27990 - Philosophical Aesthetics (1) (LM)

Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

At the end of the first part of the course the student acquires in-depth knowledge of specific issues in aesthetics, with a particular attention to those that have been at the center of the modern and contemporary philosophical debate. To this end an analysis of the fundamental concepts of the discipline, which the student will be able to locate in its historical development, will be carried out. At the end of the second part of the course, the student acquires the ability to link topics addressed in the first part to specific texts and perspectives. To this end an analysis of classic works will be carried out in detail also through seminars. The student becomes able to grasp the different facets of the discipline: as theoretical knowledge, as critique of culture, as an interconnection of various epistemic inquiries.

Course contents

Course Title: Aesthetic Experience between Pragmatism and Phenomenology
The course will deepen the status of the aesthetic experience starting from the mentioned perspectives (pragmatism and phenomenology), while trying to show their convergence towards a shared notion of "field".
The course is composed of two parts (corresponding to two modules of 30 hours each).
In the first part (corresponding to Estetica Filosofica 1) the aesthetic reflection arising from John Dewey's pragmatism and later taken up by Arnold Berleant will be presented.
The second part (corresponding to Estetica Filosofica 2) will address the phenomenological perspective in aesthetics, both in general and in relation to some of its particular declinations: 1) the one developed by Merleau-Ponty concerning the link between perception and expression, and 2) that concerning a material analytics of sound carried out by Giovanni Piana.


Part 1.The Aesthetic Field


- J. Dewey, Arte come esperienza, nuova edizione, Aesthetica, Milano, 2020, chapters 1-8 only, pp. 31-189;

- A. Berleant, Il campo estetico. Una fenomenologia dell’esperienza estetica, Mimesis, Milano-Udine, 2020.

For non-attending students:

- R. Dreon, Fuori dalla torre d’avorio. L’estetica inclusiva di John Dewey oggi, Marietti, Genova-Milano, 2012, pp. 7-84 only.

Part 2. Perception and configuration


- M. Geiger, Estetica fenomenologica, in Id., Vie all’estetica, Clueb, Bologna, 2005, pp. 145-159;

- M. Merleau-Ponty, Conversazioni, SE, Milano, 2020;

- M. Merleau-Ponty, Il linguaggio indiretto e le voci del silenzio, in Id., Segni, Il Saggiatore, Milano, 2015, pp. 57-103;

- G. Piana, Filosofia della musica, Guerini, Milano, 1991, Introduzione, pp. 9-64 only (digital edition, 2005: http://www.filosofia.unimi.it/piana/index.php/component/docman/doc_download/G.Piana.Filosofia_della_musica.pdf, pp. 7-70);

- G. Matteucci, Estetica e natura umana, Carocci, Roma, 2019.

For the exam, students will choose between: (a) Merleau-Ponty's texts, and (b) Piana's text. All other texts are mandatory.

Teaching methods

Traditional lectures and classroom presentations by students.

Assessment methods

The examination may be taken in one of the following modes.

1) General report of the course (reserved to autonomously constituted groups of students):
drafting of the report for the entire course (excluding the first class) specifying who wrote the protocols of the individual classes.
- Each participant in the group must be indicated as individually responsible for the report of at least 4 lessons given by the teacher.
- Each report must contain the exact references to the texts considered.
- The report must be sent in pdf format to the teacher at least one week before the exam date in which the group intends to take the exam (it is necessary that all participants register for the exam on Almaesami).

2) Written paper:
6 cfu exam: 10-page paper (approximately 30.000 characters, footnotes and bibliography included) on a transversal theme addressed in the texts indicated in the bibliography;
12 cfu exam: 15-page paper (about 45.000 characters, footnotes and bibliography included) on a transversal theme addressed in the texts indicated in the bibliography.
- It is possible to propose alternative topics that compare one or more texts indicated in the bibliography with authors or aesthetic phenomena of specific interest to the student; in this case the topic must be agreed upon in advance with the teacher.
- The paper must be sent in pdf format to the teacher at least one week before the exam (registration is required on Almaesami).

3) Oral examination:
6 cfu exam: bibliography indicated in point 1;
12 cfu exam: bibliography indicated in points 1 and 2 (according to the indicated modalities).

The assessment will concentrate particularly on the skill displayed by the student in handling the material in the exam bibliography and his/her ability to find and use information and examples to illustrate and correlate the various themes and problems addressed in the course.

The assessment will thus examine the student's:

- factual knowledge of the subject;
- ability to summarise and analyse themes and concepts;
- familiarity with the terminology associated with the subject and his ability to use it effectively.

Top marks will be awarded to a student displaying an overall understanding of the topics discussed during the lectures, combined with a critical approach to the material and a confident and effective use of the appropriate terminology.

Average marks will be awarded to a student who has memorized the main points of the material and is able to summarise them satisfactorily and provide an effective critical commentary, while failing to display a complete command of the appropriate terminology.

A student will be deemed to have failed the exam if he/she displays significant errors in his/her understanding and failure to grasp the overall outlines of the subject, together with a poor command of the appropriate terminology.

Teaching tools

We will use power point slides concerning course's texts and topics.

Office hours

See the website of Giovanni Matteucci