16-18 June: Aesthetics, Art, and Pornography

An interdisciplinary conference 

16-18 June 2011
Institute of Philosophy, London

This conference will bring together philosophers and aestheticians, art historians and film theorists to investigate the artistic status and aesthetic dimension of pornographic pictures, films, and literature. Its interdisciplinary approach is intended to lead to a more accurate and subtle understanding of the range of representations that incorporate explicit sexual imagery and themes, in both high art and demotic culture, in Western and non-Western contexts.


Plenary and session speakers* (mainly day 3) with chairs and coorganisers (l-r): Back row: Petra van Brabandt*, Jesse Prinz*, Jerry Levinson*, Tzachi Zamir*, Ed Winters*, Mimi Vasilaki, Mahlet Zimeta*, David Davies*, Nick Zangwill*. Middle row: Edward Miller*, Camile Henrot*, Hans Maes, Hazel Donkin*, John Tercier*. Front row: Aiste Griciute, Gabriela Ochoa, Sara Protasi*, Mari Mikkola*, Katrien Schaubroeck, Marghrete Bruun Vaage, Shahrar Ali. (Photo by S Ali)
Plenary and session speakers* (mainly day 3) with chairs and coorganisers (l-r): Back row: Petra van Brabandt*, Jesse Prinz*, Jerry Levinson*, Tzachi Zamir*, Ed Winters*, Mimi Vasilaki, Mahlet Zimeta*, David Davies*, Nick Zangwill*. Middle row: Edward Miller*, Camile Henrot*, Hans Maes, Hazel Donkin*, John Tercier*. Front row: Aiste Griciute, Gabriela Ochoa, Sara Protasi*, Mari Mikkola*, Katrien Schaubroeck, Marghrete Bruun Vaage, Shahrar Ali. (Photo by S Ali)

Keynote Speakers

Martin Kemp – History of Art, Oxford University (Emeritus Research Professor)
Jerrold Levinson – Philosophy, University of Maryland
Jesse Prinz – Philosophy, City University of New York
Elisabeth Schellekens – Philosophy, University of Durham
Stephen Mumford – Philosophy, University of Nottingham
Pamela Church-Gibson – Film & Cultural Studies, University of the Arts London
David Davies – McGill University

See dedicated website

30 May: Beyond Art: A symposium on the work of Dominic Lopes

This one-day symposium focuses on Dominic McIver Lopes’s forthcoming book, Beyond Art. Dominic Lopes (University of British Columbia, Leverhulme Visiting Professor at the University of Warwick) is among the foremost contemporary philosophers of art. In addition to Lopes, participants include María José Alcaraz León (University of Murcia), Stacie Friend (Heythrop College), Derek Matravers (Open University and University of Cambridge) and Jean-Marie Schafer (EHESS, University of Paris).

In his new book Lopes proposes that the traditional difficulties around defining art – as well as other related problems such as those around aesthetic appreciation – can be solved once they are transferred to individual art forms. Thus, aesthetics should turn its attention beyond art, towards art forms. This original and controversial proposal will be considered and critiqued by the symposium’s other participants, and Lopes will speak about the book’s project and reply to his critics.

The Aesthetics Research Centre is grateful to the British Society for Aesthetics, the Leverhulme Foundation, and the School of Arts and Faculty of Humanities at the University of Kent for supporting this event.


10.00 – 10.15

10.15 – 10.30

10.30 – 11.45


11.45 – 12.00

12.00 – 13.00

13 click to find out more.00 – 14.30

14.30 – 15.45




Dominic Lopes, Remarks on Beyond Art

Stacie Friend, “The Arts as Appreciative Kinds”

Jean-Marie Schaeffer, title tba


Response by Dominic Lopes + discussion


María José Alcaraz León, “Some Concerns About the Viability and the Informative Character of the Buck Passing Theory of Art”

Derek Matravers: “Is ‘Art as Art’ a Specific Art Form?”

