Climate Change Anxiety and Contemporary Climate Aesthetics
This talk explores the concept of global climate anxiety, referring to the emotional distress caused by concerns about the effects of climate change. While psychologists have extensively studied this anxiety, and it became already part of everyday speech (Korpelainen, 2021) but unfortunately, just a little attention has been paid to it from the perspective of aesthetics. Are there any other than psychological ways to deal with such anxiety and how can aesthetics be of help in following them? In this talk I will explore the role of art (with its ability to raise awareness about the impacts of climate change and inspire people to take action – Richardson (2018), Hoggett (2019), Vaughn (2021) and Mikonnen (2022)) but also the role of aesthetics (aesthetic consolation in everyday life by embracing the familiarity and routines amidst climate change; climate aesthetics as aesthetics of loss). The talk concludes by emphasizing the importance of alternative or complementary perspectives from aesthetics in addressing climate anxiety, despite the vast and slow nature of the phenomenon.
Habits of Unexpectedness: The Expressive Character of Musical Improvisation
Is there any specificity in the expressive character of musical improvisation? There are two main positions in the current debate: (1) the Transparency Thesis and (2) the Objective-Generic Expressiveness Thesis. According to (1), the specific expressiveness of an improvised musical performance depends uniquely on the way the music transparently manifests the musicians’ subjective affectivity. According to (2), the expressiveness of improvised music depends solely on the objective components of the musical practice in question. Against (1), it can be observed that musical expressivity is not a kind of natural outburst. Against (2),musical expressiveness cannot be explained as the mere application of objective expressive topoi.
By introducing the conceptual pair (social) Habitus / (individual) habit I will defend a third, different view. Accordingly, the improvisational quality of a musical performance is relevant to its specific expressiveness and the fact that a music is improvised affects its particular expressive traits. As I will argue, musical expressiveness results from the way an expressive habitus is (trans)formed by its application in the contingent situation of a musical performance, so that improvisation exhibits expressive habits in (inter)action in the context of a performance regulated by the cultural (expressive) habitus.
Aesthetic Cognitivism and Aesthetic Biases in Epistemic Evaluations
In this paper, I point out something which has gone under the radar, and argue that it has consequences for how we understand the value of art. This is that aesthetic properties can lead us to epistemic underestimations: how something appears or sounds can make us think it is stupid, when really, it is insightful. I discuss examples of this including ‘Live, Laugh, Love’ signs, and cases where aesthetic properties cause us to commit epistemic injustices.
I argue that this observation supports aesthetic cognitivism, the view that artworks are valuable qua artwork partly in virtue of the insights we learn from them. A common objection to this view highlights the difficulty of giving any examples of insights we’ve learned from art – articulations of the supposed insights often sound hopelessly banal.
However, I show that the overlooked potential for aesthetic-induced epistemic underestimation undermines this objection. I argue that the aesthetic properties commonly borne by articulations of the lessons of artworks are particularly likely to make them seem banal. So, attempts to articulate what we’ve learned from artworks aren’t reliable evidence for the epistemic value of those works. Therefore, this objection shouldn’t stop us being aesthetic cognitivists.
Between Action and Artwork: Linking Liberty and Creativity in Improvisation
Improvisation poses challenges to the philosophy of action and the ontology of music. Against the former, open to external influences, its spontaneous and dynamic production intuitively diminishes the agency of the improvisor, demanding a more complex notion of intention. In the ontology of music, putting musical elements in constant variation, improvisation challenges the work-performance ontology that typifies the performance of compositions. Further, there is debate as to the whether the aesthetic weight is located in the process of improvisation itself or in the coherency of the determinate set of musical elements performed. To my mind, improvisation affords analysis by its dynamism and traditional musical analysis. To resolve these issues, I propose a notion of improvisational space, a mobile field of musical opportunities in which an improvisor exercises their faculties. Given improvisation’s impulse to be different, with this notion of improvisational space, I analyse Mostly Other People do the Killing’s infamous doppleganger album, Blue, to determine the sense in which it is novel. The notion of improvisational space outlines the relationship between musical actions and musical ontology, indicating the status of improvised musical works.
Mimesis and Methexis. How Images Yield Knowledge about the World
In my paper I examine the relationship between image and what is imagined or depicted, sign and signified, idea and thing. I discuss the relation of resemblance – mimesis – in its relation to the relation of participation – methexis. First, I discuss Wittgenstein’s reflections on the so-called ‘picture theory of language’ in the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus. I argue that we do not get a static theory of the image in the Tractatus – on one side the structure of language, on the other side the structure of reality. Rather, this relation is the result of what Wittgenstein calls projection. For Wittgenstein, therefore, the meaning of the proposition (already in the Tractatus) consists in its use, which he grasps here under the concept of projection.
In the second part, I follow up with the problem of images in Plato. The form of the image presupposes the relation to the image, even though it should technically precede it. This is discussed through the notion of methexis. In the third part, I present current theories of methexis as exemplified in the image theories of Jean-Luc Nancy, Sibylle Krämer, and Emmanuel Alloa. These take place in an ‘in-between’ and allow us to rethink the relationship between the image and what it depicts or imagines.
What is the relation between aesthetics and ordinary perception? What is art’s particular tie to the aesthetic? What is the aesthetic anyway? In this talk, I explore these questions. This talk is based on material in my new book The Entanglement, which is to be published at the end of June 2023
Rapture and Attunement: Heidegger’s Attempt at Overcoming Nietzsche’s Aesthetics
Recent additions to Heidegger’s complete works have highlighted the significance for his positive thinking on art of his concomitant negative project of overcoming the very framework of traditional (‘metaphysical’) aesthetics. This provides the context for a novel appreciation of his most well-known engagement with a key representative of this tradition – namely, Nietzsche. In this paper, I extract and reconstruct the central argumentative steps at play in Heidegger’s extended interpretive confrontation with Nietzsche’s aesthetics, as expounded in Heidegger’s first lecture course on Nietzsche, ‘The Will to Power as Art’ (WPA). Particular attention will be devoted to Heidegger’s pivotal recasting of Nietzsche’s concept of rapture (Rausch) as the fundamental aesthetic state in terms of Heidegger’s own existential notion of fundamental attunement; as well as to Heidegger’s striking claim that any ‘true’ aesthetic approach to art, as he puts it, ‘explodes itself’. Then, contrary to previous scholarship on WPA, I highlight how Heidegger’s critique co-exists with a creative appropriation of basic Nietzschean notions, and how the results of such operation fit into and illuminate the seemingly independent Heideggerian project of developing a being-historical perspective on art, as canonically expounded in ‘The Origin of the Work of Art’.
Virginia Woolf, Epiphanies, and the Modernist Novel
An oft-expressed ambition in 19th and 20th century art-making and theorizing is that art will somehow step in and play some of the roles of waning religion. In this talk, I pursue one smaller aspect of this multifarious idea by looking to the idea of the epiphanyas it appears in modernist literature, where it is transformed from a religious guise into an aesthetic one. In its traditional religious meaning, an epiphany is the manifestation of God or a divine being. For the giants of literary modernism Proust, Joyce, and Woolf, epiphany becomes a central concern, albeit in a secularform. In this paper, I narrow the focus to Virginia Woolf’s work to try to understand this phenomenon of the secular epiphany better. They are not, to be sure, an experience of God or the divine—Woolf was a militant atheist—but instead are intensely powerful experiences of this life and world, standing out against the backdrop of what she calls the “cotton wool of daily existence.” I seek to explain what these experiences are, and what their aesthetic and cognitive import is, and why the modernist novel is aesthetically well-suited to dramatizing this sort of experience. I draw out a salient point of contrast between Woolf’s use of the epiphany, on the one hand, and Proust’s and Joyce’s on the other.
Does a Plausible Construal of Aesthetic Value Give us Reason to Emphasize Some Aesthetic Practices over Others? If Not, What Might?
Andrew Wynn Owen
I propose a construal of aesthetic value that gives us reason to emphasize some aesthetic practices over others. This construal rests on the existence of a central aesthetic value, namely apprehension-testing intricacy within an appropriate domain. I address three objections: the objection that asks how an aesthetic value based on intricacy can account for the value of minimalism; the objection that asks about the difference between intricacy within a medium and intricacy between media; and the objection that asks about the danger of a regress. I then say that, although this central aesthetic value can in principle allow us to adjudicate between aesthetic practices, we have epistemic limits (about the potential of certain artistic domains to allow for apprehension-testing intricacy) that prevent adjudication in some cases. Even if there is a difference between the vastness of the potential-intricacy-fields somewhere down the line, it is too far for us to see.
What’s the “New” in “New Extractivism”? Tracing Post-Digital Aesthetics in Vladan Joler’s Assemblage
The present study critically examines Vladan Joler’s work titled New Extractivism: An assemblage of concepts and allegories (2021), with a specific emphasis on its aesthetic dimensions. The investigation seeks to address the following questions: How does the term “New” in New Extractivism manifest previously unexplored ideas? To what extent can the characteristics of post-digital aesthetics be discerned in this artistic work? Traditionally, the term extractivism has been associated primarily with the exploitation of the Earth’s resources and its biosphere. However, Joler’s work emphasizes that in contemporary times, it has assumed an additional layer of significance, referring to the exploitation of individuals as reservoirs of data, owing to the traceability of their online activities. While the concept of extractivism acquires a novel connotation within the post-digital context of our era, I contend that there is nothing particularly unprecedented about it in terms of aesthetics. Instead, its roots can be traced back to Jack Burnham’s Systems Esthetics of the 1960s. During that era within the artistic domain, a profound enthusiasm for technology and a firm conviction in the swift advancement of technical capabilities were prevalent. The necessity of establishing an interdisciplinary foundation encompassing the domains of art, science, and technology was evidently. The paper further explores Joler’s allegories of the digital space, a compilation comprising 33 concepts and ideas aimed at elucidating the significance and interrelationships of the graphics employed. The objective of this research is to analyze a selection of these ideas from two distinct perspectives: firstly, the theoretical framework of Jack Burnham’s Systems Esthetics, and secondly, the contemporary theory of James Bridle’s New Aesthetic.
