Aesthetic Experience, Mimesis and Testimony

Roger W. H. Savage


In this article, I relate the demand that Paul Ricoeur suggests mimesis places on the way we think about truth to the idea that the work of art is a model for thinking about testimony. By attributing a work’s epoché of reality to the work of imagination, I resolve the impasse that arises from attributing music, literature, and art’s distance from the real to their social emancipation. Examining the conjunction, in aesthetic experience, of the communicability and the exemplarity of a work reveals how Ricoeur’s definition of mimesis as refiguration relates to the “rule” that the work summons. This “rule” constitutes the solution to a problem or question for which the work is the answer. In conclusion, as a model for thinking about testimony, the claims that works make have a counterpart in the injunctions that issue from exemplary moral and political acts.



Aesthetic experience, Mimesis, Judgment, Testimony

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Copyright (c) 2012 Roger W. H. Savage

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ISSN 2156-7808 (online)