The Concept of Experience in Dewey’s “Art as Experience”

The concept of experience is important to be understood and discussed with a focus on a specific esthetic experience and its role in creating works of art. In his book, Dewey (2005) isolates and emphasizes experience as a key and unique concept to define art. According to the author, experience is a result of the interaction between live creatures and the aspects of the world around them (Dewey, 2005). Experience can be of an intellectual and practical nature, but an esthetic experience is emotional, and it leads to certain consummation as a product of art.

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In his work, the author defines experience in detail with reference to its connection with the aspects of humans’ lives, their intents, esthetics, and art. Thus, a human experience is created as a continuous process, which is a result of the impact of external and internal factors on people. However, not all experienced situations can lead to a productive or fulfilled experience, according to Dewey’s (2005) views. There should be an intent that stimulates a particular experience to develop in a flow of thoughts and actions to its fulfillment and the resolution of certain problems or issues. In this case, it is possible to speak about a self-sufficient experience.

The author further explains the development of experiences into the consummation of the certain intent and into a unity defining an experience of thinking and anesthetic experience. If an individual’s experience leading to the completion of actions and efforts is determined by practical and intellectual characteristics, and esthetic experience is based on emotions, but it is still influenced by an intellectual factor.

Esthetics, in combination with an artist’s efforts and intents, contributes to adding an emotional aspect to a real-life experience to develop it into the anesthetic experience. As a result, this final esthetic experience that leads to creating a piece of art can be described according to Dewey (2005) as “appreciative, perceiving, and enjoying” (p. 49). From this perspective, explaining the concept of experience, the author mainly operates the notions of esthetics, experience, and art in order to accentuate their connection and relationship.

Experiences have a distinct pattern that allows for using them in creating works of art while focusing not only on the practical usefulness of a certain experience but also on its emotional and esthetic aspects. When an artist is intended to create a piece of art, he or she refers to the unity of his practical, intellectual, and emotional experience to demonstrate his or her esthetic experience and produce something. This produced object becomes directed by a creator’s own lived experience, intent, perception, and vision of esthetics.

After reading the author’s book, it is possible to state that the concept of experience is the core in order to understand the key message of this work. Therefore, the review and analysis of this concept have been selected for demonstrating how a human experience is viewed to be productive. Furthermore, it also leads to the completion of something, its consummation or close, according to the author’s terminology.

An experience as a flow resulted from continuous interactions of people, and their environments need its resolution. In this context, an artist inspired by his or her specific experience chooses to develop this experience into an esthetic one with a focus on an emotional aspect and finally creates a piece of art.

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Dewey, J. (2005). Art as experience. London, UK: Penguin.

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"The Concept of Experience in Dewey's "Art as Experience"." StudyCorgi, 15 June 2021,

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StudyCorgi. "The Concept of Experience in Dewey's "Art as Experience"." June 15, 2021.


StudyCorgi. 2021. "The Concept of Experience in Dewey's "Art as Experience"." June 15, 2021.


StudyCorgi. (2021) 'The Concept of Experience in Dewey's "Art as Experience"'. 15 June.

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