Aesthetics Today — University of Kent, Canterbury, 5-6 June 2017

 

Marking the 10th anniversary of the Aesthetics Research Centre (ARC) at the University of Kent, Aesthetics Today will begin with a symposium on June 5 aiming to generate discussion concerning the most general principles and questions preoccupying philosophical aesthetics today. The symposium will be followed on June 6 by a postgraduate/early career workshop co-sponsored by Debates in Aesthetics (formerly the Postgraduate Journal of Aesthetics). Both events are supported by the British Society of Aesthetics and the Analysis Trust.

Aesthetics Today will take advantage of the publication this spring of two books by the co-directors of ARC: Hans Maes’ Conversations on Art and Aesthetics, and Murray Smith’s Film, Art, and the Third Culture: A Naturalized Aesthetics of Film (both published by Oxford). Both books are characterized by their broad scope. Maes’ volume is comprised of extended interviews with ten eminent aestheticians (Noël Carroll, Gregory Currie, Arthur Danto, Cynthia Freeland, Paul Guyer, Carolyn Korsmeyer, Jerrold Levinson, Jenefer Robinson, Roger Scruton, and Kendall Walton), in which Maes probes them on their own arguments as well as their views on aesthetics and the philosophy of art as a discipline, thereby engaging them in discussion of a wide range of specific debates in contemporary aesthetics. Smith’s monograph seeks to defend a naturalistic approach to aesthetics, principally through the exploration of film as a medium of art, but with a sustained comparative dimension incorporating discussion of literature, music, painting, and photography. In elaborating and defending a version of naturalized aesthetics, Smith inevitably addresses fundamental questions concerning the assumptions, methods, and boundaries of aesthetics. Both works connect fundamental principles with concrete cases in a wide range of artforms, and together we hope will form a strong platform for discussion of the general state of aesthetics today.

 

The symposium on June 5 will bring together four invited speakers (Catharine Abell, Manchester; Jerrold Levinson, Maryland; Derek Matravers, OU; and Dawn Wilson, Hull) with ARC faculty, as well as postgraduate students working in aesthetics and related disciplines at Kent and beyond. The postgraduate/early career workshop taking place the following day, June 6, will feature a research presentation by Ryan Doran (Antwerp/Sheffield), co-editor of the BSA journal Debates in Aesthetics. The workshop will conclude with a forum on publishing in aesthetics and related fields.

 

Monday June 5     10.30am – 5.30pm, followed by symposium reception and dinner

Tuesday June 6     10am – 2.30pm

 

Both events are free but registration (via the website) is required. A limited number of postgraduate/early career ‘underemployed’ bursaries are available to help defray the costs of travel and accommodation. Anyone interested in applying for a bursary should send a short statement of interest (up to 200 words, including name, status, title of ongoing or completed PhD, and an indication of how the conference relates to your interests) to: dwrb2@kent.ac.uk