Universität Wien FIND

180051 VO Questions of Aesthetics (2021S)

What is Art?

5.00 ECTS (2.00 SWS), SPL 18 - Philosophie


Note: The time of your registration within the registration period has no effect on the allocation of places (no first come, first served).


Language: German

Examination dates


Classes (iCal) - next class is marked with N

Thursday 11.03. 13:15 - 14:45 Digital
Thursday 18.03. 13:15 - 14:45 Digital
Thursday 25.03. 13:15 - 14:45 Digital
Thursday 15.04. 13:15 - 14:45 Digital
Thursday 22.04. 13:15 - 14:45 Digital
Thursday 29.04. 13:15 - 14:45 Digital
Thursday 06.05. 13:15 - 14:45 Digital
Thursday 20.05. 13:15 - 14:45 Digital
Thursday 27.05. 13:15 - 14:45 Digital
Thursday 10.06. 13:15 - 14:45 Digital
Thursday 17.06. 13:15 - 14:45 Digital


Aims, contents and method of the course

An introductory survey of questions pertaining to the philosophy of art. Topics include the representational theory of art, formalism, neo-formalism, aesthetic theories of art, the institutional theory of art as well as foundational theories by Baumgarten, Kant and Hegel. A recurring question will be: What is Art? How can philosophy grasp that ubiquitous phenomenon? (This lecture series was first presented in summer term of 2020. A complementary series of lectures focussing on the concept of the sublime will be taught in summer term 2022.)

Lecture series with additional compulsory literature and optional Q&As via Moodle. Voluntary collaborate meetings are used to further the understanding of the topics under discussion.

Assessment and permitted materials

Written final exam (90 minutes) in the form of an online test containing nine multiple choice questions and one essay question.
By registering for this digital exam, you agree to this exam mode.

The digital written test is carried out using Moodle. As a student you have to log in with your u:account and thereby confirm your identity. Additional identification methods are not planned.

Number of possible exams:
By registering for this digital exam, you agree to its exam mode. The number of tries for exams will be as usual (i. e. there are four possible examinations per course).

Examination supervision:
In the case of digital written exams, at least one competent person will be announced (on the cover sheet of the exam) who may be reached digitally before, during and after the exam and who is available for questions about the exam and any (technical) problems. If you have technical problems, you can also contact the ZID helpdesk.

Examination inspection:
Online exams can also be inspected by the student wondering about his/her grade. Students should contact their examiners.

By participating in the digital written exam, you declare solving all posed questions independently and without the help of third parties. The test may be subjected to a plagiarism check (Turnitin). The teacher can also contact you for further oral questioning about the subject of the examination within the assessment period of four weeks. This can also be done on a random basis and without any specific suspicion of cheating.

Minimum requirements and assessment criteria

The written exam consists of ten questions, each complete and correct answer is awarded 10 points.
Grading scale:
60 points and less: fail;
61-70 points: sufficient;
71-80 points: satisfactory;
81-90 points: good;
91-100 points: very good.

Examination topics

To pass the final exam one needs to have understood the material presented in the lectures (the texts will be provided in moodle), this includes the literature listed below.

