339 philosophy of art

Fall 2005
TH 11-12:30 pm Buchanan B221

Dominic McIver Lopes
<dom.lopes@ubc.ca>

TA: Vincent Bergeron
<vincentb@interchange.ubc.ca>
Exam period office: BUCH E172 December 13, 4 pm - 6 pm; December 15, 10 am - noon

This course is an introduction to the philosophy of art. It is designed both for philosophy students who wish to learn about the application of philosophical ideas and methods to the arts and also for students of the arts who wish to acquire a philosophical perspective on their subject. The readings are works of philosophy written during the past fifty years, with an emphasis on contemporary research. The topics covered this year are theories (or definitions) or art, aesthetic properties, and aesthetic evaluation.

texts

Peter Lamarque and Stein Haugom Olsen, eds. Aesthetics and the Philosophy of Art (Oxford: Blackwell, 2004). ISBN 1-4051-0582-8

Three photocopied articles available from the instructor for a modest fee.

evaluation

There are six quizzes, scheduled randomly, each worth five points, testing comprehension of the material covered in the lectures and the readings. Quiz scores will be counted only if they raise your mark for the examinations.

There are midterm and final examinations with short-answer and essay questions, each worth twenty-five percent of the course mark. For an additional fifty percent of the course mark, two short essays, neither exceeding one thousand words in length.

essay instructions

Essay 1. Write a brief not excceding one thousand words on one of the following essays: Danto, Dickie, Shelley, or Carlson. The brief must: (1) describe the problem the essay tries to solve, (2) state the author's thesis, (3) comprehensively but economically lay out the arguments for the thesis, (4) briefly define any concepts crucial to those arguments, and finally (5) comment briefly on what you see as the likeliest weak spot in the arguments.

Essay 2. Answer one of the following questions. In answering your question you must complete two tasks. First, write a brief of about 500 words on one of the following essays: Sibley, Walton, Pettit, Isenberg, or Budd. The brief must: (1) introduce the problem the essay tries to solve, (2) state the author's thesis, (3) economically lay out an argument for the thesis, and (4) define any concepts crucial to that argument. Second, develop an argument, in about 500 words, for your answer to the question you choose to answer. This argument must either build upon or take issue with the argument discussed in the first half of your essay.

1. Does applying aesthetic concepts require taste?
2. Is formalism viable?
3. Are aesthetic judgements objective?
4. Are aesthetic evaluations objective?
5. How does criticism work?

schedule

September 6 Introduction to the Course
  Theories of Art
September 8 The Challenge of the Avant Garde
September 13 The Challenge of the Avant Garde
3. Danto, "The Artworld" [JSTOR] (Note: you must download this from campus, using the UBC VPN, or via the library proxy server.)
September 15 The Institutional Theory
September 20 The Institutional Theory
5. Dickie, "The New Institutional Theory of Art"
September 22 The Aesthetic Theory
Shelley, "The Problem of Non-Perceptual Art" [Oxford Journals] (Note: you must download this from campus, using the UBC VPN, or via the library proxy server.)
September 27 Environmental Aesthetics
45. Carlson, "Appreciation and the Natural Environment" [JSTOR] (Note: you must download this from campus, using the UBC VPN, or via the library proxy server.)
  Aesthetic Properties
September 29

Aesthetic Concepts and Taste

October 4 Aesthetic Concepts and Taste
12. Sibley, "Aesthetic Concepts" [JSTOR] (Note: you must download this from campus, using the UBC VPN, or via the library proxy server.)
[Download the Class Summary of Sibley]
October 6 Kinds of Art
October 11

Kinds of Art
13. Walton, "Categories of Art"

October 13 Aesthetic Realism
October 18 Aesthetic Realism
14. Pettit, "The Possibility of Aesthetic Realism"
October 20 Midterm Exam
  Aesthetic Evaluation
October 25 Distinguishing Aesthetic Evaluation
Essay 1  Due
October 27 Distinguishing Aesthetic Evaluation
2. Urmson, "What Makes a Situation Aesthetic?"
[Download the Class Summary of Urmson]
November 1 Critical Reasons
November 3 Critical Reasons
Isenberg, "Critical Communication"
[Download the Class Comparison and Contrast of Isenberg]
November 8 Critical Reasons
November 10 Critical Reasons
Sibley, "General Criteria and Reasons in Aesthetics"
November 15 Value of Art
22. Budd, "Artistic Value"
November 17 Value of Art
  Puzzles
November 22 Forgery and Photography
November 24 Forgery
32. Meiland, "Originals, Copies, and Aesthetic Value"
November 29 Photography
31. Scruton, "Photography and Representation"
December 1

Wrap Up
Essay 2 Due

December 19 Final Examination
8:30 am

disclaimer

This syllabus may be amended by the instructor at any time.