Graduate Course on Philosophical Aesthetics

What is a work of art? How can we judge the aesthetic quality of something? How is the artistic character of something related to its aesthetic quality?

In order to answer these and related questions we need a theory of aesthetic experience. Aesthetic experience is a particular kind of understanding. It can be characterized and distinguished from cognition and other kinds of understanding with the help of a semiotic analysis.

The course will first deal with basic semiotics, studying selected writings of Charles Sanders Peirce, Ferdinand de Saussure, and Nelson Goodman. It will then analyse aesthetic experience and attempt answers to the above mentioned questions concerning art and aesthetic quality.