PHIL3002 Aesthetics

Credit
6 points
Offering

If this unit does not have an online alternative, then students who are presently unable to enter Western Australia and whose studies would be delayed by an inability to complete this unit, should contact the unit coordinator (details given on this page) to ascertain, on an individual case-by-case basis, if alternate arrangements can be made to support their study in this unit.

AvailabilityLocationMode
Not available in 2021UWA (Perth)Face to face Predominantly face-to-face. On campus attendance required to complete this unit. May have accompanying resources online.
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 3 option in the Philosophy major sequence
  • Level 3 elective
Content
This is an introductory unit in aesthetics (the philosophy of art). It examines perennial problems in aesthetics from a philosophical perspective. Areas of enquiry vary and may include—What is art? What is the value of art? What do we learn from art? What is beauty? How important is a definition of art and the artists' intentions in understanding or appreciating a work of art? What is an aesthetic experience and how can aesthetic value be determined? Are there objective standards of taste? Can one person's judgement regarding works of art be better than another's? What should the role of an art critic be? Is so-called 'high' art more valuable than 'low' art? Is mass art 'art' and is it morally problematic? What is the relation between aesthetics and ethics? Why do we enjoy watching horror films and why do we emotionally react to works of fiction? What, if anything, is wrong with sentimentality? Special topics include—Is photography an art? Is architecture an art? How does music express emotion? The unit also looks at the aesthetic appreciation of nature. Readings are drawn from classical and contemporary sources but the unit is not an historical survey.
Outcomes
Students are able to (1) have a critical understanding of fundamental problems of aesthetics (philosophy of art); (2) have an awareness of the philosophical aspect of issues relating to art; (3) assess philosophical theories regarding the nature of these issues; (4) have a critical appreciation of the representation of philosophical ideas about aesthetics, works of art, and aspects of entertainment; (5) understand ways in which issues in aesthetics are related to other philosophical problems in ethics, metaphysics and social and political philosophy; (6) have something of interest, aesthetically speaking, to say after seeing an art exhibition, an interesting movie or reading a book; (7) independently interpret complex philosophical texts; (8) demonstrate an understanding of complex philosophical arguments and positions; (9) evaluate complex philosophical positions and arguments; (10) weigh the virtues and vices of competing philosophical doctrines; (11) construct persuasive arguments concerning difficult philosophical issues; (12) demonstrate advanced written communication and research skills; and (13) reflect on the nature and purpose of philosophy and philosophical argumentation.
Assessment
Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) essay; (2) examination; and (3) participation. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Supplementary assessment is not available in this unit except in the case of a bachelor's pass degree student who has obtained a mark of 45 to 49 overall and is currently enrolled in this unit, and it is the only remaining unit that the student must pass in order to complete their course.
Unit Coordinator(s)
Assistant Professor Nin Kirkham
Unit rules
Prerequisites:
any Level 2 Philosophy unit or PPHE2211
Incompatibility:
PHIL2208 Aesthetics; PHIL2207 Philosophy, Literature and Film
Contact hours
lectures: 10 x 2 hour; seminar discussions: 10 x 1 hours
Note
Attendance at all lectures is required. Lectures are not taped and are not to be recorded. Some lecture notes and additional readings are placed on the LMS (Learning Management System).
  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.