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Philosophy of Art and Aesthetics

Aesthetics is the branch or subfield of philosophy that is concerned to investigate standards and conventions pertaining to beauty and (other) matters of taste. Philosophers who are interested in aesthetics are typically drawn to some of the following: questions concerning perception, affect, and embodiment; questions concerning the truth or validity or intersubjective merit of works of art; the philosophical and pedagogical value of artistic movements, trends, and genres; the nature and limits of creativity, inspiration, and innovation; claims of originality, authorship, and authenticity; and the role of imagination (or fantasy) in crafting and evaluating philosophical positions and arguments.


Emily Brady has research interests in relational and pluralistic approaches to contemporary aesthetics in the context of nature, environment, and the cultural landscapes of gardens, rural places, and land and ecological art. She has written or edited several books in these areas, and her current monograph project is entitled, Planetary Aesthetics: Environmental Aesthetics for the Earth’s Future. She is also interested in eighteenth-century aesthetic theories, having written extensively on the sublime, as well as on beauty and imagination. Brady serves on the Advisory Board of the International Institute of Applied Aesthetics, the editorial board of Studi di Estetica, and is an Honorary Partner of the international Everyday Aesthetics Network. Previously, she was a Trustee of the American Society of Aesthetics and Secretary and Treasurer of the British Society of Aesthetics.

Daniel Conway works in philosophy of film, philosophy of literature, philosophy for children, and the post-Kantian European tradition of aesthetics.

Theodore George has research interests that include an emphasis on continental European approaches in the philosophy of art and aesthetics, especially in reference to contemporary hermeneutics and related areas, Heidegger, and German Idealism and Romanticism.

Amir Jaima works on Philosophy of Literature and Black Aesthetics. Jaima’s work on Philosophy of Literature analyzes, but also experiments with, the ways in which literature functions as a mode of rigorous philosophical inquiry. Jaima’s work on Black Aesthetics subdivides into three strands of research: (1) the status of Black art, (2) Black rhetoric, and (3) the question of Black beauty. Research on the status of Black art consists in the excavation and analysis of literary contributions to Africana philosophy, particularly those that predate the formal emergence of the discipline. Research on Black rhetoric consists in cataloging, analyzing, but also prescribing the rhetorical habits of scholars of Africana philosophy. And research on Black beauty critically engages the classic concern that the concept of beauty and the socio-political phenomenon of American racism are perniciously intertwined.

Omar Rivera

Kristi Sweet‘s research in philosophy of art and aesthetics has focused principally on beauty in Kant’s philosophy: its structure, its crucial role in his critical system, and its relation to truth and to the good. More broadly, she is interested in the history of philosophy of art and aesthetics in the European philosophical tradition, with a particular emphasis on German Idealist and Romantic examinations of the metaphysical and systematic import of the beautiful.