Philosophy of Art (Fall 2002)
Project Proposal and Outline Suggestions
Select ONE approach from below (or, if you have a project of your own in
mind, let me know)
A. Further Explorations of the Question, “What is Art?”
1. Select a medium of your choice (music, visual arts, performance,
architecture, literary work, etc)
2. Make an in-depth analysis, using 5-10 pieces, to illustrate
your theory of art (Try to articulate an answer to the question, “What
is Art,” in your own way.)
3. Refer to or use as many of the authors we have covered.
(Example: Perhaps your answer to the question, “What is Art?”
is something like Tolstoy: “Art is Communication of Feeling.” Maybe
you would make an album consisting of all the artworks you think convey
B. Philosophical Reflection and Its Relation to Art
1. Select a philosophical question you would like to explore (What
is Beauty? What is the Good? What is Truth? What is Justice?
Why am I here? Who am I? What is Human Nauture?
Why Do Humans Have Art? Are We Good or Evil? What is Expression?
Is there God? What is Human Society? Etc etc…)
2. Select a medium of your choice (same as A above)
3. Using your medium, show in what way your philosophical question
is addressed by your choice of art.
4. Again, refer to as many of the authors we have covered.
(Example: The question of “Who am I?” could be explored through
reflecting on all the music you have liked, since childhood to now, and
you could put together a tape, with a series of music, to make a personal
statement about who you are and what you are. )
C. Philosophical Analysis of a Particular Medium of Art
1. Select a medium—music, painting, theatre performance, dance, architecture,
2. Then ask a question, “What is X?” (“X” then is your choice
of medium—as in “What is Music?”)
3. Then collect a wide variety of material related to your medium
(many different kinds of music, different examples of performances, etc).
4. Analyze what, philosophically, you can say about them—answer
the question, “What is X?” Maybe you will find some kind of a unifying
“essence” (say, of music). Maybe your collection would be so diverse
as to defy such an essentialized conception.
5. Again, try to refer to the material we covered in class.
(Example: Steiner’s handout is a philosophical reflection that
tries to answer the question, “What is Music?”)
D. Art, Human Existence, Culture, Politics
1. Select a framework “theme”—culture, technology, politics, history,
2. Select a medium or several media
3. Explore the relation between the medium/a of your choice and
your framework theme
4. Again, try to refer to the authors we have read
(Example: How does technology change art and humanity?
You might explore this question through examining some digital music or
virtual art—do these things fundamentally change the way in which we view
humanity? Or, select several examples of “globalization art,” in
order to explore the blurring of cultural boundaries. You might also
use such examples to talk about politics, oppression, cultural empowerment—how
do art contribute to one’s identity, ways of life, cultural history, etc?)
Release your creativity! Make a project that would strech your
mind as well as your artistic boundaries!
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