In my presentation I examine whether the distinction between personal and impersonal imagining is relevant to better understand how imagination is involved in art and game experiences. I start from the distinction as it is made by Gregory Currie in his Image and Mind. Film, Philosophy and Cognitive Science (1995) and I follow his argument against the dominant view on first-person imagining, but I wonder whether it is possible to differentiate between different kinds of art and game experiences on the basis of that distinction (as Currie does who relates impersonal imagining to film experiences). However, the central point of Currie’s argument concerning impersonal imagining is its dependence on perceptual beliefs (“perceptual imagining”). In this way, Currie invites us to analyse imaginings in relation to the visual appearance of an image. I will argue that it is possible to describe the distinctive features of the visual appearance of what I will define as a virtual image. I will hereby especially focus on the awareness or unawareness of the frame in the image experience. In doing so, I want to show that what Currie calls impersonal imagining is first of all related to new qualities of a visual perceiving to which imagination is subordinated.
Understanding the Relation of Action and Knowledge in Flusser’s Theory of Photography
Art theorist Vilém Flusser argues that photographers ‘play against’ the program of the camera: outwitting its automatisms in order to produce unexpected works. If Flusser is right, he gives us a way to bring the photographer into the photographic exposure: as an agent attempting to outwit its mechanistic nature. However, playing against the camera to produce ‘unexpected’ works implies a somewhat mysterious process wherein the photographer has control over the exposure, but an incomplete knowledge as to what this control will produce. Can we understand playing against the camera as intentional considering this lack of knowledge?
In recent work, action theorists Joshua Shepherd and J. Adam Carter argue that many cases of intentional action involve chance to some degree. There will therefore be cases wherein the chance of failure is so high that one could not possibly know they will succeed in performing a certain action. Knowledge, therefore, cannot be necessary for intentional action.
I conclude that by viewing Flusser’s account of photography in light of Shepherd and Carter’s work, we can reconceptualise the photographic exposure to account for agency within it. On my account, the exposure shifts from a moment of pure recording to a play against this recording on behalf of the photographer, a play that is intentional yet unpredictable.
Distance Learning: Insight Through Art and Audience Creativity
Aesthetic cognitivism attempts to understand 1) how art improves our cognitive standing and 2) how this explains an artwork’s artistic value. Usually, cognitivists attempt to account for what I will call insight in art, explaining improvements in cognitive standing by showing how insights are embedded within artworks and then discovered through the interpretative and appreciative labour of the audience. In this presentation, I will argue there is a less discussed parallel phenomenon which I will call insight through art. Here, improvements in cognitive standing are explained by showing how audiences use an artwork to arrive at novel insights that are not necessarily embedded within the artwork. However, I will also argue that this form of insight requires audiences to use their own epistemic creativity in order to arrive at these insights. I claim that in cases of insight through art, cognitive and artistic value arises through co-production between artists and audiences.
What’s Wrong with Aesthetic Empiricism? An Experimental Study
Clément Canonne and Pierre Saint-Germier
According to Aesthetic Empiricism, only the features of artworks that are accessible by sensory perception can be aesthetically relevant. In other words, aesthetic properties supervene on perceptual properties. Although commonly accepted in early analytic aesthetics, Aesthetic Empiricism has been the target of a number of thought experiments purporting to show that perceptually indiscernible artworks may differ aesthetically. In particular, this literature exploits three kinds of differences among perceptually indiscernible artworks that may account for aesthetic differences: categorical (relative to Waltonian categories of art), provenantial (relative to the historical circumstances of production), or generative (relative to means of production). Like in all philosophical thought experiments, the reliability of the elicited intuitions remains an empirical question that we address here with the methods of experimental philosophy. We report a study conducted to see whether the intuitions elicited by anti-empiricist thought experiments are robust and, in particular, which of the alternative kind of properties (categorial, provenantial, and generative) are more suited to be included in the base of a valid aesthetic supervenience thesis (if any). Our results show overall that anti-empiricist intuitions are much less robust than previously believed, particularly when aesthetic evaluations are carefully distinguished from judgments of artistic value.
More Than Metaphor: Defending the Cognitive Value of Literature
A recent cluster of cognitive theories argue the chief cognitive export of literature is best understood not in terms of knowledge-acquisition, but in terms of enhanced understanding (Carroll, 2002; Gibson, 2007; Stecker, 2019; Vidmar Jovanović, 2019). The extent to which a work positively contributes to our understanding of ourselves and the world is said to be a constitutive element of its value as literature. Peter Lamarque criticises the view on the grounds that the neo-cognitivist “constantly resorts to metaphors” such as “illuminating experience” or “enhancing understanding” which lack sufficient detail to be persuasive (Lamarque 1997). Pace Lamarque, this paper argues there is a wealth of explanatory resources available to the neo-cognitivist to flesh out their notion of ‘enhanced understanding’ and that attending to empirical literature on narrative, empathy, and literariness points to new possibilities for theorising. I focus on an area of research that looks at how the links we draw between fictional narratives and our own lives via empathic engagement and ‘role-playing’ contribute to alterations in our concepts and beliefs, and I argue that artistic flaws such as poor storytelling, unconvincing dialogue, or unimaginative writing harms our affective engagement with texts in ways that minimise the potential for cognitive benefit.
Objects at Work: How Do Artefacts Work Aesthetically in Everyday Organisational Life? Two Case Studies
Dan Eugen Ratiu
This paper aims to open up new analytical perspectives on the uses and roles of artefacts and space design in everyday organisational life, by addressing the aesthetic dimensions of the everyday world of work and drawing attention to the aesthetic agency of artefacts. The first part addresses theoretical–methodological issues to lay bare specific key principles and methods for analysing the aesthetic character of organizational life, space and actions, and answering the question of how do objects work aesthetically to shaping habits, behaviours and lifestyles in organizations. The second part provides an application through two case studies: the new space of co-working Stables (2020) that repurposed recently the former Austro-Hungarian imperial stables in Cluj (Romania), and the new brand buildings of Bosch’s Engineering Centre campus in Cluj (2020) and in Holzkirchen (2022). I argue that these are not mere cases of practices of renovating and repurposing spaces or urban regeneration of former industrial sites. Rather they exemplify blatantly the role that aesthetic elements play in mediating action, control and performance in organizations as well as the different “aesthetic imperative(s)” in postmodern organisations, including the issue of their “artification” when compared to modern organisations.
Expanding Davies’ Pragmatic Constraint for Philosophizing about Art
David Davies advocates a methodological principle he names the ‘pragmatic constraint,’ according to which ontology of art is answerable to the epistemology of art, or “those features of our creative, critical, appreciative, and individuative practices in the arts that would withstand rational scrutiny.” This principle, while endorsed by many, has also faced skepticism and charges of vagueness. I argue that interpreting the pragmatic constraint in a way that avoids the most pressing objections requires restricting its scope to a narrow sense of ontology of art—specifically, to inquiry into what ontological kind artworks are. This limits its potential range of application and so weakens its usefulness, with some ambiguity remaining about what counts as a correct application of the principle. I propose that a similar methodological principle can do the work for which the pragmatic constraint is meant while expanding its scope to apply to philosophy of art in general. This expanded pragmatic constraint is doubly ‘pragmatic,’ as it not only grounds philosophy of art in artistic practices but is inspired by pragmatism: specifically, by ideas from James and Dewey. In brief, it holds that philosophy of art (i) should deal with philosophical problems that could arise for a reflective practitioner in the course of artistic practice, and (ii) the solutions offered to those problems should be able, at least in principle, to make some difference for, or tie back into and inform, artistic practice or the experience of art. Philosophical problems that do not meet this constraint may be legitimate metaphysical, or epistemological, or linguistic problems that can be applied to art-related examples, but, I argue, they are not primarily philosophy of art problems.
At the Fountain of Youth – About the Rejuvenating Power of Art in Zeami Motokiyo’s Nō Play Yōrō 養老
In my case study I will analyze Yōrō 養老, a nō play by Zeami Motokiyo 世阿弥元清 (?1363–?1443), one of the founders of this more than six-hundred-year-old Japanese theatre form. My analysis will focus on the figure of the old man or okina 翁 in the genre in general and in Zeami’s play in particular. I will build upon Edward R. Drott’s research into how the depictions of this figure changed during the centuries before the advent of nō, while also relying on Donald Keene’s four Japanese aesthetic categories to illuminate how the aged body of the okina – be they a simple old man or a wizened Shintō god – dancing on the nō stage is in itself a paradox. I hope to elucidate why in Zeami’s vision of nō being old is not a state of decay, but rather a state of wisdom, of accepting change, of being closer to nature and the divine, with the old man’s dance being an example of the perpetual rejuvenation of actor and their audience through the power of art.
Between Art and Philosophy. Patterns of Baxandall’s Criticism
In my contribution, I will draw the outlines of a tentative philosophical reading of some tenets of Michael Baxandall’s art historical and art critical work. To do this, I will show how his work implies a sustained reflection on two core philosophical elements of the idea of art criticism (and art history): the problem of a possible historical explanation, and the problem of the relation between images and language. I will concentrate on the problem of the image-language relation through a close reading of his article The Language of Art Criticism, and elements of his reading of Picasso’s Portrait of Kahnweiler (in Patterns of Intention). Focussing on the relation between what Baxandall thinks of as the intention of the work (as an image) and the discourses about it, I will try to show how this can be clarified by connecting it to the concept of aboutness retrieved from Danto’s work. By delving into the metaphorical ground of the aboutness, I will show how Baxandall – independently from Danto – thinks of the metaphor as the chief device by which language can say something about images. In conclusion, I will tentatively sketch out the aporetic and possibly productive outcomes of Baxandall’s position.
