AESTHETICS FOR BIRDS

Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art for Everyone


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KENNETH WaALDEN WINS THE INAUGURAL DANTO/ASA PRIZE!

Military Symbols 1, Marsden Hartley, ca. 1913–14, Charcoal on paper, 24 1/4 x 18 1/4 in., The MET

The American Philosophical Association and the American Society for Aesthetics are pleased to announce that Professor Kenneth Walden (Dartmouth College) has been selected as the winner of the inaugural Arthur Danto/American Society for Aesthetics Prize for his paper, “Art and Moral Revolution.”

The Danto/ASA Prize, in the amount of $1,000, is awarded to a member of the APA and the ASA for the best paper in the field of aesthetics, broadly understood. In addition, a symposium in honor of the recipient of the prize is held at the APA Eastern Division meeting, normally the next such meeting following the selection of the prize winner. This prize is in honor of the late Arthur Danto, a past president of the APA Eastern Division.

Walden is assistant professor of philosophy at Dartmouth College. His areas of expertise are ethics, epistemology, Kant, and aesthetics. He received his Ph.D. from MIT. Walden has published in the Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, Ethics, Philosophical Studies, and Oxford Studies in Metaethics, with two articles forthcoming at other journals.

The chair of the selection committee said, “Works of art can effect incremental tweaks to our moral concepts or patterns of moral response. Kenneth Walden’s “Art and Moral Revolution” contends that art sometimes goes further, transforming frameworks of moral thought. In the spirit of Arthur Danto, in whose memory this prize is given, Walden advances an ambitious and far-reaching argument through insightful redescriptions of Wagnerian opera and the provocative street performances of the Cynics.”

Original post: http://blog.apaonline.org/2017/06/21/kenneth-walden-wins-the-inaugural-dantoasa-prize/


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ASA 75TH ANNUAL MEETING PRELIMINARY PROGRAM NOW AVAILABLE

The 75th Annual Meeting of the American Society for Aesthetics will be held in New Orleans November 15-18, 2017.

Check out the preliminary program PDF: ASA Preliminary Meeting Program

George Overbury “Pop” Hart, Springtime, New Orleans, 1925, Lithograph;
The MET

REGISTRATION:

  • Early-bird registration is available on-line through October 15.
  • To register on-line (with a credit card), click the red REGISTER button on this page.
  • To receive the discounted ASA member rates, please log into the ASA site FIRST.
  • To mail in registration (with a check), use this form.
  • Early-bird deadline for mail-in registration: postmark by October 10

Everyone on the  program (as a presenter, panelist, commentator, or chair) MUST register for the meeting and MUST be a member of the ASA.

The Wollheim Lecturer at this meeting will be Professor Derek Matravers, Open University, UK.

The ASA will provide:

Highlights:


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CONGRATS TO THE WINNERS OF THE 2017 APA CURRICULUM DIVERSIFICATION GRANTS

ca. 1885, Made in New York, United States, Silk, satin, velvet, and cotton, credit: The Met

The American Society for Aesthetics is pleased to announce the winners of the 2017 Curriculum Diversification Grant competition:

Chris Jenkins, Associate Dean for Academic Support, Oberlin Conservatory
Project:  The Aesthetics of African-American Classical Music
Erich Hatala Matthes, Assistant Professor, Wellesley College
Project: Art and Cultural Heritage
Rossen Ventzislavov, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Woodbury University
Project: The Aesthetics of Performance Art
CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL OF THE WINNERS!!!

Each will receive a grant of $5,000 to prepare the proposed diversity curriculum. These will be posted on the ASA web site in September 2017. This is a project of the ASA Diversity Committee, chaired by Thi Nguyen.

To see the final curricula of the 2015 and 2016 winners, click here.


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ARTHUR DANTO ASA PRIZE – DEADLINE 5/31

The Arthur Danto/American Society for Aesthetics Prize will be awarded to a member of the APA and the ASA for the best paper in the field of aesthetics, broadly understood, in a refereed journal, or an original book chapter or original essay published in a collection with a multiplicity of contributors. This prize is in honor of the late Arthur Danto, a past president of the APA Eastern Division.

Arthur C. Danto, Head, 1957, woodcut,
15”x18.25”. Photo: Liz Murphy Thomas.

The winner receives a $1,000 prize. In addition, a symposium in honor of the recipient of the prize is held at the APA Eastern Division meeting, normally the next such meeting following the selection of the prizewinner.

The nomination deadline is May 31, 2017.

