Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Semester of Degree Completion


Thesis Director

Cary I. Knoop


The purpose of this descriptive study was to give definition to aesthetic experience as an epistemological concept. The need for the study was based on the lack of continuity and focus of definition and description for aesthetic experience which has been highly diverse in the literature of aesthetics which began foremost with Baumgarten in 1750. The scope of the study focuses on: four intelligences defined as an intelligence faculty of (1) general intelligence, (2) imaginative-intelligence, (3) creative-intelligence, and (4) poetic-intelligence; two perceptual ordering capacities defined as (1) an innate aesthetic sense, and (2) an acquired aesthetic sense; and two primordial activities defined in their most elemental states as (1) primordial art activity, and (2) primordial science activity. The hypothesis of the thesis is aesthetic experience is held to be epistemological experience in its most elegant and complete state and comes about as the result of creative and poetic intelligence. Examples given of individuals who have brought about experiences which are aesthetic are Poincare, Mendel, Darwin, Thoreau, and Michelangelo. The result of the study is that the definition and description of the hypothesis can be viewed as an inclusive definition and description for all epistemological experiences held as aesthetic.