Catherine Z. Elgin is professor of philosophy of education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She is an epistemologist interested in aesthetics and the philosophy of science. Elgin argues that the same epistemological issues arise both in art and the sciences, and furthermore believes that the solutions available to these issues are similar.

Catherine_ElginNature’s Handmaiden, Art

Wednesday, 10th December 2014 |16:00-18:00 Senate House, G26

Many consider art non-cognitive, contending that art bypasses reason and acts directly and exclusively on emotion. I will argue that the arts like the sciences embody, convey and advance understanding. Once we appreciate the multiple and complex modes of symbolization by which both the arts and the sciences advance understanding, we see that the differences between them are differences in degree rather than differences in kind. Both are powerful instruments that enable us to leverage our epistemic resources. Response dependent properties are properties that owe their identities to the responses they evoke. If works of art or science evoke novel responses, they may constitute the properties they disclose.