PHIL 153 - Philosophy and the Arts
Fall 2016, Section 002
Instruction Mode: Section 002 is (see other Sections below)
Subject: Philosophy (PHIL)
Department: LSA Philosophy
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Requirements & Distribution:
Waitlist Capacity:
Other Course Info:
Students are strongly advised not to take more than two Philosophy Introductions.
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:


This introductory course in the philosophy of art will examine the nature of aesthetic value in relation to other central human aims, including those of knowledge, individual or collective self-expression, and ethical or political development. We will begin by considering the relationship between aesthetic value and the pursuit of truth. Next, we will explore varying accounts of the interplay between aesthetic and moral or political value. Finally, we will think about variation in aesthetic possibilities between media and across historical contexts, attempting in part to better understand the relationship between aesthetic appreciation and artistic creation.

Our investigation will be framed by questions such as the following:

  • Does art aim to disclose truth? Can artworks yield knowledge without imitating, or even representing, the world?
  • Should art be self-expressive?
  • Are judgments of aesthetic value objective or subjective?
  • s good art always beautiful?
  • Are immoral artworks as such aesthetically flawed?
  • How much can, or can't, we learn about an artwork by assessing its political significance?
  • Has art come to play an importantly new role in modern society?
  • What is the relationship between aesthetic value in different media, such as painting, photography, and film?
  • How do aesthetic forms evolve over time, and to what extent are they like living things? Is successful appreciation of artworks an inherently creative activity, and how does it relate to artistic creation?
  • In short, what is aesthetic value?

    Readings will be comprised of historical as well as contemporary works drawn from philosophical and art critical traditions.

    Course Requirements:

    No data submitted

    Intended Audience:

    No experience with aesthetics or philosophy will be assumed.

    Class Format:

    3 hrs of lecture with lots of discussion/week

  • Schedule

    PHIL 153 - Philosophy and the Arts
    Schedule Listing
    001 (LEC)
     In Person
    MW 4:00PM - 5:30PM
    002 (LEC)
     In Person
    8Y1 or Y2
    MW 4:00PM - 5:30PM

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