Introduction to Aesthetics and the Philosophy of Art - HART3610

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Module delivery information

This module is not currently running in 2024 to 2025.


This course aims to provide students with an introduction to aesthetics and the philosophy of art. The first part of the course focuses on some of the major texts in the history of the philosophy of art in the western tradition (e.g., Plato's Republic, Aristotle’s Poetics, Hume’s Of the Standard of Taste and Kant’s Critique of Judgement). The second part of the course focuses on central contemporary debates in the philosophy of art (e.g., What is Art? Artistic and Aesthetic Evaluation and the problem of forgery, Intention and Interpretation, Ethical criticism of art, Art and Emotion, Art and Feminism.) The student will be encouraged to see connections between the two parts of the module and to understand how contemporary debates (both philosophical and those found in the public opinion and art criticism) can be traced back to or even helpfully illuminated by old and contemporary philosophical debates.


Contact hours

Total contact hours: 44
Private study hours: 106
Total study hours: 150

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods

Essay (1500 words) (70%)
Seminar Preparation (30%)

Reassessment methods

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Indicative reading

The University is committed to ensuring that core reading materials are in accessible electronic format in line with the Kent Inclusive Practices. The most up to date reading list for each module can be found on the university's reading list pages:

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1 demonstrate a broad understanding of some important classic texts and authors in the history of the Philosophy of Art and a broad understanding of the central debates
about art and artistic evaluation in contemporary philosophy;
2 demonstrate how to relate the ideas and concepts that can be found in classic texts with the ideas and debates that are currently discussed in the philosophy of art and art
3 demonstrate an understanding of the relevance of philosophical ideas to everyday artistic practice and criticism;
4 demonstrate the conceptual and intellectual tools to understand, evaluate and argue about art.

The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1 demonstrate developed analytical skills and more general intellectual skills such as the ability to synthesise and distinguish the main arguments and claims from the
accessory information.
2 demonstrate developed conceptual problem-solving skills, that will allow them to develop persuasive arguments contrasting the strengths and weaknesses of various
theoretical positions;
3 demonstrate developed key communication skills, improving performance, and working in groups, to a level where a substantial degree of autonomy and self-reflexive
awareness is achieved in these tasks;
4 communicate effectively, using appropriate vocabulary and illustrations, ideas and arguments in both a written and oral form;
5 read effectively, analyse and use a range of primary and secondary texts;
6 locate and use appropriately a range of learning and reference resources (including visual resources) within the Library and elsewhere, including museums, galleries and
the internet.


  1. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  2. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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