Dufrenne on the Spatio-temporality of Pictorial Representation
This paper reconstructs Dufrenne’s phenomenological analysis of pictorial representation. It focuses on his suggestion that the pictorial space of paintings is characterized by a distinctive feature: movement within immobility. After reviewing basics tenets of Dufrenne’s phenomenology of art, I explore his account of pictorial structure, with particular focus on his claim that colour can take on a “motor signification”. To illustrate Dufrenne’s account of pictorial movement, I use Delaunay’s Saint-Séverin No. 3 (1909-10) as my main case study. I then show how Dufrenne uses his account of pictorial movement to develop an original phenomenological argument for the equiprimordiality of space and time. For him, the structure of pictorial representation reveals the fundamental “solidarity” of space with time, and motivates us to appreciate the significance of movement for the constitution of lived space and time. To grasp Saint-Séverin’s presentation of depth, we must virtually explore, and move within, the canvas. But movement, which is change of place, is also a temporal concept: change of place presupposes passage of time. I conclude by considering further philosophical implications of Dufrenne’s account of pictorial representation.
Moral Disgust and Imaginative Resistance
Contemporary philosophical research about art has mainly focused on the reaction of physical disgust evoked by certain works of art and less on the ways in which the moral dimension of disgust can illuminate our imaginative engagement with fiction. In this paper I examine the role of disgust in moral reasoning with the aim of establishing a basis for tackling some key problems in our engagement with fiction, such as imaginative resistance. To begin, I argue that the inclusion of vicious characters’ actions or behaviors in a narrative that offers them moral justification strikes us as a distortion of the value framework, potentially dangerous and corrosive to our moral system, triggering the reaction of moral disgust. I then suggest that moral disgust relates to certain types of imaginative resistance, involving first-personal imaginative engagement with the perspective of vicious characters in morally deviant fictional worlds. In particular, I argue that moral disgust functions as a cautionary affective mechanism that encourages us to control our first-personal imaginative and affective engagement with the characters of the value-discrepant fictional world. I conclude that what impedes imaginative engagement with morally deviant fictional worlds stems from the exertion of an empathic form of perspective-taking, which elicits moral disgust.
Aesthetic versus Functional: Overcoming Their Dichotomy in T. W. Adorno’s Functionalism Today
The considerations that this paper proposes aim to investigate Adorno’s critique of functionalism, starting from his essay Functionalism today. More precisely, my intent is to show that Adorno’s argumentation moves towards an overcoming of the dichotomy between the aesthetic and the functional, which is conversely one of the functionalist theory’s key assumptions. Adorno’s account does not consider them as mutually exclusive instances, but it grasps them in their intrinsically historical dynamic. More significantly, on the basis of his specific approach, I will take it a step further asserting that such position opens to some more general reflections on the possibilities of aesthetics and of the aesthetic in his philosophy. In particular, I regard Functionalism today as a fitting example of Adorno’s attempt to concretely expand the boundaries of aesthetics beyond art. For this reason, I believe that the stereotyped image of Adorno as a mere apologist of the autonomous art needs to be revised.
AI-aesthetics and the Artificial Author
Consider this scenario: you discover that an artwork you greatly admire or a captivating novel that deeply moved you is, in fact, the product of artificial intelligence, not the work of a human. Would your aesthetic judgment shift? Would you perceive the work differently? If so, why? The advent of artificial intelligence (AI) in the realm of art has sparked numerous philosophical questions related to authoriality and artistic intention of AI-generated works. This paper delves into the debate between those who view AI as a tool used by human artists and those who see AI as a new form of artistic expression with minimal human involvement. While we often seek a human mind behind certain artwork, we may still appreciate and engage with works that lack this element but have aesthetic value nonetheless. The paper also considers the traditional concept of “implied author, suggesting that readers or artwork viewers might construct an authorial presence from the work itself, regardless of its actual origin. It will be finally suggested how AI-generated art might change our perceptions of human authorship itself.
Bolzano’s Aesthetic Cognitivism
Emine Hande Tuna
This paper examines Bernard Bolzano’s aesthetic cognitivism. One main identifying marker of aesthetic cognitivism is the belief that aesthetic experience is actual cognition. However, aesthetic cognitivism comes in many flavors, each with its own additional commitments. Bolzano’s cognitivism has a German Rationalist flavor to it and is reminiscent of the accounts of earlier German rationalists like Alexander Gottlieb Baumgarten and Christian Wolff, one of the fathers of rationalism. As a result, it may appear constrained, rigid, or even archaic. To begin, the features of his philosophy that contribute to this perception, as well as the points of disagreement between Bolzano and the rationalists, will be identified. It will then be argued that, while incorporating various rationalist elements into his theory of aesthetics, Bolzano developed a distinct brand of aesthetic cognitivism.
Aesthetics at the End of the World
Through Death Stranding, a post-apocalyptic game released in 2019 by the Japanese video game designer Hideo Kojima, this paper explores the role and the value of artefacts and, generally speaking, objects, in a ruinated world.
In Death Stranding life on Earth has been turned upside down by a devastating series of explosions: ruins are everywhere, they constitute the very (traumatic) condition of existence. The game recurrently challenges the player to deal with this state of seemingly permanent ruination and decay: How to un-ruin the world? In what terms is it possible to undo the apocalypse? What type of beauty and what kind of aesthetic experiences can be cultivated in such a world? Amidst debris and relics, and surrounded by an utterly new and unrecognisable landscape, the leading character of Kojima’s story, Sam Bridges, delivers goods to remote and isolated settlements, aiming to restore connections and community both on foot and through a futuristic network. The existential and physical catastrophe brought objects – so to speak – to the edge of misery, emptying them from their operational memory, i.e. their centuries of use and instrumentality but also their communicative networks and possibility of generating cultural practices. Death Stranding strives to restore objects not only by uncovering their past purposes and meanings, but also to discover new potentialities that the future will require. The game engages in the reconstruction of the frontiers of meaning, of producing new aesthetical homelands to re-gain and re-shape the domesticity of the world.
The Aesthetic Appreciation of the Universe
It is controversial whether everything can be appreciated aesthetically or there is a boundary dividing aesthetic objects from those things that one cannot appreciate aesthetically. Hence, there are things that raise philosophically interesting questions about their status of aesthetic objects. The universe is one such thing. I will consider a series of skeptical objections to the possibility of the aesthetic appreciation of the universe. I will argue that one can face them provided that one commits oneself to a set of background assumptions about aesthetic appreciation.
Forgoing Foreignness: Wittgenstein’s Open Aesthetics
According to the current view of global aesthetics, overcoming foreignness in art takes the form of adopting a socially decent professional protocol, a sort of mechanically tolerant pluralism, which affirms that every art tradition is the equal of every other, at least by virtue of its incommensurability. Yet the question remains whether we can have an aesthetics which is open to the encounter with foreignness. I argue that Wittgenstein has offered us an open aesthetics which is premised upon the realization that aesthetics pertains to all ordinary experiences and that we may recognizer as art is patently continuous with expressions of the ordinary. Its openness is shown it its acknowledgment of cross-cultural variation and the possibility of ineffability or intractability of aesthetic experiences, hence in its emphasis on aesthetics puzzlement and on learning. Its measure of success and failure is not that of agreement or disagreement that proof has been given for a certain claim, but that of sharing or failing to share aesthetic experiences, to relive an aesthetic experience together. This shifts the emphasis to the unfolding of the intersubjective and social aspects of our aesthetic engagement with artifacts and other facets of ordinary life—to the ‘social glue,’ as it were—away from the theoretically customary exclusive focus on the (clearly optional) end point of pronouncing aesthetic judgements. I offer a reading of the genesis and maturing of Wittgenstein’s aesthetics, which underscores the importance of the aptly collaborative nature of characterizing and aspects for his philosophy in general, and what I propose to call ‘the contagion of understanding.’ I argue that when aesthetic puzzlements arise in intercultural contexts which need not give voice to our need for ‘closing redundancies’, Wittgenstein’s aesthetics opens up to the overcoming of foreignness, not by obliterating it, but by what we may call ‘seeing with a foreign accent’.
Composite images are images made by stitching together or juxtaposing multiple images. Building on philosophical contributions about the ontological and semantic foundations of depiction, I argue that there are at least two ways in which images can be considered composite. First, an image is etiologically composite if different parts of its 2D surface result from distinct imaging processes (e.g., photographic collage made from various photographs). Second, an image is semantically composite if different parts of its surface cannot be interpreted together within a single semantic evaluation (e.g., a photographic collage consisting of randomly assembled portraits that do not depict a unified scene). These two dimensions of image composition correspond to two levels of content (which I call primary and secondary content) and can come apart. An image that is etiologically composite but semantically unitary (e.g., a collage in which photographs of flowers depict the image of a seagull) possesses both a primary content (i.e., the contents of photographs) and a secondary content (i.e., the content of the resulting seagull image). In the remainder of the talk, I will refine this twofold characterization by looking at interesting real-life examples of composite images (e.g., deepfakes).
Fiction as Representation, or the Verbal Icon Revisited
Francisca Pérez Carreño
In this talk, I shall argue in favor of the representational character of literary fiction. However, the aim is less ambitious than to propose a theory of fiction as representation, but to underline the iconic or experiential nature of literary fiction. First, I shall consider Matravers’ and Beardsley’s theories of fiction as representation. Both authors challenge the predominant theories, which consider fiction as a kind of illocution. Beardsley (1981, 1982) conceives representations as verbal depictions. He held that in fiction, illocutionary acts are not performed, but represented. Undesirable consequences of his view are first, that since authors do not perform linguistic acts there is by necessity an implicit author or persona that does perform them, and second that it is sentences or linguistic expressions that are represented (not the characters and events that form part of the fiction’s world. For his part, Matravers (2014) challenges the definition of fiction in terms of utterances whose content should be imagined or make-believe instead of believed. In its place, he defends that understanding fiction is not different from understanding any other representation, which involves the creation of mental models by the reader. In the second part of the talk, drawing on some ideas of these authors, I shall attempt to outline a picture of representation that makes sense of literary fiction as a specific kind of representation or verbal depiction.
