Rather than focusing on contemporary questions in aesthetics we will intensively deal and discuss two major positions within the history of aesthetics, namely, Kant's Critique of Judgment and Hegel's Lectures on Fine Art. Both Kant and Hegel are paradigm cases in aesthetics because they made possible two major ways of understanding aesthetics, namely, on the one hand, aesthetics as a theory of subjectivity, perception, and judgment (Kant), and, on the other hand, aesthetics as a theory of art, history, and culture (Hegel). As such, this class does not focus on meta-questions in aesthetics, such as "what is art?," "what is representation," or "what is expression?," though all of the aforementioned questions will come up during our discussion of Hegel and Kant.
This class should introduce students to selected aspects of aesthetics and philosophy of art through the study of two major texts of the philosophical tradition. As such, it is hoped that students learn how to read these texts, as most students grow up in illiteracy. At the end of this class students should be able to differentiate between two major ways of understanding aesthetics and art, and the historical concepts connected to these positions, such as the beautiful, taste, subjectivism, the sublime, and the ideal.
Students who did not take philosophy classes before (but signed up for this class) should be aware of the fact that this course is based on extremely difficult texts. Kant's and Hegel's style of philosophy and reflection differs significantly from contemporary styles of philosophy and philosophical writing. Accordingly, this class requires self-responsible learners and an intense confrontation with the primary text. My task in this class is solely based on making these texts transparent to you and to prepare your further studying of the material. In addition, the study of aesthetics presupposes that you are interested in art and that you are not ignorant of the historical dimension of art. Accordingly, if you are not excited about the prospect of a daily confrontation with Kant and Hegel, then you should not take this class.
Introductory Information Online
Beside the mandatory texts selected for class I recommend the following two texts:
The course will be organized such that, ideally, each class period will include [i] "interactive" lecture, [ii] oral presentations or [iii] either discussion time (active learning part II) [iv] or group assignments (active learning part III). Students will be asked to [a] read a certain text or part of a text for the next class period and [b] give oral presentations (group presentations).
I hope and strongly encourage that students attend all classes. However, I will not require attendance, as I think that college students should manage their own class attendance decisions. Nevertheless, please be aware that you should not make me responsible for a failure that results out of your decision.
Class Response Sheets
Every student is asked to submit up to 5 class response sheets during the semester.
The response sheets have to be submitted at the end of a class session. I do not accept late turn ins. Submission is voluntary.
Students who do not actively participate in class will not loose points. I would like to foster an open class atmosphere, in which every participants can express his/her thoughts freely, that is to say, without judgmental pressure. Students, however, who make excellent contributions in class, can earn 5 extra credit points.
I will from time to time assign so called "task cards." Students who receive task cards, must write a 1-2 page paper (no more than 600 words) about a concept or about background information. Task cards will be assigned without prior notice in class and have to be prepared for the next class section. For example, in one of our discussions it turns out that no one has ever heard about the philosopher Augustine or about the problem of movement in Zeno. I will ask a student to do research and to prepare brief biographical information of Augustine or an overview of the concept of movement in Zeno. Students will read their brief elaborations at the beginning of the next class sections and turn their papers in. This task is challenging because in your writing you should be as precise as possible. Note: you are not allowed to cite common internet resources, such as Wikipedia. Instead, work with the following online resources (or other resources in the library): Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy - Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy - Encyclopedia of Continental Philosophy (e-book) - The Oxford Companion to Philosophy
The following encyclopedias and dictionaries are online available through MSU's library: Oxford Art Online - Blackwell Companion of Aesthetics - Encyclopedia of Aesthetics (Oxford, edited by Kelly) - The Oxford Dictionary of Art (search MSU libraries)
In Class Essay Exams
There will be two in-class essay exams (see schedule), in which I will raise two questions about the readings, and which focus on your comprehension. The first question asks for an explanation of a quote, the second question deals with a broader issue that we discussed in class.
Students who need to miss the exams for excusable reasons must inform me ahead of time, and will be permitted to make up the exam. I will only accept official doctor notes (no faxes, no emails) and letters from other professors/athletic directors.
