Paisley Livingston: "‘Élargissez votre dieu!’: on the Aesthetics of Sport"

The Higher Seminar in Aesthetics

Paisley Livingston, Uppsala universitet och Lingnan University: "‘Élargissez votre dieu!’: on the Aesthetics of Sport"

In this talk I shall begin with a brief survey of some of the central issues in the literature on the aesthetics of sport and then focus on the question of whether aesthetic properties and the values they constitute are essential to sport. On that controversial topic I discuss some of the most salient rival theses and identify their bases in contrasting assumptions about the distinction between aesthetic and non-aesthetic properties. Given one narrow concept of the aesthetic, aesthetic properties and values are merely incidental to both the practice and appreciation of most sports; given a broader concept, however, aesthetic properties and values are essential to sport, and sport contributes importantly to aesthetic value. In the final part of the talk I discuss reasons and arguments on both sides of this dispute between proponents of conflicting conceptions of the aesthetic.