AESTHETICS FOR BIRDS

Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art for Everyone


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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 if so, how should we do it sensitively and thoughtfully? And is there something distinctive about games that make them a thornier venue for exploring history than, say, novels?

puerto rico

Puerto Rico, a board game about colonizing Puerto Rico. Image credit: Jesse Michael Nix

To take on these questions, we asked some philosophers who specialize in thinking about games, ethics, and art.

Our contributors are:

  • Stephanie Patridge, Professor and Department Chair, Religion & Philosophy, Otterbein University
  • Chris Bartel, Professor of Philosophy, Appalachian State University
  • C. Thi Nguyen, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Utah Valley University

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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?


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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.

“Chilkat Blanket, Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago, Illinois, Made of Goat Hair and Cedar Bark” by Field Museum of Natural History is licensed under CC0 1.0

“Chilkat Blanket, Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago, Illinois, Made of Goat Hair and Cedar Bark” by Field Museum of Natural History is licensed under CC0 1.0

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 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?


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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). Continue reading