has been acknowledge by Pearce et al. and Mark Johnson on recent papers. Most of contemporary approaches to aesthetics either still dwell exclusively with artworks, lack a robust interdisciplinary framework, or have a narrow focus. This is the gap this project intends to fill.

The three main aspects addressed in this project are the following:

1. Aesthetics and perception

In the last decades, both the scope and the methodologies of research in aesthetics have widened significantly. There is a growing interest in studying aesthetics from interdisciplinary naturalist perspectives. This trend, often referred to as neo-pragmatist, thinks of the aesthetic as involved in general interactions between embodied agents and their environment.

2. Rhythm and entrainment

In ENAMARE rhythm and entrainment will be regarded as a dyad that enacts and conveys information back and forth between agent and environment. In line with John Dewey, rhythm is to be understood as the operation through which objects and events have their effect in experience, affording us the awareness of what we are doing and undergoing. For not only time-extended events, but also apparently static objects or quotidian events as social interactions are able to convey rhythms that affect our bodily rhythms.

3. Enactive approach and dynamic systems theory

The enactive approach is part of the 4E models of cognition, which participate of the idea of perception as an emerging time extended process caused by a coupling between an agent and the environment. This stress on the temporal nature of sense-making and engagement processes typical of enactivism makes dynamical systems theory (DST) an extremely useful and synergic way to analyse cognitive processes. DST is a branch of mathematics used to study how systems maintain unity and generate patterns through reciprocal influence; that is, it seeks a flexible, time-dependent, and integrated view on processes characterizing them in their temporal evolution, not through static snapshots.