Prof. Yuriko Saito—The Role of Imperfection in Everyday Aesthetics


The Role of Imperfection in Everyday Aesthetics

Yuriko Saito (Rhode Island School of Design)

The aesthetic norm of ‘perfection’ is a culturally-constructed standard against which various objects’ aesthetic values are gauged. The aesthetic appeal of perfect objects tends to overshadow the potential aesthetic value of imperfect objects that are considered to be defective or deficient. This not only impoverishes our aesthetic lives but also leads to some serious environmental and social consequences. Thus, we need to cultivate an aesthetic sensibility to appreciate imperfection in our everyday experience.

Such an aesthetic sensibility, however, should not be applied indiscriminately. As newly emerging ‘negative aesthetics’ indicates, in some cases it is critically important to maintain the negative assessment of imperfection, as it may indicate a need for corrective actions.

Illustrated by many examples, this presentation explores the aesthetic experience, both positive and negative, of imperfection.


Brief bio

Yuriko Saito, born and raised in Japan, received her PhD in philosophy from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and is Professor of Philosophy at the Rhode Island School of Design, USA. Her research areas are everyday aesthetics, Japanese aesthetics, and environmental aesthetics. She has presented her work widely, including Finland, The Netherlands, China, as well as within the United States. Her writing is included in numerous journals, anthologies, and encyclopedias. Her Everyday Aesthetics was published by Oxford University Press (2007) and its sequel, Aesthetics of the Familiar: Everyday Life and World-Making is forthcoming from OUP in the spring of 2017. In addition to serving as an editorial consultant for a number of journals on aesthetics and environmental ethics, she works as Associate Editor of the first free-access, peer-reviewed, online journal on aesthetics, Contemporary Aesthetics.

Here is a link to Prof. Saito’s CV.



This conference is supported by JSPS Kakenhi grant number 16K02109.


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