Nominees must be members of both the APA and the ASA in the year of the nomination. For the inaugural award, nominated papers must have been published in 2015 or 2016. Nominations must be from a person who is a member of both the APA and the ASA at the time of nomination. Self-nominations are not permitted. To submit a nomination, fill out the Danto/ASA Prize nomination form.

We look forward to receiving your nominations!

 


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WORKSHOP IN AESTHETICS AND COGNITIVE SCIENCE

The American Society for Aesthetics is providing $4000 to support the Workshop in Aesthetics and Cognitive Science at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, June 28, 2017. The Workshop is being held in conjunction with the 2017 meeting of the Society of Philosophy and Psychology (SPP) June 28-July 1.

Miraculous Landing, or the “112!”, Paul Klee, Watercolor, transferred printing ink, and ink on paper mounted on cardboard, 1920, The Met

Funding for the workshop is also being provided by the Neuroaesthetics Initiative of Johns Hopkins’ Brain Science Institute (BSI) and by the Johns Hopkins Humanities Institute (JHU HI).

The organizers are Steven Gross (Johns Hopkins, Philosophy) and Mohan Matthen (University of Toronto, Philosophy). The workshop will consist of three invited symposia (on art and skill, art and pleasure, and creativity), with four speakers each; a general roundtable discussion; a dance performance and discussion; a closing reception; and a poster session.

Wednesday, June 28 – Saturday, July 1, 2017

Johns Hopkins University

Keynote Speakers:

Brit Brogaard, Peter Godfrey-Smith, Alison Gopnik, and Dan Schacter

Invited Symposia:

Bayesianism in Cognitive Science and Neuroscience

Edouard Machery, Michael Rescorla, Richard Samuels, and Fei Xu

Consciousness and Introspection

Elizabeth Irving, Hakwan Lau, Michael Shadlen, and Wayne Wu

Race, Language, and Social Identity

Luvell Anderson, Anthony Burrow, Ron Mallon, and Marjorie Rhodes

Testimony and Collective Memory

Alin Coman, Bryce Huebner, Jennifer Lackey, and Melissa Koenig

There will also be addresses by SPP President Shaun Nichols and the winner of the 2017 Stanton Prize, which is awarded to a leading young interdisciplinary researcher. The William James Prize will be awarded for the best student submission, and attendees will vote on the best poster for the SPP Poster Prize.

SPP has established a fund devoted to increasing diversity within the society. Eligible student presenters are invited to apply for travel awards when submitting via Easy Chair. Travel awards are to be used to cover conference-related expenses, including transportation, lodging, food, and conference registration. A limited number of additional graduate student travel awards will also be allocated.

A pre-conference workshop, co-sponsored by the American Society for Aesthetics, is scheduled for Wednesday, June 28, on Cognitive Science and Aesthetics. Speakers:

-art and pleasure: Mohan Matthen, Paul Bloom, Ed Connor, and Dmitri Tymoczko

-art and skill (perceptual): Diana Raffman and Dustin Stokes

-art and skill (performance): Emma Gregory, Mike McCloskey, and Barbara Landau; and Barbara Gail Montero

-creativity: Dan Schacter, Peter Carruthers, Anjan Chatterjee, and Elisabeth Camp

There will also be a general discussion, led by Jerry Levinson, and a dance performance by Barbara Gail Montero and Gregory Kolarus of “Echolocation”, with music composed by Dmitri Tymoczko. Note: submissions concerning cognitive science and aesthetics that are accepted for poster presentation will be included in the first poster session, the evening of the workshop.

Inquiries about the meeting should be directed to the Program Committee Chairs: Steven Gross <mailto:sgross11@jhu.edu> and Tamar Kushnir <tk397@cornell.edu>. Inquiries about the local arrangements should be directed to the Local Arrangements Chair Steven Gross.


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100 PHILOSOPHERS 100 ARTWORKS 100 WORDS #64

Philosopher: Kọ́lá Abímbọ́lá, (Howard University)

Artwork(s): Ostrich Ethics (i) painting by OrisaWorld Foundation (May 5th, 2017), (II) Odù Ifá poem by the Yorùbá of West Africa (date unknown), (iii) Òrìṣà Music recording by Kọ́lá Abímbọ́lá (May 5th, 2017).