I expect a brief paper at the end of the class (5 pages, around 1500 words), the topic of which must be chosen from a list that I will pass out during this class.
In order to intensify and improve your understanding of the material, you will turn in on selected days (check schedule for due dates) a brief paper, in which you analyze the readings (2-3 pages, double spaced, no more than 900 words):
paper 1] Explain Kant's concept of the sublime
General Remark on Assignments
The response sheets will in and outside of the classroom force us to have an ongoing reflection on our texts that we read in class. In addition, the assignments will help to prepare the exam. Reading and studying the primary texts is the absolute focus of this class. If you carefully read the texts, then you will easily master the assignments.
You will be evaluated on the basis of:
GENERIC SYLLABUS (might not be applicable to each class)
I do not employ in my classes a class attendance policy. Having said this, you should be aware that class attendance is very important. When engaging in a philosophical and humanistic dialogue it is necessary to be an active and present participant in the ongoing discussion. If you miss class please do not email me asking if you missed anything important. Every class is important. You should get a study buddy for the class; a student in class who will inform you of what you missed. If you miss a class you can come to my office hours or make an appointment to discuss the material, providing you have read the material and you simply want to see if your understanding of the material is on target. Time in office hours will not be used to repeat the class lectures.
Helpful information about oral presentations, paper writing and plagiarism
Online Research Sources
Unfortunately, some people think that the internet as such is a reliable source of information. If you decide to use online sources for additional information or your paper then do not just use one of the common internet search engines, such as Google; rather, use reliable academic sources, such as Britannica Online, or the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Here are other resources: Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy - Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy - Encyclopedia of Continental Philosophy (e-book) - The Oxford Companion to Philosophy. The Internet Ecyclopedia of Philosophy isn't very good, but still acceptable. Check out MSU's library resources! And, as with other sources, you must cite any online sources to which you refer in your essay.
Writing Center Information
MSU's writing center offers excellent help on all matters regarding writing and learning. Check the website at http://writing.msu.edu for an overview and hours. For more information, please call 517.432.3610 or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
In any essay or exam answer submitted for assessment, all passages taken from other people's work must be placed within quotation marks, with specific reference to author, title and page. no excuse can be accepted for any failure to do so, nor will inclusion of the source in a bibliography be considered inadequate acknowledgement. If the marker decides that plagiarism has occurred, the student may be judged to have failed the class.
Article 2.3.3 of the Academic Freedom Report states that "The student shares with the faculty the responsibility for maintaining the integrity of scholarship, grades, and professional standards." In addition, the (insert name of unit offering course) adheres to the policies on academic honesty as specified in General Student Regulations 1.0, Protection of Scholarship and Grades; the all-University Policy on Integrity of Scholarship and Grades; and Ordinance 17.00, Examinations. (See Spartan Life: Student Handbook and Resource Guide and/or the MSU Web site: www.msu.edu) Therefore, unless authorized by your instructor, you are expected to complete all course assignments, including homework, lab work, quizzes, tests and exams, without assistance from any source. You are expected to develop original work for this course; therefore, you may not submit course work completed for another course to satisfy the requirements for this course. Also, you are not authorized to use the www.allmsu.com Web site to complete any course work in (insert course number here). Students who violate MSU rules may receive a penalty grade, including but not limited to a failing grade on the assignment or in the course. Contact your instructor if you are unsure about the appropriateness of your course work. (See also http://www.msu.edu/unit/ombud/honestylinks.html)
Accommodations for Students with Disabilities
Students with disabilities should contact the Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities to establish reasonable accommodations. For an appointment with a counselor, call 353-9642 (voice) or 355-1293 (TTY
Drops and Adds
The last day to add this course is the end of the first week of classes. The last day to drop this course with a 100 percent refund and no grade reported is (see Academic Calendar). The last day to drop this course with no refund and no grade reported is (see Academic Calendar). You should immediately make a copy of your amended schedule to verify you have added or dropped this course.
Note on Attendance
Students who fail to attend the first four class sessions or class by the fifth day of the semester, whichever occurs first, may be dropped from the course
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