Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Jessica Berry

Second Advisor

Sebastian Rand


Arthur Schopenhauer defends the view that aesthetic experience is disinterested and objective. Traditionally, this view is taken to mean that aesthetic experience involves the suspension of all affective states and a passive attitude toward the object of contemplation. However, A. E. Denham argues that Schopenhauer’s view is more complex than traditionally thought. In particular, she claims that he sees aesthetic experience as involving passionate and active engagement with the object of contemplation. In this paper, I argue that a close reading of Schopenhauer’s texts reveals that the traditional view is better supported than Denham’s. In addition, I consider some objections to Schopenhauerian disinterestedness and objectivity that highlight the extremity of his view in a way that Denham’s interpretation fails to appreciate.