Aesthetics for Birds

Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art for Everyone

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

March 16, 2014
by Aesthetics for Birds

Conversations in Art and Aesthetics

What follows is a guest post by Hans Maes. Hans is Senior Lecturer in History and Philosophy of Art and co-director of the Aesthetics Research Centre at the University of Kent. He has authored papers on a variety of topics in aesthetics, including the role of intention in the interpretation of art, the notion of free beauty, and the relation between art and pornography. The latter is the subject of two essay collections: Art and Pornography(co-edited with Jerrold Levinson, Oxford University Press, 2012) and Pornographic Art and The Aesthetics of Pornography (Palgrave MacMillan, 2013). I’m currently working on a book with the title “Conversations on Art and Aesthetics” set to appear with OUP in 2015*. The book is modeled after Alex Voorhoeve’s Conversations on Ethics and will contain interviews with a number of prominent aestheticians.  Below is an excerpt from my 2011 interview with Jerrold Levinson. I thought it would be fun to include it … Continue reading