Module Provider: Philosophy
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2016/7

Module Convenor: Dr Severin Schroeder

Email: s.j.schroeder@reading.ac.uk

Summary module description:
This module explores central topics in philosophical aesthetics, such as: beauty, definitions of art, aesthetic value, formalism, expression of emotion in music, authors’ intentions, truth in literature, the paradox of tragedy, pictorial representation.

To enable students to develop a critical understanding of the philosophical problems raised by art, and by various accounts of the nature of art and aesthetic experience in general. To enable students to be able to analyse and evaluate both the various solutions which have been offered to these problems and the accounts of art and aesthetics.

Assessable learning outcomes:
By the end of this module, students will be able to give an account of different approaches to the definitions of art and of aesthetics. They will be able to discuss the solutions offered to philosophical problems arising within specific art forms, as well as comparing, contrasting and evaluating those solutions.

Additional outcomes:
Students will gain an overview of the central threads in philosophical aesthetics since the 18th century. They will also acquire a valuable perspective on other topics studied in their philosophy degree. The questions discussed in this module will be seen to affect many other areas of philosophical inquiry, such as the philosophy of mind, the philosophy of language, and ethics.

Outline content:
The module will begin with an investigation of the concept of beauty and Kant’s account of it. We will then move on to other aesthetic qualities, and to philosophical problems which arise in specific art forms. We will discuss the expression of emotions in music, the question whether fiction can be a valuable source of knowledge, the paradox of tragedy, and problems concerning pictorial representation. We will also consider various answers to the question ‘What is art?’.

Introductory Reading:
A. Sheppard, Aesthetics: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Art, OUP 1987
O. Hanfling (ed.), Philosophical Aesthetics: An Introduction, Blackwell 1992

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
The format for this module contains lectures and seminars. Students are encouraged to be active in all classes, asking questions and trying to answer the questions posed by others. Handouts are given for this module, including reading lists.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 20
Seminars 10
Guided independent study 170
Total hours by term 200.00
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 70
Written assignment including essay 30

Other information on summative assessment:
2 x 1,500-2,000 word essays. Relative percentage of coursework: 30%

Electronic Submission
All coursework should be submitted electronically via Blackboard

Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convenor will apply the following penalties for work submitted late, in accordance with the University policy.

  • where the piece of work is submitted up to one calendar week after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for the piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/qualitysupport/penaltiesforlatesubmission.pdf
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Length of examination:
    Examination of this module is by coursework (30%), and by final exam (70%). The final exam will be two hours in which time you will be required to answer two questions from a choice of six.

    Requirements for a pass:
    A mark of 40% overall.

    Reassessment arrangements:
    Re-examination in August by written examination only.

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
    1) Required text books:
    2) Specialist equipment or materials:
    3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
    4) Printing and binding:
    5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
    6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

    Last updated: 6 January 2017

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