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date: 17 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Gustav Fechner, the founding father of empirical aesthetics, was the first to suggest that multiple methods should be used when approaching any aesthetic phenomenon empirically. He introduced the methods of production, use, and choice and laid out why they should typically be used in combination. While the method of choice is widely used today, the other two remain somewhat neglected, to the detriment of the field, as is argued here. Fechner’s other key contribution to empirical aesthetics is the distinction between “aesthetics from above” (which is purely theoretical) and “aesthetics from below” (which is guided by empirical research). One example of the application of aesthetics from below is research on the golden section, which is discussed here in connection with Fechner’s three proposed methods. The relevance of Fechner’s methods for research today is discussed.

Keywords: Method of production, method of choice, method of use, golden ratio, aesthetics from below, empirical aesthetics, Gustav Fechner

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