This course is a general introduction to the full range of philosophical problems and issues connected with art, artistic creativity, and aesthetic experience. Some attention will be focused on the long-standing controversy over the role of the arts in society, weighting evidence favoring creative autonomy against that favoring social control over artistic endeavor. We will examine representative theories as to the nature and purposes of art advanced by Plato, Kant, Tolstoy, Bell, Dickie, and various others. We will also consider the philosophical implications of certain non-philosophical materials such as art preservation statutes, museum policies, and case law regarding the rights of artists. Among the topics considered: Can art make people better; if so, in what ways? Can it corrupt? Should utilitarian considerations guide social regulations of public arts? Do artworks have rights, perhaps in addition to rights enjoyed by their creators? What guidelines are philosophically fitting for the aesthetic education of the young?
TEXT: The Philosophy of Art: Readings Ancient and Modern, Neill & Ridley, eds. (required).