Friday, March 21, 2014

Colloquium: "Experiments in Aesthetics: From Bad Art to Beauty"

Aaron Meskin, Associate Professor of Philosophy, University of Leeds (UK)
Thursday, April 10th @ 4:30PM
   » Willard–Smith Library, Vaughan Literature Building

There is a long tradition of skepticism about the role of scientific investigation in our understanding of the aesthetic domain. For example, Kant claimed ‘there is no science of the beautiful, but only critique’. Nevertheless, many contemporary philosophers who work on aesthetic issues engage seriously with the sciences—especially psychology and the related set of disciplines that fall under the heading of cognitive sciences. Perhaps the most surprising way in which philosophical aestheticians engage with scientific psychology is by doing it themselves. In this talk, I shall discuss some recent research in experimental philosophical aesthetics on which I have collaborated. This research addresses such topics as the effects of exposure to bad art and the nature of aesthetic adjectives such as ‘beautiful’ and ‘ugly’.