This seminar will explore several loosely connected topics in aesthetics, broadly conceived — all of them having something to do with the imagination. We will examine literature on each of them, mostly fairly contemporary philosophical literature (plus some work in psychology and linguistics), and I will try out my own ideas about them.
The several topics will include most or all of the following:
- Fictionality and imagination: What is it for a proposition to be fictional, i.e., “true in a fictional world”?
- Empathy: What is it? How is it important in appreciators’ experiences of works of art of various kinds?
- Several kinds of non-literal language, what they are and how they are related: Hyperbole, Meiosis, Irony, Metaphor.
- Narrators in literature; personae in music:
- Do all literary works have narrators?
- Is there, ever, or always, anything analogous to narrators (“musical personae”) in (instrumental) music?
- Several connected issues concerning visual and aural perception, pictures, photographs, and music.
This seminar is designed primarily for graduate students in Philosophy. Others who are interested should contact Professor Walton, before enrolling.