Approved by Faculty Senate

University Studies Course Approval:

Revised 1-22-01

Department Program: Philosophy Department

Course Number: 280

Number of Credits: 3

Course Title: Philosophy of Art

Catalog Description:

280 - Philosophy of Art - 3 S.H.

An introduction to the fundamental concepts and issues in the philosophy of art. Topics include: The definition of art, art’s role and function, taste and judgement, interpretation and intention, representation and expression. The course cover a wide range of views and span the length of Western philosophy, within the larger realm of social, political, moral, gender, and scientific issues. Offered as appropriate.

This is a new course proposal.

 

Department Contact Person for this course: Ed Slowik

 

Email: eslowik@winona.edu

 

Arts & Sciences Core—Humanities

 

 

 

PHILOSOPHY OF ART

PHIL 280

University Studies—Humanities

 

 

The purpose of Humanities...to provide a framework for understanding the nature and scope of human experience. Humanities courses explore the search for meaning and value in human life....

Philosophy of Art explores the basic concepts and problems associated with aesthetics, which is the philosophical study of art. Some of the fundamental questions explored are: What is beauty? What makes an object a work of art? What is the nature of aesthetic experiences? Besides examining the various views that have been taken on these and many other issues, the student is also taught the methods by which philosophers investigate aesthetic problems and concepts.

 

These courses must include requirements and learning activities that promote students' abilities to...

 

1. Identify and understand specific elements and assumptions of a particular Humanities discipline.

A few of the main areas of study in Philosophy of Art are provided above, but the main emphasis in the course will be on the epistemological and metaphysical aspects of aesthetics; which can be roughly described in the following two questions: "How does a person perceive and evaluate an art work", and, "What must an object possess in order to be an art work?" All topics covered are in the Humanities discipline.

 

 

2. Understand how historical context, cultural values, and gender influences perceptions and interpretations.

Philosophy of Art will spend a considerable amount of time in evaluating the influence of historical context, culture, and race and gender on the aesthetic experience. A significant portion of the current literature in the philosophy of art is devoted to describing these aspects of the experience of art; thus the course will cover this material in great depth. For example: Is the content of an art work universal, or is its meaning relative to different cultures, genders, or historical periods? These questions are explored with repeat to all topics investigated in the course.

 

 

3. Understand the role of critical analysis in interpreting and evaluating expressions of human experience.

Philosophy of Art is devoted to the critical analysis of concepts and issues pertaining to human experience, which is a feature it shares with all philosophy courses, moreover. Therefore, the interpretation and evaluation of the products of human thought as they pertain to aesthetics constitutes the basis of Philosophy of Art. For example: Is the content of an art work independent of, or dependent upon, the author's beliefs and intentions in making the work? Critical analysis is thus applied to all topics covered in the course.

 

 

PHILOSOPHY OF ART

PHIL 280

Curriculum, Outcomes, Policies, and Requirements

University Studies—Humanities

 

Sample Syllabus

 

 

 

 

Instructor: Ed Slowik

 

Office Hours:

Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, 12:00-1:00 PM, and by appointment.

 

Text:

 

Art and its Significance, Stephen D. Ross, ed. (1994)

 

Introduction to Aesthetics, George Dickie (1997)

Course Objectives:

Aesthetics concerns the philosophy of art, which deals with such problems as the definition of art, its role and function, taste and judgment, and interpretation, to name only a few. We will read works which cover a wide range of views and which span the entire length of Western philosophy. Much of the material will discuss art within the larger realm of social, political, moral, and scientific activities.

 

 

Course Requirements:

(1) a class presentation integrating concepts from the readings with respect to a work of art: 15% (students are required to include an audio, visual, or tactile component in their presentation); (2) a take-home midterm: 20%; (3) a presentation of one article from the text book (during the last few weeks of the semester): 20%; a term paper: 30% (due during the final exam period at the latest); and class participation: 15%. Class attendance and participation are crucial to success in the course, since I plan to run it much like a seminar (where we work through the material together).

 

The midterm and will consist of essay questions exclusively, mainly based on the notes I give in class. The paper will be 10-to-15 pages in length, typed, double-spaced, on a topic that the student checks with me (you can go longer than 15 pages). I strongly encourage that you give me rough-drafts of the paper, since this will greatly increase the chances of getting a good grade on the final version. I will provide more detailed information on the requirements of the paper later in the quarter. The presentation of a paper from the book must also be checked with me.

