Wandering thoughts about aesthetics

by E. John Winner ___ Tits and ass A short while ago, I made a rather incongruously crude remark in reply to a comment concerning the enjoyment of paintings of nude women: "Let’s face it, art often comes down to the desires of the consuming patrons. I particularly enjoy Titian’s tits and ass."  I thought... Continue Reading →

Three Constraints on the Philosophy of Art

by Daniel A. Kaufman _____ Preliminary Remarks After a brief hiatus in the last century, the search for a definition of ‘art’ has resumed with great vigour. Wittgensteinians may bemoan this as intellectual atavism, an anachronistic longing for “essences,” but I am inclined to think that the revival of the question of ‘art’ ’s definition... Continue Reading →

philosophy as diplomacy

by Daniel A. Kaufman ___ During a conversation with Megan Fritts of Utah State, I suggested that perhaps philosophical disputes should be conducted as negotiations rather than arguments. I’d like to develop this idea a bit more. That philosophy is a primarily argumentative business is, I trust, evident enough that I don’t need to expand... Continue Reading →

Three Lectures in Aesthetics

by Daniel A. Kaufman ____ Three lectures from this semester's upper-division course in Aesthetics [PHI 320] at Missouri State University.  My topics include: Formalism; Clive Bell; The Wittgenstein-inspired view that 'art' cannot be defined; Morris Weitz; Maurice Mandelbaum; Relational Definitions; and The Institutional Theory of Art. Following the video lecture links are the three sets... Continue Reading →

Prolegomena for a Pluralist Metaphysics: Philosophy, Science, and “Common Sense”

by Daniel A. Kaufman ___ As these prolegomena begin to wind down, I want to step back and speak a bit more generally about the conception of philosophy – and of inquiry more generally -- from which they spring. Sellars, of course, in the opening paragraphs of “Philosophy and the Scientific Image of Man,” gave... Continue Reading →

Free Philosophy!

by Daniel A. Kaufman The novel coronavirus has caused my university to shift to all-online instruction.  Consequently, I have been posting video lectures (in lieu of in-class lectures) on my YouTube Channel, in dedicated playlists.  For those who are interested, here are the links to these playlists, to which content will be added regularly through... Continue Reading →

Course Notes – Leo Tolstoy, What is Art?

by Daniel A. Kaufman Every Fall, I teach an upper-division course on Aesthetics, which includes topics belonging to the philosophy of art, proper – like whether ‘art’ can be defined – as well as topics that are a part of what one might call the philosophy of art criticism – such as whether our evaluative... Continue Reading →

This Week’s Special: David Hume’s “Of the Standard of Taste”

By Daniel A. Kaufman http://www.econlib.org/library/LFBooks/Hume/hmMPL23.html One of the central topics in Aesthetics is the justification of our evaluative judgments of works of art. Questions regarding the warrant for our valuations are always challenging, because of the quite common  intuition that values and valuation are inherently subjective. The trouble lies in the fact that there is... Continue Reading →

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