Aesthetics for Birds

Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art for Everyone

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.

May 15, 2018
by Aesthetics for Birds
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JAAC X AFB: Why Do We Resist Rough Heroines?

What follows is a post in our ongoing collaborative series with the Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism. This is based on a new article by Adriana Clavel-Vazquez, “Sugar and spice, and everything nice: What rough heroines tell us about imaginative resistance.” After five seasons of House of Cards, it was finally Claire Underwood’s turn to be a proper rough heroine. In seasons one to four we find an interesting contrast between the moral transgressions that make Claire and Frank Underwood rough heroes: she is a ruthless, selfish, and drunk-with-power woman who is uninterested in motherhood; he is a ruthless, selfish, drunk-with-power man who has murdered several people. But in season five, Claire (finally!) murders Tom Yates, her journalist lover who had been given full access to the Underwood’s in previous seasons, and who was ready to publish an incriminating tell-all book. After poisoning him, Claire gives herself a couple … Continue reading

May 11, 2017
by Aesthetics for Birds
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JAAC X AFB Discussion: Holliday on the Puzzle of Factual Praise

Why do we care about certain facts but not others when we evaluate fiction? Why do some things need to be accurate, but others not? Today we’ll be discussing these issues in “The Puzzle of Factual Praise” by John Holliday available in JAAC’s Spring 2017 volume, 75 (2), online here. And big thanks to Christopher Bartel for providing the critical précis (below the fold). John offers a brief response, and they will both be available to discuss your questions and thoughts in the comments.

May 4, 2017
by Aesthetics for Birds
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Upcoming JAAC X AFB Discussion: Holliday on the Puzzle of Factual Praise

Why do we care about certain facts but not others when we evaluate fiction? Why do some things need to be accurate, but others not? If you’re curious, come back in *one week* when we’ll be looking at “The Puzzle of Factual Praise” by John Holliday available in JAAC’s Spring 2017 volume, 75 (2), online here. And big thanks to Christopher Bartel for providing the critical précis. John will provide a response to this, and they will both be available to discuss your questions and thoughts in the comments. Mark it in your calendars, and we look forward to seeing you then!

October 1, 2013
by utahphilosoraptor
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Imagination, Transportation, and Moral Persuasion

What follows is a guest post by M. B. Willard, a metaphysician with an aesthetics problem. She is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Weber State University. Imagine becoming adrift in a novel in the way often described by avid readers: You’ve become lost in the book. Perhaps you’ve become so engrossed that your coffee grows cold, neglected on the table beside you. Perhaps you’ve lost track of time, to be startled when the clock chimes. Perhaps the story is deeply sad, and you spend the rest of the day in a mild malaise. Perhaps the story’s protagonist struggled in abject poverty, and you come away believing that while of course the story is made up, people really do live like that, and you resolve to increase your annual contributions to charity. (Or perhaps you watched Star Trek; you spend the rest of the day mildly keyed up against injustice, and rebuke … Continue reading