Wednesday, 07 February 2024, 16:00-18:00
Senate House, Room 243
It is common practice for audiences to view a painting, read a novel, or see a film, and then feel that they see the world beyond the canvas, page, or screen in clearer light. I argue that this way of learning from art, which I call ‘insight through art’, often requires audiences to exert a large degree of autonomy in inquiry. They independently extend and translate whatever the artwork conveys to them in order to learn about aspects of the world that the work does not directly address. However, as common as this is, some philosophers of art worry that insight through art places too much emphasis on what audiences do, and risks ignoring appreciation of an artwork’s cognitive and artistic achievements. Against this, I propose that insight through art involves artworks and audiences collaborating together to co-produce cognitively valuable achievements and sharing the credit between themselves. I suggest that this collaborative account of learning from art shows that our appreciation of art’s cognitive value is a far more participatory activity than is usually acknowledged within philosophy of art.
Following NHS guidance, all attendees are strongly encouraged to be vaccinated (including boosters) against Covid-19, unless medically exempt. Our group is diverse; please continue to be considerate of those who wear face coverings and those who don’t. Thank you.