 

 

 

Schedule: Pages refer to the Ross text (Dickie readings will be assigned in class).

Sept. 5 Introduction

Sept. 8, 10 Plato, Republic Bk. II, p. 9-16.

Sept. 12, 15 Aristotle, p. 65-77

Sept. 17, 19 Hume, p. 78-92

Sept. 22, 24 Nietzsche, p. 162-177

Sept. 26, 29 Tolstoy, p. 177-185

Oct. 1, 3, 6, 8 Class presentations (and extra-time to finish earlier material)

Oct. 10 Bell, p. 185-191/ Take home midterm assigned

Oct 13, 15 Collingwood, p. 191-203

Oct. 17, 20 Langer, p. 221-237/ Take home midterms due

Oct. 22, 24 Goodman, p. 237-253

Oct. 27, 29 Merleau-Ponty, p. 281-299

Oct. 31, Nov. 3 Ross, p. 299-325

Nov. 5, 7 Pepper, p. 325-331

Nov. 10, 12 Hirsch, p. 331-349

Nov. 14, 17 Foucault, p. 439-457

Nov. 19, 21 Danto, p. 469-483

Nov. 24, 26

Dec. 1, 3, 5, 8

10, 12 Article presentations, and extra-time to finish earlier material

 

 

 

Papers due: 8-10 AM, Wednesday, Dec. 17

Course outline

I. Aesthetic Experience and Judgement

A. Judgement and Taste

B. Objectivism and Subjectivism

C. Taste

D. Hume and Kant

E. Aesthetic Reasons

F. Beauty

II. Fundamental Concepts in the Philosophy of Art

A. Art and the Aesthetic

B. Ontology

C. Representation

D. Expression

E. Interpretation and Intention

III. Theories of Art

A. Mimesis

B. Form

C. Expression

D. Language

E. Post-Kantian Theories (19th century)

F. Post-Kantian Theories (20th century)

G. The Value of Art

H. Art, Culture, and Politics

 

 

All course activities and assignments simultaneously address all University Studies required course outcomes in Philosophy of Art 280 in the following ways:

 

 

The purpose of Humanities...to provide a framework for understanding the nature and scope of human experience. Humanities courses explore the search for meaning and value in human life....

Philosophy of Art explores the basic concepts and problems associated with aesthetics, which is the philosophical study of art. Some of the fundamental questions explored are: What is beauty? What makes an object a work of art? What is the nature of aesthetic experiences? Besides examining the various views that have been taken on these and many other issues, the student is also taught the methods by which philosophers investigate aesthetic problems and concepts.

 

These courses must include requirements and learning activities that promote students' abilities to...

 

1. Identify and understand specific elements and assumptions of a particular Humanities discipline.

A few of the main areas of study in Philosophy of Art are provided above, but the main emphasis in the course will be on the epistemological and metaphysical aspects of aesthetics; which can be roughly described in the following two questions: "How does a person perceive and evaluate an art work", and, "What must an object possess in order to be an art work?" All topics covered are in the Humanities discipline.

 

 

2. Understand how historical context, cultural values, and gender influences perceptions and interpretations.

Philosophy of Art will spend a considerable amount of time in evaluating the influence of historical context, culture, and race and gender on the aesthetic experience. A significant portion of the current literature in the philosophy of art is devoted to describing these aspects of the experience of art; thus the course will cover this material in great depth. For example: Is the content of an art work universal, or is its meaning relative to different cultures, genders, or historical periods? These questions are explored with repeat to all topics investigated in the course.

 

 

3. Understand the role of critical analysis in interpreting and evaluating expressions of human experience.

Philosophy of Art is devoted to the critical analysis of concepts and issues pertaining to human experience, which is a feature it shares with all philosophy courses, moreover. Therefore, the interpretation and evaluation of the products of human thought as they pertain to aesthetics constitutes the basis of Philosophy of Art. For example: Is the content of an art work independent of, or dependent upon, the author's beliefs and intentions in making the work? Critical analysis is thus applied to all topics covered in the course.