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1 - 13 / 13 2015-05-14Derek Allan
Australian National UniversityDiscussion on one of the other threads (“Toward a Uniform Vocabulary for Discussing Subjectivity”) has lately turned to neuro-aesthetics where it is only marginally relevant. So I wondered if perhaps the topic might deserve its own thread, especially given that aesthetics in all its forms is such a poor relation in analytic philosophy and generally gets so little attention.
I should explain my own position. I think neuro-aesthetics is bunkum. I won’t go into why for the moment – that will doubtless emerge as time goes on. I’m happy to suggest it as a topic, however, because (a) I’m aware it has many enthusiasts, (b) who knows? I may be wrong, (c) I think it warrants closer scrutiny than it usually seems to get, and (d) as I say, aesthetics in all its form gets very little attention anyway.
To encourage contributions, I should mention that I have an Achilles heel: I have read very little of the work by “leading” neuro-aestheticians. Some intellectual movements, I feel, have folly writte ... (read more)Latest replies:
- Eric Wilson, 2015-10-06 : Thank you for your post. _ _ If none is forthcoming, then where to go but a big circle-jerk? _ _ I really don't know... (read more)
- Tami Williams, 2016-07-07 : I am a clinical psychologist and have worked many years in neuropsychological laboratories doing extensive testing with... (read more)
- Derek Allan, 2016-07-08 : Hi Tami You do sound as if you have an extensive background in the field. I am not questioning the value of neuroscience... (read more)
- Tami Williams, 2016-07-08 : Hi Derek-- My main point was that at a high level of abstraction, I think that applying neuroscience an individual who i... (read more)
- Derek Allan, 2016-07-17 : Hi Tami RE: “but I have the sense that you share the concern that neuroscience could disrupt the aesthetics of experienc... (read more)
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Australian National UniversityI would like to initiate discussion on this issue. Frankly, I will be surprised if anyone joins in because my experience is that philosophers of art have ignored it for so long that today very few even know what it is about!
The issue is simply this: how do we explain the capacity of certain works of art to ‘live on’ (to use the colloquial phrase) centuries or millennia after their creation while large numbers fall into oblivion?
The question is not about this or that work. It’s about a general capacity of (great) art – a capacity to transcend time – to remain vital and alive despite the passage of long periods of time. And it is also about the way works endure – but that’s a question for later on.
This is a vitally important issue for the philosophy of art (aesthetics). Why? Put simply: everything else in human life – from fads, to social customs, to religious beliefs etc – falls prey to the passing of time and ends up in what Malraux aptly calls “the charnel house of dead values”. Only ... (read more)Latest replies:
- Derek Allan, 2015-03-06 : I notice that one of the links in my original post on this thread doesn't work. This gi What the question of art and... (read more)
- Mike Tintner, 2015-04-23 : Isn't "Art [/art works] is eternal" one of the oldest (near eternal!) ideas in aesthetic... (read more)
- Derek Allan, 2015-05-09 : Hi Mike Sorry for the delay. I didn’t notice you had posted a comment. Taking your questions one by one: Yes, the idea t... (read more)
- Robert Moore, 2017-03-10 : The issue of indurance over periods of time in excess of fifty to one hundred years relates to universal conscious, the... (read more)
- Derek Allan, 2017-03-12 : Hi Rob Thanks for your comment. (I’m not sure how long Philpapers discussions are going to be possible. They’re talking... (read more)
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Aarhus UniversityHi everyone!
Well, I've noticed the question of "computer games are art (y or n?)" being raised. I wouldn't get into "what does it mean that X is an object of art" or "what essential properties does X need in order for it to be an object of art". I'd like to address a different question: why do we take for granted that a poem is an object of art, while, say, computer games are not?
Maybe a Wittgenstein-like approach would insist on valid language games instead of deploying analytical "essential properties" of the object.Latest replies:
- Camil Cardas, 2011-08-19 : Thanks for this. I agree on your first statement, and I would like to ask "why?". Why does current literature... (read more)
- Javier Santana, 2013-12-17 : Hi everyone! I find that this subject you have been dealing with is a very thrilling one and I think the conversation so... (read more)
- Derek Allan, 2015-07-04 : I thought I might try to revive discussion on this thread which I seem to have missed somehow. The key point in Camil’s... (read more)
- Bryan Maloney, 2015-07-06 : Why? Snobbery, plain and simple. Were not the cubists derided? And Dada? Was it not mocked as not being "art"... (read more)
- Derek Allan, 2015-07-07 : You could well be right, Bryan. As I said, my view of computer games is "just my view". The point of my post w... (read more)
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University of GenevaI recently proposed a phenomenological experiment on music perception that is a follow up of a theorical article written with my friend Jerome Palfi, a mathematician. Unfortunately I did not find enough people to participate among acquaintances. Therefore I would be glad if readers of Philpapers that are interessed by aesthetics, or philosophy of music, could give some of their time to take part in this experiment.
