Resisting the Divides: Contemporary Philosophy of Art

October 7, 2024 - October 8, 2024
Philosophy, Brooklyn College, CUNY

2900 Bedford Ave.
Brooklyn 11210
United States

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Institute of Philosophy, Czech Academy of Sciences
Brooklyn College (CUNY)

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The philosophy of art, as practiced in the western world, has tended to have two divided homes: in analytic philosophy and continental philosophy. Within the analytic tradition, the philosophy of art has recently undergone a revival with the emphasis on perception. This has more closely aligned art theory to science and questions of biology as well as to issues within psychology. The continental tradition has traditionally drawn upon phenomenology’s first-person experience with its ties to embodied perception as well as the social and historical concerns of the social aspect of art. In the realm itself of visual art, the state of (so-called) post-post modernism has resulted in both the dissolution of belief in progress and even, according to some art critics, a lamentable stagnation. But many philosophers of the last century, beginning with Walter Benjamin, Adorno, Nelson Goodman, etc., have suggested that art needs to be thought of within its social, pragmatic, or epistemological functions, suggesting perhaps a need to think of art outside the confines of modernism’s stylistic revolutions and formalist issues. Relatedly, the pluralism within science could be accessed as model for this enterprise. Multiple views on a phenomenon are required due to the complexity of the enterprise, and the practice of both making art and of perceiving it might be in that category. This conference seeks to bring these strands, the analytical and the continental ones, together and evaluate how to move forward with art theory in an age of globalization.

We welcome submissions on these possible questions:

1.     Should we value a diversity of perspectives in art theory? If so, what is the value? If not, why not?

2.     Are there aspects of art that we presume to be universal that are, in fact, culturally situated? 

3.     How should different ways of experiencing art be characterized?

4.     What is the epistemological function of art?

5.     How does the monetary role in art affect both the artist and the perceiver of art?

6.     How do the mechanics of seeing (e.g., gist perception, peripheral vision, etc.) affect how we experience art?

7.     How does the practice of making art relate to the first-person experience?

8.     What role does Husserl’s “bracketing” have in the viewing or making of art?

9.     Are there specific non-western traditions that provide a better explanatory solution for the role of art than have the competing paradigms of continental and analytic?

We welcome your participation and look forward to your contributions. Papers should not extend over 45 minutes. Q & A are 15 minutes.

To submit anonymized abstract BY JULY 15, 2024:

or email to: [email protected]

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August 15, 2024, 9:00am EST

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