Search our site
Search our site

Kant and the Aesthetic Tradition

  • Module code: PH7701
  • Year: 2018/9
  • Level: Year 7
  • Credits: 30.00
  • Pre-requisites: None
  • Co-requisites: None

Summary

This module provides an introduction to the tradition of philosophical aesthetics through a detailed study of its founding text, Kant's Critique of the Power of Judgement.

Aims

The aims of this module are to:

  • provide students with an introduction to the tradition of philosophical aesthetics through a detailed study of its founding text, Kant's Critique of the Power of Judgement;
  • enable students to interpret Kant's conception of aesthetics as the basis for an interpretation of subsequent European interventions in the philosophy of art (for instance in the work of Nietzsche, Heidegger and of 20th-century formalist thinkers).
  • enable students to assess competing interpretations of Kant's legacy.

Learning outcomes

Upon successful completion of this module, students will be able to:

  • Understand several distinctive and fundamental features of Kant's conception of philosophical aesthetics, in particular his conception of judgement, universality, taste, the beautiful, the sublime, and of genius.
  • Demonstrate a critical awareness of major issues in the history of the reception of Kant's work, primarily in a European context.
  • Reflect on and discuss problems relating to Kant's philosophical legacy.
  • Undertake the work of close textual analysis of a demanding philosophical text.
  • Comprehend, reconstruct and interpret philosophical arguments, and situate these arguments in the context of the history of philosophy.

Curriculum content

Components of the module include:

  • An introductory week on Hume's 'The Standard of Taste'
  • Detailed study of Part 1 of Kant's Critique of the Power of Judgement (main topics: judgement, subjective universality, taste, the beautiful, the sublime, genius)
  • Discussion of the reception of Kant's Critique of the Power of Judgement by Nietzsche and Heidegger on the one hand, and by 20th-century formalist thinkers on the other.

Teaching and learning strategy

This module will be taught by means of a mix of lectures and seminars, supplemented by individual tutorials and private study. Emphasis is placed on seminar-based discussion.

 

Breakdown of Teaching and Learning Hours

Definitive KIS Category Indicative Description Hours
Scheduled learning and teaching Seminars/Lectures 11 taught sessions (2.5 hours each) 28
Scheduled learning and teaching Group and individual tutorials (2 scheduled hour plus office hours) 2
Scheduled learning and teaching Directed and Independent Learning 270
Total (number of credits x 10) 300

Assessment strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to test a student's ability to meet the module's learning outcomes. Summative assessment involves two pieces of written work:

  • A 1,500-word exercise, normally submitted at or before the mid-way point of the module, worth 20% of the final mark.

  • A 3,500 to 4,000 word essay, worth 80% of the final mark.

 

The skills required to prepare these assessed elements will be developed in a variety of formative activities throughout the module, notably through class discussion, feedback on in-class presentations, and individual tutorials. Preparation of the final essay normally includes a scheduled tutorial with the module tutor.

Mapping of Learning Outcomes to Assessment Strategy (Indicative)

Learning Outcome Assessment Strategy
Understand several distinctive and fundamental features of Kant's conception of philosophical aesthetics, in particular his conception of judgement, universality, taste, the beautiful, the sublime, and of genius. Assessed formatively through class discussion, presentations and tutorials, and summatively through the two pieces of individual written work.
Demonstrate a critical awareness of major issues in the history of the reception of Kant's work, primarily in a European context. Assessed formatively through class discussion, presentations and tutorials, and summatively through the two pieces of individual written work.
Reflect on and discuss problems relating to Kant's philosophical legacy. Assessed formatively through class discussion, presentations and tutorials, and summatively through the two pieces of individual written work.
Undertake the work of close textual analysis of a demanding philosophical text. Assessed formatively through class discussion, presentations and tutorials, and summatively through the two pieces of individual written work.
Comprehend, reconstruct and interpret philosophical arguments, and situate these arguments in the context of the history of philosophy. Assessed formatively through class discussion, presentations and tutorials, and summatively through the two pieces of individual written work.

Breakdown of Major Categories of Assessment

Assessment Type Assessment Name Assessment Weighting
CWK Exercises 1500 words 20
CWK Essay 3500 to 4000 words 80
Total (to equal 100%) 100%

Achieving a pass

It IS NOT a requirement that any major assessment category is passed separately in order to achieve an overall pass for the module

Bibliography core texts

  • Main Texts:
  • Immanuel Kant, Critique of the Power of Judgement (Cambridge: CUP, 2000), Part 1.
  • David Hume, 'The Standard of Taste', in Essays: Moral, Political and Literary (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1985), pp. 226-52.
  • Clive Bell, 'The Aesthetic Hypothesis', in Charles Harrison and Jason Geiger, eds, Art in Theory: 1900-1992 (Oxford; Blackwell, 1992), pp. 113-6
  • Roger Fry, 'An Essay in Aesthetics' in Harrison and Geiger, Art in Theory, pp. 78-86.
  • Martin Heidegger, Nietzsche. Vol. 1: The Will to Power as Art (San Francisco: Harper, 1991), Chapters 13–16, 25.
  • Secondary Reading:
  • Henry Allison, Kant's Theory of Taste (Cambridge: CUP, 2001).
  • J-F Courtine et al, Of the Sublime: Presence in Question (New York: State University of New York Press, 1993)
  • Paul Guyer, Kant and the Claims of Taste (Cambridge: CUP 1997).

Bibliography recommended reading

Henry Allison, Kant's Theory of Taste (Cambridge: CUP, 2001).

Andrew Bowie, Aesthetics and Subjectivity: From Kant to Nietzsche (Manchester: MUP, 2003)

J-F Courtine et al, Of the Sublime: Presence in Question (New York: State University of New York Press, 1993).

Paul Guyer, Kant and the Claims of Taste (Cambridge: CUP 1997).

J.H. Zammito, The Genesis of Kant's Critique of Judgement (Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1992).  

Find a course

Course finder

>
Postgraduate study
Site menu