Our focus is on the metaphysical, ethical, evaluative, psychological, and social dimensions of art and the aesthetic. Particular emphasis is placed on philosophical problems raised by the creation, interpretation, experience, and criticism of music, film, literature, painting, and photography. An interdisciplinary spirit is encouraged, as regards the bearing on issues in aesthetics of both cognitive science and relevant subfields of philosophy, such as ethics, philosophy of language and philosophy of mind.

Faculty in this area

  • Jerrold Levinson (Aesthetics, Philosophy of Humor, Philosophy of Literature and Film, Philosophy of Music)

In addition, John Brown, who is Emeritus in the Department but continues to teach courses for us, specializes in aesthetics and philosophy of the arts. Moreover, the Department contains a number of faculty with ancillary interests in aspects of aesthetics, including Peter Carruthers, Samuel Kerstein, Georges Rey, Rachel Singpurwalla, and Allen Stairs.

Recent seminars in this area

  • Performance (Jerrold Levinson, 2011)
  • Aesthetics (Jerrold Levinson, 2011)
  • The Concept of the Aesthetic (Jerrold Levinson, 2007)