Narrative of Aesthetics Conference

On March 30 and 31, 2012, Tim Sundell and Stefan Bird-Pollan will convene an aesthetics conference at UK with four invited speakers, graduate student commentators, and a round table. The conference brings to a conclusion a year of aesthetics courses given by the two philosophy professors.

>>Listen to a podcast with Sundell and Bird-Pollan discuss the conference

The idea arose at a meeting of the undergraduate philosophy club in which, when asked about his area of research, Sundell’s discussion of the problem of aesthetic disagreement generated prolonged and enthusiastic questioning from the audience. Bird-Pollan, who also has an interest in aesthetics, recognized in Sundell’s presentation a version of Kant’s antinomy of taste, one of the central problems in the Critique of the Power of Judgment.

This convergence prompted Sundell and Bird-Pollan to propose back-to-back aesthetics courses. Bird-Pollan is teaching 18th and 19th Century German aesthetics (Fall 2011) and Sundell contemporary aesthetics from the analytic point of view (Spring 2012). The idea was to generate overlap between the questions the two courses pursued, bridging boundaries and generating discussion. The courses are still in their early stages, but themes of convergence can already be detected, such as problems of the subjectivity/objectivity of aesthetic judgment, the relation between aesthetic and moral value, and issues in interpretation and artistic intention. Each professor is also sitting in on the other’s class and the year may even spawn a joint paper.

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