Immersive Museums’ Images as Nancean Bodies: Rethinking Aesthetic Immersion Topologically
Over the past years, immersive museums have established themselves as a growing aesthetic phenomenon. To the sound of various soundtracks, spectators plunge into cavernous spaces where they find themselves enveloped by enormous moving images projected in every direction. Despite their popularity, there is a notable lack of scholarly exploration of immersive museums. Hence, this paper aims to address this research gap by examining in what sense these phenomena can be defined as immersive. Considering the newly opened exhibition David Hockney: Bigger & Closer (not smaller & further away) in relation to how scholars articulate the notion of immersion, I seek to underline how this category proves unsuitable for making sense of immersive museums. To understand why, I turn to Jean-Luc Nancy’s post-phenomenological aesthetics and particularly to his text “On the Threshold”. Finally, in engaging with Nancy’s works Listening and The Evidence of Film, this paper aims to flesh out an alternative way of framing immersion – one that is better suited for immersive museums as well.
The Truth of Art. A Reflection Starting from Hegel and Adorno
The aim of this paper is to focus on how the dialectical opposition of Wahrheit and Unwahrheit can be studied, both in Hegel and in Adorno, within the specific field of Aesthetics. This not only to shed light on the Hegelian premises of Adorno’s aesthetics, but also to try to read Hegel’s aesthetics through an unusual perspective, as the Adornian one, which at once accepts and reverses its paradigms. Core of the comparison is the question of truth, vital for both philosophers’ dialectics, as it is articulated, in a deep and abiding connection with its dialectical opposite, the untruth, in the philosophical consideration of aesthetic phenomena. In the first part I will deepen how truth and untruth of art are understood by the two authors; in the second part I will consider art as a rational way of expressing truth and explore both authors’ interpretation of the relation between the aesthetic and the conceptual (and/or between art and philosophy); finally, in the third part I will discuss the bond between art and socio-historical dimension in order to take into account both authors’ critical question on art’s possibilities within the present world.
Displaying Participatory Art
Recently, participatory art has become more and more present on the international scene and also in theoretical debates. This tendency was clearly visible at the Documenta 15, which displayed a lot of participatory art projects. My presentation underlines the differences between the modern paradigm of art and the model offered by participatory art, suggesting that the most acute problem raised by this form of art is related to the communication of art: displaying and receiving/consuming participatory art is not resolved in the frames of actual institutional practices. The two major questions are what to exhibit and what is the receiver expected to do. Based on the discussion of these questions, there are two possibilities. A possible solution is to renounce the exhibitions of this form of art. Participatory art should not be exhibited at all, it has an intrinsic value, obvious for the target group, and no meaning for others. Another possible solution is to find a way of presenting participatory art to the public. Here we also have two possibilities: presenting participatory art by non-artistic ways or presenting participatory art as ongoing projects, in which cases we have to carefully consider what do we expect from viewers.
Simmel and the Aesthetics of Luxury
Gregorio Fiori Carones
Luxury is a rarely discussed topic within aesthetics. Even less observed is George Simmel’s perspective on the aesthetics of luxury, which can be found in Philosophie des Geldes and in Das Geheimnis. Eine sozialpsychologische Skizze.
My paper has two purposes: first, to analyse the texts so that his position becomes clear. Secondly, his contribution is to be interpreted from a social aesthetic perspective. Social aesthetics is the study of the aesthetic dimension of society, occupying both the field of studies that focuses on the realm of sensation and perception (aisthesis) and that pertaining to the theory of art as well as to those techniques used to shape and transform the sensible world.
If Philosophie des Geldes is interpreted under these lenses, then the description of an ambivalent aesthetic phenomenon is provided: luxury, is, on the one hand, a private experience, but, on the other hand, an inter-subjective interaction is required. In luxury, so my thesis, there is double experience: of distance, as for art in the basic Kantian assumption, and of narrowness, through possession, as in Benjamin’s Ich packe meine Bibliothek aus.
Different Levels of Narrative Pictorial Content
There seems to be a puzzle, as all the following three sentences appear to be true: (1) Single pictures can be narrative; (2) Sequences of time are an integral part of narratives; (3) Single pictures cannot represent sequences of time. To solve the puzzle one of the sentences is wrong and in need of adaptation. In this paper I argue that that sentence (3) is wrong, and I argue that single pictures can represent sequences of time and therefore can be narrative.
But if pictures can be narrative, how can they be narrative? How is it possible that single pictures, without words, can transport a narrative content? There are three options: (a) the narrative content is depicted, (b) the narrative content is represented, (c) the narrative content is conveyed by (using) pictures in some other way. For sentence (1) to be true, either option (a) or option (b) must be possible. With the help of examples, I show that it is possible to formulate semantic rules that take us from a depicted content to a represented narrative content, and thereby offering an account that provides a solution to the puzzle and the subsequent how-question.
Pitches and Paintings: A Conferralist Theory of Art
We want a theory of art to be classificatory and evaluative, telling us what counts as, and why we care about, art. From the classificatory desideratum follows the requirement that the theory resolve issues of being mistaken, disagreement, and borderline cases. I think this is a mistake. We should not attempt to produce a theory of art that, for ad hoc reasons, is unfaithful to the common, observable messiness of our interactions in classifying art. Instead, we should aim for a theory that maintains classificatory and evaluative explanatory power, whilst telling us what is interesting about being mistaken, disagreement, and borderline cases.
Here, I introduce what I term the ‘conferralist theory of art’, based on its namesake theory of social categories introduced by Àsta (2018). Institutional authorities confer arthood upon artefacts based on perceiving and tracking certain base properties. Conferring social properties opens those things up to various enablements and constraints in treatment and entitlement. These enablements and constraints, I argue, show us why we care about art and why cases of uncertainty are interesting insofar as different people treat different artefacts in different ways based on different property conferrals.
Mind, Agency, and Art: The Ethics and Aesthetics of Designed Worlds
The last few decades of debate in cognitive science and the philosophy of mind have accustomed us to the idea that the human mind might be as much the product of human-made environments as it is their cause. The environments we build alter our minds, leading to new environmental modifications that spur further mental development, in repeated swells of reciprocal influence (Dennett, 1991; Clark, 1997; Knappett, 2005; Malafouris, 2013). If this is the case, however, artists and designers are invested with a moral vocation, and must juggle with a complex moral dilemma: either they build environments that confirm our existing patterns of action and perception and drive no further learning, or they build environments that disrupt our existing patterns of action and perception and stir our developmental trajectories in new directions. In this talk, I will show by means of examples how both these alternatives have crucial repercussions for our sense of agency, freedom and well-being. The upshot will be a picture that rehabilitates the image of the artist as an “engineer of the human soul” and sheds new light on the complex relationships between aesthetic and ethical imperatives.
Analog-Digital Conversion and the Cognitive Value of Visual Representation
Technological advances in the storage, retrieval and processing of information have led to an increasing reliance on visualization as a means of presenting and analysing data. The use of visualizations to establish knowledge claims raises questions about the cognitive value of images and the contribution that visual representation can make to scientific enquiry. An informative way of addressing these questions can be derived from Dretske’s analysis of the conversion of information from analog to digital form in his Knowledge and the Flow of Information (1981). Dretske’s reworking of the analog-digital distinction needs to be carefully distinguished from the traditional conception – which rests on the contrast between a continuous and a discrete representational system – but his description of digital conversion as a process that involves a loss in the richness and profusion of information at the source and a gain in ‘generalisation, categorisation or classification’ offers a promising means of understanding the cognitive value of visualization techniques. Dretske consistently identifies pictures with the analog encoding of information, but I show that this assumption is not warranted: scientific visualizations can successfully convert information from analog to digital form, in Dretske’s technical sense, and thus provide the required cognitive gain.
Ontology of Installation Art: Definition and Implications
This paper aims to present an alternative definition of installation art. We will come up with a new ontology of this art form based on the recent literature on aesthetics and art theory, with similarities and differences from other proposals presented before. In doing so, we will focus on the media profile of the oeuvres, following other authors such as Irvin (2022), Lopes (2014), or Caldarola (2020), as well as the role of the public and its affective response.
In a context in which Installations seem to be a slippery and difficult term to define, our objective is to mark the sufficient and necessary conditions to denominate something as an artistic installation. Far from being dogmatic, with this new definition, we try to enrich the debate around Installation Art as well as to use it as an operational one that helps us to draw a distinction between some artworks and others, with different implications for the public experience.
Should We Reject Fictional Universals?
Certain realists about properties and relations identify them with universals – sui generis, necessarily existing, abstract, shareable entities. Furthermore, some of these realists hold that for a fairly wide range of meaningful predicates, the semantic contribution to the propositions expressed by the sentences in which those predicates figure is the universal expressed by the predicate. In this paper, I address ontological issues raised by predicates first introduced to us via works of fiction and whether the universal realist should accept that any such predicates express universals. I first propose a novel, Kripke-inspired argument for the conclusion that the universal realist should not admit fictional universals. I then argue that while such an argument presents the strongest case for fictional universal anti-realism, it is nonetheless unsound. For the defender of universal realism, nothing ultimately stands in the way of accepting that some fictional predicates are instantiable, and hence, that some universals are fictional universals.
Kant and Rhetoric: What Makes Bad Rhetoric Deceitful in the First Place?
In this paper, I claim that what makes the art of the orator deceitful in the first place is that the semblance and the cognition of truth about the art of the orator do not agree with each other. In the first section of the paper, I reconstruct Kant’s technical definition of deception. In the second section, I argue that the art of the orator deceives in what it says about itself, i.e, in what it promises in comparison with what it provides. In the third section of this paper, I reply to two hypothetical objections: that the art of the orator does not say anything about itself; and that the disagreement between what it promises and what it provides does not fall under Kant’s technical definition of deception. I conclude that the art of the orator is deceitful in the first place because the semblance of the art of the orator and the cognition of truth about such art do not agree.
