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Introductionto ArtandAestheticPhilosophy:AsurveyofPlato,Aristotle,Kant, HegelandMarx


02.Synopsis The philosophy of art and beauty is as old as philosophy, and it is as diverse as philosophies of history, politics, science or human conduct, but it has not always received enough attention as a proper object of study by itself, despite the compelling argument that all philosophy has its beginning in the desire for understanding the beautiful and the good(1). This is also despite the fact that it reflects the thinking/ temper of an age and has provided critical ideas for artists, critics and shaped societies that nurture the arts. However the need to understand the making of art and enjoyment of art is not limited to philosophers or artists, it is a primitive and profound motive, that has its origins in the powerful analogy that immediately comes to men when they think of themselves and the universe they inhabit(2). That is between the artist and his artifact the work of art and God and his creation the universe. Therefore it is not surprising that early philosophies of art are intermixed with cosmological inquiries before becoming a distinct branch like ontology and theology. But even so the greatest philosophies of art in any age must be considered as part of broader enquiries into man, nature and the nature of man. However distinct and shifting ideas will be evident as we cover Plato and Aristotle where enquiry into art and beauty reflect an attempt to understand the universe of things, the attempt to interpret reality and the origin of things both from humans and nature. In covering Kant and Hegel, we will look at another approach the high German metaphysics of the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries in which reality is considered mental or spiritual in essence and the idea of art as the among the highest manifestations of the absolute spirit. A survey of Marx will help us discover another very influential approach, Art as a product of social and economic structures and more importantly art as one that reflects dominant ideologies of society through the idea of base and superstructure. 1. 2. Joseph Margolis, What after all is a work of Art ? Lectures in the philosophy of Art, Penn State University Press Albert Hofstader, Richard Kuhns, Selected Readings in Aesthetics from Plato to Heidegger, Cambridge University Press

Note: These will also serve as text books for the course, from which readings will assigned. 03.Objective To help students understand that works of art are not merely the expression of some individuals random creative itch, but that it is critically connected to explorations into understanding reality, human nature and the condition of society.

04.Methodology Each Philosopher ( 5 in total) will be covered in 2 week units in the following format: First week: Lecture of Key Concepts by instructor Second week: Interactive session which will be a discussion, of the assigned reading and understanding of key concepts. 05.LearningOutcomes An appreciation for the philosophy of art and importantly for the role of art as the oldest and most fundamental of human explorations.

An understanding of the major philosophies of art and through it positions on artistic creation, production and appreciation. 06.Evaluation General Evaluation (10%): Students will marked based on participation and quality of comments in discussions. Evaluation 1 (25%): Research Paper 1 Choose one ancient philosopher (Plato or Aristotle), summarize their position on art, pick up a known art work and investigate it for the qualities that these ancient philosophers argued that a good, moral art that is beneficial to society must have. Evaluation 2 (25%): Research Paper 2 Choose one German Idealist Philosopher( Kant or Hegel), summarize their position on art, pick up a known art work that you like and critique it based on the criteria that the philosopher had for beauty, and aesthetic judgement. Submission 3 ( 15%): Examination

The exam will ty to reinforce the learning of key concepts in class by simple essay type questions that will ask the student to distinguish between the positions of philosophers on the role of art in society, artistic expression and freedom, artistic judgment and critique. Submission 4 (25%): Presentation The students will present one of their two research papers and critique a work of art based on the concepts of the philosopher they have chosen.