PHIL 2112 - Beauty: Pleasures and Principles
North Terrace Campus - Semester 2 - 2017
General Course Information
Course Code PHIL 2112 Course Beauty: Pleasures and Principles Coordinating Unit Philosophy Term Semester 2 Level Undergraduate Location/s North Terrace Campus Units 3 Contact Up to 3 hours per week Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y Prerequisites At least 12 units of Level 1 undergraduate study Incompatible PHIL 2029, PHIL 2024, PHIL 3024, PHIL 3010 Course Description This course introduces students to the central concepts and themes of philosophical aesthetics from the eighteenth century to the present.
Beauty is a concept which has baffled philosophers since before Plato. It names something we consider a necessary part of a good and fulfilling life. Nonetheless, it escapes definition and invites contradictory accounts. Beauty is highly affecting, yet we treat beauty as though it is of the world rather than simply subjective, idiosyncratic or whimsical. For example, we might believe that a beautiful landscape should be preserved for human kind because of its beauty. This suggests an objective basis to beauty. Yet, you cannot dictate a certain kind of response in people the way you can dictate rules or regulations. Is beauty a pleasure or a principle? This is what philosophers have argued about since time immemorial. This issue broaches the debate in ethics regarding the difference between moral principle and moral sensibility. Is morality a matter of following principles? Or is it a matter of exercising compassion and empathy?
Course Coordinator: Emeritus Professor Jennifer McMahon
The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.
Course Learning Outcomes
On successful completion of this course students will be able to:
1. understand how the philosophical concepts covered in this course apply to artworks and other artefacts.
2. argue coherently on the basis of their own analysis in their essay writing.
3. take into consideration a range of perspectives in their public debates and discussion.
4. form research questions.
5. conduct research using a range of resources and technologies.
6. interpret and evaluate artworks using the concepts covered in this course.
7. engage in complex cultural interactions drawing together argumentative skills with the ability to consider a range of perspectives.
University Graduate Attributes
This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:
University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s) Deep discipline knowledge
- informed and infused by cutting edge research, scaffolded throughout their program of studies
- acquired from personal interaction with research active educators, from year 1
- accredited or validated against national or international standards (for relevant programs)
1 Critical thinking and problem solving
- steeped in research methods and rigor
- based on empirical evidence and the scientific approach to knowledge development
- demonstrated through appropriate and relevant assessment
2 Teamwork and communication skills
- developed from, with, and via the SGDE
- honed through assessment and practice throughout the program of studies
- encouraged and valued in all aspects of learning
2, 3 Career and leadership readiness
- technology savvy
- professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
- forward thinking and well informed
- tested and validated by work based experiences
1-7 Intercultural and ethical competency
- adept at operating in other cultures
- comfortable with different nationalities and social contexts
- able to determine and contribute to desirable social outcomes
- demonstrated by study abroad or with an understanding of indigenous knowledges
7 Self-awareness and emotional intelligence
- a capacity for self-reflection and a willingness to engage in self-appraisal
- open to objective and constructive feedback from supervisors and peers
- able to negotiate difficult social situations, defuse conflict and engage positively in purposeful debate
Required ResourcesReadings, relevant links and examples will be provided on myuni. Students will need to have access to a computer for myuni. A hard copy reading brick will be available if required.
Recommended ResourcesPhilosophical Beauty for Beginners:
Scruton, Roger. Beauty. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009.
More Advanced General Reading for Philosophical Beauty:
Guyer, Paul. Guyer, Paul. Burke on the Beautiful and the Sublime. Oxford 's World Classics, Oxford University Press, 2013.
_____ Values of Beauty: Historical Essays in Aesthetics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005.
_____ Kant and the Experience of Freedom. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993.
McMahon, Jennifer A. Aesthetics and Material Beauty: Aesthetics Naturalized, London & New York: Routledge, 2007.
_____ Art and Ethics in a Material World: Kant’s Pragmatist Legacy. New York & London: Routledge, 2014.
Schaper, Eva (ed.) Pleasure, Preference and Value. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983.
Aesthetic Reference Books in the Barr Smith Library
Each of these reference books have chapters on beauty:
Cooper, David (ed.). A Companion to Aesthetics. Cambridge, MA: Blackwell, 1995.
Gaut, B & D. Lopes (eds), The Routledge Companion to Aesthetics, London: Routledge, 2005.
Kelly, Michael (ed) Encyclopedia of Aesthetics, New York : Oxford University Press, 1998.