Drawing as a Way of Weaving Oneself into a Place
Anthropologist Tim Ingold describes the world as “an immense and continually evolving tapestry” created by the constant processes of becoming that span across the time and space. These interweaving paths of becoming create a meshwork of encounters, and thus “Anthropology (…) is the study of human becomings as they unfold within the weave of the world.” (Ingold: Being Alive 2011, 9) Becoming is not something that simply happens to us. We are enactors creating and moulding our becoming and our encounters. In other words, we are constantly weaving ourselves into the tapestry of the world, sometimes more consciously and intentionally, sometimes routinely and subconsciously.
Michael Taussig refers to John Berger pointing out how drawing is a conversation between the drawer and the thing that is been drawn, a conversation that is “likely to involve prolonged and total immersion.” (Taussig: I Swear I Saw This, 2011, 22) In this presentation I will examine the process of drawing on location as a particular instance of such immersion, and demonstrate how it can be approached as a process of weaving oneself into the tapestry, especially to the place where the drawing takes place. I will be using my own experiences of drawing on location to show how drawing is a process of making and becoming especially sensitive to the time and space within which it unfolds, and how drawing on location can deepen a sense of dwelling.
In the Search of a Political Subjectivity
The R.E.P. group was established amid the turbulent events of the Orange Revolution in 2004 and became a significant actor of the contemporary art scene in Ukraine. The starting point of my presentation will be the Eurorenovation project (2010-2013) of the artistic collective. The cultural phenomenon of eurorenovation vividly mirrored the specificities of the transition period. In the 1990s began the privatization of real estate. New homeowners were eager to transform their living space into a European home. As European was seen as a synonym for Western standards, the new path forward appearedd to be to catch up with the West by copying and following their seemingly successful achievments. However, due to the lack of resources only the façades were changed. The ghost of the Soviet past still haunted the crumbling foundations behind them. Through analyzing the Eurorenovation project I will argue that the desire to quickly achieve the apparently fortunate living conditions of an imagined West led to an imitation of a culture, leaving no room for a political subjectivity to emerge. My main question will be: how can alternative discourses help to recover the lack of subjectivity?
From Concept to Image (and vice versa): The Philosophical Frontispiece
The interest in symbols and emblems, typical of the early modern age, influenced the entirety of literary production, increasing the presence of engraved illustrations in books. In this respect, the function of images within a philosophical work poses a specific problem: the adherence of illustrations to the concepts treated in the text. To this end, collaboration between philosophers and artists becomes essential in order to develop visual strategies that closely connect images and ideas. We can therefore consider two ways of approaching the issue. The first can be defined as ‘contextual’ since its purpose is the ‘staging’ of the narrative content of the work, like for example in dialogues. The second category, instead, attempts an iconic translation of the conceptual content: within such ‘conceptual frontispieces’, allegories and symbols become elements of a code, taking on a sign value depending on their relationship to the other parts that build up a system of meanings. This is the path followed by philosophers such as Bacon, Hobbes and Shaftesbury. A particularly significant case is the engraving of the New Science by Vico (1730), which is intended to represent the dynamic nature of thought and social evolution.
Ressentiment, Artivism and Magic
Wars for imperial domination; terror caused by climate change; growing rift between excessively rich and powerful, and masses living under threshold of poverty; these and other ghosts are haunting contemporaneity. Artists respond, even mainstream cultural institutions are willing to prove that they are pillars of social responsibility by exhibiting and supporting artworks engaged in solutions, protesting, and subversion. Artistic activities have to be researched as to their different tactics in opposition to hegemonic strategies which are here to strengthen or maintain global regime of power. These artistic practices can be divided into three groups: ressentiment, artistic activism or artivism, and art’s magic power. The first one is a typically modern phenomenon related to struggle between cultural pessimism and hope, and between avant-garde and decadence. The second and the third decide differently from where the power of art to change the world comes – from the ability to persuade and mobilize people to act outside the artworld through rational argumentation and opening a public space for deliberation, or, from the magic ability of artworks to create heterotopic worlds which influence situation by radiating imagination and desire to dream alternative way(s) of life. In presentation, these practices will be exemplified by three cases: Oliver Frljić theatrical work (especially one concerning Yugoslav nostalgia and denigration); Documenta 15 with its excessive politicization (especially allegedly anti-Semitic project of Taring Padi); and Venice biennale 2022 curated by Cecilia Alemani following the Milky way of surrealist dreams and desires.
Care in Conservation Ethics
In this paper, I propose a model in which the ethical-aesthetic notion of ‘care’ is regarded as a possible foundation for reframing conservation ethics. Care is an essential aspect of positive social interaction and while many scholars have revealed its merits across a variety of fields, few have expansively reflected on its place in heritage conservation theory and practice. Recent research into everyday aesthetics has emphasised the role of care for the ascription of aesthetic qualities to objects and the environment. Yuriko Saito (2020, 2022), for one, has explored the implications of the aesthetics of care in our everyday dealings with objects. Drawing on these analyses, I argue that an ethic of care is particularly appropriate for defining the normative core of conservation ethics because it foregrounds and nurtures the different relationships conservators form with colleagues, audiences, stakeholders, local communities, and past and future generations.
The Kitsch-Man and Different Kinds of Kitsch Attitudes
Giesz argues that one better understands kitsch by focusing on the kitsch-man and the kitsch consciousness instead of on kitsch objects and their characteristics. But does the idea of the kitsch-man advance the debate about kitsch decisively? To answer this question, this paper first examines how Broch, Giesz and Dorfles, three leading proponents of the kitsch-man, define the term. Then it argues that although speaking about the kitsch-man rightfully draws attention to the kitsch experience and the need for kitsch, the notion of the kitsch-man is misleading as not only one kitsch consciousness exists. First, one should distinguish more carefully between the attitudes of kitsch producers and consumers. Secondly, we can also identify different attitudes of kitsch consumers, such as critical, naïve, ironic, postmodern, and conscious consumers. Thirdly, the kitsch consciousness is not a constant disposition. One person may switch between different kitsch attitudes. Finally, thinking about the kitsch-man might lead to overemphasising the recipients’ and context side of kitsch. An adequate and complete analysis of kitsch should consider the kitsch object and its features, the kitsch experience, the need for kitsch and different kitsch attitudes.
Material Agency within Aesthetics
The presentation explores the possibility of incorporating discussions of material agency from social and anthropological sciences into the field of aesthetics. First, it explains the key concepts of the “material turn” in the humanities, concentrating on different perspectives on non-anthropocentric agency and differentiating between a weak and a strong view of material agency. The second section focuses on Gell’s Art and Agency, arguing that Gell’s perspective remains aligned to a “weak” view, considering the agency of artistic artefacts just as a mere projection of human properties and faculties, without developing a fully non-anthropocentric approach.
Drawing upon new materialist theories (Barad, Bennett, Brown), the final section seeks to develop a “strong” view that analyses material agency within the aesthetic space as the result of the interplay between technical and aesthetic features of an artistic medium, the embodied experience of viewers and the characteristics of diverse materialities constituting an artwork. In this perspective, aesthetic experience is conceived as an entangled space of sensation in which material objects are liberated from their qualitative, phenomenal, and functional attributes. This fosters a sensory attentiveness to the inherent dynamics and willful tendencies of their materialities, allowing their active potentials, morphogenetic properties, and transformative tendencies to emerge.
Revisiting the Concept of the End of Art
The fine art of the 20th Century can be defined by three significant theoretical concepts that embody variability and “new” poetics of fine art: the death of the author (Barthes 1967), open work (Eco, 1962) and the end of art (Danto 1984) or the end of history of art (Belting 1987). All three of them are based on the same ground (abandoning and questioning traditional structures and forms of art), and represent similar lines of thinking that identifies a necessary and forthcoming change in art. The end of art is in the paper understood as a declaration of artistic decline. The aim of the paper can be summarised as follows: accept the end of art only as a theoretical construct, understand it as a signal of possible changes of the past development of art, and define the “periods” of the end of art (higher concentration of the symptoms of the end of art) as a big milestone of the history of art.
The Impression of Music. Edmund Gurney’s Ideas about Music in The Power of Sound
Małgorzata A. Szyszkowska
The Power of Sound by Edmund Gurney (1849-1888) has been long seen as an obscure addition to the philosophy of music. Gurney, better known as a psychologist or a philosopher, has been a trained musician and later in his life a concert pianist, both of which have given him a substantial insight into the world of music. He saw music as the greatest pleasure in life. In the Power of Sound Gurney hoped to apply his understanding of science to explain music, advocating its ability to help people endure life’s difficulties. Unfortunately, the book’s reception was rather indifferent. The author of this paper aims in presenting Gurney’s ideas about music through two concepts expression and impression. Both of these terms are treated as gateways to understanding music’s ability to affect the listener. Moreover, both expressive and impressive music are treated as two ways in which music acts and is received. If indeed, music’s ability to grasp the attention of the listener is better explained through the concept of impression, perhaps this concept needs to be studied much more carefully. Presenting Gurney’s ideas on music the author turns to the current understanding of aesthetic qualities in the aesthetic experience. The last part of the paper draws on views of Roman Ingarden, John Dewey, and Richard Shusterman.
Performed Understanding: The Amphibious Characterization of Musical Interpretation
In this presentation I intend to set up a specific theoretical space for the notion of musical interpretation, as both linked with and distinguished from musical performances and musical understanding, by laying stress alternately on one or other of the two terms of the expression “telling instance”, which Catherine Z. Elgin employs in order to characterize the notion of exemplification:
On the one side, musical interpretation cannot be reduced to a musical performance, as the latter, as “telling” instance, conveys a content about something by making it manifest (Elgin 2011). Indeed, it conveys the performer’s interpretation, consisting, among others, in the ascription of specific aesthetic properties to the performed musical work.
