Accueil > Topics in the philosophy of art


Type d'enseignement : Elective

Semester : Autumn 2017-2018

Number of hours : 24

Language of tuition : English


No particular background in the arts or the philosophy of art is required.

Course Description

This course is a philosophical exploration of art, of the art world, and of artistic experience. The focus is on the skills needed to understand and to respond to art philosophically. The topics cover definitions and theories, historic accomplishments and current practices, cultural contexts and critical evaluations; the art forms range from traditional painting and sculpture to contemporary performance, installation, and conceptual art.


OWCARZ, Gregory (Philosophy expert)

Pedagogical format

Course participation constitutes nearly a third of the final course grade, determined by class discussion efforts and demonstrated reading comprehension. Some lectures will be given where necessary to introduce new material or to clarify difficult concepts, but critical discussion is crucial in examining the relevant theories, practices, debates in light of one's own preparations and understanding.

Course validation

Students must complete a critical analysis paper related to the lectures given and the readings assigned, which constitutes 20% of course grade. Suggested topics must be approved by the fourth class meeting and papers must be completed by the eighth class meeting. Students must participate in an assigned group presentation project, likewise on an approved topic, which constitutes another 20% of the course grade. Active class participation will be noted and quizzes to evaluate reading comprehension will be given on occasion if warranted, constituting 30% of the course grade. A comprehensive final exam held during the last class meeting will constitute the remaining 30% of the overall course grade. Late work will not be accepted, nor will make-up work be offered.


Each week students are required to study a selection of texts and other related materials (typically art images) which constitutes the basis for class lecture, discussion and debate.

Required reading

  • The Abuse of Beauty – Arthur Danto
  • The Painted Word – Tom Wolfe
  • Key excerpts from required texts supplied by the instructor

Additional required reading

  • Ways of Seeing – John Berger
  • Seeing Out Loud – Jerry Saltz
  • Philosophizing Art – Arthur Danto
  • Nothing If Not Critical – Robert Hughes
  • Let's See – Peter Schjeldahl