Philosophy 347

Aesthetics: Kant vs. Hegel

Fall Semester 2008,
Michigan State University

Dr. Christian Lotz



Tentative Schedule (last UPDATE: November 03, 2009)

Number Date Topic Reading Information Oral Present. General Assignments
1 Aug 25 Overview        

Introduction: The Invention of Modern Aesthetics
2 Aug 27 Introduction: Aesthetics TBA      
3 Sep 1 Labor Day Labor Day     Prepare Kant

Subjective Reason, Reflection, Taste - Kant's Critique of Judgment
4 Sep 3 Beauty Critique of Judgment, 1-5 Kant    
5 Sep 8 Beauty Critique of Judgment, 6-9      
6 Sep 10 Taste Critique of Judgment, 10-17      
7 Sep 15 Taste Critique of Judgment, 10-17    
8 Sep 17 Taste Critique of Judgment, 18-22      
9 Sep 22 The Sublime Critique of Judgment, 23-29      
10 Sep 24 The Sublime Critique of Judgment, 23-29     Response Paper 1 (the sublime, according to Kant) due in my box
11 Sep 29 Art and Genius Critique of Judgment, 41-50    
12 Oct 1 Division of the Arts Critique of Judgment, 51-54      
13 Oct 6 In-class exam In-class exam In-class exam In-class exam  

Objective Reason, Externalization, Truth - Hegel's Lectures on Fine Art 
14 Oct 8 Aesthetics Lectures on Fine Art, Introduction, pp.1-14 Hegel    
15 Oct 13 Aesthetics Lectures on Fine Art, Introduction, pp.1-14      
16 Oct 15 Aesthetics Lectures on Fine Art, Introduction, pp.1-14      
17 Oct 20 Art Lectures on Fine Art, Introduction, pp.22-55      
18 Oct 22 Art Lectures on Fine Art, Introduction, pp.22-55      
19 Oct 27 Art Lectures on Fine Art, Introduction, pp.22-55      
20 Oct 29 Art Lectures on Fine Art, Introduction, pp.22-55      
21 Nov 3 System of the Arts Lectures on Fine Art, Introduction, pp.69-91      
22 Nov 5 no class no class no class no class  
23 Nov 10 System of the Arts Lectures on Fine Art, Introduction, pp.69-91      
24 Nov 12 System of the Arts Lectures on Fine Art, Introduction, pp.69-91      
25 Nov 17 System of the Arts Lectures on Fine Art, Introduction, pp.69-91     Response Paper 2 (comparison between Kant's and Hegel's concept of beauty) due in my box
26 Nov 19 The Beauty of Art Lectures on Fine Art, Introduction, pp.153-174      
27 Nov 24 The Beauty of Art Lectures on Fine Art, Part I, Chapter 1, pp.153-174      
28 Nov 26 no class no class no class no class Response Paper 3 cancelled

Wrap Up
29 Dec 1 class review class review class review class review  
30 Dec 3 In-class exam In-class exam In-class exam In-class exam  
  Dec 8         Class essay due in my box

Class Meetings: 

Days: MW
Time: 10:20am-11:40am
Place: C303, Snyder Hall

Phone: 517.353.9721 (if you are unable to reach me, please leave a message at 517.355.4490 [dept.])
Place: 507 S. Kedzie Hall
Hours: MW (1:00-2:00pm), by appointment and by phone


Other Contact:
Home Phone: 734.975.0803

(Please check the webpage regularly for the current schedule)

You will find my box in the front office of the philosophy department
(503 South Kedzie); you can also slip your assignments under my door if I am not in my office (507 South Kedzie)

Course Description:

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.

Course Goals:

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

  • TBA

Required Texts

  • Hegel, G.W.F., Lectures on Fine Art
  • Kant, Critique of Judgment

Secondary Literature

Beside the mandatory texts selected for class I recommend the following two texts:

  • Inwood, Hegel Dictionary (Blackwell)
  • Calgill, Kant Dictionary (Blackwell)

Course Organization

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).

Course Requirements

  • 5 class response sheets
  • 2 in-class essay exams
  • 3 response papers
  • 1-2 task cards
  • 1 class essay

Class Attendance

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.

Click here to download the class response sheet (Word document, I will only accept answers that are given on this form)

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.

Task Cards

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.

Make-Up Exam

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.

Class Essay

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.

Response Papers

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):

[response paper 1] Explain Kant's concept of the sublime
[response paper 2] Compare Kant's and Hegel's concept of beauty
[response paper 3] Compare Kant's and Hegel's concept of the artist

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.

Course Evaluation

You will be evaluated on the basis of:

5 response sheets (turn in at the end of class session)   10 points
3 response papers 900 words 15 points
1 class essay 1500 words 15 points
2 in-class essay exams   25/25 points
2 task cards 600 words 10 points
    100 points


4.0 100 - 93
3.5 92 - 87
3 86 - 82
2.5 81 - 77
2 76 - 72
1.5 7165
1.0 6460
0.0 < 60

GENERIC SYLLABUS (might not be applicable to each class)

Class Attendance

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.

Grading Criteria

Click here to see my grading criteria for oral presentations (not required in this class)
Click here to see my grading criteria for papers (tentative)
Click here to see an EXAMPLE of my grading criteria for essay exams (taken from an older class)

Helpful information about oral presentations, paper writing and plagiarism

Click here to find help on your presentations and your writing

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 for an overview and hours. For more information, please call 517.432.3610 or send an e-mail to


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.

Academic Honesty

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: 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 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

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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