Aesthetics for Birds

Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art for Everyone

Southern Aesthetics Workshop X Aesthetics for Birds [Full Video]



An Online Workshop

Organized by Alex King, Aaron Meskin, Jonathan Neufeld, and Elizabeth Scarbrough

Recently, Aesthetics for Birds joined forces with the Southern Aesthetics Workshop (a regional philosophy of art workshop based in the Southern United States) to bring you a new online installment. If you missed it, you’re in luck! We recorded it, and you can watch below or on YouTube. Talk descriptions and their timestamps are below.

In the mood for more? See earlier workshops here or on our YouTube page.


00:00 – “Robust Moderate Moralism”
Craig K. Agule (Rutgers University – Camden)

Abstract: What should we make of cases of morally problematic but otherwise apparently beautiful artworks? Do moral flaws make for aesthetic flaws? I argue that our moral reactions have essential perceptual and interpretive elements and that those elements can provide a straightforward, non-foundational, and genre-independent account of aesthetic moralism. We should thus not be surprised if moral flaws make for aesthetic flaws. I also consider a different puzzle for aesthetic moralism, cases where a moral flaw seems tied to an aesthetic virtue, showing that this is possible, but that the ordinary examples are problematic. In both sorts of these cases, I show the aesthetically explanatory power of our fitting moral responses, buttressing the case for aesthetic moralism. We are not prudes or unsophisticated if we find the morally ugly aesthetically ugly, as moral matters and moral responses are proper grist for the aesthetic critic.

29:43 – “The ‘Crack in the Voice’ and Joe Turner Blues”
Jeanette Bicknell (Independent Scholar & ASA Ombudsperson)

Abstract: Great art has been created under conditions of immense suffering and social injustice. What is less clear is how responsively and sensitively to make sense of and appreciate such art. I offer some reflections on the challenge of appreciating African American music, and my central example is the song, “Joe Turner Blues.”  I outline two approaches to these questions (Arlene Croce and Fred Moten) before offering my own suggestions.

54:38 – “Truth in Interactive Fiction”
Alex Fisher (University of Cambridge)

Abstract: Interactive fictions contain many possible fictions or “branches”, with each playthrough presenting just one. How can we discuss or even review works when experiences can differ so radically? I propose that we infer truths from other branches, similar to how fictional truths are imported  from reality. Further, this explains one form of narrative dissonance unique to interactive fiction.

Thanks to everyone who presented and attended this series!

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