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Philosophy of Criticism (2013-14)

The aim of this seminar series was to consider philosophical and methodological questions relevant to criticism of the arts, including literature, music, film (and other audio-visual forms), fine art, architecture, and design.

‘Philosophy of Criticism’ complemented the programme’s ‘Languages of Criticism’ seminar series. We were looking principally, though not exclusively, at matters of value and evaluation. In philosophical aesthetics, such matters have received a significant amount of attention, but recently they have been recessive in other disciplines. One aim of the seminar series was to provide a productive forum where students and researchers in a range of subjects within the humanities were able to participate in the debates taking place in philosophy. The seminars normally took the form of an invited guest speaker who introduced an article or chapter – read by the members of the seminar in advance – as a prelude to a discussion. Students and researchers in any discipline were welcome.


• Responding to Value – Evaluation, Appreciation, Judgement, Appraisal, Pleasure, Taste

• Aspects of Value – Artistic Value, Aesthetic Value, Beauty, Achievement, Excellence, Ethical Value, Knowledge, Meaning, Truth, Unity, Irony, Ambiguity, Balance, Density, Simplicity, Functionality, Coherence, Canon

• Artistic Creation – Intention, Form, Style, Tone, Craft, Imagination, Tradition

• Standards and Methods of Criticism – Critical Argument, Reasons, Principles of Criticism, Subjectivity, Inter-Subjectivity, Criticism as an Art, Close Reading, Comparison, Classification, Contextualisation, Elucidation

Convenors: Dr James Grant (Philosophy), Dr Andrew Klevan (Film)

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