Philosophy of Art / Aesthetics
INSTRUCTOR: WILLIAM IRWIN, Ph.D. EXT. 5493. firstname.lastname@example.org
OFFICE HOURS: HAFEY-MARIAN 509 M&W 1-4:00, Tu&Th 3:30-4:50, and by appointment.
Prerequisite: Core 280 or Honors 280. Students who have not taken Core 280 or Honors 280 will not be permitted to take this course.
Satisfies Requirements: Phil 372 fulfills elective credit requirements for Philosophy Majors and Minors.
Course Description: This course will be a discussion-driven, issues and problems-based survey of Aesthetics. Topics we shall discuss include the nature of art, the aesthetic, aesthetic evaluation, meaning, beauty, the sublime, tragedy, and horror. Although we shall draw on classic philosophers such as Plato, Aristotle, Hume, Kant, Nietzsche, and Dewey, we shall draw equally on contemporary philosophers such as Beardsley, Carroll, Cohen, and Danto.
Objectives: Students will develop and refine the ability to offer criticism of philosophical positions, and will develop the ability to form their own educated positions on philosophical issues. Students will gain new insight into the issues and questions surveyed, and will pursue an independent project on a book not covered in class.
Aesthetics: The Big Questions, edited by Carolyn Korsmeyer. (K)
GRADES TO BE DETERMINED AS FOLLOWS:
MIDTERM EXAM 30% (ESSAY)
FINAL EXAM 30% (ESSAY)
TERM PAPER 30%
Midterm and Final exams. Essay questions exactly as they will appear on the exam will be given in advance of the exam. Essays will ask for exposition of a topic, criticism of views discussed, and your argument for your position on the topic in question.
I. AESTHETIC EVALUATION
A. “Beauty” handout.
B. Melchionne, “Artistic Dropouts,” K 98-103.
C. Hume “Of the Standard of Taste,” K 137-150.
D. Ducasse “Criticism as Appraisal,” handout.
E. Bordieu “Distinction,” K 150-155.
F. Cohen, “High and Low Thinking about High and Low Art,” K 171-177.
II. THE SUBLIME
A. Poe, “A Descent into the Maelström,” K 244-255.
B. Burke, “[T]he Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and the Beautiful,” K 255-264.
C. Kant, “Analytic of the Sublime,” K 264-272.
A.“Choral Ode from Oedipus at Colonus,” K 230.
B. Aristotle, Poetics, K 231-236.
C. Nietzsche, The Birth of Tragedy, K 236-242.
A. Carroll, “The Philosophy of Horror,” K 274-283.
B. Freeland, “Realist Horror,” K 283-292.
V. WHAT DOES IT MEAN?
A. Foucault, “What Is an Author?” K 324-332; Barthes, “The Death of the Author” handout.
B. Wimsatt and Beardsley, “The Intentional Fallacy,” handout.
C. Baxandall, “Truth and Other Cultures,” K 338-344.
D. Carroll, “Art, Intention, and Conversation,” handout.
E. Hirsch, “Meaning and Significance,” handout.
VI. WHAT IS ART? REPRESENTATION
A. “Analysing Concepts,” C 7-11.
B.“Art as Representation,” C 19-33.
C. Danto, “The Artworld,” K 33-44.
D. “What is Representation?” C 33-49.
VII. WHAT IS ART? EXPRESSION AND FORM
A. “Art as Expression,” C 59-79.
B. “What is Expression?” C 79-105.
C. “Art as Form,” C 108-136.
D. “What is Form?” C 137-153; watch “Who the F#%* is Jackson Pollock?”
VIII. WHAT IS ART? THE AESTHETIC
A. Dewey, “The Live Creature,” K 12-18.
B. Stolnitz, “The Aesthetic Attitude,” K 78-83.
C. Brand, “Disinterestedness and Political Art,” K 155-168.
D.“Aesthetic Theories of Art,” C 156-182.
E. “The Aesthetic Dimension,” C 182-203.
IX. WHAT IS ART? A FAMILY RESEMBLANCE
A. Anderson, “Calliope’s Sisters,” K 19-30.
B. “Against Definition,” C 206- 224.
C. Irwin, “Art and the Aesthetic: A Neo-Wittgensteinian Account,” handout.
X. WHAT IS ART? ALTERNATIVES
A. “Institutional Theory of Art,” C 224-239.
B. “Defining Art Historically,” C. 240-249.
C. “Identifying Art,” C 249-266.
*Time Permitting: Discussion and presentation of term papers.