One can find the paper at my home page under the title "A phenomenological experiment with Arnold Schoenberg". The idea is to establish wether or not a certain mathematical grouping of dodecaphonic series is settled on perceptual grounds.
I think that not more than one hour of listening should be enough to experiment, plus maybe half an hour for the presentation reading. No special knowledge of any kind is required.
Results, posted as comments here, should be of interest for musicians and philosophers. As the data to discriminate is presented by columns, the general forms of re ... (read more)
University of Central OklahomaI'm interested in hearing peoples' intuitions about the aesthetic value of games. Most people I know who habitually play chess, bridge, computer games or Dungeons and Dragons share the intuition that they value the experience of gameplay for reasons that are at least closely akin to the aesthetic. But is there one particular factor that can be appealed to that distinguishes the aesthetic value of gameplay from other types of intrinsic or instrumental value that it may possess, e.g. as a type of relaxation, a facilitator of certain types of social interaction, a pedagogical tool, and so on?Latest replies:
- Derek Allan, 2010-10-17 : Hi Michiel Thank you for your interesting Just a couple of points in reply. I would not really want to exclude anything... (read more)
- Robin Elaine Clark, 2010-10-25 : Christy.... Hear! Hear! As a newcomer to the site I'd like to thank you for the frankness of your response.&nb... (read more)
- Derek Allan, 2010-10-25 : Hi Robin I guess you are referring to Christy's attempts some time ago to enforce agreement with her point of view... (read more)
- Robin Elaine Clark, 2010-10-27 : Hi, Mark... I like your invitation to to readers to share "intuitions" about the aesthetic value of games.&nbs... (read more)
- Catinca Mattice, 2011-08-19 : I apologize for not really responding to the conversation, but I had made a short list of comparisons between games and... (read more)
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University of Toronto, St. George Campus
Suppose that X is an evolutionary adaptation. Can one infer, prima facie, that it is good? The consensus in philosophy is that one cannot. Reflecting on Denis Dutton’s The Art Instinct made me reconsider.
Here, in very schematic form, is the argument that cuts against the consensus:
1. Suppose that X is an adaptation to circumstances C. (E.g: the heart is an adaptation to the need for oxygenated blood throughout the body.)
2. From a scientific account that shows why X is an adaptation, we can (usually?) derive a function-attribution of the form: F is a function of X. (E.g.: oxygenation and pumping of blood are functions of the heart.)
3. If F is a function of X, and A is an X that does not perform F, then A is a bad X. (E.g.: a heart that doesn’t pump and oxygenate blood properly is a bad heart.)
Suppose that some human practices are adaptations. Specifically, suppose that art is one. Then by 2 above we may conclude that art has a function. Suppose that work of art ... (read more)Latest replies:
- Derek Allan, 2010-06-23 : Hi Christy Some bracing _ad hominem_ from you again! Phew! But what disappoints me about your posts is that you do not r... (read more)
- Joseph Clarke, 2010-06-26 : Looking out from the Lit. studies world, Jerry Fodor has been put to work thinking about these issues and to a lesser ex... (read more)
- Derek Allan, 2010-06-26 : Hi Joseph I'm not sure I follow your post entirely and I have not read the works you refer to. But you seem to be sa... (read more)
- Kris Rhodes, 2010-08-25 : "3. If F is a function of X, and A is an X that does not perform F, then A is a bad X. (E.g.: a heart that doesn’t... (read more)
- Derek Allan, 2012-08-24 : This thread has been dormant for some time. I wonder if I might try to regenerate it by re-asking a question I asked in... (read more)
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University of AucklandWe have many framing devices in the arts, and one thing that is consistent in their use is a metacognitive process which they seem to stimulate. We see the contents of a picture, and while we are occupied with processing these details we might come across another picture inside it, or we might see an artist painting a picture (as we do in Velazquez's Las Meninas); or there might be a mirror in the depicted space, all of these framing devices allow us to step out of our current thought process, and become aware of it, or self aware of our viewing. How fair is it to say that visual experience can be ordered in the form of HOTs as framing devices in the visual field, or that HOTs can be visualised in this way?Latest replies:
- Gregory Minissale, 2010-06-26 : I will add a few more thoughts why many art historians and philosophers are interested in frames, particularly frames-in... (read more)
- Gregory Minissale, 2010-06-26 : yes you are right I am not suggesting that those interested in defining art are amateurs! It is just something that i am... (read more)
- Derek Allan, 2010-06-27 : Hi Greg Thanks for your replies. Just a point of clarification. I was not claiming that “frames are ordinary things to b... (read more)
- Gabriel Walter, 2012-07-28 : I hope it will provide go
- Nikolai Blaskow, 2015-05-26 : Hi Greg and Derek,Thank you for your quite technical and nuanced discussion o I am quite interested in the way Friedrich... (read more)
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University of AucklandPerhaps we could begin with Hitchcock and Husserl/Sartre?Latest replies:
- Rami Kaawach, 2010-06-07 : This sounds like a great project, and I will definitely keep my eye on the developing thoughts of fellow posters. Before... (read more)
- Gregory Minissale, 2010-06-19 : Thank you for responding. I will try to find the Zizek. Very interesting what you have to say about having two sets... (read more)
My name is Jared and I am a recent graduate of Bates College with a degree in philosophy (specifically contemporary political philosophy). Toward the end of my education, I studied more M&E and found this area of philosophy to be significantly more interesting. Within the last year I launched a music/ philosophy blog called Playtonic Dialogues (shameless pun) where I aim to report and promote conversations that touch on these two topics. I write and administrate Playtonic Dialogues as well as write for a number of music websites. I believe there is a lack of substantive discourse in music journalism and I'd like to develop a style and voice to communicate the analytical studies taking place with music. If anyone has suggestions for the blog, interesting research within these topics, or any other questions or comments, I'd really appreciate the input.
