Aesthetics for Birds

Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art for Everyone

October 26, 2016
by Rebecca Millsop
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ASA Funds Symposium on Black Aesthetics

The American Society for Aesthetics is pleased to provide $7500 in partial support of the Questioning Aesthetics Symposium: Black Aesthetics, to be held at Hampshire College, Amherst, MA, March 31-April 1, 2017. Funding is also being provided by Hampshire College, the Five Colleges, and the Transdisciplinary Aesthetics Foundation. The conference is co-organized by Monique Roelofs, Professor of Philosophy at Hampshire College, and Michael Kelly, Professor of Philosophy at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte, and the Founder and President of the Transdisciplinary Aesthetics Foundation. The symposium will be free and open to the public. As more information becomes available, including the schedule of events, it will be posted on ASA’s website: http://aesthetics-online.org/news/314368/ASA-Funds-Symposium-on-Black-Aesthetics.htm.

May 13, 2015
by Aesthetics for Birds
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Matter of Taste

What follows is a guest post by Iskra Fileva. She is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at University of Colorado, Boulder. A pianist I know said once that she enjoys listening to various types of non-classical music but would not tell this to other classical musicians for fear of embarrassment. Gourmet chefs, similarly, sometimes confess to eating fast and other plain, non-gourmet food (Google “What do chefs really eat after work?”). According to my – admittedly cursory – investigation, pizza, ramen noodles, mashed avocado on toast, and Wendy’s fast food top many chefs’ after-work favorites. Again, many of the chefs in question appear to have opted to remain anonymous, and in any event, they would not put such confessions on the restaurant page. Finally, people with exquisite literary sensitivity have probably, at some point or other, gobbled up a crime story or a fantasy novel, or else taken pleasure in watching well-done … Continue reading

November 5, 2014
by Aesthetics for Birds
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The Socio-Aesthetics of Pink

What follows is a guest post by Elisabeth Camp. She teaches at Rutgers University, New Brunswick. Her research focuses on thoughts and utterances that don’t fit standard propositional models, including metaphor and sarcasm, slurs and insinuation. She also works on the varieties of imagination, the theory of concepts, non-human animal cognition, and maps. I’ve been spending a disproportionate amount of time in the past year musing about pink.  I have a daughter who just turned 2 and is quite vocal in her opinions. High among these is the general gloriousness of pink and the intrinsic goodness of things that happen to be colored pink: for instance, that strawberry ice cream is maximally delicious, in virtue of its color. Her passion for pink is, most obviously, a form of comeuppance being visited upon me by an irony-loving universe; but it also raises some puzzles at the intersection of aesthetics, semiotics, and … Continue reading

October 13, 2014
by Aesthetics for Birds
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Defense of Hume’s Sentimentalist Theory of Taste

What follows is a guest post by Thomas Leddy. Thomas PhD Boston University 1981, is Professor of Philosophy at San Jose State University.  He specializes in aesthetics and the philosophy of art, but also loves teaching Plato, Kant, Nietzsche, and Dewey.  He regularly teaches a lower-division, general education, course (meeting an Arts requirement) titled “Introduction to Aesthetics.” The course serves about 240 students a year.  Tom has been a member of the American Society for Aesthetics (of which he has also served on the Board) since 1974.  His book, The Extraordinary in the Ordinary:  The Aesthetics of Everyday Life, was published by Broadview Press in 2012 and is currently being translated into Chinese.  He has also published numerous articles in the JAAC, the British Journal of Aesthetics, the Journal of Aesthetic Education, and Contemporary Aesthetics, as well as several chapters in books including most recently, on Dewey, in The Aesthetics of Key Thinkers. He also writes and edits the entry … Continue reading

July 19, 2014
by Aesthetics for Birds
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“…as Ornithology Is for the Birds”

What follows is a guest post by Donald Brook. Almost everyone takes Barnett Newman’s remark that ‘Aesthetics is for the artist as Ornithology is for the birds’ to be insightfully true. In spite of this the sense in which it is true is seldom clearly spelled out, and the sense in which it is not true is almost universally ignored despite the obvious ease with which it can be spelled out. The answer to the question whether Ornithology is influential on the behaviours of birds (including their imputed actions and their fancifully imputed beliefs) turns on a notional capacity to understand what ornithologists are saying to those very few communicating organisms who share with them a common language. In the case of birds we rate this notional capacity at zero, so their situation is quite different from that of the artists whose behaviours, actions and beliefs are generally supposed to … Continue reading