AESTHETICS FOR BIRDS

Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art for Everyone


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KENNETH WALDEN 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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AARON MESKIN REMEMBERS PETER KIVY


Peter Kivy, Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at Rutgers University and an incredibly influential contemporary philosopher of art, passed away last week. See other announcements here, along with a statement from the Rutgers Philosophy Department. What follows is a guest post by Aaron Meskin, a former student of Peter Kivy’s.

Please feel free to share any stories, comments, or reflections below.

Differences: Remembering Peter Kivy

I met Peter in the early 1990s when I started my PhD at Rutgers. I didn’t really know about philosophical aesthetics before I moved to New Brunswick, and I certainly didn’t see it as a live career option. Peter’s seminars, and those wonderful aesthetics reading groups in the basement of Davidson Hall, introduced me to a field that would come to be the focus of my intellectual life. (Peter’s tutorial-style method of teaching, which required us to regularly read out short writing assignments, was incredibly helpful. He told us that when we were in the profession we would occasionally find that we had to produce a decent piece of writing at very short notice and that his class would be good practice. He was right, and it was.)  If it hadn’t been for Peter’s generosity, and the example he provided, I would have likely left the profession after an ill-fated attempt to work in another area. He was always supportive.

There were some limitations to our academic relationship, of course. I remember sometime during my time at Rutgers seeing an advertisement for a conference focused on faculty/student collaboration. Jokingly, I asked Peter whether we might collaborate. He was not keen. “I’ve never collaborated with anyone on anything up until this point, and I’m not going to start now.” Strictly speaking that wasn’t true. His first published article, “Stimulus Context and Satiation,” in the Journal of Comparative and Physiological Psychology, was co-authored with two others. But that was published while Peter was still an undergraduate at Michigan. And as far as I know he never again co-authored a paper in 60 years. I suppose the world is not really worse for lacking a paper on absolute music and wordless comics.

“Peter was loyal to his students,
and he inspired loyalty in us.”

In any case, our relationship continued after I defended my PhD. Peter was loyal to his students, and he inspired loyalty in us. We met pretty regularly—he’d come and give another great talk in Lubbock or Leeds, or we’d see each other at an ASA meeting where he regularly arranged dinners with his former students. Or we’d get together, with his wife Joan of course, in New York or Santa Fe or London. He always had new work and a bit of advice.

I know that it’s tempting to focus on Peter’s contribution to the philosophy of music. His research shaped the field. (I found Music Alone especially memorable, but I know that Peter was particularly proud of his book on opera, Osmin’s Rage.)  His scholarly work on the history of aesthetics was also groundbreaking. Where would our understanding of the development of aesthetics be without The Seventh Sense and the rest of Peter’s work on Hutcheson, Hume, Reid and others? Not very far along, I venture. And his recent publications in the philosophy of literature have reinvigorated debates about literature’s cognitive value, reading, and form/content unity. I love teaching that work—and the responses to it—in my philosophy of literature courses. If you haven’t taught Peter’s work, I strongly recommend doing so. The clarity of his arguments and his lucid style make it ideal for introductory classes in aesthetics.

But it was Peter’s emphasis on the importance of paying philosophical attention to the differences between various art forms, as he discussed in his 50th Anniversary Presidential Address to the American Society of Aesthetics, and his 1997 CUP monograph, Philosophies of Arts, that made the biggest impact on me. As he put it in his address:

But I do urge, and indeed predict that progress in the philosophy of art in the immediate future is to be made not by theorizing in the grand manner, but by careful and imaginative philosophical scrutiny of the individual arts and their individual problems, seen as somewhat unique, individual problems and not necessarily as instances of common problems of some monolithic thing called “ART.”

Of course this sort of approach was just how Peter had worked throughout his career. He did do some work that might be characterized as ‘theorizing in the grand manner’, especially early on in his career. His first monograph was about aesthetic concepts, and there are two great articles on aesthetic emotivism. There is the award-winning 2015 monograph, De Gustibus: Arguing about Taste and Why We Do It? But most of his non-historical work involved careful and imaginative scrutiny of the individual arts of music and literature and the distinctive problems they raise. And he made a hell of a lot of progress over the course of a couple dozen books and many dozen articles. The work was original and, for many of us, exemplary.

“The work was original
and, for many of us, exemplary.”

I think Peter’s prediction has largely been proven to be correct. Significant progress in the philosophy of art has in recent years been made by careful scrutiny of the individual problems raised by film, poetry, dance, music, street art, comics, and videogames (among other things). Yes, even comics and videogames. Peter didn’t entirely approve, but he didn’t entirely disapprove either.

In fact, I’d go a bit further than Peter.  The differences between the arts are not the only differences to which philosophical aesthetics should attend. Thankfully, we are beginning to attend to those differences. But, of course, Peter did not think that philosophers of art should only pursue differences. He warns, in the epilogue to Philosophies of Arts, that it would be a serious mistake if the pursuit of differences ‘should become the monolith that the pursuit of sameness has been since the Enlightenment’. He’s right, and thankfully it hasn’t.  Work on sameness—most notably the definition of art—has been reinvigorated over the last few years.

We were very different. The oboe is not really my thing, and I don’t care so much for Manhattans. I prefer rap music to the western classical tradition. (Thankfully, he never heard me say that.)  I’ll probably never be able to tell a joke like him, and I’m certain that I’ll never write that many great books. Who will? But despite our differences, there were important areas of sameness. We shared a love of the philosophy of art, of the community of philosophical aesthetics and of the arts. I’ll miss being able to talk about those things with him. I’ll miss finding out about his new work.  I’ll miss his advice and his sense of humor. I’ll miss him.

Note on the contributor:

Aaron Meskin is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Leeds. He works on many issues in aesthetics, including experimental aesthetics, food, comics, as well as on the psychology and epistemology of aesthetics.


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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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INTRODUCING NEW WING COMMANDER: C. THI NGUYEN!

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We’d like to welcome to the AFB team our newest Wing Commander (“Assistant Editor” in AFB lingo): C. Thi Nguyen!

Here are some fun facts about Thi, so you can get to know him:

Current position: Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Utah Valley University

Background: Once I was a food writer and a restaurant critic for the LA Times. This nearly derailed my graduate school career. Then I had to choose between that and academia. Still unsure if I chose properly.

Philosophical interests: Trained as an epistemologist. Currently writing about game aesthetics and food aesthetics and even weirder aesthetics. Also, the epistemology stuff is still alive in a project on understanding how echo chambers work. Also: I swear all these interests are related.

Most recent publication: “The Uses of Aesthetic Testimony”, about all the weird kinds of trust relationships our aesthetic lives involve, towards our reviewers, teachers, curators.

Other hats: Chair of the ASA Diversity committee. A founding editor at the very-soon-to-be-actually-emerge Journal of the Philosophy of Games. Occasional interviewer [ed.: a power we are sure to harness Thi for here!]. New parent.

17861589_1411990065534825_8253529550514336119_n.jpeg

Thi playing Thorny Games’ Sign RPG

Aesthetic passions: Completely boring and bog-standard literary, musical, and museum-type canon. But also: Tea. Rap. Weird perfumes that smell like rain drops on cold twigs in march.

Aesthetic passions that other people might deny are aesthetic: Rock climbing. Indie role playing games, like one where you have invent a sign language in total silence.

Biggest aesthetic failure: Trying for six years to become a jazz guitarist and failing utterly.

Welcome aboard, Thi!


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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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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?