University Catalog Description: Discussion of central problems in aesthetics, such as the possibility of objectivity in criticism, modern and traditional definitions of a work of art, truth and meaning in the fine arts, natural beauty and its relationship to excellence in music, architecture, etc.
Course Objectives: Students should learn what philosophy of art (aesthetics) is - what it means to think philosophically about art. They will learn how to ask philosophical questions and construct well-formed philosophical arguments about art. Students will be introduced to several major philosophical theories of art, including representation, expression, formalism, and contemporary approaches. Students also will be introduced to the range of on-line resources in philosophy and the arts and how to assess their value and possible use in their own work and future careers.
Course organization: We will study examples of philosophical writing by respected philosophers, critics, and theorists. All writing studied in the course will be on the World Wide Web. Most writers are from the "analytic" tradition, emphasizing clarity of thought, objectivity, and well-developed arguments. We will use philosophical methods, including close attention to key concepts and terms and explication of implicit assumptions and principles. Throughout the course, we also will use examples of work from a variety of art forms to see how philosophical ideas can enhance our understanding and appreciation of art. All examples of art will be from the resources available on the World Wide Web.
Philosophical methodologies: Students will be required to develop philosophical reasoning skills through written assignments and on-line class discussion. Each student will also prepare a final project that uses philosophical perspectives studied in the course to understand a particular work of art (in any medium) found on the World Wide Web.
On-Line Methodologies: We will use on-line materials in philosophy and the arts for this course: the World Wide Web, on-line discussion groups, and e-mail. We are especially interested in introducing the range of on-line resources and methodologies that students will find useful in their own careers in the arts, philosophy, teaching, and other fields.
General Education: This course meets a University General Education requirement for an upper division GE course in the C.2.b. (philosophy) category. Philosophy majors receive unit credits toward the major, but not general education credit.
Pre-Requisites: The College requires junior standing for all 300-level general education the courses. The instructor will waive this requirement for students who have had a previous introductory course in philosophy (at CSULB or elsewhere). There are no other pre-requisites.