2009-12-30Since it appears that "Category Mistake" is the only thread devised for the Aesthetics forum thus far, my hope is that this thread will begin an ongoing critical discussion of the philosophy of art.
There are several issues concerning the philosophy of art that I have found difficult to answer or ignore:
(1) What role does "value" play in assessing works of art? Is there any coherent principle concerning the value of works of art? If so, is it broad enough to accept new and unprecedented standards for works of art? Does a standard of value lock art into a stultifying tradition or policy? I seem to hold that there is one value in art: the value of education in developing an aptitude for engaging in the language of art. This is primarily an aesthetic education, to be taken as more than mere developing good taste, an eye for design, color, and composition, and some knowledge of the canons of art. This aesthetic capacity entails a thoroughgoing philosophical outlook towards works of art.
(2 ... (read more)Latest replies:
- Derek Allan, 2010-06-01 : Hi Dilys RE: "When you suggest a topic such as "What is art" - what exactly do you mean by that? Ar... (read more)
- Vladimir Breskin, 2010-06-04 : Hi Dilys! "Do you support Suzanne Langer's Philosophy in a new Key?" - In very! general direction of her i... (read more)
- Derek Allan, 2011-01-27 : I thought I might try to revive this thread – though I know the philosophy of art is probably very much on the margins o... (read more)
- Vladimir Breskin, 2011-01-28 : _"I've noticed quite a flurry of activity lately...&_Philosophy of Art, Philosophy of Mind, Philosophy of... (read more)
- Derek Allan, 2011-01-29 : Yes I'm vaguely aware of the ideas of Zeki and co. I've seen them criticised severely for exactly the reas... (read more)
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2009-06-29Perhaps the reason there are no other threads on this subject is that the subject is misplaced. Inclusion of aesthetics under value theory is a polite nod to Kant but has little to do with today.Latest replies:
- Derek Allan, 2010-10-11 : Hi Robin By "art makes itself known" I just meant that it becomes known over time as a result of its own quali... (read more)
- Robin Elaine Clark, 2010-10-11 : Hi again, Derek… I’m curious as to the ‘“official” aesthetic position’ you mention. “Official” in what sense? Are... (read more)
- Derek Allan, 2010-10-11 : Hi Robin Thanks for your reply. My term "official" was intended a bit flippantly. I meant that the view in que... (read more)
- Robin Elaine Clark, 2010-10-12 : Hi Derek... I supposed that you were using the word "official" in an offhand manner ; however, one never knows... (read more)
- Derek Allan, 2010-10-13 : Hi Robin Yes I agree. Electronic communication can be tricky. Especially in discussions like this when one is trying to... (read more)
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University of BirminghamCross-posted from http://mleseminar.wordpress.com/
This week we discussed Cian Dorr’s ‘There are no abstract objects’, which isn’t currently available online, but is in ‘Contemporary Debates in Metaphysics’. Here’s the handout instead.
As we had Cian on the spot for this meeting, the discussion mostly took a question-and-answer format. So here are what I recorded of some questions and some answers, with a few that I didn’t get time to ask thrown in at the end. Apologies if my paraphrases of Cian's answers misrepresent him!
Q: What about people who would resist the paraphrase strategy (p.37) because they think that counterpossibles are all vacuously true (Williamson takes this line in The Philosophy of Philosophy).
A: Nominalism/anti-nominalism are both contingent theses. But even if you think that nominalism is necessary if true, there will be certain kinds of truths like ‘there are possibly some things with a number-like structure’ which can be used to ground the relevant counterfactua ... (read more)
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