I have read some books and papers on qualia, as it relates to philosophy of mind (by Chalmers, Block, McGinn, Amy Kind (thanks Amy!) and others) but haven't studied aesthetics at all. It seems to me that qualia is what art is all about. I mean, why do most people stand in line for hours to see the Mona Lisa? Because of what it is like to see that smile! Dickens may indeed say something practical about the ills of society, and this may be an important aspect of art, but what's more important, at least to me, is that it is "like something" to read Dickens. And the "feeling" sticks long after you've read "Bleak House," or looked at the Mona Lisa. What do philosophers have to say about qualia and art?

Philosophers definitely are interested in the role that qualia play in the aesthetic experience. There have been a bunch of articles on this (and related) subjects in The Journal of Consciousness Studies over the last few years, including a dedicated issue on "Art and the Brain." You might also look at works by Gregory Currie, Dominic Lopes, and Cynthia Freeland.

Read another response by Amy Kind
Read another response about Beauty