COML 4001

COML 4001

Course information provided by the Courses of Study 2017-2018.

A comprehensive survey of philosophical aesthetics from its inception in the 18th century to the present, this class will pay special attention to questions of authenticity and originality. Theories of art can be placed on a scale with conscious human making, i.e. calculated application of rules on the one end and divinely inspired creation or unconscious imitation of nature on the other. Art is per definition artificial, but the discipline of aesthetics has often privileged the natural and the naïve. Rousseau viewed the arts as corrupting, and Kant saw an interest in natural – not manmade – beauty as a sign of moral character. Classicism favored the simplicity of a young culture, while the Romantics called for immediacy and spontaneity. In the 20th century, modernist avant-gardes turned to the very earliest forms of human expression. Can aesthetics help us understand our fascination with the innate, the innocent, and even the ignorant? How do we distinguish authentic from fraudulent art? What counts as artistic originality? Is it possible to know too much to make or to enjoy artworks? Exploring these issues, we will be in constant dialog with figures like Wordsworth, Kleist, de Staël, Nietzsche, Rimbaud, Heidegger, and Cavell.

When Offered Spring.

Breadth Requirement (HB)
Distribution Category (LA-AS)

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Enrollment Information
Syllabi: none
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  • 4 Credits Stdnt Opt

  • 17288COML 4001  SEM 101