IAA Newsletter no. 44 (June 2014)

From the President

Springtime in Beijing was, this year, too short. Short and very busy. Some of our good friends visited here, including Ken-ichi Sasaki, Curtis, Carter and Ales Erjavec, and I was very happy to meet them. I will enjoy seeing all of you in between the regular meetings of our Congresses.

Recently, I have attended several conferences in China and elsewhere. In early April, I went to Hangzhou for a symposium on the theoretic significance of Chinese ink-wash painting hosted by Pan Gongkai. We had a very good discussion there on the famous West Lake garden, a place traditionally called “Paradise on Earth” in China. Our friends, Curtis Carter, Richard Shusterman and Peng Feng, gave excellent presentations there. We also met other scholars including François Jullien and Cheng Chung-ying. Two topics discussed were especially interesting and deserve mention here: first, the physical brushwork as the traces of human action to signify the feeling and emotion, or states of mind of the painters, and second, the brushwork as the evidence of the painter’s character as a morally exemplary human being. These two concepts represent two interrelated ways of thinking about and interpreting Chinese ink-wash painting.

A little later in April, I went to Chengdu (The city where many of us met in 2006. I hope you still remember this city where the Executive Committee meeting of IAA voted to approve Beijing as the venue for the 2010 IAA Congress). At this 2014 Chengdu conference, two key concepts attracted the attention of the participants. First, contemporary literary theory and secondly, its trans-cultural travel. “Contemporary” and “contemporarity” are important concepts because people are considering the possibilities to go beyond the post-modern and post-modernism. The introduction of so many different theories into China has contributed to confusion among Chinese scholars. They now wish to return to their own ways of living and artistic practices. Their aim is to find possibilities for focusing on their own practices while continuing to introduce the theories from abroad. Secondly, the matter of the trans-cultural travel of theories is important. During the 20th century, many theories have become influential internationally. Most of them originated from Europe and became internationally influential by way of their  reception and development in the USA. Now, as theories travel to China, it is hoped that their reception and development here can become theoretically significant and fruitful in the future as well.

Later, I traveled great Britain to take part a conference entitled, “The Fourth UK-China Marxist Aesthetics Forum”. Some fifty participants (half from China and half from Europe) gathered in the charming city of Chester to discuss some major topics of mutual interest. The topics included “post-capitalist futures,” “utopia,” “the Chinese dream,” “multi-culturalism,” and “cultural identity.” I argued for the necessity to maintain an aesthetic dimension in a market-oriented society and in a world that is driven by power struggles.  Despite conversations about the so called “end of art” in aesthetics, the consensus was that art and aesthetics continue to have important roles in today’s societies and in the world as a whole.

In May, I hosted a small workshop with some friends at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), where I am working. The purpose of the workshop was to discuss the work of missionaries and their roles in the modern transformation of China. While not my field, I learned much as the participants recounted many historical details, which space prevents me from detailing here. We enjoyed an excursion to visit several churches in different parts of Beijing, each with its own distinctive architecture and hearing its interesting history was especially impressive. We went also to the tombs of three famous missionaries Matteo Ricci, Ferdinand Verbiest, Johann Adam Schall von Bell, respectively from Italy, Belgium, and Germany, together with more than sixty other tombs. This area of Beijing is a place I strongly suggest you visit when next you are in Beijing.

In each of these conferences, while participants address many different issue, questions and themes, all are important. However, it seems to me that three of them especially deserve our attention today:

At a time when many scholars speak of an age after post-modern, it is time to revisit the question of the relationship between aesthetic qualities and art. In particular, how shall we understand the relationship of aesthetic qualities to art? If a work of art has nothing to do with aesthetic  qualities at all, then how it is possible for it to be work of art?

At a time that the borders between art and non-art are continuously broken or become vague, are there still borders of art? Or must these borders remain unsettled, changing, or ceasing to exist?

At a time when many speak about the salvation of society, what is the function of art? Is it a means of salvation or redemption? If the purpose of art is salvation or redemption, the success of art may depend on the needs of a society for salvation or redemption.

The Chinese scholars are also discussing many similar issues from their own perspectives and based on their own experiences and in August, we will have a conference in Kaifeng, Henan Province.

In closing, I look forward to our interim conference in Belgrade next June 26-28, 2015.

Detailed information on this meeting will be provided soon.

Respectfully submitted,

Gao Jianping, President


From the Secretary-General


“Peter Sloterdijk’s Anthropotechnic Aesthetics: Reading You Must Change Your Life

Peter Sloterdijk’s 2009 volume You Must Change Your Life is a wide-ranging study ostensibly addressed to a problem that has little evident relation to aesthetics, the “return of religion” in our putatively post-secular time.  Sloterdijk will have none of this; not, however, because like Jürgen Habermas, he seeks to defend the project of an unfinished enlightenment against religion’s renewed claims, but rather for another, seemingly paradoxical reason: “a return to religion is as impossible as a return of religion—for the simple reason that no ‘religion’ or ‘religions’ exist” (3). 

What instead do exist, in Sloterdijk’s view, both before and throughout modernity to the present day, are different regimens of spiritual and psychophysical training “that are more and less capable and worthy of propagation” (3), exercises and practices which have never vanished, despite many mutations, and hence which cannot “return.”  These regimens are composed of bundles of bodily and mental practices by which human beings create for themselves “symbolic immune systems and ritual shells” (3), constituents of our basic anthropological constitution through which we regulate our collective and individual intercourse with the world.  Particularly important are the various “anthropotechnic” means by which human beings train themselves to experience a “vertical tension” occasioning self-transformation and self-transcendence.  These techniques of provoking and responding to such vertical tension, as well as their modernization and ramification into new areas of existence, Sloterdijk argues, are what call for the greatest attention in our investigation of the present age—an attention likely to be distracted by spurious “post-secularist” hypotheses either trumpeting or lamenting how “religion,” after two-century-long slump, is at last recovering its lost spiritual productivity.