Painting by OrisaWorld Foundation (May 5th, 2017)


Odù Ifá poem


Kọ́lá Abímbọ́lá performs Ifá Kíkí:


 

Words: “Artistic expression” is often erroneously taken to mean individualist visual forms that are created by the skill and imagination of nameable and identifiable persons. Ostrich Ethics, however, is multifaceted, it is: individualistic and communal; holistic and piecemeal; intellectual and emotional; oral and written; art for art sake as well as heuristics for living; and it is still very much an art form. Or rather, since there are various facets to the work, they are still very much art forms.


Details/Further Information Regarding Ostrich Ethics:

  1. The painting Ostrich Ethics is a rendition of an elegant big bird. It is pleasing to the eye.
  2. Ostrich Ethics is also a poem from Odù Ifá, which is the sacred scriptures of Òriṣà Religion. The denominations of Òrìṣà Religion include: Ìṣẹ̀ṣe, Candomblé, Santería, Lukumi, Ṣàngó Baptists, and many others. There about 500 million practitioners of Òrìṣà Religion all over the world.
  3. Ifá poems are used in Ifá divination as exemplars of ìwà (positive virtues to emulate and negative character traits to avoid).
  4. Odù Ifá has 256 Odù (“Books”) and each Odù has 800 poems, making a grand total of 204,800 poems. Each poem has eight parts: four parts are compulsory in the sense that they must always be rendered exactly in Yorùbá word for word; the optional parts need not be included and, when rendered, they can be performed in various ways.
  5. I have captured the beauty of the compulsory parts of this poem in written form above; and both compulsory and optional parts as Òrìṣà Music, which is a mixture of indigenous Yorùbá music with jazz, hip-hop, and funk—accompanied by percussion and vocal styles.
  6. Each poem is, therefore, an art form that can be appreciated primarily for its beauty or emotional power.

In 2005 UNESCO proclaimed the Ifá Divination System of West Africa as one the sixteen Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritages of Humanity.


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WORKSHOP: THE ARTS AND IMAGINATION

JULY 3rd – 6th, 2017  •  ADELAIDE, SOUTH AUSTRALIA

@ the University of Adelaide & the Art Gallery of South Australia

http://artsense.edu.au/workshop-2017/

“Emma Van Name”, Joshua Johnson, oil on canvas, 1805, The Met

The American Society for Aesthetics is pleased to co-sponsor “Workshop: The Arts and Imagination: the role of metaphors, tropes and images in shaping experience and guiding action.”

The initial segment of this project was conducted in San Francisco at the meetings of the American Philosophical Association-Pacific Division in April 2016.

Principal funding for the conference has been provided by the Australian Research Council, with an additional $7,000 provided by the ASA.

The 2017 portion of the project will occur at the University of Adelaide and Art Gallery of SA July 4-6, 2017. The ASA is supporting the costs of videostreaming of the events so they can be viewed worldwide. ASA funding also will support a travel grant of up to $2000 for the best paper submitted by a graduate student or untenured faculty who does not otherwise have access to travel funds for this meeting. This travel grant is only available to an ASA member.

CONGRATULATIONS to Eleen Deprez, University of Kent, for winning the ASA travel grant to present her work at the Workshop on The Arts and Imagination.


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ASA STUDENT TRAVEL GRANTS TO CONFERENCE ON RACE, ART AND AESTHETICS

The Board of Trustees of the American Society for Aesthetics has approved $7,000 in funding to support the conference on “Exploring Beauty and Truth in World of Color: Race, Art and Aesthetics in the 21st Century.” The conference, organized by Professor Charles Peterson, will be held at Oberlin College September 29-30, 2017. The ASA Trustees also approved an additional $1,000 to support travel by ASA student members to attend the conference. The conference will be free and open to the public.

KEYNOTE ADDRESS: Kymberly Pinder (University of New Mexico)

FASHION

  • Siobhan Carter-David (University of Southern Connecticut)
  • Monica Miller (Barnard College)
  • Christina Moon (New School-Parsons)

TECHNOLOGY

  • Sam Liao (University of Puget Sound)
  • Mariana Ortega (John Carroll University)

AFRO-FUTURISM

  • RaShelle Peck (Oberlin College)
  • Meredith Gadsby (Oberlin College)

HUMOR

  • Gillian Johns (Oberlin College)
  • Luvell Anderson (University of Memphis)
  • Lissa Skiltolsky (Susquehanna University)

VISUAL ARTS (Film)

  • Dan Flory (University of Montana)
  • Matt Strohl (University of Montana)
  • V. Denise James (University of Dayton)

VISUAL ARTS (Material Arts)

  • Nkiru Nzegwu (Binghamton University)
  • Ivan Gaskell (Bard Graduate Center)

