June 24-25: Just A Game? The Aesthetics and Ethics of Video Games

IMG_5053

Kendall Walton
IMG_5051

Katherine Thomson-Jones

 

24-25 June 2016

A philosophical conference on the aesthetics and ethics of video games. 24-25 June 2016, University of Kent, Canterbury.

Video games have become one of the most popular forms of entertainment today. Many of them possess a wide array of artistic and aesthetic qualities and there is growing consensus now that they constitute an emerging new art form. At the same time, video games have raised important ethical questions and the debate on their moral status and impact has now gone well beyond the traditional academic context and community.

This international conference, organised by the Aesthetics Research Centre, will seek to explore relevant connections between the ethics and aesthetics of video games, thereby also drawing on insights from the philosophy of mind, philosophy of information, and feminist philosophy.

Schedule

Day one

9.15 – 9.45 Registration (coffee & tea provided)

9.45 – 10.00 Welcome

10.00 – 11.00 Shelby Moser, University of Kent. Can My Avatar Teach Me?: VR Gaming and Empathy.

11.00 – 12.15 Jon Robson, University of Nottingham, The Beautiful Gamer? On the Aesthetics of Videogame Performances.

12.15 – 2.00 Lunch (not provided)

2.00 – 3.30 Paper Sessions

2.00 – 2.30  C. Thi Nguyen, Utah Valley University. Games and the Aesthetics of Instrumentality.

2.30 – 3.00  Jack Davis, UCL. Fictional Immorality.

3.00 -3.30 Stephanie Patridge, Otterbein University. Where Are All the Women? On Videogames, Gender, and Invisibility.

3.30 – 4.00 Break (coffee & tea provided)

4.00 – 5.15 Mari Mikkola, Humboldt-Universität (Berlin). Objectification and video games: A Feminist Examination.

5.15 – 6.30 Aaron Meskin, University of Leeds. Videogames and Creativity.

7.30   Conference dinner at The Parrot

Day two

10.00 – 12.00 Paper Sessions

10.00 – 10.30 James Camien McGuiggan, University of Southampton. Manipulation and Indeterminacy in Video Games.

10.30 – 11.00  Kathryn Wojtkiewicz, City University of New York Graduate Center. More than Moral: Sexism as an Aesthetic Flaw in Video Games.

11.00 – 11.30 Al Baker, The University of Sheffield. The Extra Credits Machine: Videogame ontology and the role of the player

11.30 – 11.45 Break (coffee & tea provided)

 11.45 – 12.15  Nicolas Olsson-Yaouzis, UCL. Should feminists play Grand Theft Auto V?

12.15 – 12.45 Richard Woodward & Nathan Wildman, University of Hamburg. Video Games, Interactivity, and Fictional Incompleteness.

12.45 – 2.15 Lunch (not provided)

2.15 – 3.30   Katherine Thomson-Jones, Oberlin College. Understanding Interactivity in Art, Videogames, and Art Mods.

3.30 – 4.45 Kendall Walton, University of Michigan. Me, Myself and My Avatar.

 5.00 Wine reception (complimentary)

 

17 May: Jenefer Robinson – Empathy through/with/for Music

 

Jenefer Robinson teaches and writes on topics in aesthetics and philosophical psychology, especially the theory of emotion. Her book, Deeper than Reason (OUP 2005) applied recent advances in emotion theory to issues in aesthetics, such as the expression of emotion in the arts, how music arouses emotions and moods, and how the emotional experience of literature and music in particular can be a mode of understanding and appreciation. Jenefer is Past President of the American Society for Aesthetics. She is currently writing a book on emotion for OUP.

March 8: Andrew Huddleston – Why I Am Not an Intentionalist

Why I Am Not an Intentionalist

Dr Andrew Huddleston, Birkbeck, University of London

Wednesday 9th March, 5pm – 7pm, Keynes Lecture Theatre (KLT2), University of Kent

