Aesthetics for Birds

Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art for Everyone

Aesthetics for Distant Birds, Workshop #3: Program, “More Birds, More Distant”



Aesthetics for Distant Birds:
An Online Workshop Series
Third Meeting – “More Birds, More Distant”

Co-organizers: Tom Cochrane, Aaron Meskin, Jonathan Neufeld, Thi Nguyen, and Alex King (that’s me)

Thanks to everyone who submitted! We had a bunch of great submissions – and just because a paper hasn’t been selected for this round doesn’t mean that you won’t be selected for the next.

The “theme” for the third workshop is “More Birds, More Distant,” because we’ll be holding it at an unusual time to allow for the very distant birds in Asia and Australasia!

It will take place at 9:00 pm Eastern Daylight Time on July 22, i.e., next Wednesday.


As a reminder, each session will consist of a (strict) 10-minute presentation and a (strict) 10-minute Q&A.

9:00 pm – start

9:05 pm – “Self-Report: An Unstable Foundation for Aesthetic Theorising”
Justine Kingsbury (University of Waikato)

Abstract: Aesthetic theorising often takes as a starting point first-person reports of responses to artworks or to other aesthetically interesting objects. Such reports are also used as a test of a theory: if the theory has implications for how most or all viewers will respond to a particular thing, and viewers report not having that response, that tells against the theory. In this talk I use two debates in aesthetics to illustrate this use of self-report – a debate about musical expressiveness and emotional responses to music, and a debate about aesthetic responses to nature. I will argue that self-report is an unstable foundation for aesthetic theorising. I conclude by considering some alternatives.

9:25 pm – Show and Tell Session: “Insulting Architecture”
Helen Daly (Colorado College)

Abstract: A well-designed building is both functional and beautiful, often gracefully combining these ends with innovative design features that fit its particular spatial constraints with aesthetic sensitivity and creativity. One way to get a sense of the intersecting demands of function and beauty is to examine how a building can go wrong. Here, I will consider a particularly distressing path to failure: insulting architecture. I contend that when a person or group of people must live in spaces shaped by a building ill-suited to them, the building itself may stand as an ongoing insult.

9:45 pm – “Normative Theories of Art and the Diversity of Art”
Keito Iwakiri (Independent Scholar,

Abstract: I argue that a normative theory of art has an apparent tension with the diversity of art. Based on the so-called charge from psychology, Morris Weitz’s open concept argument has been reinterpreted as claiming that a normative theory of art that stipulates what concept we should use is more fruitful than a descriptive one. However, I argue that non-Western art poses a problem to a normative theory as long as it deals with our concepts of art. In particular, it can’t do justice to the difference between Western and non-Western concepts of art.

10:05 pm – “Interpreting Titles”
Szu-Yen Lin (Chinese Culture University)

Abstract: In analytic aesthetics, the intentionalist debate is about whether the author’s intention is relevant to the interpretation of her work. In the meantime, many participants in the debate also hold that the title of a work is partly constitutive of work-meaning. In this paper I argue that there is a parallel debate over intention and interpretation at the level of titles and that if titles are in fact constitutive of work-meaning then the problem of interpreting titles should be resolved before we consider the problem of interpreting works.

10:25 pm – wrap-up
10:30 pm – end

Previous Workshops: “Aesthetics, Ethics, and Politics” and “High, Middle, and Low”

If you missed the previous workshops, you’re in luck! We recorded them, and they’re available here (#1) and here (#2).

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