Sonia Sedivy: "Aesthetic Properties and Philosophy of Perception"
- Date: –17:00
- Location: Zoom (contact Irene Martinez Marin for link)
- Organiser: Department of Philosophy
- Contact person: Irene Martinez Marin
The Higher Seminar in Aesthetics
Sonia Sedivy, University of Toronto: "Aesthetic Properties and Philosophy of Perception"
Can we see aesthetic properties of artworks that depend on the historical category to which a work belongs? Some recent discussions in the debate over what properties we can see or visually experience consider aesthetic properties. I pose a more specific question – whether we see aesthetic properties that depend on the historical category to which a work belongs. I have two aims. First, I want to bring aesthetics to the table in theories of visual perception by showing how detailed argumentation for the historical nature of art and some aesthetic properties is relevant for evaluating some of these theories and can provide counterexamples to them. Second, I aim to challenge two influential relational theories of perception, by Charles Travis (2004) and John Campbell (2002), that explain perception in terms of an ‘acquaintance-like’ relation that is independent of what one understands. I focus only on some aesthetic properties of artworks – those that would typically be considered perceptible. The central task of the paper is to argue that experience of some aesthetic properties of artworks requires grasp of the historical categories on which those properties depend and to show how this makes a difference for explaining perception. I use Kendall Walton (1970) and Arthur Danto’s (1981) arguments for the historical nature of artworks and at least some of their aesthetic properties to suggest that if these views are on the right track, then the approaches from Travis (2004) and Campbell (2002) cannot explain experience of such historical aesthetic properties.