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Realism and Antirealism in Aesthetics and Metaethics

A British Society of Aesthetics Connections Conference

University of Cambridge, 9-10 August 2014

http://www.aestheticsandmetaethics.com

Speakers:

  • Russ Shafer-Landau
  • Paul Boghossian
  • Jessica Wilson
  • Rob Hopkins
  • Max Kolbel
  • Simon Kirchin
  • Angela Breitenbach
  • More TBA

Are there facts about whether something is beautiful, or is good art, or are such things purely a matter of opinion? Is it possible for someone to be incorrect in an ascription of aesthetic value? What is the relation between judging something to have aesthetic merit and liking it? What am I saying when I say that Picasso’s Guernica is good art: am I making a claim about some feature of the world, or am I just expressing a preference of mine? These are questions in metaaesthetics.

Prima facie, there appears to be a great deal of similarity between metaaesthetics and the much more developed field of metaethics. Just as metaethics addresses questions about the objectivity of moral judgements, the existence of moral properties, and the semantics of moral claims, metaaesthetics addresses these kinds of question concerning aesthetic judgements, properties and claims. Further, these kinds of questions also arise with respect to other subject matter, such as epistemic modals, future contingent propositions and knowledge ascriptions.

Work in these different fields would benefit from increased dialogue. Firstly, some of the most sophisticated forms of realism and antirealism have been developed outside of aesthetics; most notably in metaethics, but also in the context of other philosophical issues, such as modal discourse and propositions about the future. Secondly, there is a tendency among philosophers who develop antirealist theories with respect to other kinds of discourse to take aesthetics to be susceptible to a similar treatment.

Aestheticians could benefit from exchanges with philosophers working on realism and antirealism in other domains, while philosophers in these other domains could benefit from a more detailed understanding of the data in aesthetics.

 

Information:

Registration online at: www.aestheticsandmetaethics.com. Registration opens 10th March

Attendance for the two days, including tea/coffee, lunches, and drinks reception:

Early registation rate (before 1st June): £65 (£45 students)

Registration after 1st June: £85 (£64 students)

Conference Dinner at Trinity Hall, Cambridge: £35 (£25 students)

There are a small number of bursaries to help interested students with their travel and accommodation costs. To apply please send us an email with your CV and a short statement (100-200 words) detailing how attending the conference will benefit your work.

The conference is made possible by the generous support of The British Society of Aesthetics and The Mind Association

Organisers: Louise Hanson (University of Cambridge), Daan Evers (University of Stockholm)

Contact: Louise Hanson lh334 (at) cam (dot) ac (dot) uk