On the other side, musical interpretation is not reducible to musical understanding as it is not conceptually articulated, as the very notion of understanding seems to require, but rather embedded in a musical performance as telling “instance”. Musical interpretation appears therefore to be a kind of implicit statement: it is a “saying by doing” (Brandom 2008, 11), by an action (the musical performance) that makes manifest some aesthetic properties, thereby implicitly ascribed by the interpreter to the respective musical work.
A Discomforting Aesthetics of Discomfort: For a Positive Aesthetics of Literary Nonsense
Literary nonsense plays an uncomfortable role within the systematization of aesthetics: either excluded from the field altogether or forcibly fitted within some other well-established theories, it seems not worth considering on its own. Th aim of my contribution is to take up this challenge by setting up a preliminary positive and autonomous aesthetics for nonsense. I will discuss the empirical and theoretical reasons for dealing with nonsense on its own and attempt to answer the infamous question “why should we care”, by individuating a shift from a logical-semiotic conception to a more fitting and more complex literary one. Then, throughout an analysis of the available definitions, I will draw some formal features that a general definition of nonsense ought to have. In the conclusions, it will become clear that the role of readers, along with their interpreting acts, is crucial in order to assess nonsense both as a genre and as a mode. The primary literary example for my research would be a less known poem by Lewis Carrol – The Hunting of the Snark (that was indeed a Boojum).
The Implications of Mistakes About Art: Ontological and Epistemological
The paper discusses real and imaginary scenarios in which mistakes are made the ‘art-status’ of an object. The paper analysis this in terms of the belief of an agent when faced with an object, and whether and how that belief might be well-founded. Mistakes are then analysed as having one kind of inaccurate, or badly-founded beliefs about objects. The paper argues that the assumption that an object has already been made an artwork is necessary for a belief that something is an artwork. This assumption distinguishes such instances from so-called ‘designation’ events, in which an agent constitutes something as an artwork. Designation requires an attempt to make a new artwork, whereas to mistake non-art for art does not. Indeed, the belief that something is an artwork already specifically excludes that possibility. It’s argued that the same principle applies even if we all make such a mistake: Instances are distinguished if, when further information emerges, we choose to recognise a mistake or not. Also, this is a choice about the object’s art-status from this time onwards, but does not anywhere specify the basis of this choice, which can be principled or pragmatic.
Make-believe and Common Belief
On Walton’s account of make-believe, unknown facts concerning the existence and nature of props can influence fictional truth. Inspired by Lewis’s and Walton’s discussions of import of fictional truth, I explore the shape and tenability of a version of Walton’s theory that avoids such interference of unknown facts, by making fictional truth rely on participants’ common beliefs about props: conditional principles of generation are only valid if they quantify over props whose existence and nature is common belief between participants of the game of make-believe. I discuss two possible objections to this version of Walton’s theory that are both based on the intuition that fictional truth should be something that is objective and independent of participants’ mental states.
Rethinking the Known: The Case of The Triumph of the Will
Milica Czerny Urban
The Triumph of the Will stands out as a paradigmatic example of immorality in the literature on immoral works of art. In this paper, I will show that The Triumph of the Will is an artistically valuable and relevant work of art but that its immorality is more undoubted than it seems at first glance. Namely, it is essential to differentiate the evaluation from different genres, that is, historical moments of film evaluation. The Triumph of the Will, it will be shown, ceases to be a paradigmatic example of immoral art. The problem of the status and then the interpretation and evaluation of The Triumph of the Will includes two possible issues. One concerns the well-known dilemma of whether The Triumph of the Will is propaganda art or a document of the times, the conclusions of which will be highly significant in the further discussion of value. The second problem concerns the time context and the conditioning of the time from which we approach the analysis of the film. This problem has been almost absent in the literature. It is important to emphasize further that other, more appropriate examples in discussing immoral art should be found.
Weakness of Taste and Aesthetic Akrasia
My goal in this paper is to provide an analysis of the concept of aesthetic akrasia (AA) by contrasting it to what might be called the weakness of taste (WT). I will defend the thesis that there are three types of AA/WT asymmetry: meta-affective, behavioral and cognitive. The paper consists of six parts. Starting from Holton’s distinction between moral akrasia and weakness of will, I provide definitions of AA and WT. In the second, third, and fourth part I expound on the three types of AA/WT asymmetry. In the fifth part, I will try to show the broader significance of AA/WT distinction. In the final, sixth part, I turn to the contrast between my view and one recent prominent view of aesthetic akrasia espoused by Marin. I will try to show that her, otherwise insightful, view of aesthetic rationality is not sensitive to AA/WT distinction.
Perceiving Digital Gameworlds: Actual, Fictional, and Imaginative Perceptions
Nele Van de Mosselaer
When perceiving objects within digital gameworlds, it is often the case that the avatar, situated within the gameworld, cannot see what the player, external to this world, has perceptual access to, or vice versa. Based on such situations, as well as a Waltonian framework (Walton 1990), I discern three kinds of perception that are involved in digital gameplay:
- Fictional perceptions, or what the characters within the gameworld, including the avatar, are represented as perceiving.
- Players’ actual perceptions from their perspective as external observers of the gameworld.
- Imaginative perceptions, or what players imaginatively perceive when taking on the role of participants in the gameworld, as so-called ‘virtual subjects’ (cf. Gualeni & Vella 2020).
Game designers usually try to avoid discrepancies between these different levels of perception, often with the goal of enhancing the feeling of being immersed in the gameworld (cf. Tavinor 2021). In this paper, however, I focus on the aesthetic relevance such divergences can have. Through examples, I show how perceptual discrepancies can be valuable expressive devices, eliciting interesting narrative, emotional, and cognitive effects.
Performing Past Music: A Twist on Historical Authenticity
Nemesio G. C. Puy
According to a mainstream view in the philosophy of music, the most valuable way of performing works of past times is according to the ideal of Historically Authentic Performance (HAP). I defend that this mainstream view lacks of motivation, and hence that it should be abandoned or revised. In §2, I argue that two ways of motivating HAP as a final and fundamental value for performing past works, supplied by Jerrold Levinson and Stephen Davies, are inconsistent with the work-focused teleology of workperformance. In §3, I introduce a plausible motivation for the value of HAP in workperformance, which takes HAP as a way of performing past works convincingly. In that case, however, HAP is not the best way of performing past works, but only an interpretive option. Finally, in §4, I consider an alternative defence of the value of HAP in the form of an indispensability argument: performing past works according to HAP is indispensable to comply with their scores, and thus to perform them faithfully. However, if we take this option seriously, HAP must be understood in a substantively different manner than the mainstream view, such that it ultimately reduces to the option analysed in §3.
Simulationist versus Embodied Approaches in Aesthetics
Two types of systemic models of the mind – the enactivist and the representationalist – are often depicted as opposite and mutually exclusive. In this paper, I will investigate whether they can meaningfully coexist in describing aesthetic judging. I claim that the two modelling types can simultaneously contribute to the understanding of aesthetic judging as an affective cognitive process. First, I clarify why the main disagreement causing the schools to divide does not apply when talking about aesthetic judging. Second, I trace how the schools can be merged in Aesthetics. My main argument is that we can choose to pick the best of both worlds, because perceiving aesthetic value does not belong to basic cognition that, in turn, can be seen as either representational or enactive. Namely, perceiving aesthetic value requires subjective, or embodied, metacognitive evidence. This representational enactivism entails that the aesthetic subject can be seen as an emergent functional system while the functional sub-systems it constitutes of can be characterized in computational terms.
Negative Pleasure: Kant’s Answer to Mendelssohn’s Theory of the Sublime (1763)
This paper presents the main aspects for a systematic and historical reconstruction of Kant’s “Analytic of the Sublime.” First, I argue against general assumptions in the literature on the Kantian sublime. Second, I explain Mendelssohn’s reception of Burke’s Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful, and his rejection of the philosophical use of the concept of negative magnitudes. Third, I present Kant’s concept of “negative pleasure” in the Attempt to Introduce the Concept of Negative Magnitudes into Philosophy as a response to the problems presented in our explanation of Mendelssohn’s reception of Burke. Fourth, I examine how the difficulties encountered by Mendelssohn in Burke’s theory of sublime condition Kant’s “Analytic of the Sublime”. This influence is evident in the introduction of the negative pleasure in the Critique of Judgment. However, I argue that Kant cannot adequately address the problem that negative pleasure presents in his aesthetics. In conclusion, I claim that Kant encounters the same difficulty as Mendelssohn in his reception of Burke, namely the impossibility of philosophically grounding negative feelings.
Landscape Beauty Matters. From “Acting on” to “Acting with” Attitude
In my paper I deal with the issue of landscape beauty and its connections with the defining tensions of the landscape concepts, such as dwelling/observation, touch/eye, nature/culture (Wylie 2007). The argument of my paper is twofold: A) First, it is about showing that the search for landscape beauty, rather neglected in current research about landscape, is still deeply relevant to determine concrete landscape planning, restoration, preservation, and transformation activities. B) Second, it is about investigating how different (mostly implicit) conceptions of landscape beauty, embedded in concrete spatial practices such as dwelling, building, traveling, produce different outputs in terms of landscape planning. I argue that the ideal of landscape beauty is ineradicable, for it is connected to the aspiration for a happy and fulfilled communal living in harmony with the living environment; at the same time, I defend a conception of landscape beauty as an open result of a negotiated, mediated, and even conflictual process, in which it is not possible to define what beauty is once and for all.