Kivy, Peter. Blackwell Guide to Aesthetics, Maldon MA: Blackwell Publishing, 2004.
Levinson, Jerrold (ed) The Oxford Handbook of Aesthetics. New York : Oxford University Press, 2003.
History of Aesthetics in the Barr Smith Library
Guyer, Paul. A History of Modern Aesthetics, three volumes, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014.
Oxford Bibliographies Online: Beauty (access through library to access full article)
Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy Online
Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy
Learning & Teaching Activities
Learning & Teaching Modes3 hr seminar, student presentations, student debate, gallery visit, review of film employing terms from glossary developed in groups, essay writing.
The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.WORKLOAD TOTAL HOURS
3 hr seminar per week 36 hours per semester
4 hrs reading per week 48 hrs per semester
2 hrs research per week 24 hrs per semester
4 hrs assignment preparation per week 48 hrs per semester
Total: 156 hrs per week
Learning Activities SummaryWEEK
Topics and themes
Conceptions of beauty
2 Hume on sentiment and subjectivity (empiricism). Standards and the basis of objectivity.
Wolff on intentional pleasure, perfection and objectivity
(background themes: empiricism, idealism and rationalism)
3 Kant’s Critique of the Power of Judgment I: disinterested pleasure , intersubjectivity, universality
4 Kant's Critique of the Power of Judgemnt II: Aesthetic form
Non-cognitivism and cognitivism: what is meant by formalism as opposed to functionalism?
5 Kant’s Critique of the Power of Judgment III: sensus communis
Agreement on aesthetic evaluations due to universal perception, just an accident or driven by the terms of engagement?
6 Hegel and Idealism.
7 Aesthetic realism v aesthetic anti-realism
8 Film Viewing: Contemporary research on Imagination and Perception
9 Theories of Perception
10 The Sublime in Cinema: Fiction emotion v Artefact emotion
Theories of the sublime
11 Theories of Imagination: make-believe as diversion or a kind of belief that impacts on behaviour?
12 Beauty naturalized: evolution, instinct, language and free will
More contemporary writing on beauty: the psychology of beauty
Specific Course RequirementsN/A
Small Group Discovery ExperienceEach seminar involves small group work with research active staff member
The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:
- Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
- Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
- Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
- Assessment must maintain academic standards.
Assessment SummaryASSESSMENT TASK TASK TYPE WEIGHTING COURSE LEARNING OUTCOME(S)
presentation formative 5% Learning Outcome 3
Seminar paper 1 summative 15% Learning Outcomes 1,2
Seminar paper 2 summative 15% Learning Outcomes 1,2
Debate formative 5% Learning Outcome 3
Review+glossary summative 30% Learning Outcomes 1-3, 6
Final research essay summative 30% Learning Outcomes 1-2, 4-7
Assessment Related RequirementsMinimum of 50% average on sum of results. Students cannot attend presentations/present unless they have submitted seminar paper 1 at beginning of presentation seminar. Students cannot attend debate or participate unless they have submitted seminar paper 2 at beginning of debate seminar. Students cannot submit review + glossary unless they have attended at least 7 seminars as the glossaries are developed by their group
Assessment Detail1. Tutorial presentation: in week 4 seminar, you will present a short answer to your group (of 5-6 students) on Hume’s solution to the standard of taste. The question which you will answer will be constructed by you in the previous tutorial and approved by your group.
2. First Seminar Paper: due week 4 seminar. You will write an argumentative essay answering your question (approved and trialled by your group) on Hume’s essay ‘On the Standard of Taste’.
3. Debate: in week 8 seminar, you will be given a side to defend in a debate between formalism and functionalism. Protocols will be provided beforehand. It is meant to be fun, informative and a form of research for your final essay.
4. Second Seminar Paper: due week 8 seminar. You will write a comparative essay comparing formalism and functionalism; or using an online app proforma provided, design an app for use in the AGSA guiding a perceiver around one gallery space in terms of formalism and functionalism.
5. Final Essay: due week 13, submitted on myuni, comments and grade returned by email. Question to be devised by you under guidance and approval of coordinator.
SubmissionSeminar papers handed to lecturer at beginning of seminar in hard copy. Essays submitted online.
Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:
M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme) Grade Mark Description FNS Fail No Submission F 1-49 Fail P 50-64 Pass C 65-74 Credit D 75-84 Distinction HD 85-100 High Distinction CN Continuing NFE No Formal Examination RP Result Pending
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