15.45 – 16.00

16.00 – 17.30



Response by Dominic Lopes + discussion

Drinks reception


  • Stacie Friend, “The Arts as Appreciative Kinds” 
    I am in fundamental agreement with Lopes’s argument  in Beyond Art that we should pass important questions about artworks and art generally to accounts of the individual arts, and that we should conceive of individual arts as appreciative kinds. In this paper I articulate some challenges to Lopes’s positive proposals for defining and individuating the various arts as appreciative kinds. I further argue that given his own commitments, Lopes should recognise a closer connection between aesthetic appreciation on the one hand, and those appreciative kinds that constitute arts on the other. 
  • Jean-Marie Schaeffer, tba
  • María José Alcaraz León, “Some Concerns about the Viability and the Informative Character of the Buck Passing Theory of Art”
    Lopes’s project of a buck passing theory of art is supposed to be designed in a way that renders the theory informative and viable. The theory is informative only if it is able to deal with the ‘coffee mug’ objection. It is an essential aspect of Lopes’s reasoning that an answer to the ‘coffee mug’ objection shows that the coffee mug and a piece of Bizen ware from a sample of Walmart belong to different appreciative practices. I aim at showing that Lopes fails to offer good reasons for this claim and that this threatens the informative character of the buck passing theory. Secondly, I try to explore the cogency of the characterization of the art form named in Lopes’s work ‘art-as-art’. If works like Fountain –and other allegedly similar free agents- are harmless to the constitutive project of the buck passing theory because there is such a thing as an art form with no associated medium profile, there seems to be a lack of resources to explain what appreciation might consists in when dealing with items belonging to this special art form. 
  • Derek Matravers, “Is ‘Art as Art’ a Specific Art Form?”
    Dominic Lopes resolves a potential problem for his account of art by construing some of the ‘hard cases’ of the avant garde as belonging to their own art form: that of ‘Art as Art’. This paper will look at Lopes’s argument, and argue that it bears similarities with a move made by Institutionalist Theories. In both cases on might wonder if there is still a question left to answer.

Jerrold Levinson: Key Concepts in Aesthetics

Jonathan Friday and Jerrold Levinson
<img class="" src="http://www singulair generic.kent.ac.uk/arts/hpa/aestheticsresearchgroup/eventarchive/levinsonlectures/images/gallery/IMG_7003.jpg” alt=”” width=”500″ height=”495″ />
Jerrold Levinson

7-8 February 2015: Interact!

‘INTERACT! British Society of Aesthetics Postgraduate Conference’ was a two-day event where postgraduates were able to present their research, share ideas and interact with each other and established members of the academic community. The conference allowed remote participation, all presentations were recorded and can now be viewed online.


Saturday 7th February

09:30 – 10:25 Registration

10:25 – 10:30 Welcome watch
Opening words by Michael Newall, Head of History and Philosophy of Art, University of Kent

10:30 – 12:00 Session 1 watch
Chaired by: Michael Newall, University of Kent

  • Affective Representation of Aesthetic Properties ⎮Kris Goffin, Ghent University
  • The Role of Emotions in the Experience of Inanimate Objects’ Expressiveness ⎮Marta Benenti, University of Turin
  • The Temporality of Aesthetic Experience: A Neurophilosophical Approach ⎮ Carlos Vara, Universitat Pompeu Fabra

12:00 – 13:00 Lunch

13:00 – 14:30 Session 2 watch
Chaired by: Sara Janssen, University of Kent

  • The Diversity of Counter-Moral Fictions and the Ethical Criticism of Art ⎮Adriana Clavel Vazquez, University of Sheffield
  • Can we be Romantic about Narratives? Rediscovering a Context for Actual Intentions in Aesthetics⎮Mary Edwards, University College Cork
  • Ryle on Make-believe: An Evaluation of the Treatment of Imagination in The Concept of Mind for Aesthetical Theories of Fiction⎮Guillaume Schuppert, Les Archives Henri Poincaré

