Aesthetics for Birds

Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art for Everyone

August 21, 2019
by Aesthetics for Birds
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Playing Games with History: Philosophers on the Ethics of Historical Board Games

In a recent New York Times article, journalist Kevin Draper brings us up to date on some recent controversies in the world of historical board games. The article centers on the cancellation of Scramble for Africa, a historical board game which was to let players take the role of European powers exploring and exploiting Africa, trying to get the most resources. Joe Chacon, the designer of Scramble for Africa, was accused of not treating this situation with appropriate seriousness. In his game, the savagery that was part and parcel of that exploration seems to be dealt with in minor and trivializing ways. The players must put down rebellions, and can slow their opponents by inciting native revolts. Random events include “penalties for atrocities” and rewards for ending slavery. Butchery is gameified. The article raises a number of fascinating questions. What are the ethics of gaming history? Can we ever gameify our troubled past, and … Continue reading

September 12, 2017
by Alex King
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We All Have Our Reasons

Comic artist Zach Weinersmith of Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal talks about art: And the aftercomic, for those of you interested in questions about representation and depiction: And the referenced work, for your viewing pleasure, which has hilariously become Cesena’s profile pic on his Wikipedia page: According to Wikipedia: “It was widely said that when Cesena complained to the Pope, the pontiff joked that his jurisdiction did not extend to hell and the portrait would have to remain.”

July 10, 2017
by Aesthetics for Birds
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A Brief History Of Beauty

“Beauty has become a taboo topic among many practitioners of art and design,” writes Michael Spicher (Boston University) in an article for Architecture Boston. “Yet it’s clear we still need beauty in our lives. … People may disagree about which objects are beautiful (or their degree of beauty), but no one seems to disagree that beautiful, pleasurable things exist. We should strive for beauty, so that we may create or experience it.” Spicher traces the history of thinking about beauty in the West, from its more objective beginnings in Plato, Aristotle, and Aquinas, to its current status as subjective (at best). Pop on over for a primer! Image credit: Met Museum, detail from “Maria Louisa of Parma” by Laurent Pécheux (1765)

April 19, 2017
by Rebecca Millsop
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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   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 … Continue reading

February 8, 2017
by Rebecca Millsop
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ASA Funds Workshop on 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. Speakers 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 … Continue reading

December 16, 2013
by Aesthetics for Birds
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Historian-artist Interview: Matt Kadane

Historian and Musician Matt Kadane interviewed by Christy Mag Uidhir for AFB Matt Kadane is a founding member of the bands Bedhead, The New Year, Overseas, and Consonant and played for five years with Silkworm. He is currently chair of the history department at Hobart and William Smith Colleges, and the author, most recently, of The Watchful Clothier (Yale UP, 2013).