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Philosophy of Art and Literature - PHL250

Why do we value art? What is it good for? The unit examines some of the classic problems in the philosophy of art (aesthetics), as well as contemporary theories of art, culture, cognition, and emotion. We investigate the status of art in modern culture and explore different accounts of why human beings create and value art. We explore the nature of aesthetic experience, examining how art engages our perception, emotion, imagination, and cognition, and thereby offers rich ways of understanding the self and deepening our engagement with the world. We begin with the core problems of beauty and pleasure, examining whether aesthetic judgments about art are merely subjective or in some sense objective. Philosophical debates over standards of beauty (are these culturally relative or do they reflect universal human concerns?) will be a core issue for discussion. Finally, we look at contemporary theories of 'everyday aesthetics', which broadens philosophical reflection on art to include other cultural practices such as fashion and sport, and ask what insight aesthetic theories can bring to cultural and ethical debates over physical beauty and attractiveness. Overall, this unit aims to show how art, literature, and other cultural practices can help us explore philosophical issues in depth and exercise our moral imaginations in novel and creative ways.

Credit Points: 3
When Offered:

TBD - Not offered in the current year; next offering is to be determined

Staff Contact(s): Associate Professor Robert Sinnerbrink

(12cp at 100 level or above) or admission to GDipArts Prerequisite Information


NCCW(s): PHIL250
Unit Designation(s):
Unit Type:
Assessed As: Graded
Offered By:

Department of Philosophy

Faculty of Arts

Course structures, including unit offerings, are subject to change.
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