Philosophy of Art (PHIL*3050DE)
Term: Winter 2013
Truth and Art: The Sublime, the Beautiful and the Mimetic
This course offers a particular line of inquiry into the history of aesthetic theory. Our primary focus will be on the problem of truth in art, of whether art obscures or clarifies the essence of what things really are. We will begin with Plato’s famous statement in The Republic that art is an imitation of an imitation of the truth. We will then spend the majority of the course discussing two of the greatest pieces ever written on the nature of aesthetics, Kant’s Critique of the Power of Judgment and Schopenhauer’s World as Will and Representation. We will look at Kant’s conception of the beautiful and the sublime in a lot of detail, paying attention to the role that purpose, fear, subjectivity, and universality play in the text. When we turn to Schopenhauer, we will look at the beautiful and the sublime again, but in terms of his critique of Plato and his argument that music is the highest representation of the will. In the last segment of the course, we will discuss Martin Heidegger’s groundbreaking essay The Origin of the Work of Art, focusing on his claim that art is truth.
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