Philosophy of Art, Fall 2010

Philosophy 3361 (sect. 32285) and 6397 (sect. 32865)

Tu Th 11:30-1, 201 AH


Dr. Cynthia Freeland



An examination of recent work in aesthetics. We begin with a book (Shiner) that analyzes the historical evolution of modern notions of art and aesthetic value. We then consider recent debates (in Kieran) about representation, expression, the role of imagination in art, the basis of interpretation, and interactions between ethics and aesthetics. Our final text (Wartenberg) defends the claim that artworks, and in particular films, can “do” philosophy.



The Invention of Art: A Cultural History, by Larry Shiner

Chicago: 2001 0-226-75343-3


Contemporary Debates in Aesthetics and the Philosophy of Art, ed. Matthew Kieran

Blackwell: 2006            1-4051-0240-3


Thinking on Screen: Film as Philosophy, by Thomas Wartenberg

 Routledge; 1 edition (December 14, 2007)

10: 0415774314          13: 978-0415774314



Philosophy of Art: A Contemporary Introduction (Routledge Contemporary Introductions to Philosophy) (Paperback) by Noël Carroll (Author)

Routledge; 1 edition (October 20, 1999)  10: 0415159644  13: 978-0415159647



There will be two take-home essay assignments, one each on topics from the Shiner and Wartenberg books.  For the Kieran book, students will be required to write a short (5-page) paper defending a position on one of the debated issues. 

For further details, please consult the Schedule page.

Graduate Students
Each graduate student must be prepared to lead a discussion of one of the papers assigned from the Kieran book.  The oral presentation should be limited to 10 minutes and should be accompanied by a one-page outline in a handout for all students in the class.
The graduate students’ papers and take-home essays should in general be longer and more detailed, with more use of outside sources, than the undergraduate papers.