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PHI 99 — The Philosophy of Art

Quarter: Fall
Day(s): Thursdays
Course Format: On-campus
Duration: 10 weeks
Date(s): Sep 27—Dec 6
Time: 7:00—8:50 pm
Drop Deadline: Oct 10
Units: 2
Tuition: $480
Instructor(s): Frederick M. Dolan
Status: Closed
Please Note: No class on November 22
7:00—8:50 pm
Sep 27—Dec 6
10 weeks
Drop By
Oct 10
2 Units
Frederick M. Dolan
Please Note: No class on November 22
Art has attracted the attention of philosophers from Plato and Aristotle to Kant, Nietzsche, Heidegger, and contemporary scholars such as Noël Carroll, Alexander Nehamas, Kendall Walton, and Carolyn Korsmeyer. The philosophical inquiry into art focuses on such issues as the essential nature of art and artistic expression, beauty, judgment, interpretation, value, and the place of art in a meaningful human life. This course will survey the major philosophical theories of art, including those centered on the concepts of representation, expression, form, aesthetic experience, and pragmatics. Readings in these areas will include selections from Plato’s Republic, Aristotle’s Poetics, Immanuel Kant’s Critique of Judgment, and John Dewey’s Art as Experience, among others. We will also look into theories of the larger significance of art with respect to the human condition, such as those found in Arthur Schopenhauer’s The World as Will and Representation and Friedrich Nietzsche’s The Birth of Tragedy. In addition, we will explore the philosophical implications of the literature on art and evolutionary psychology, including Denis Dutton’s The Art Instinct and Ellen Dissanayake’s What Is Art For? To begin with, however, we will confront the thorny question of whether art can and should be defined, taking into account avant-garde or “anti-aesthetic” approaches to the concept of art.

Frederick M. Dolan, Professor of Humanities, California College of the Arts; Professor of Rhetoric, Emeritus, UC Berkeley

Frederick M. Dolan’s research interests include the philosophy of art, hermeneutics, and political and moral philosophy, in particular the relationship of modern political theory to the philosophical tradition and its critics (especially Nietzsche and Heidegger). He received a PhD from Princeton.

Textbooks for this course:

(Required) Steven M. Cahn and Aaron Meskin, Aesthetics: A Comprehensive Anthology, 1st Edition (ISBN 1405154357)