CFP: Phenomenology, Aesthetics and the Arts

Submission deadline: January 15, 2012

Conference date(s):
March 30, 2012 - April 1, 2012

Go to the conference's page

Conference Venue:

University College, Cork
Cork, Ireland

Topic areas


Phenomenology has always been closely associated with aesthetics and the arts. Even Husserl, who conceives it as a 'rigorous science', remarks on the close relation between phenomenological reflection and 'disinterested' aesthetic judgment. The later Heidegger, although dismissive of aesthetics, describes poetic art as the 'happening of truth' and the 'opening of the world'. Merleau-Ponty hopes to find in artistic practice clues for a practice of phenomenology as an embodied alternative to scientistic and intellectualist models of inquiry. We should remember also the contributions made to phenomenology, aesthetics, and reflections on the arts by Sartre, Levinas, Ricoeur, Ingarden, Dufrenne, De Beauvoir, and Hartmann among others. More generally, hermeneutic and later post-structuralist strands of phenomenology, with their emphasis on interpretation and textuality over and against purely logical or causal explanation, often pitch their critiques in artistic, or literary, modes of engagement.

Artists, in turn, find in phenomenology a type of philosophical reflection that offers ways of thinking about the complex embodied and social experiences of their practice. In particular, phenomenological approaches have been exploited as alternatives to the earlier conceptual turn in art making. Now it is time to rethink the relations between phenomenology, aesthetics and the arts in contemporary contexts of new political, wider social and scientific developments.

The British Society for Phenomenology and the newly established Irish Phenomenological Circle have joined together for this conference in order to unite international voices from both philosophical and artistic fields for an open discussion of the potential contributions phenomenology can make to philosophical and artistic practices and debates.

If you are interested in reading a paper at the conference, please send an abstract of approx. 1000 words by 15 January, 2012 to [email protected].

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