Tuesday, May 24, 2016

100 Philosophers 100 Artworks 100 Words #51

Philosopher: Ben Blumson, National University of Singapore

Artwork: Self-Portrait with Lens Cap On, Johnny Manahan, 1972

Words: Johnny Manahan's photographs are monochrome squares in the tradition of Malevich or Rauschenberg but in the medium of photography.

There are many examples of the informational content of photographs outstripping their intentional content - an accidentally taken photograph, for example, conveys information about a scene without having been intended to depict that scene. But Manahan's self-portraits are illustrations of the reverse, since they are intended to depict Manahan, but - since the photographs would have been the same, even if his appearance had been different - they carry no information about his appearance.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

ASA announces Ted Cohen Prize

To honor the enormous contributions of Ted Cohen to aesthetics and the American Society for Aesthetics, Andy Austin Cohen and the ASA established in 2014 a $1000 annual prize “to recognize writing that is clear, graceful, and unencumbered by jargon or academic clich├ęs. It should examine serious problems in aesthetics while also giving pleasure to the reader.” In memory of Ted, his wife Andy Austin Cohen has generously funded this prize.

The 2016 prize winner will be selected by a committee of three members appointed by the President of the ASA and will be notified by August 1, 2016. The award will be announced publicly during the national meeting of the ASA in Seattle, WA, November 17-19, 2016. The winner will be encouraged but not required to attend the meeting, and travel expenses to the meeting will be provided. The prize may not be awarded if, in the opinion of the judges, no nomination of sufficient merit and appropriateness is received.

The ASA selection committee welcomes published work of distinction published between June 1, 2015 – May 31, 2016. Eligible works are articles or chapters/sections of books. Publication is understood to mean publication in venues with peer review recognized by the scholarly community and that are permanently available to the interested scholarly community of students and researchers. Eligible publication includes reputable on-line journals. Nominations will be judged based on adherence to the standards of writing in the statement above. Self-nominations are welcome. Only one nomination per year should be submitted. Nominees must be ASA members at the time of nomination.

Submissions should be directed c/o Julie Van Camp, ASA Secretary-Treasurer, at 1550 Larimer St. #644, Denver, CO 80202-1602, or secretary-treasurer@aesthetics-online.org. The nominated article or book chapter/section must be submitted in full. Electronic submissions are strongly preferred, in PDF format replicating the original publication. If PDF submission is not possible, then two copies of articles or book chapter/section must be submitted. The deadline for receipt of nominations is June 1, 2016.

Gifts in honor of Ted Cohen to the American Society for Aesthetics are welcome at any time. They may be made on-line on the ASA Donation site.

ASA Curriculum Diversification Grants Announced for 2016

The American Society for Aesthetics is pleased to announce the winners of the 2016 Curriculum Diversification Grant competition:
  • Meilin Chinn, Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Santa Clara University.
    Project title: Asian Aesthetics.
  •  Hans Maes, Senior Lecturer, History and Philosophy of Art, and Director,
    Aesthetics Research Centre, University of Kent (UK). Project title: The
    Aesthetics of Portraiture.
  • Mariana Ortega, Professor of Philosophy, John Carroll University. Project
    title: Aesthetic Othering—The Case of Photographic Representation.
Each will receive a grant of $5,000 to prepare the proposed diversity curriculum. These will be posted on the ASA web site in September 2016. This is a project of the ASA Diversity Committee, chaired by A.W. Eaton.
To see the final curricula of the 2015 winners, click here.
The ASA has a three-year commitment to this project. Three more awards will be made in 2017. Guidelines will be available in the spring of 2017.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

100 Philosophers 100 Artworks 100 Words #50

Philosopher: Derek Bowman, Providence College

Artwork: Planescape: Tormentrole-playing video game by Black Isle Studios, 1999.

Words: “What can change the nature of a man?” – This is the central question of Planescape: Torment

Like movies or novels, narrative driven video games encourage the player to identify with the perspective and experiences of the protagonist. But here the agency of the player and the protagonist are intertwined. In Torment the player and the Nameless One simultaneously act to uncover the secrets of that character's past, and the desire to advance the game leads the player to enact the protagonist’s quest for redemption.

“What can change the nature of a man?” Perhaps the self-reflection occasioned by good narrative art.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Bence Nanay guest vlog at Brains Blog

Bence Nanay has been guest vlogging at the Brains Blog. The topic this time: Mental imagery and aesthetics.

He discusses "aesthetically relevant properties": properties that make an aesthetic difference when attended to.

Have a look. It's the perfect length for watching over a short break from work!


Wednesday, May 4, 2016

ASA Junior Scholars Essay Contest winners announced

The American Society for Aesthetics has announced the five winners of the Junior Scholars Essay Contest on the future of aesthetics and the ASA.
First Prize: John Dyck, Doctoral Student in Philosophy, CUNY-Graduate Center
Second Prize: Brian Soucek, Assistant Professor of Law, University of California Davis School of Law
Honorable Mention (in alphabetical order):
Robert R. Clewis, Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Gwynedd Mercy University
Peter Doebler, Hone Research Fellow for Museum Engagement, The Dayton Art Institute
Sarah Gokhale, Graduate Student, CUNY
The five winning essays will be posted on the ASA web site in early September. In addition, all five winners will present their ideas on the future of aesthetics and the ASA at the ASA Annual Meeting in Seattle, at a special session Saturday morning, November 19.
We encourage everyone interested in the future of aesthetics and the ASA to read their essays and attend the special session to share your ideas. These discussions will help lead us into our celebration of the 75th anniversary of the ASA in 2017.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Elisa Caldarola on becoming an analytic aesthetician

Elisa Caldarola, an Italian philosopher working in analytic aesthetics, has written an illuminating piece for cheFare about her education and academic career so far. Her story starts:
I earned a philosophy degree in my native country, Italy. I enrolled, at eighteen, because I wanted to understand art through philosophy. I had this idea that art could give meaning to life and that philosophy could explain how this is.
And then she fell down the rabbit hole of contemporary analytic philosophy to try to answer this question.
[A]t Oxford I finally realized that there were some intermediate stops I couldn’t bypass: I had to turn myself into an analytic philosopher and, concomitantly, into one who thinks in English and writes in English, because that was the language of analytic philosophy. So my question about art in general had turned into a question about how pictures work, which had brought to the question of how to turn myself into an analytic aesthetician and to the effort of appropriating the English language.
She goes on to draw attention to the significance of language barriers, as well as geographical, financial, and motivational hurdles that will sound familiar to many. She also talks about the pressure to do things on a certain schedule, pressures to present oneself in certain ways, and how all of these things intertwine with being a woman in philosophy.

Have a look and have a think. Comments welcome.

(h/t to Philosopher's Cocoon)