David L. Hildebrand, Ph.D., Philosophy

Spring 2008 Phl 4812 Philosophy of Art

Philosophy of Art 2009 poster

Philosophy of Art 

David Hildebrand

University of Colorado Denver

Spring 2008

Course Description: This course presents an introduction to the philosophy of art and aesthetics. In part, this means familiarization with a variety of methods: Platonic, Aristotelian, Romanticist, idealist, Marxist, phenomenological, existentialist, pragmatist, feminist and postmodernist aesthetic theories, for example. It also means consider all sides of the communication that is art: the creative process of artists, the object-events created or artworks, and the audience's ability to experience, interpret, and evaluate art. In the course of this survey, a variety of problem-areas related to art will be considered: for example, what is a work of art? What is taste or beauty and who determines and justifies those standards? How is meaning conveyed by works of art and what methods of interpretation best reveal meaning? What is an aesthetic experience and why is it special? What are the social, political, and philosophical roles of art products and art criticism in contemporary society? Our attempts to grapple with these theories and problems will utilize as much actual art as possible through multimedia technology and, hopefully, field trips to local art sites.

Course Objectives:

1.     Familiarization. Gain a good sense of what is at stake in issues of course.

2.     Comprehension. Be able to comprehend the arguments offered by various philosophers.

3.     Critical analysis. Be able to criticize those arguments by pointing out where they lack evidence, make an unreasonable leap, hold a false assumption, etc.

4.     Demonstration of (1) - (3) through writing.

5.     Verbalization. Be able to summarize a philosophical position, without notes, using your own words. Be able to criticize a position this way.

6.     Conversation and Debate. Be able to discuss issues in a focused and informed way with others in the class. This will involve listening closely to their points, then responding in a way that moves the discussion ahead.

Texts: Available at Auraria and Big Dog Textbooks (1331 15th Street). Also, if you desire, online (see, for example, http://used.addall.com). If you buy your book online, make sure (1) that it is the correct edition, and (2) that you have it in time for class. See also http://www.bigdogtextbooks.com here in Denver. 

Required: 

  1. The Art Book (Hardcover); Phaidon Press (January 1, 1994)
  2. The Philosophy of Art: Readings Ancient and Modern Ed. by Alex Neill (Author), Aaron Ridley

Recommended:

  1. Art Theory: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) (Paperback) by Cynthia Freeland)

Online. Occasionally there will be readings at one of the following places:

(a)    on my website: www.davidhildebrand.org (dh)

(b)    at our blackboard site www.blackboard.cudenver.edu (blackboard)

YOU MUST PRINT OUT ANY READING THAT IS ASSIGNED AND BRING IT TO CLASS.

Course Requirements/Evaluation: 

Participation/presentation                                                  20%                 

Short Writings (10 total)                                                   15%

Paper #1            Maximum length: 1000-1500 words            30%

Paper #2  graduate students:             2500-3250 words    35%      (due: NOON, 5/13, philosophy department office)

undergraduate students: 2000-2500 words    35%      (due: NOON, 5/13, philosophy department office)

Blackboard/Website: There are two online sites related to this course. Familiarize yourself with them right away. Both will offer you access to information about the course such as study questions, announcements, grades, extra credit assignments.

  1. The first and most important one is our course Blackboard site: https://blackboard.cuonline.edu. On this page are INSTRUCTIONS TO ENROLL. Please make sure you enroll right at the beginning of the class.
  2. The second site is my home page at http://www.davidhildebrand.org. Here there are a variety of general study tips and resources in philosophy.

Readings: It is expected that you have done the readings before we discuss them. As you read, copy out important points and questions you have onto a separate sheet of paper. (These will help you with your short reflection papers.) You may also want to note problem passages (e.g., with a "?" or "Q.") in your text as you read. These are good points for class discussion. You should come to each class able to discuss the main issues of the reading and you could be asked during class to present the main points to the class. Your well-prepared participation is crucial for a successful class. Please see the Tips for Understanding Philosophy and for Writing Philosophy Papers on my home page. See also this page for tips on participating and reading. Very important: please set aside about 10 minutes shortly before class to look back over (skim-review) the readings and whatever you have written for that day.