Whereas half a century ago, proclamations of authorial intentionalism would have met with an incredulous stare, the tables have turned, and intentionalism, of one form or another, seems to have become the dominant view, at least in analytic aesthetics. I have no complaint about the unobjectionable view that recovering intentions (or developing best hypotheses about them) and interpreting works accordingly are appropriate and important goals of critical inquiry. However, the intentionalists I oppose (potentially forms of both “modest actual” and “hypothetical,” in the current lingo) are those who want to go further, so as to have grounds for indicting people who are allegedly misinterpreting works of art by contravening the author’s intentions. These restrictive intentionalists want to use intention (or the best hypothetical reconstruction thereof) as a strong interpretive constraint, so that an interpretation which contravenes a successfully realized intention (or a hypothesis thereof) is thereby inappropriate. The view that I will defend in this paper is non-intentionalist. There are, I will maintain, good and legitimate interpretations of works of art that contravene the author’s realized intentions (or our best hypotheses thereof). The restrictive hermeneutical policy that the intentionalist champions is unwarranted, but we need to oppose it in a pluralistic spirit, by recognizing that there are a number of different worthwhile critical projects. In this paper, I seek to defuse several arguments given by intentionalists, and to give positive argument for non-intentionalism.

 

Dominic Topp – Nouveau cinéma: from fragmentation to unity, or What Cahiers du cinéma did next…

Wednesday 9th December, 5pm – 7pm. in GLT3

Dr Dominic Topp, School of Arts, University of Kent

In the mid-1960s a new generation of critics at Cahiers du cinéma, who had taken over from the ‘young Turks’ of the 1950s, moved the journal away from the veneration of Hollywood auteurs and the exploration of mise en scène for which it is still best known. Instead, they began to write about and to actively promote what they dubbednouveau cinéma (new cinema). This term was applied to the work of a wide variety of filmmakers from many different countries, but broadly speaking it can be seen as designating a modernist film practice. Drawing on examples from films by, among others, Věra Chytilová, Agnès Varda and Jerzy Skolimowski, this paper will describe some of the features of nouveau cinéma as they were outlined by Cahiers critics such as Jean-Louis Comolli, Noël Burch and Serge Daney: discontinuity and ambiguity at the levels of both subject matter and form, a creative tension between fragmentation and unity, and a reflexivity that could be understood as self-critical, and even oppositional, in nature. It will suggest that the concept of nouveau cinéma can be understood as an interpretative schema that allowed Cahiers readers to make sense of a diverse range of challenging new films by considering their formal and stylistic practices as their true subject matter, and offered a set of viewing strategies by which formal experimentation and political engagement could be seen not as mutually exclusive but as profoundly interrelated.

 

Ted Nannicelli: Making Do With Agency

Agency, Authorship and the Appreciation of Television

Lecturer in Film and Television Studies, University of Queensland
22 June 2015, MLT2

Chair: Murray Smith

Ted

Abstract

This paper addresses a puzzle regarding the creation and appreciation of television. Recent scholarship has made it clear that the material production of television is a fundamentally collaborative enterprise. Particularly in the case of serial television drama, an astonishing number of “above the line” workers like writers, producers, and directors and “below the line” workers like cinematographers, art directors, sound designers, and editors contribute to the creation of an overall series. This essentially collaborative nature of television production has led some theorists to conclude that television (and sometimes film) is therefore essentially collectively authored (Caldwell 2008; Gaut 2010). While others have questioned whether such contributors have the proper control or authority to be regarded as authors (Livingston 2009), I focus on another problem with this view — namely, the problem of properly attributing blame to those individuals responsible for the relevant features of artistically and ethically flawed works. However, even weaker views (e.g. Livingston 2009), according to which film is only sometimes collectively authored, don’t translate as satisfactory accounts of collective authorship in television. I argue that inasmuch as Livingston’s account of joint-authorship is indebted to Bratman’s work on shared agency (1999, 2014), it cannot account for collective creation in hierarchically-organized groups like television production teams. And yet it seems like the appreciation of television as an art form requires some concept of authorship. I offer a number of desiderata any account of television authorship must meet, and I suggest that although authorship rarely obtains in television, we can, in most appreciative contexts, make do by simply speaking of “agency.”
Ted Nannicelli is Lecturer in Film and Television Studies at the University of Queensland. He is the author of A Philosophy of the Screenplay (2013) and co-editor of Cognitive Media Theory (2014). He is currently working on a new book, Appreciating the Art of Television: A Philosophical Perspective, to be published by Routledge.

21 May: Art, Aesthetics and the Sexual

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.

Programme

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

IMG_7174