PHIL 185.001 – Aesthetics and the Philosophy of Art

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Instructor: Zach Thornton. This course meets MWF 10:10 – 11:00 a.m. via synchronous remote instruction.

In this course, we will survey a broad set of philosophical issues about the nature of beauty and aesthetic taste. Such issues include the importance of authenticity, the objectivity of beauty and taste, the role of aesthetic judgement in broader social practices, and the relationship between ethics and aesthetics. We will also discuss some specific philosophical puzzles posed by horror, forgery, cultural appropriation, public monuments, and street art.

Students will learn about this material by engaging with their peers in class discussions, online forums, and peer feedback, all of which will be firmly grounded in readings. No particular background in philosophy or art is presupposed. Intellectual curiosity and ability to engage with your peers in open and respectful dialogue are required.