Prof. Freeland

PHIL 6395 (Section: 12487)
Room: 512-AH
Meeting Time: 14:30-17:30 W

Philosophy of Art:
Expression, Emotion, and Imagination in the Arts

This seminar will explore some important issues in the psychology of art, examining works in the pragmatist and recent analytic traditions that attempt to explain why humans develop, care about, and learn from the arts. Shared between these traditions is the conviction that arts have cognitive value and emotional impact: we use them to enlarge our world and to enhance our understanding of it-including our understanding of other human beings and their emotions.

In the first half of the course, on pragmatist aesthetics, we will begin by reading John Dewey's ground-breaking work Art as Experience. We will follow that up with Richard Shusterman's recent revival of pragmatist aesthetics, which he calls "soma-aesthetics", in his work Pragmatist Aesthetics (2000).

The second half of the course will consider the role of imagination in art, taking up topics such as why we can have emotional responses to artworks (such as fear or disgust at a movie), and how exactly the imagination works in aiding our understanding of art (allowing, say, empathy for or identification with characters). Here the key work will be the influential theory of imaginative engagement with art, Kendall Walton's Mimesis as Make-Believe (1993). To bring things completely up to date, we will finish by reading the brand new book by Jenefer Robinson, Deeper than Reason: Emotion and Its Role in Literature, Music, and Art. Robinson draws on recent research in psychology and cognitive science to develop a complex account of expression and emotional response to art.

This seminar should be of interest to graduate students in philosophy, art, psychology, cognitive science, and art education.

Requirements: One seminar report; one medium-length (10-page) paper for each of the two major units of the course (pragmatism, emotions/imagination).



Art As Experience by John Dewey. Perigee Books (June 1, 1980) ISBN: 0399500251

Pragmatist Aesthetics by Richard Shusterman. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., second edition (February 22, 2000) ISBN: 0847697657

Mimesis As Make-Believe: On the Foundations of Representational Arts by Kendall L. Walton. Harvard University Press, reprint edition (October 1, 1993) ISBN: 0674576039

Deeper Than Reason: Emotion And Its Role In Literature, Music, And Art by Jenefer Robinson. Oxford University Press (May 15, 2005) ISBN: 0199263655


The Invention of Art : A Cultural History by Larry Shiner. University of Chicago Press (April 15, 2003) ISBN: 0226753433

Recreative Minds: Imagination in Philosophy and Psychology by Gregory Currie, Ian Ravenscroft.* Oxford University Press (February 1, 2003) ISBN: 0198238096

Languages of Art by Nelson Goodman. Hackett Publishing Company; 2nd edition (June 1, 1976) ISBN: 0915144344

John Dewey and the Lessons of Art, by Philip Jackson. Yale University Press (February 1, 2000) ISBN: 0300082894