One of the most difficult but yet unavoidable tasks for every academic field is to define its own nature and demarcate its area. This article addresses the question of how current computational text-mining approaches can be used as tools for clarifying what aesthetics is when such approaches are combined with philosophical analyses of the field. We suggest that conjoining the two points of view leads to a fuller picture than excluding one or the other, and that such a picture is useful for the self-understanding of the discipline. Our analysis suggests that text-mining tools can find sources, relations, and trends in a new way, but it also reveals that the databases that such tools use are presently seriously limited. However, computational approaches that are still in their infancy in aesthetics will most likely gradually affect our understanding about the ontological status of the discipline and its instantiations.
- Digital humanities
- Web of Science