Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art for Everyone


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Here at Aesthetics for Birds we furnish the reader with philosophical discussions of artworks and artforms that other, fussier venues dare not discuss. In 2018 alone we’ve posted on punk rock, space art, cookbooks, cosplay, and country music. Over the next few months we’ll be adding another topic to that list: tattoos.

Anyone who believes that tattoos cannot be art, or are not worthy of aesthetic attention, either doesn’t understand tattooing or doesn’t understand art. There has been extremely little philosophical work on the aesthetics of tattoos. (Eva Dadlez’s essay at Philosophy Compass is a happy exception.) We aim to change that.

Of course we (meaning, in particular, Roy) have views, and hence lots of things that we could say about the subject. But instead of doing a series of single-author posts reflecting on it, we’ve decided to adopt a format that allows a number of philosophers, and their tattoos, to speak for themselves. Thus, over the course of the next few months we will be presenting a series of interviews, focusing on the nature of and aesthetics of tattoos, with philosophers who are themselves inked. Some of these philosophers self-identify as philosophers of art, others don’t. But they all have interesting things to say.

Check back in tomorrow for the first installment!

Image credit: “One Last Stand” by Thomas Hawk via Flickr

Author: roytcook

Roy T Cook is CLA Scholar of the College and John M Dolan Professor of Philosophy at the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities. He works in the philosophy of logic, the philosophy of mathematics, and the aesthetics of popular art. He is the co-editor of The Art of Comics: A Philosophical Approach (Wiley-Blackwell 2012, w/ Aaron Meskin), The Routledge Companion to Comics (Routledge 2016, w/ Aaron Meskin & Frank Bramlett), and LEGO and Philosophy: Constructing Reality Brick By Brick (Wiley-Blackwell 2017, w/ Sondra Bacharach).

One thought on “MORE THAN SKIN DEEP

  1. hmmm. I recall these 2:
    Tattoos – Philosophy for Everyone: I Ink, Therefore I Am:

    What Lies Beneath the Ink? Tattoos and Personal Identity:


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