Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art for Everyone


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

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

If you missed the previous workshop (schedule here), you’re in luck! We recorded it! You can watch the whole thing below or on YouTube. The order of presentations is included below with timestamps. (Also, if you missed the first and second workshops, the videos are available here and here.)

00:00 – “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.

22:28 – 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.

43:22 – “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.

1:05:33 – “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.


Submissions & Attendance

If you’d like to submit, follow instructions at our full Call for Abstracts here. It’s a rolling deadline, since we’ll be holding a few of these. So whenever you want, submit something! You can also do so directly here.

If you’d like to attend future workshops: go here and give us your name and email. Please join us – the more the better!

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