MUSIC

  • Fredara Hadley (Oberlin College Conservatory)
  • Chris Jenkins (Oberlin College Conservatory)
  • Aaron Meskin (University of Leeds)

THEATER

  • Justin Emeka (Oberlin College)
  • Harvey Young (Northwestern University)
  • Caroline Jackson-Smith (Oberlin College)

PEDAGOGY

  • Monique Roelofs (Hampshire College)
  • Mariana Ortega (John Carroll)
  • Meilin Chinn (University of Santa Clara)

The conference aims to take part in the growing movement to examine the role of race and ethnicity in the production of various arts and in aesthetic experience, appreciation, and judgment (where these are construed broadly to include popular culture and many aspects of everyday experience, as well as their appreciation and other aesthetic engagement with them). Race, Art and Aesthetics aims to go beyond the racial binary of Black/White to include the complexity of race and aesthetics in a multi-ethnic, multi-racial society. With this in mind, scholars are included who will discuss Jewish, East-Asian, and Latino/a perspectives, as well as African and African-American expressions.

The general approach for the conference is deeply interdisciplinary. This conference brings together both scholars from a wide range of fields – such as critical race studies, literature, film studies, English, Studio Art, Art History, History, African and African American Studies, Ethno-musicology, Fashion Studies and Comparative Literature and practitioners in these fields – with an eye toward examining the production, consumption, and appreciation of various art forms. Interdisciplinarity is also manifest within the more narrow field of philosophical aesthetics in the sense that Continental and broadly analytic perspectives are brought into conversation with one another. These various perspectives, positions, methodologies and approaches will create a gumbo of thought and discussion.

For a complete list of grants funded by the ASA in recent years:

http://aesthetics-online.org/resource/resmgr/Files/GrantsPrizes/Grants_awarded.pdf

For newly updated guidelines for ASA Major Project Initiative Grants:

http://aesthetics-online.org/?page=majorgrants


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NARROWING THE FIELD: THE FATE OF GENIUS IN THE AGE OF THE READYMADE

Philosopher John Rapko reviews recently published Art in the Making: Artists and their Materials from the Studio to Crowdsourcing by Glenn Adamson and Julia Bryan-Wilson


A peculiar characteristic of contemporary art is that it is accompanied by an enormous amount of talk from artists, curators, and academics about its distinctive features, both what they are and what they should be. A widely shared assumption of such talk is that contemporary art is marked by the acceptance of Marcel Duchamp’s invention of the readymade as an art-making strategy. A readymade is not so much made as chosen: the artist starts with an idea or concept, and then chooses some object to which the idea is attached. The artist’s creative activity is focused on articulating the idea and scanning the world for a suitable vehicle. How, then, could such a narrow conception of artistic activity give rise to the great range of practices in contemporary art?

In order to indicate the scope of artistic making in contemporary art, the authors introduce the term ‘production’. For them the term is extraordinarily capacious; it comprises what is traditionally called the ‘creative process’ (a phrase that does not occur in the book) of conceiving, designing, and fabricating a work, as well as any relevant social processes, such as seeking funding. The authors cite Karl Marx’s early characterization of production as “weaving, spinning, drilling, turning, building, shoveling, stone breaking” to show the level at which basic activities of ‘production’ occur, and to signal explicitly their “commitment to materialist approaches” (p.16). Most of the book is devoted to short descriptions of and reflections upon recent art works. The ten chapters range from ‘Painting’ through ‘Performance’ to the most recently emergent topics of ‘Digitizing’ and ‘Crowdsourcing’. The authors regularly note the points at which a work responds to the contemporary ‘expanded’ condition of the arts. For example, they claim that a characteristic of performance is ‘support’, the ways in which any isolated action of a single agent actually relies upon broad intersecting social networks (p.95).In Art in the Making, Glen Adamson and Julia Bryan-Wilson argue that the readymade is the fundamental model in contemporary art. However, recent developments, particularly the widespread acceptance of collective art-making, have stressed the model to a near breaking-point. Much prominent contemporary art is ‘fabricated:’ one or more artists detail how the work should be made, and artisans and fabricators make the artifacts that comprise the material dimension of the work. Why should such collective authorship stress the model of the readymade? Adams and Bryan-Wilson point to conceptual and social factors that undermine its intelligibility. First, the acceptance of the readymade implies that ‘anybody is/can be an artist’, for after all who can’t point at an object and say ‘I hereby declare thee a work of art’? The problem with this, the authors suggest, is that the readymade is a late outgrowth of the Romantic-modern conception of the artist as a ‘genius’. The social function of the genius model is to secure the conception of the artist as the primary source of a work’s meaning, value, and significance. The social factor is that contemporary works of art are now part of what Rosalind Krauss termed an ‘expanded field’, which the authors also alternatively refer to as ‘the broader environment’ (p.73) or ‘wider cultural matters’ (p.94).