14:30 – 15:00 Coffee&Tea

15:00 – 16:30 Session 3 watch
Chaired by: Margaret Schmitz, University of Kent

  • What Constitutes Architecture’s High Art Status ⎮Rebecca Wallbank, Durham University
  • On the Difference between Categories of Artworks and Nature; A Critique of Allen Carlson’s Unified Aesthetics ⎮ Mami Aota, The University of Tokyo
  • Structural Monism for Musical Works ⎮ Nemesio Garcia-Garril, University of Granada

16:30 – 17:00 Coffee&Tea

17:00 – 18:30 Keynote – Professor Dominic McIver Lopes watch
Chaired by: Shelby Moser, University of Kent
‘Aesthetic Experts, Guides to Value’⎮Professor Dominic McIver Lopes, University of British Columbia

19:00 Conference Dinner

Sunday 8th February

10:00 – 10:30 Coffee

10:30 – 12:00 Keynote – Professor Elisabeth Schellekens watch
Chaired by: Mark Windsor, University of Kent

  • On Sensible and Intelligible Beauty ⎮Professor Elisabeth Schellekens, University of Uppsala & University of Durham

12:00 – 13:00 Lunch

13:00 – 14:00 Session 4 watch
Chaired by: James Finch, University of Kent

  • Aesthetic Powers and Adverbials ⎮James Matharu, St Cross College, University of Oxford
  • Wink-Wink, nudge-nudge. Visual indicators of irony in cartoons. ⎮Dieter Declercq, University of Kent

14:00 – 14:30 Coffee&Tea

14:30 – 15:30 Session 5 watch
Chaired by: Dr. Margrethe Bruun-Vaage, University of Kent

  • The Phenomenology of Dance: Husserlian and Post-Husserlian Approaches ⎮Emma Lowe, KU Leuven, Belgium
  • Technology’s Instances: The digital Re-configuration of Dance Work Ontology⎮Hetty Blades, Coventry University

15:30 – 16:00 Coffee&Tea

16:00 – 17:15 Panel Discussion: ‘How to Publish and Career Advice’
Chaired by: Dr. Margrethe Bruun-Vaage, University of Kent

  • Doctor Jonathan Friday, University of Kent
  • Professor Dominic Lopes, University of British Columbia
  • Professor Elisabeth Schellekens, University of Uppsala & University of Durham
  • Professor Murray Smith, University of Kent
  • Watch the career advice video, with: Stacie Friend, Bence Nanay, Andrew Huddleston, Berys Gaut, Eileen John, Robert Stecker, Christy Mag Uidhir, Carolyn Korsmeyer, Dan Cavedon-Taylor, Katherine Thompson-Jones, David Davies, Derek Matravers, Aaron Meskin, John Hyman, Simon Fokt, Yuriko Saito, and Kathleen Stock.

17:15 – 18:15 Wine Reception



19 December: Shunga & Philosophy

The Sackler Rooms, British Museum 10am-5pm
Free admission, limited seating

In early modern Japan, thousands of sexually explicit paintings, prints, and illustrated books
with texts were produced, euphemistically called ‘spring pictures’ (shunga). Frequently tender, funny and beautiful, shunga were mostly done within the popular school known as ‘pictures of the floating world’ (ukiyo-e), by celebrated artists such as Utamaro and Hokusai. This colloquium aims to answer some key philosophical questions about the nature of shunga and how its ethical and artistic value is best understood.

Includes content of a sexually explicit nature. Parental guidance advised for under 16s.

Speakers include:
Prof. David Davies (McGill University) Dr. Emily Caddick (Cambridge University) Dr. Simon Fokt (University of St Andrews) Dr. Hans Maes (University of Kent)
Dr. Petra van Brabandt (St Lucas Antwerp) Louise Boyd (University of Glasgow)

Emily Caddick Bourne, Craig Bourne, Louise Boyd
Hans Maes
Simon Fokt, Hans Maes, and Andrew Gerstle