Department of Philosophy

Aesthetics

Major in Philosophy: Aesthetics 

The department offers a wide selection of courses for philosophy majors interested in aesthetics. 

1600 The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

3 credit hours

Are such values such as good and bad, beautiful and ugly, a part of the nature of the world or do they exist only in our minds? What is the role of pleasure and virtue, knowledge and beauty in a life well lived? Students consider the work of moral philosophers and philosophers of art who try to identify the concepts and principles that help us to answer these questions. 

2349 Arguing about Art

3 credit hours

This course addresses issues that dominate contemporary philosophical reflection on the arts, including those of form and content, the logic of taste, aesthetic value, art and knowledge, and art and emotion.

 2362 Philosophy and Literature

3 credit hours

Works that have been discussed in recent years include: Shakespeare’s King Lear, Marlowe’s Dr. Faustus, Melville’s Billy Budd, Conrad’s Lord Jim, Walker Percy’s The Moviegoer, Tom Stoppard’s Jumpers and Richard Ford’s The Sportswriter. Students in this course seek to answer philosophical questions about literature. For instance, what cognitive and moral values are associated with our reading of literature? How do we explain our emotional reactions to fictional works? Why do we enjoy the experiences elicited by literary tragedy and horror? 

3200 Environmental Aesthetics

3 credit hours

Environmental Aesthetics is concerned with aesthetic appreciation of nature and human-made or human-influenced environments. Topics will include the nature and value of natural beauty, the relationship between art appreciation and nature appreciation, the role of knowledge in the aesthetic appreciation of nature, and the importance of environmental participation to the appreciation of environments. 

3348 Aesthetics

3 credit hours

Students examine philosophical aesthetics. Topics include: representation, expression, the cognitive aspects of art and aesthetic experience, the logic of taste, aesthetic value, and the relation between art and emotion, as well as the nature of certain art forms, like those of literature, architecture, and dance. 

3375 Philosophy and Film

3 credit hours

This course will deal with philosophical questions concerning, or arising in, film. These include general issues of perspective, evidence, knowledge, and objectivity, as well as more specific questions, such as: What is the nature of representation in film? Can film be construed as a language? What constitutes uniqueness in film? What constitutes excellence? What is the logic of film criticism? These and other questions will be addressed in an effort to clarify the nature of the relation between philosophy and film.