AESTHETICS FOR BIRDS

Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art for Everyone


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Where to Study Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art

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This post provides all of the information that is currently available about where to formally study aesthetics and philosophy of art. Note: There is a more recent version of this post here, from December 2020.

It also includes a request for help from those working on aesthetics and philosophy of art in universities in the English-speaking world. Kathleen Stock (Sussex) has created a document that aims to comprehensively catalog all faculty working in these areas. But we need your help to fill it in! Continue reading


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New MA in Philosophy & The Arts at the University of Warwick, UK

Applications are now open for an innovative new MA at the University at Warwick allowing students to combine Philosophy with one or more Arts disciplines. Warwick Philosophy operates a rolling admissions process, considering applications as they come in. Early application is encouraged to secure a place.

A Formal Garden, Janson, 1766
The contributing departments to the new degree are i) Philosophy ii) English & Comparative Literature iii) Film & TV, and iv) Art History. Candidates take modules from Philosophy plus one or more arts disciplines, and have the option of gaining the degree by fulfilling the coursework requirements of 6 modules or of 4 modules plus dissertation. The degree has been designed to introduce students from both Philosophy and a variety of Arts and Humanities backgrounds to detailed philosophical study of the arts, in combination with the kind of first order critical, theoretical and historical attention to works of art, film and literature offered by the relevant Depts. A first degree in Philosophy is not required for this programme, but conveners will be looking for evidence of previous theoretical/philosophical study of a relevant art, plus aptitude for philosophical study of the arts.

The degree has been structured so as to allow students maximum flexibility in tailoring the degree to their specific interests—e.g. by focusing narrowly on philosophy and one art, or more widely across philosophy and diverse arts. The following combinations are possible:

  • Philosophy & Literature
  • Philosophy & Film
  • Philosophy & Art History
  • Philosophy, Film & Art History
  • Philosophy Art History & Literature;
  • Philosophy, Literature & Film
  • Philosophy, Film, Art History, & Literature*

(*Non-dissertation route only.)

All students take the co-taught core module “Topics in Philosophy & the Arts:” http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/philosophy/studywithus/pgtstudy/modules/ph9f7/

Together with modules of their choice from the extensive list available across the contributing Depts. Information on the modules currently available can be found here:

https://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/philosophy/postgraduate/modules/
http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/arts/english/currentstudents/pg/masters/modules/mamodules16_17/
http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/arts/film/prospective/ma
http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/arts/arthistory/applying/postgraduate/macourses/modules/

More detailed information on the degree can be found by following the links on the pages below:

http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/study/postgraduate/courses/depts/philosophy/taught/philosophyartsma/

http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/philosophy/studywithus/pgtstudy/ma-philosophy-and-arts

The degree is supported intellectually by the Warwick’s internationally renown Centre for Research in Philosophy, Literature and the Arts:http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/philosophy/research/researchcentres/phillit


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Leiter Rankings of Aesthetics Grad Programs

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From Leiter Reports, the 2016-2017 Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art grad program rankings.

Group 1 (1-5)

City University of New York Graduate Center
New York University
University of British Columbia
University of St Andrews/University of Stirling Joint Program
University of York

Group 2 (6-10)

Brown University
Columbia University (incl. Barnard)
University of Auckland
University of Leeds
University of Maryland, College Park

Group 3 (11-17)

Birkbeck College, University of London
McGill University
Princeton University
Stanford University
University of Manchester
University of Texas, Austin
University of Warwick

(Note:   Michigan was close to Group 3 [I think it was underrated in 2014, and should be at least in Group 2]; also take note of the programs not evaluated in 2014 but that were viewed as worth recommending by the Advisory Board”  Buffalo, Temple, Hull, Oklahoma & Southampton.  Stanford’s presence on the list is due primarily to a part-time visiting appointment of the distinguished philosopher of art, Kendall Walton–students should make sure that appointment is continuing.)

What say you, Readers? Agree? Disagree? Anything useful for curious, aspiring graduate students to know? (Besides that they probably would be unwise to put all their eggs in an aesthetic basket?)

Readers may also be interested in the ASA’s graduate study guide here. It doesn’t contain any ranking information, but does have a nice list of programs and their associated faculty who are interested in aesthetics. (Although I notice it doesn’t include *cough* my own institution…)

Image credit: Korry Benneth, numbers via Flickr


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AESTHETICS IN THE UNITED KINGDOM

[This post has been updated.]

What follows is an assessment of the professional state of Aesthetics with respect to faculty research at Leiter-ranked Programs in the United Kingdom. I counted only permanent faculty and so excluded visiting, emeritus, as well as affiliated faculty. Finally, faculty were counted according to two conditions which I’ve explained below (AOS, Primary). The full program/faculty list can be found at the link provided. Again, please inform me of any omissions or mistakes, as I no doubt made a few.

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THE STATUS OF AESTHETICS IN THE LEITER TOP 50

What follows is an assessment of the professional status of Aesthetics/Philosophy of Art  in terms of the number of philosophy faculty at U.S. programs within the Leiter Top 50. At the end, I’ll make a few observations, but for the most part the numbers pretty much speak for themselves. My aim here is neither to offer some sort of de facto guide to graduate Aesthetics nor in any way to impugn the quality or availability of any program’s graduate instruction therein. Rather, my goal is simply to draw attention to the current state of Aesthetics with respect to faculty research at Leiter Top 50 U.S. Philosophy Programs.

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