Reading list

Bell, Clive (1914): Art. London: Chatto & Windus.
Bullough, Edward (1912): „,Psychical Distance‘ as a Factor in Art and an Aesthetic Principle“, British Journal of Psychology V, 87–118.
Croce, Benedetto (2007): „What is Art?“, in: Ders.: Breviary of Aesthetics. Four Lectures [1913], hg. von Remo Bodei und übers. von Hiroko Fudemoto. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 5–25.
Danto, Arthur C. (2001): „Seeing and Showing“, The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 59(1), 1–9.
Danto, Arthur C. (2013): „The Future of Aesthetics“, in: Ders.: What Art Is. New Haven u. London: Yale University Press, 135–156.
Dewey, John (1988): „Eine Erfahrung machen“ (= Kapitel III) [1934], in: ders.: Kunst als Erfahrung. Übers. von Christa Velten. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, 47–71.
Gombrich, Ernst H. (51985): „Meditations on a Hobby Horse or the Roots of Artistic Form“, in: Ders.: Meditations on a Hobby Horse, and Other Essays on the Theory of Art. Oxford: Phaidon, 1–11.
Gombrich, Ernst (2000): „Truth and Stereotype“ (= Kapitel 2), in: Ders.: Art and Illusion. A Study in the Psychology of Pictorial Representation. The A. W. Mellon Lectures in the Fine Arts, 1956. Bollingen Series XXXV(5). Princeton u. Oxford: Princeton University Press, 63–90.
Goodman, Nelson (2014): „Kunst und Erkenntnis“ [1976], in: Dieter Henrich u. Wolfgang Iser (Hg.): Theorien der Kunst. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, 569–591. [= dt. Übersetzung des Schlusskapitels von Languages of Art.]
Feagin, Susan L. (1983): „The Pleasures of Tragedy“, American Philosophical Quarterly 20(1), 95–104.
Houlgate, Stephen (2013): „Hegel, Danto and the ,end of art‘“, in: John Walker (Hg.): The Impact of Idealism. The Legacy of Post-Kantian German Thought. Vol. III: Aesthetics and Literature. Hg. der Buchserie: Nicholas Boyle, Liz Disley, Christoph Jamme u. Ian Cooper. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 264–292.
Hume, David (1997): „Über den Maßstab des Geschmacks“, in: Ders.: Vom schwachen Trost der Philosophie. Essays. Auswahl, Übersetzung und Nachwort von Jens Kulenkampff. Göttingen: Steidl, 73–103.
John, Eileen (2019): „Artistic Value and Opportunistic Moralism“ [2006], in: Peter Lamarque u. Stein Haugom Olsen (Hg.): Aesthetics and the Philosophy of Art – The Analytic Tradition. An Anthology. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 258–265.
Kennick, William E. (1958): „Does Traditional Aesthetics Rest on a Mistake?“, Mind 67(267), 317–334.
Kristeller, Paul Oskar (1990): „The Modern System of the Arts“ [1952], in: Ders.: Renaissance Thought and the Arts. Expanded Edition. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 163–227.
Lopes, Dominic McIver (2014): „Much Ado About Art“, in: Ders.: Beyond Art. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 185–202.
Majetschak, Stephan (2005): „Was sind und worüber sprechen ästhetische Urteile? Zur semantischen Struktur des Kunsturteils und des Kunstwerkes“, in: Gertrud Koch u. Christiane Voss (Hg.): Zwischen Ding und Zeichen. Zur ästhetischen Erfahrung in der Kunst. München: Fink, 165–186.
Seel, Martin (2007): „Über die Reichweite ästhetischer Erfahrung“, in: ders.: Die Macht des Erscheinens. Texte zur Ästhetik. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, 56–66.
Serpell, Namwali (2019): „The Banality of Empathy“, New York Review of Books. Online unter: <https://www.nybooks.com/daily/2019/03/02/the-banality-of-empathy/>.
Steinberg, Leo (2007): „Contemporary Art and the Plight of its Public“ [1962], in: Ders.: Other Criteria. Confrontations with Twentieth-Century Art. Chicago u. London: University of Chicago Press, 3–16.
Tolstoi, Lew (1902): Was ist Kunst? [1898], übersetzt von Michael Feofanoff. Leipzig: Diederichs.
Walton, Kendall L. (2008b): „Pictures and Hobby Horses. Make-Believe beyond Childhood“, in: Ders.: Marvelous Images. On Values and the Arts. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 63–78.
Weitz, Morris (1956): „The Role of Theory in Aesthetics“, The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 15(1), 27–35.

Association in the course directory

Last modified: Th 23.03.2023 00:20