Spring 2016 - Graduate Course Descriptions
Description of Course:
Within the history of philosophy, traditional metaphysics has defined the work of art as a beautiful â€œobject;â€ as a re-presentation of the ideal (mimesis); as an instantiation of the â€œgoodâ€, the â€œtrueâ€ or the eternally valid; as the culmination of the ideal forms of perception that involve both the senses and the the mind in a unity that affords us a pathway into an eternal order of harmony, grace, and the sublime. For the Greeks, aisthesis simply means â€œperceptionâ€â€”a way that the senses organize and interpret the forces of the natural world. â€œArt,â€ then, emerges out of this manner of thinking as the most graceful manner of perceiving an order of nature---but ever tethered to a metaphysical understanding of all that is in terms of â€œsubjectâ€ and â€œobjectâ€ analysis. Modern German philosophy has, however, offered its own transformative critique of this metaphysical tradition and has understood the work of art less in terms of â€œperception,â€â€œmind,â€ or â€œrepresentationâ€ than as â€œperformanceâ€---one that involves us in a hermeneutic relation to the world. And it is in terms of art as an engaged, performative enactment of our interpretation of the world that this course is organized. Art happens, Heidegger tells us, not as a form of â€œreâ€-presentation, but as a founding leap that opens up a world, one where being emerges out its concealment into the openness of originary truth. Our focus this semester will be on how this metaphysical tradition breaks down under the assault of the Nietzschean-Heideggerian critique of metaphysics.
Yet one of the essential questions I which to raise in this seminar is the ethical significance of the work of art. In what sense can we speak of art as an ethical act?
We shall begin our readings with the great German idealists-- Kant-Hegel-Schelling-HÃ¶lderlin-- in an effort to lay the groundwork for modern philosophical aesthetics. As a rejoinder to this kind of â€œclassicalâ€ aesthetic theory we will next read Friedrich Nietzscheâ€™s The Birth of Tragedy (1872), Heideggerâ€™s â€œThe Origin of the Work of Artâ€ (1935), Walter Benjaminâ€™s "The Work of Art in the Age of its Technological Reproducibilityâ€(1935) and Jean-Luc Nancyâ€™s "Uncanny Landscape" (2002).
Kant, Critique of Judgement
Hegel, Aesthetics ("The End of Art")
Schelling, "Letters on Dogmatism and Criticism" # 10
HÃ¶lderlin, "The Earliest System Program of German Idealism"
Nietzsche, The Birth of Tragedy
Heidegger "The Origin of the Work of Art"
Benjamin, "The Work of Art in the Age of its Technological Reproducibility
Jean-Luc Nancy, "Uncanny Landscape"
Course Requirements/Evaluation Criteria:
A Protokoll of 1-2 pp., a paper proposal of 1-2 pp. and an essay of 13-15 pp. length to cover some aspect of philosophical aesthetics which we deal with this semester.