This text presents a first attempt to define aesthetics as a variety of cognition. Due to the inaugural character of this essay it merely outlines key ideas in this regard. It maps out a territory which begins to emerge through the landmarks that delineate it and will be precisely realized in the coming years. This essay is structured in three parts. The first summarizes the main traits of a concept of cognition rooted in the theory of autopoiesis and developed in the framework of the enactive approach. In the second part, the enactive concept of cognition provides a foundation for my definition of a cognitive notion of aesthetics. The third section shows how this embodied and situated concept of aesthetics clarifies the position of aesthetic research in the context of other forms of inquiry.