Attendance + Participation/Presentation: Intellectual inquiry requires verbal discussion as much as written argument. There will be ample opportunity for active and well prepared participation, which I value and which will affect the final grade. "Participation" includes the following kinds of things: attendance, ability and willingness to contribute to class discussion and group activities, e-mail dialogue, etc. More than two unexcused absences over the course of the semester will undermine your final course grade. An excusable absence is a medical illness or emergency that is completely unavoidable.

Important: part of this grade will be determined by your presentation of your short papers: when called upon in class, you must demonstrate that you know what you wrote and why you wrote it; in other words, show clarity of thought, effective communication, and ability to field questions on your paper will all contribute to the participation portion of your grade. (I suggest looking over your short papers briefly before class to prepare.)

Readings: It is expected that you have done the readings before we discuss them. As you read, copy out important points and questions you have onto a separate sheet of paper. (These will help you with your short reflection papers.) You may also want to note problem passages (e.g., with a "?" or "Q.") in your text as you read. These are good points for class discussion. You should come to each class able to discuss the main issues of the reading and you could be asked during class to present the main points to the class. Please see the Tips for Understanding Philosophy and for Writing Philosophy Papers on my home page. See also this page for tips on participating and reading.

Very important: please try to set aside about 10 minutes shortly before class to look back over (skim-review) the readings and whatever you have written for that day.

Short Papers (10 total)  The purpose of these assignments is to help you clarify your understanding of the readings and to help you think critically about the issues. Follow these instructions carefully, please. These assignments should be:

What to write on short papers:

  • 8 of 10 short papers should be: one-page, typewritten reactions or questions about some specific issue which you find compelling in the readings. Your paper must not simply sum up the reading or repeat points made there. (I.e., no book reports, please.) Rather, you must try to raise a question or discuss some original insight. You may use these papers to demonstrate your application of a concept/idea in the readings to an experience you have making or experiencing art, but the connection to the reading must be significant (and not a mere "jumping off" point. See the website link "Writing short, critical papers" for further hints about how to write a good paper.
    • The first paragraph should state in 1-2 sentences a summary of what the paper is about.
    • Only papers that are written on a reading or topic that will be discussed in the class immediately coming up are acceptable. 
  • 2 of 10 short papers must be multimedia. I.e., accompanying 2 of your papers should be an image(s), musical excerpt, poem, objet d'art, etc. that illustrates or somehow comments upon an important idea or concept in the readings. 

 When to write short papers 

  • You must do 10 papers total and you may not hand in more than one paper on the same date. FIVE papers must be done by the course midpoint, March 12. Students who have not done 5 papers by March 12th will only be permitted to do 5 more papers.
  • You must come to class for a paper to be accepted.

Grading on short papers

  • Grade: This will be a “graded” assignment only in a loose sense; in other words it will be either S-satisfactory (100) or U-unsatisfactory (50). A zero (0) will be awarded if nothing (or next to nothing) is turned in.
  • TWO MAKE-UPS: If you get a Unsatisfactory on up to two papers, you may revise and resubmit them. The old grade will be dropped in favor of the revised paper's grade.

Longer Papers: There will be two longer papers required for this class. You will need to start thinking about paper topics well before their due date. NO late papers without prior arrangements. You may email me at any time to discuss your progress on ALL papers/assignments or we can discuss them in office hours.

Plagiarism/ Academic Dishonesty Plagiarism is a form of stealing. It occurs when an author uses the words or ideas of others as if they were the author’s own original thought. (It may include word-for-word copying, interspersing one’s own words with another’s, paraphrasing, inventing or counterfeiting sources, submitting another’s work as one’s own, neglecting quotation marks on material that is otherwise acknowledged.) Plagiarism is often unintentional. It can be avoided by always acknowledging one’s debt to others by citing the exact source of a quotation or paraphrase. Since plagiarism is such a serious violation of academic honesty, the penalty for it will be an automatic “F” for this course.

Academic dishonesty is the intentional disregard of course or university rules. This may include (but is not limited to) collaborating with others when rules forbid or using sources/experts not permitted by an assignment. The CU handbook has a more complete description of plagiarism and academic dishonesty. 

Grades: I use the plus/minus system. Values for those letters, as well as the policies regarding other grades such as Incomplete, are available in the CU Academic Policies and Regulations section of the handbook. I have set out my standards of what a grade means on my FAQ section of my website.