The authors seem to have in mind such ‘material’ networks and practices as food production and distribution, cleaning, maintenance, and transportation. Once artworks are made in ways that acknowledge the contemporary ‘expanded’ condition, unnoticed or marginalized aspects of the work’s making can and sometimes do enter into the work’s content. The authors claim that there is a broad “problematic relationship between art and value” (p.15). Three kinds of value are explicitly noted. First, there is ‘material value’, the buying and selling price of the materials incorporated into a work. Material value has arisen as an issue due to the recent use of spectacularly expensive materials, most notoriously in Damien Hirst’s diamond-blanketed skull. Second there is the market price of the finished work, a value ultimately determined by the degree of social recognition of the artist’s alleged genius (p.141). The first two kinds of value are simply aspects of price, and so are conceptually distinct from a third kind that would usually be referred to as ‘artistic value’ (a phrase that does not occur in the book). The authors’ reference to this third kind are so brief and obscure that it’s unclear what conception of artistic value they hold, but some indications are given: it’s what gives a painting its potential to subvert the practice of painting conceived in terms of medium-specificity (p.34); it makes some works ‘compelling’ (p.208); when it is embodied in a work, the work becomes ‘potent’ (p.217).

Glenn Adamson

Glenn Adamson

The argument of the book, then, seems to be this: Contemporary art is constituted in part by the broad acceptance of the strategy of the readymade as the core model of art-making. This model is bound to the continued acceptance of the artist as genius, that it is social recognition of the imaginative powers of a particular individual that gives that individual’s works whatever meaning, value, and significance they have. The recent and growing prominence of multiple authorship, fabrication, and crowdsourcing serves to undermine the appeal to individual genius. So artistic value in contemporary art is uncertain, at least in orienting our understanding of multiply authored works and those that are seemingly individually authored (since individual authorship is in any case an illusion).

This summary of the argument is distant from the experience of reading the book which is dominated, as noted above, by brief discussions of individual works. Since the authors aim to present “the full spectrum of sites of production” in contemporary art, these discussions of particular works are necessarily so brief (usually a couple of paragraphs, and rarely more than three or four) that the accounts seem arbitrary. For example, in the two short paragraphs on the work of Josephine Meckseper, they note that some critics have characterized her works as “mind-numbingly obvious”. They immediately counter with the suggestion that “the mind-numbing effects of hyper-commodification are precisely what concern her.” No further evidence or argument is given in support of their interpretation other than noting that she does indeed recycle “the cliché [sic] tropes of luxury display” and that this somehow “strikes right at the heart of artistic authorship” (p.148). Perhaps the nadir of the book is their discussion of Robert Smithson’s ‘Spiral Jetty’. They ignore the volumes of literature on the piece, as well as Smithson’s own conceptualization of the work, to simply assert that despite the work’s great complexity, it “was at the most basic level a deployment of equipment normally used to clear a lot and lay a foundation” (p.74) It would be tedious to clarify the various conceptual obscurities here. The occasional citations of authors ranging from Karl Marx (p.16) to the anthropologist of art Alfred Gell (p.37) to the contemporary art historian Rosalind Krauss (p.12) are wholly perfunctory and at best play no role in the larger argument. This is particularly frustrating with regard to Gell, who had advanced a sophisticated and controversial anthropological account of art involving the consideration of networks of makers and users in his book Art and Agency (1998). In their concluding chapter the authors suddenly claim that the subject of ‘distributed authorship’ has been present throughout their book, and that this condition is pervasive in contemporary art (p.223); but, though they have earlier cited Gell, they do not so much as mention his attempt to demonstrate that this subject is also pervasive in, among other things, the arts of the Trobriand Islanders kula, famously studied by Bronislaw Malinowski. Is this condition, then, only pervasive in contemporary art?

Aside from hoping to gain a superficial familiarity with a broad range of recent art, one might read the book as a stimulus for reflection on the remaining force, if any, of the Duchampian model of the readymade in contemporary art. It seems to me, though, that the authors bungle this possibility because they lack any articulate conception of what one might call ‘the appreciative focus’, or what artists are offering for participation, perception, and/or reflection. A distinction of contemporary ‘visual’ art could be that the focus of appreciation is given less through a viewer’s visual perception and more through participation in tasks set by artists. Perhaps contemporary visual art is connecting with ‘wider cultural frames’ by becoming integrated or re-integrated with architecture, dance, and participatory spectacles.

