PHI212 Philosophy of the Arts

2017-18 Outline

This module discusses some of the philosophical issues thrown up by the arts and our appreciation of them. We will focus on four broad topics: the nature of art; aesthetic properties and experience; pictorial representation; and cultural appropriation of art forms. The questions we will consider include: What is art? Does it essentially express emotion? Is something art because gallery owners, critics, and artists say it is? Do art-behaviours have an evolutionary function? Can pornography be art? Should we distinguish between crafts and art? What is it for something to be a picture of something? What is cultural appropriation in the realm of the arts? Is there anything wrong with it? Do our standard ways of thinking about art rely on problematic relations of power? What are aesthetic properties? Can we only have aesthetic experiences of artworks? Or is there such a thing as aesthetic experience of the everyday? And if there is, might it have a moral significance?

Suggested Reading

Graham Gordon (2005) Philosophy of Arts: An introduction to asethetics. 3rd Edition, London, Routledge
Levinson, Jerrold ed. (2005). The Oxford Handbook of Aesthetics. London: Oxford University Press

This is a large collection of introductory articles on all issues in aesthetics.
Lamarque, Peter & Olsen, Stein Haugom eds. (2004).  Aesthetics and the Philosophy of Art: The Analytic Tradition.  Blackwell, Oxford


Two coursework essays (50%) and one examination (2 questions - 50%).


Komarine Romdenh-Romluc

Lectures - Autumn 2017

Wednesday 12 noon-1pm - Broad Lane Block Lecture Theatre 11
Wednesday 2-3pm - Broad Lane Block Lecture Theatre 10

Seminars (from Week 3)

Thursday 10-11am - 38 Mappin Street - 101
Thursday 11am-12 noon - 38 Mappin Street - 101
Thursday 12 noon - 1pm - 38 Mappin Street - 101