Access, Disability, Communication: The University of Colorado at Denver and Health Sciences Center is committed to providing reasonable accommodation and access to programs and services to persons with disabilities. Students with disabilities who want academic accommodations must register with Disability Resources and Services (DRS), 177 Arts Building, 303-556-3450, TTY 303-556-4766, FAX 303-556-2074. I will be happy to provide approved accommodations, once you provide me with a copy of DRS’s letter. [DRS requires students to provide current and adequate documentation of their disabilities. Once a student has registered with DRS, DRS will review the documentation and assess the student’s request for academic accommodations in light of the documentation. DRS will then provide the student with a letter indicating which academic accommodations have been approved.]

Students called for military duty: If you are a student in the military with the potential of being called to military service and /or training during the course of the semester, you are encouraged to contact your school/college Associate Dean or Advising Office immediately.

Course Communication: In addition to announcements made and written handouts distributed in class, I may need to contact you between classes, which I'll do through individual and group email messages. One of the requirements for this course is that you maintain an email address, check it regularly for messages, be sure it is working, and let me know if you change your email address. You are responsible for any messages, including assignments and schedule changes, I send you via email. You also may contact me via email, in addition to seeing me during office hours or calling me.

Civility and Technology: Turn off beepers and cell phones during class. Text messaging, web surfing, and other electronic distractions may result in expulsion from class and will be counted against the class "participation" grade. Students who are speaking deserve your attention and respect as much as I do. Listen to one another. Adherence to the Student Conduct Code is expected.

Contact Information and Office Hours

Phone : 303-556-8558

E-mail: hilde@yahoo.com;                       Website: http://davidhildebrand.org

Office and Hours: Plaza M108;                 Hours TTh 12-1 p.m. or by appointment.

Purpose: I strongly encourage you to participate by dropping by during office hours. We can talk about the class readings and lectures,  exams and papers, your progress, or just philosophy in general. Note: If you are a student with a disability, I will make myself available to discuss appropriate academic accommodations. Before accommodations will be made, you may be required to provide documentation. Students with disabilities will be accommodated. Students with disabilities are required to register disabilities with the UCD Disability Services Office, and are responsible for requesting reasonable accommodations at the beginning of the term. 

Please note: All course requirements are subject to change at the discretion of the instructor.

Course help is available at my web address: http://DavidHildebrand.org

Reading and Assignment Schedule

(subject to change; I will let you know what is coming up)

 

Date/Theme

Required and Recommended Readings/Assignments

All readings in Neill and Ridley book unless otherwise noted.

January

  

23

Course introduction

30

ARTISTS: CONCEPTS OF CREATIVITY

Plato: The Ion (Woodruff translation).

Wordsworth: Preface to the Lyrical Ballads.

February

 

6

Nietzsche: "Attempt at a Self-Criticism" and excerpts from The Birth of Tragedy

13

Freud: "Creative Writers and Day-dreaming" (Grant Duff translation).

John Dewey: "Having an Experience."  See Hildebrand on Dewey (online)

20

ARTWORKS

Clive Bell: "The Aesthetic Hypothesis," from Art.

Clement Greenberg: "Modernist Painting."

27

R. G. Collingwood: Excerpts from The Principles of Art.

March

 

5

Morris Weitz: "The Role of Theory in Aesthetics."

Nehamas, "Art, Interpretation, and the Rest of Life" (online)

12--Course midpoint

5 Short papers must be done by this point.

Arthur C. Danto: "The Artworld."

George Dickie: "The New Institutional Theory of Art."

 

19

AUDIENCES

David Hume: "Of the Standard of Taste."

PAPER 1 DUE IN CLASS; other readings TBA

26

Spring Break

April

 

2

Immanuel Kant: "Analytic of the Beautiful."

other readings TBA

9

Wimsatt and Beardsley: "The Intentional Fallacy."

Roland Barthes: "The Death of the Author"

E. D. Hirsch: "In Defense of the Author"

16  

E.D. Hirsch, continued

Stanley Fish: "Is There a Text in this Class?"

other readings TBA

23

Plato: Republic, Excerpts from Book III (386-398b), and Book X (595-608b) (Lee translation)

Alexander Nehamas, “Plato and the Mass Media” (on Blackboard)

other readings TBA

30

Aristotle: Poetics, Chapters 1-15, first half of 17, 23-26 (Halliwell translation).

other readings TBA

May

 

7

Leo Tolstoy: Excerpts from What is Art?

John Dewey: "Art and Civilization," from Art as Experience.


Last updated Nov 28, 2010 09:22:AM