Aesthetic Education, Conversation, and the Ontology of the Classroom
This talk outlines one possible way of reorienting the conception of aesthetic education adequate to an ontology of embodiment. The approach followed is inspired by the work of Stanley Cavell, particularly his ideas of “philosophical criticism” and “presentness”. Philosophical criticism enhances our capacity to experience our “presentness” to each other as embodied members of a utopian community limited in both space and time (the classroom) in mutual recognition and acknowledgement of both our separateness and fatedness to expressiveness. Unlike the traditional, formalistic idea of humanistic aesthetic education for which “a good work of visual art carries a person who is capable of appreciating it out of life into ecstasy,”(Clive Bell) the Cavellian, linguistic and content based perfectionist view induces the experience of the ordinary, the here and now, as the extraordinary. This therapeutic view of the aesthetic emphasises our capacity for community rather than promoting a form of narcissistic ecstasy as fantasized by the Cartesian tradition.
The Problem of Aesthetic Explanation: A Limited Defence of Particularism
It is generally agreed that many features of an artwork can change from merits to non-merits, or even to defects, depending on the contexts. For instance, a large patch of emptiness on the canvas of a Chinese water-ink painting is a merit. Yet, it may turn out to be a defect in a western oil painting. Symmetry might be a merit in classical architecture, but might not be so in a postmodern building. Or gentleness might be a merit in a lullaby, but might not be so in rock and roll music. But how can the very same feature be a merit in an artwork, but a nonmerit (or even a defect) in another? This is initially puzzling, and would thus require some explanation. How do we explain the variability of the aesthetic status of a feature of an artwork? This constitutes what I call ‘the problem of aesthetic explanation’. My paper aims to address this problem through an examination of the debate between the so-called ‘generalists’ and the so-called ‘particularists’. I will provide a limited defense of particularist solutions by highlighting some difficulties with generalism along the way.
The Economic Problem of Love and Aesthetic Negativity in Seidl, Lanthimos, and Adorno
The paper belongs to a larger film-philosophical project, investigating the idea of love in contemporary film. The paper focuses on the relation between the aspect of this idea which I term ‘the economic problem of love’ and the logic of aesthetic negativity, which I recognize in some philosophically significant cinematic treatments of the amorous theme. While ‘aesthetic negativity’ may refer generally to the prevailing dismal tonality, in which contemporary arthouse film meditates on love, my paper focuses, much more narrowly, on the dissimilar – yet, equally negative – gestures of refusal and self-mutilation in Paradise: Love (Ulrich Seidl, 2012) and Lobster (Yorgos Lanthimos, 2015) respectively. In my theoretical explication of both – the economic problem and aesthetic negativity – I rely on the work of Theodor Adorno, substantiating the continuity between his underexplored philosophy of love and influential philosophy of art.
Multisensory Experience of Paintings
Although paintings are purely visual objects, they can nevertheless evoke multisensory experiences. One way in which paintings can do so is direct, noncontroversial, and, in my view, not all that interesting. Seeing an orange in a still life may activate your gustatory imagination so that you experience the taste of an orange. But, as I will argue in this paper, paintings can also evoke multisensory experiences in a more indirect and aesthetically more interesting way through the creation of atmospheres. Experiences of atmospheres are genuinely multisensory. When we experience an atmosphere, we experience different kinds of sensible qualities, such as sounds, smells, and tactile sensations, as fused together in a way that generates a distinctive phenomenal character. A painter can recreate the visual component of an atmosphere in a painting and thereby enable it to activate in its viewers the multisensory imagination. If this happens, the viewers will enjoy a genuinely multisensory experience with the distinctive phenomenal character associated with that atmosphere
Everydayness in Our Aesthetic Experience of the City
Sara Vieira Romão
This presentation delves into the interplay between habits, everyday aesthetics, and access to public spaces, highlighting the importance of flexible and fluid place-making. It addresses two paramount concerns: the role of public place-making in shaping habits and common-sense beliefs; and the potential redesign of cities to cater to specific aesthetic emotions arising from everyday aesthetic appreciation.
Urban design solidifies and materializes these power dynamics as understood and internalized by city dwellers. Challenging these dynamics requires an awareness of feeling out of place. Everyday aesthetics assume a transformative role, questioning prevailing norms and catalyzing change.
This process entails the aesthetic and emotional dimensions within different city areas, delving into feelings of fear, discomfort, and inadequacy. Urban planning should strike a delicate balance, adapting local identity to respond effectively to social, cultural, and political shifts. Place-making encompasses understanding cultural and historical processes alongside material forms. It is vital to explore the tensions between habitus, accessibility to public spaces, and aesthetic appraisal of the every day to achieve a balanced and appropriate usage.
Democratic and Aesthetic Participation as Imposition: On the Aesthetics of the Collective
In 2022, the global exhibition documenta fifteen drew attention to a distinctive approach in curatorial and artistic practice: aesthetic collaboration as part of a collective. While documenta fifteen has been broadly discussed with regard to its political agenda, the aesthetic strategies involved in collective curatorial and artistic practice received less attention. This paper will explore the philosophical and aesthetic implications of collective work and targets to work towards an aesthetic account of the collective.
In order to refine our understanding of the political force of the work of an aesthetically operating collective, I will transfer the political concept of a ‘democracy of imposition’, which the political scientist Felix Heidenreich introduced in his Demokratie als Zumutung: Für eine andere Bürgerlichkeit (2022), to the realm of aesthetics. The idea of ‘democracy of imposition’ emphasises the necessity to exercise active citizenship and to participate in democratic processes in order to guarantee a functioning democracy. It adopts a concept the political philosopher Christoph Möllers sketched out in his Demokratie – Zumutungen und Versprechen (2008) and develops this further. I will argue that approaching the practice of collectives against the backdrop of the concept of ‘participation as imposition’ is necessary for giving a full account of their aesthetic potential.
Digital Somatopia – A New Interpretation of the Digital Space in Digital Body Interactive Installations
Sonia Emilia Mihai
In the scientific discourse, the definition of digital spaces created in interactive digital installations is precarious, as well as the study on the contribution of the users’ body in creating digital environments. The general scientific perspective on the definition of space is constructed from the observations of Julie Reiss, Claire Bishop or Faye Ran, authors who discuss the space as a physical element (the space of the installation). Other authors like Lev Manovich or Steve Dixon talk about digital spaces in media environments, but not using a deep application of the concept on installation art. Therefore, we propose the term “digital somatopia” to describe digital spaces created, sustained, discovered, populated with content, and assigned with a meaning by and through the users’ body. Departing from Michel Foucault’s concepts of heterotopia, utopia and dystopia, “digital somatopia” is an umbrella term, partially incorporating them, and adapting their features to the body’s capacities to explore the digital environment and the algorithmic structure of the system. By emphasizing its particularities, we also identify three types of digital somatopias: “empty spaces”, “integrated spaces” and “loaded spaces”. In these spaces, the concept of discovery is deeply rooted in the technical structure of the interface, and it arbors on one side, the discovery of the digital double as displayed by modalities unknown by the users (they receive the interface’s information in the moment of interaction with it) and on the other side, the retrieval of a new space as exploration that becomes a guiding habit of the actants.
Fact, Fiction and Understanding
Philosophers and other scholars have long held that reading fiction, particularly literary fiction, is cognitively valuable. They have argued, for example, that fiction deepens understanding, enhances empathy, cultivates psychological insight, exercises moral imagination, refines emotions, or increases modal or conceptual knowledge. The capacity of fiction to convey factual information is, by contrast, typically ignored in these discussions. In this paper I argue that the way we learn facts from fiction is essential to explaining several other cognitive values often attributed to fiction. Works of fiction are about the world in which we live, and they are cognitively valuable when they illuminate features of that world. I further suggest that truth and accuracy may contribute, not just to the cognitive value of a work of fiction, but also to its value as fictional literature. This is because the processes by which we learn facts from fiction are integral to literary appreciation.
On Distinguishing Activist Art from Protest Props
To distinguish activist art from protest props, I explore activist ecoventions, whose purpose (‘draw attention to ecological problems’) appears identical to that of nonart eco-activism (‘draw attention to ecological problems’), which makes them seem indiscernible. However, activist ecoventions not only publicise ecological issues and/or monitor ecological problems, but they prompt ‘measurable change’. After fleshing out the differences between artworks’ function, use and practicality, I explain why ‘living sculptures’ are ‘doubly’ purposeful and ‘triply’ complex, which could explain the artworld’s reluctance to include them in its canon. In reviewing the birth of activist ecoventions, I tease out additional features that distinguish activist ecoventions from nonart eco-activism, enabling me to discern activist art from indiscernible nonart activism, more generally. Along the way, I prove that activist art, not just those tied to ecoventions, is freely implemented without any expectation of return. Being both generous and non-instrumental, activist art achieves its aims creatively without having to harm any living beings.
Prospects for a Progressive Critique of Rap: The Challenge of Oppressive Double Binds
Rap music is often scrutinised for its presentations of black women. Although most criticism focuses on how male rappers’ presentations of black women in their lyrics and videos perpetuate oppression against black women, black women rappers have been criticised – by a range of critics – as being agents in their oppression (Rose, 2008). One strand of this criticism focuses on self-objectification. However, criticism of self-objectifying rap is just one evaluative response to it. Another response lauds self-objectifying rap for its empowering and liberating effects. In this paper, I introduce a framework for understanding these competing responses to self-objectifying rap by using Sukaina Hirji’s (2021) analysis of oppressive double binds. This framework is useful in helping us understand the dialectical stalemates that emerge in evaluating black women rappers’ self-objectification by offering a new understanding of the complexities involved when female rappers engage in self-objectification. Consequently, we will be better informed about how to construct any progressive critiques of self-objectifying rap.
