Aesthetics for Birds

Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art for Everyone

September 5, 2019
by Aesthetics for Birds
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Artist-Philosopher Interview: Matt Lindauer

Musician and philosopher Matt Lindauer interviewed by Alex King Matt Lindauer is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Brooklyn College, City University of New York. He specializes in moral and political philosophy, moral psychology, and experimental philosophy, and has published work in Philosophical Studies, Journal of Moral Philosophy, Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy, and Oxford Studies in Experimental Philosophy, among other venues. He is also a songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. His band Myrna recently released their debut EP on Kitty Wizard Records and a full-length release is coming soon. His solo project Utena also produced a recent album that was recorded almost entirely on his iPhone between Australia and Brooklyn. He also played in the banjo-key-drum group Sugarbat and in Daphne Lee Martin’s band as guitarist and banjo player, and has recorded a number of other projects. Some of his music was recently featured in an ad for Joe’s Jeans.

May 21, 2019
by Aesthetics for Birds
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Game of Thrones’ Final Season: When our Great Expectations are Illegitimate [spoilers]

What follows is a guest post by Sean T. Murphy. Those who haven’t finished the series should beware of spoilers below! Legitimate Artistic Expectations “Almost nothing [showrunners David] Benioff and [D.B.] Weiss do will be enough to please (or appease) everyone.” So says critic Tim Goodman in a recent article in the Hollywood Reporter. It became clearer by the week just how great everyone’s expectations were for the final season of HBO’s Game of Thrones. Anyone taking a quick peak at Twitter following any episode this season could see fans breathing more fiery criticism, and wreaking more havoc on the show than Drogon did on King’s Landing. On the one hand, this is not surprising. After waiting two years for the series finale, there was no stopping the heights to which our expectations were ascending (although you would have thought that the lackluster seventh season would have tempered them a … Continue reading

May 18, 2019
by Aesthetics for Birds
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What Fandoms Can Teach Us About the Value of Plot Holes and the Badness of Bad Artists

What follows is a guest post by James Harold, Professor of Philosophy at Mount Holyoke College. Parts of this blog post draw from his article “The Value of Fictional Worlds (or, Why The Lord of the Rings is Worth Reading).” Critics and fans approach certain works (like The Lord of the Rings or Star Wars) very differently. The critics evaluate these works on their own merits, considered as art objects in their own right, while fans consider in terms of their contribution to a larger world of play and creative exploration. While philosophers, like art critics, have spent a lot of time thinking about artworks, they have spent relatively little time thinking about this playful, participatory world, the world that is the focus of fan culture.

February 27, 2019
by Aesthetics for Birds
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Wapo Pop Music Critic Responds to Philosophers

Last year, we did a series of five Artworld Roundtables in collaboration with Chris Richards, the pop music critic for the Washington Post. Richards posed the “five hardest questions in pop music”: “cultural appropriation, problematic lyricism, selling out, the ethics of posthumous listening, and … separating the art from the artist.” In response, we rounded up several thinkers working in these areas to see what they had to say about each question. Richards provided us with key examples to draw out the problems and complexities of each debate. The results are here: cultural appropriation, how to respect the wishes of dead artists, whether selling out is still possible, how to engage with objectionable lyrics, and separating the art from the artist who created it. And now Richards is back. Read on to see what he took away from it all. What follows is a guest post by Chris Richards. You can find him at the Washington Post … Continue reading

December 6, 2018
by Aesthetics for Birds
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Can We Separate the Art from the Artist?

The following is an updated version of a post that appeared originally on the philosophy website Daily Nous as part of their “Philosophers On” series. Thanks to Justin Weinberg for permission to repost it with updates here. This edition of Artworld Roundtable appears in collaboration with Chris Richards, the pop music critic for the Washington Post. Over the last several weeks, we have presented a series of roundtable discussions based on Richards’ “five hardest questions in pop music”: “cultural appropriation, problematic lyricism, selling out, the ethics of posthumous listening, and … separating the art from the artist.” AFB has rounded up several thinkers working in these areas to see what they have to say about each question. Richards has provided AFB with key examples to draw out the problems and complexities of each debate. First was cultural appropriation. Second was how to respect the wishes of dead artists. Third was whether selling out … Continue reading

June 5, 2018
by utahphilosoraptor
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On the Aesthetics of Playing Piano

In the penultimate measure of the first movement Clementi’s Sonatina No. 36, there is a short cascade of notes: This sonatina is often used as a teaching piece, because it’s a great introduction for the early intermediate pianist to the techniques required in more complicated piano pieces. This little cascade is a good example of why. It’s short, only eight notes long. In the numbering system every beginner learns, your thumbs are ones; your pinkies, fives. The G and A keys are right next to each other on the keyboard, and one might expect that the prescribed fingering of two adjacent notes would require two adjacent fingers. Perhaps, because the sequence continues down the keys, the four and five fingers, so that other fingers are properly positioned to reach the next notes. But that’s not what happens. The G is struck with the thumb, and the A with the fourth … Continue reading

February 1, 2017
by Rebecca Millsop
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Make America Great Again: Government Employed Artists!

  Check out one way we could make America great again by reading a new article up on Artsy, written by Tess Thackara: “What We Can Learn from the Brief Period When the Government Employed Artists”. Learn about how the Works Progress Administration (WPA) supported artists and diversity in the arts for a brief time in American history…

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.

September 16, 2013
by Aesthetics for Birds
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Interview with Philosopher-Artist Keith Lehrer (Arizona/Miami)

Keith Lehrer is the Regent’s Professor emeritus of Philosophy at the University of Arizona with an affiliation with the University of Miami (Florida). In addition to his numerous published articles in areas such as epistemology, free will, rational consensus, and Thomas Reid, Keith has also authored several books including Thomas Reid (1989), Theory of Knowledge (1990), and Self-Trust: A Study of Reason, Knowledge, and Autonomy (1997). Keith also has a research interest in aesthetics, with his most recent book being Art, Self and Knowledge (Oxford University Press, 2011), and can currently be found bridging the gap between theory and practice as an active painter and performance artist (the website for his paintings can be found here). It is truly an honor to have Keith as part of Aesthetics for Birds’ Philosopher-Artist series.