The main purpose of this course is to critically introduce students to the most relevant concepts, topics and authors of the history of twentieth-century Western aesthetics, with a specific focus on the research recently carried out within the field of what is known today under the label of "Evolutionary aesthetics".
F. Desideri - C. Cantelli, Storia dell'estetica occidentale. Da Omero alle neuroscienze, Carocci, Roma (only chapter n. 7); W. Menninghaus, La promessa della bellezza, Aesthetica edizioni, Palermo 2013; W. Welsch, Cambio di rotta. Nuove vie dell'estetica, Aesthetica edizioni, Palermo 2017.
Learning objectives: The course aims to analyze and discuss some of the most relevant issues, questions and perspectives in the history of Western aesthetics, with specific reference to twentieth-century Western aesthetics. A particular attention will be paid to the most recent interdisciplinary debate at the crossroads between aesthetics and the life sciences. Skills: Students will be introduced to the main issues and problems in the history of Western contemporary aesthetics and will improve their analytical thinking skills and interpretative skills, thanks to the reading and discussion of a selection of specialized paper. Behavior: Students will improve their knowledge of basic research tools such as research catalogs, specialized websites, research libraries and will practice their argument skills (short presentations given by students are planned).
A basic knowledge of the history of Western aesthetics (from Plato up to the nineteenth century).
Lectures, seminar reports and presentations (each student is required to give an oral presentation, in the classroom, about a section/chapter taken from Menninghaus's and Welsch's books; individual presentations and reports are a fundamental part of the course program).
Type of Assessment
Oral exam. The exam will be divided into two parts: a first part on Storia dell'estetica occidentale (2-3 questions), a second part on evolutionary aesthetics. Duration of the exam: about 20 minutes.
Over the last two-three decades we have witnessed in aesthetics an impressive explosion of interest in interdisciplinary approaches, with particular regard to the role played by evolutionary and neuro-psychological data and issues in the analysis and discussion of classical aesthetic topics (the origin of the arts, the origin of the aesthetic sense, the existence of universal aesthetic/artistic standards and many others). The main purpose of this course is to critically introduce students to the most relevant concepts, topics and authors of the history of twentieth-century Western aesthetics, with a specific focus on the research recently carried out within the field of what is known today under the label of "Evolutionary aesthetics". The course is divided into two parts: a first part on the history of the twentieth-century Western aesthetics; a second part dealing with Winfried Menninghaus's and Wolfgang Welsch's perspectives on evolutionary aesthetics.