On the Different Meanings of Aestheticization
In my paper I would like to explore the different meanings of aestheticization and in particular the way they emerge out of specific aspirations with regards to the relation between art and life. My basic point of departure will be the relevant contributions of Jacques Rancière and more precisely his reading of Schiller’s Letters on the Aesthetic Education of Man. My argument will be basically informed by the various scenarios explored in Rancière’s paper ‘The Aesthetic Revolution and Its Outcomes’ in which the whole analysis starts from the end of Schiller’s 15th letter. According to Rancière we are confronted there with a paradox and a promise: “Man is only completely human when he plays” (the paradox). This paradox is capable “of bearing the whole edifice of the art of the beautiful and of the still more difficult art of living” (the promise). Rancière will reformulate this thought as follows: “there exists a specific sensory experience that holds the promise of both a new world of Art and a new life for individuals and the community, namely the aesthetic“. If we want to summarize the challenge presented here, this could be in the form of the following question: How could the notion of the aesthetic as a specific experience lead to an “aestheticization of common existence” that would be in line with both the art of the beautiful and the art of living?
Guilt is Ethical, Shame is Aesthetic
Guilt pertains to the realm of ethics whereas shame mainly pertains to that of aesthetics. While guilt results from accusations of unlawful behavior, shame tends to be produced by pointing out how the transgressing individual “looks” within a certain social context. I show that a confusion of the aesthetic and ethical components has often given shame an unclear or even irrational outlook. The allusions that aim to make the shamed subject feel embarrassed do not necessarily have an ethical character. Despite this, shame is generally seen as an ethical sanction. I analyze the ethicization of aesthetics as well as the aesthetization of ethics, both of which are often due to the confusion of guilt and shame. We must see aesthetics as detached from ethics: an infraction committed must induce guilt and it is not necessary to aestheticize the act in order to induce shame. Next, we must avoid the ethicization of aesthetics. A person’s potentially “shameful” behavior should be considered irrespectively of ethical questions.
Imagination All the Way Down
According to the Acquaintance Principle, one needs to have first-hand experience with an artwork’s aesthetically relevant properties to make warranted aesthetic judgments about it. An interesting question regarding that principle is what amounts to the relevant kind of first-hand experience or acquaintance in the first place. Traditionally, perceptual experience has been treated as the basic medium of acquaintance, in relation to which other forms of access have been taken to be at most only surrogative. In this paper, I argue that also perceptual imagination can provide the basic form of acquaintance and analyse the conditions that an act of perceptual imagining needs to satisfy to constitute such acquaintance. I first consider the proposal that imagination constitutes the basic form of acquaintance just in case it is constrained by the perceptual properties of the work. I then present the case of an invisible painting as a counterexample and suggest a more promising analysis, according to which an imagining of an artwork constitutes the basic form of acquaintance with its aesthetically relevant properties just in case it is the standard way of getting access to them, specified by the prescriptive frame of the work.
Aesthetics of Gesture
Each historical era assigns a different function and meaning to the gesture (there are periods when everything becomes a gesture), just as its meaning varies from culture to culture. Furthermore, when we talk about the gesture of art, it is also clear that we mean different things by the gesture of literature, painting, sculpture, drawing, photography, film, dance, etc. Therefore, we can only talk about the aesthetics of gesture in relation to various specific examples, so is necessary to limit the scope of the investigation. In this approach two basic examples will be used, the concepts of Giorgio Agamben and Ludwig Wittgenstein. Firstly we will discuss the ideas of the two philosophers on gesture, and then we will turn to the question of contemporary aesthetics. What does the aesthetics of gesture mean in the 21st century and what are its ethical implications?
Organic Form, Representation, and Cognitive Aesthetic Value
Formalists about art stress the role of form in art but keep it apart from the cognitive. Anti-formalists about art stress the value of the cognitive but keep it apart from the formal. The former are animated by a fundamentally hedonistic conception of the aesthetic; the latter by a fundamentally cognitivist conception of art. Both agree that the formal consists of appearance properties, as against the ‘symbolic’ or representational which is associated with the cognitive.
I claim both are right about different things and wrong about the same thing. I defend the view that form is the most important thing in art but also the most important cognitive aspect of art. The two ‘grand projects’ of aesthetics – a theory of the aesthetic and a theory of art – are dead ends. My view is that ‘form is all you need’ (to carry on with the puzzles of aesthetics but with less clutter). The aim is to defend a conception of form as ‘the organic concatenation of a whole’s syntactic parts’ that combines the truth in formalism with the truth in anti-formalism.
How to Conserve a Fake Ruin? Heritage Dilemmas between Aesthetics and Practice
Fake ruins were very popular in the 18th-19th century. They were designed and built to look like classical ruins, i.e. edifices from much earlier times being eaten up by Nature, and resulting in an aesthetically pleasing, picturesque form. Despite all their original appeal however, currently they confront us with the dilemma: what are we to do with them now? The issue becomes urgent when we reach a turning point: when “sufficient” time has passed, these fake ruins will start to really decay. In order to see further details of this dilemma, in my presentation I first investigate the characteristics of classical ruins and their possible afterlives to then compare them with the features of fake ruins and the potential approaches of their conservation.
After this, I survey the aesthetic and practical implications of these practices. As I argue, such processes are not merely theoretical and aesthetic-oriented, but – among others due to their connections with the interpretation of history, and with political and cultural identity – they can also play serious roles in ongoing cultural wars.
Failures of Engagement with Artwork
In this paper, I present a comprehensive examination of the various types of failures that occur not only in aesthetic judgment (commonly perceived as the central aspect of failures with engaging with artworks) but also in other components of our engagement with artworks, such as acquaintance, appreciation, and interpretation. I argue that some of these components should be understood in terms of degrees rather than binary concepts. I differentiate between three primary approaches of accounting for our engagement with artworks. The three approaches are determined by the components that the specific theories identify as constitutive to the aesthetic engagement with artworks. These approaches include cognitive process-oriented, affective response-oriented, and approaches that acknowledge both cognitive and affective elements in the engagement process.
PANEL: Aesthetic Judgement in Architecture
Dimensions of Aesthetic Experience in Architecture
Besides the aesthetic properties that play an important role in appreciating architectural objects (just like in case of other fine arts), the functional nature of architecture cannot be ignored. This practical function – besides the aesthetic function – was also present in other art forms until the paradigm shift of changing (often literally) the place of where artworks are appreciated. Since buildings are in public places, visible to everyone, they are necessarily the subject of everyone’s aesthetic judgment. As a result, the assessment of the aesthetic properties of architecture has never come into focus (as opposed to other fine art forms), due to the incomplete paradigm shift. In this context, it becomes an important question whether personal experience (cf. the question of ‘acquaintance’) is a necessary and sufficient condition for architectural aesthetic judgement, or whether (in addition to appreciating the aesthetic properties) we need a mediator for understanding (cf. the question of testimony) educating the appreciator about the necessarily present practical function as well. Moreover, we need to distinguish between the experience of architecture and the design of architecture Arbib (2011). (See also the question of autonomy and responsibility, Nguyen 2020, Watkin 1984).
Notes on Aesthetics in Architecture
Pedro Borges de Araújo
My essay analyzes  the role of aesthetic judgments in  what architects do and how they do it. As a condition considers and discusses restrictions imposed by the so-called  Principle of Acquaintance. I will argue that within the scope of  the Architectural Project, it is necessary to consider [4.1] the imagination and understanding of all process agents, summoning aesthetic judgments. The specific work of the professional architect is assumed to be [4.2] the set of all resources for solving [4.3] architectural problems. I.e., what he does/how he does it. ‘The set of all resources’ satisfies the condition ‘what the architect does’ and allows in each case to verify ‘how he does it’. I will claim that aesthetic judgments operate on this set of resources and involve all agents in [4.4] the architectural design process. [4.5] The functions of imagining and understanding within the process – “the harmonious free play of the cognitive faculties” [Kant, 1790] as lineage – are assumed in an updated state of the art. Expected  conclusions on aesthetic judgments within the architectural design process should allow equating the role of Aesthetics in Architecture, i.e., in what architects do and how they do their work.
The Forms, the Architect, and the Act of Doing Architecture
Sérgio Pinto Amorim
The presentation develops a reflection on the act of doing architecture under an onto- epistemological structure. The analysis is focused on how both experience and conception must be considered in the architect’s being evolution to develop significative and sustainable architectural design process activities.
It is intended to understand how the interdependence between experience and conception can support the architect’s ability to project buildings, even when he is not directly in an architectural design process mode (i.e., experiencing the phenomenology of space/matter through normal activities – like everyday space habits –, exceptional activities – like travelling, visiting new places or buildings – or even when regarding representational information about some spaces or buildings – like texts, photographs, drawings, paintings, etc.). For this approach, it is presented some observations/analysis on how an architect can do his complex activity through the scrutiny of some form expressions (mainly supported by aesthetics). Form expressitons that can justify qualitative interferences (in)directly in the architectural design process considering how we organize knowledge due to our relations with the world: mind→body→world and world→body→mind.
The presentation will be organized in three parts: ‘form’ and forms; about architects’ idiosyncrasies; how to make in the act of doing architecture.
The Many Ways of Doing Philosophy of Architecture – commentary on the talks
There are many ways of doing philosophy of architecture. They range from Heidegger-inspired, focusing on issues of culture and civilization, and inhabiting the earth, to neuroscience or phenomenology inspired (Arbib or Pallasmäa), focusing on the specifics of human brain and action, to approaches to aesthetic judgement or engagement. Why can there be so many ways? What does this say about contemporary philosophy and the place of aesthetics? As philosophy, architecture begins with the question “How should one live?”. Yet that question can be approached quite diversely. At stake is the issue of shelter and how we wish to live, but who are we? Humans? Physical agents? Cultural beings? Taken individually or collectively? Should one read ‘One should live’ as meaning the person for whom an architect designs a building? What the architect themselves think, doing the designing? Should one read ‘one’ as a culture? Which culture then? That of an Amazonian tribe barely leaving traces of its dwelling, or the urban culture(s) of, say, Rem Koolhaas’ Delirious New York? The local culture? The global? Who is the ‘we’ of aesthetic judgment, then, when it regards architecture? Where does its universality lie? Whereon does its claim rest? (Cavell 1979, Miguens 2022)