Lacking anything equivalent to the notion of an appreciative focus, the authors cannot resolve the issues they set forth. A particularly damaging consequence of this is their inability to say what the content of a work is. Since on their account it is a consequence of the model of the readymade that the ‘pre-artistic’ processes out of which the artifact arises are part of the content of the work, they have no principled reason for not including in a painting the making of its frame, the cutting of the tree, the making of the saw to cut the tree, and so on infinitely. Put bluntly, the authors need to go back to school to learn the relevant basic conceptual points. But since they themselves are among the most sophisticated writers on contemporary art, and one is a prominent and high-level academic, who shall educate these educators?

Glenn Adamson and Julia Bryan-Wilson: Art in the Making: Artists and their Materials from Studio to Crowdsourcing. (London: Thames & Hudson Ltd., 2016. 256 pp. ISBN 9780500239339. $39.95)


Original review published 4/14/17 at artcritical.com: http://www.artcritical.com/2017/04/14/john-rapko-on-art-in-the-making/


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WORKSHOP: ART, PERCEPTION AND HISTORY

The American Society for Aesthetics Board of Trustees has approved support for the Workshop on Art, Perception, and History, at the University of Toronto, May 5-6, 2017. The Workshop is organized by Sonia Sedivy, Associate Professor of Philosophy, University of Toronto.

ASA has awarded up to $4,600 in support, plus an additional $1000 to support attendance at the Workshop by ASA student members. Support is also being provided by several units of the University of Toronto. The workshop is free and open to the public.

CONFERENCE WEB SITE

NEW! Poster for the Workshop

 

The Manneporte (Étretat), Claude Monet, 1883, The Met Museum

Speakers at the workshop will include:

From Art History

  • Whitney Davis, University of California, Berkeley, Art History

http://arthistory.berkeley.edu/person/1639581-whitney-davis

  • Jason Gaiger, University of Oxford, The Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art

http://www.rsa.ox.ac.uk/people/jason-gaiger

  • Amy Powell, University of California, Irvine, Art History

http://www.faculty.uci.edu/profile.cfm?faculty_id=5553

  • Paul G. Smith, University of Warwick, History of Art

https://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/arts/arthistory/staff/smith/

From Philosophy of Art or Perception

  • Diarmuid Costello, philosophy, University of Warwick

http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/philosophy/people/costello/

  • Robert Hopkins, New York University, Philosophy

http://philosophy.fas.nyu.edu/object/roberthopkins.html

  • Bence Nanay, University of Antwerp, Centre for Philosophical Psychology

http://uahost.uantwerpen.be/bence.nanay/

  • Belinda Piercy, University of Toronto, Philosophy, Ph.D. 2016.
  • Sonia Sedivy, University of Toronto, Philosophy

http://www.utsc.utoronto.ca/people/sedivy/

  • Kendall L. Walton, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Philosophy

https://sites.lsa.umich.edu/kendallwalton/

The workshop will focus on the way that works of art and visual culture are poised at the intersection of history and perception. Such works are imbued with their historical situation and with historical relationship to other works. Yet for the most part, it is through their perceptible properties that they have their impact.

To explore this nexus, the workshop aims to bring together art historians with two sub-disciplines from philosophy – philosophy of perception as well as aesthetics. While art historians and philosophers of art have collaborated to some extent, bringing philosophers of perception explicitly into the mix is a recent development. The objective of the workshop is to initiate fully three-way collaborative research between art historians, philosophers of art and aesthetics, and philosophers of perception.

The main goal of the workshop is to create bridges between these three fields of study to produce integrated, multi-dimensional research into works of art and visual culture. A small intensive workshop is ideal for discussing methodological differences, for sharing knowledge and for facilitating shared language.

The workshop will address a number of questions of broad interest to which art historians and philosophers of art and perception have turned their attention. For example:

1. How are historical developments made perceptibly manifest in artworks and non-art pictures more broadly, including photographs?

2. What is aesthetic value? How can such value be both historically contingent and perceptual in nature?

3. How do pictures work? How do diverse kinds of pictorial vehicles make contents available?

4. What is distinctive about photographs?

5. What makes properties aesthetic and when is perceptual experience aesthetic?