Sloterdijk’s analysis is deeply indebted to his reading of Nietzsche on asceticism, though he also emphatically revises Nietzsche’s negative evaluation in favor of a more affirmative stance towards the shaping, transformative power of ascetic practices.  While Nietzsche, with his overt anti-Christian animus, tended to equate asceticism with a life-denying pathology, Sloterdijk argues that the real value of Nietzsche’s arguments about asceticism lies in his recognition of their force as operators of self-willed anthropological change.  Thus, he argues—

a large number of the asceticisms to which [Nietzsche] referred polemically were precisely not expressions of life-denial and meta-physical servility; it was rather a matter of heroism in a spiritual disguise. . . . With this find, Nietzsche stands. . . at the start of the modern, non-spiritualistic ascetologies along with their physio- and psychotechnic annexes, with dietologies and self-referential trainings, and hence all the forms of self-referential practicing and working on one’s own vital form that I bring together in the term “anthropotechnics.” (34)

In Sloterdijk’s view, however, Nietzsche’s discovery is in turn dependent on a prior objective modernization in the spectrum of asceticisms themselves, which he characterizes under the dual aspect of the “despiritualization of asceticisms” and the “informalization of spirituality.”  The former he sees characterized most clearly in the vast twentieth-century expansion of athletics, sport, exercise, and other forms of physical “training”; the latter is exemplified for him by popular music, which offers spiritual intensities, affects, and experiences on a mass, democratic basis and without a formal spiritual framework, covering “the lives of contemporary individuals with unpredictable flashes of spiritual emergency” (38).

You Must Change Your Life is a sprawling, speculative book, and, having set out in summary the merest outline of its sweeping argument, I will not pursue further its many ramifying lines of inquiry.  Instead, I will note that Sloterdijk’s book takes its title from a work of art about a work of art, which suggests that the aesthetic is entangled in its arguments.  “You must change your life” comes from the final line of a poem by Rainer Maria Rilke, “Archaic Torso of Apollo” from his 1908 New Poems, which derives from a modern aesthetic encounter the “vertical tension” that Sloterdijk sees as immanent in anthropotechnic practices.  In Rilke poem, the artwork, the torso-fragment of Apollo, issues its silent demand to the viewer to transcend one’s existing state, to become different than one is.  Implicitly then too, Rilke’s artwork, his poem, derives its own aesthetic power and modernistic “newness,” its intensely charged temporal difference from the archaic fragment, from its effective channeling from poet to reader of the overwhelming demand made upon his by the historical otherness of the work of art.  If the encounter with the sculpture represents a somatized relation with an archaic force of the numinous, its sheer power is nonetheless mitigated by its descent from the ritual into the aesthetic, safely enframed by the modern museum’s institutional space and sober behavioral protocols.  Yet the sculpture’s overpowering entraining of the poet’s vision becomes, in turn, a figural equivalent of the poet’s equally intense, equally disciplined enchainment of poetic lines and words through which, finally, the reader’s fascinated attention and surprise at the last line will be imposed: “You must change your life.”  The shock of the poet’s (and subordinately, the reader’s) aesthetic encounter with this sudden imposing power is presented as paradigmatic for the vertical tension that seizes us and tears us from our settledness in daily habit and habitation.  Following Sloterdijk’s line of thought, aesthetic defamiliarization, which the Russian formalists saw as constitutive of literary and artistic efficacy, might be thought of not simply as a practice pertaining to the modern arts, but as an exemplary instance in the historical repertoire of anthropotechnic means by which human beings confer upon themselves new shapes and higher forms.

I would suggest that Sloterdijk’s anthropotechnical arguments offer an especially fruitful way of thinking about modernist and avant-garde art practices—with their emphasis on formal innovation, their cultivation of semantic difficulty to the threshold of nonsense, and their fascination with transgression and power—in a broader philosophical ambit.  If modernist works pursue a unique constellation of formal, rhetorical, and semantic elements in order to defamiliarize our experience of them, they also, Sloterdijk implies, may turn to us and address us with a demand to change ourselves with an equivalent degree of radicality.  “Artistedom,” Sloterdijk writes, “ is the somatization of the improbable” (123).  It “is subversion from above, it superverts the existing” (125). We may recall here the Ad Reinhardt art cartoon in which a man points to a modern artwork mockingly and asks “Ha Ha What does that represent?”—only to find the painting angrily turning back to the spectator and asking, “What do you represent?” If an abstract painting or sculpture presents us with a space, it also, as Reinhardt points out, pronounces to a viewer attuned to its implicit address,:“You, Sir, are a space, too.”  Each work, tacitly, offers itself as a highly specific training module in a different mode of experience, a different way of life.  They invite their viewers, listeners, and readers to a new set of “complications, facilitations, narrowings, widenings, inclinations, disinclinations, lowerings, raisings” (161), entreating them to “work on themselves and make examples of themselves” (110), that they might be able to increasingly discover themselves the self-made inhabitants of “a multi-disciplinary and multi-virtuosic world with expanding limits of ability” (155).

Source: Peter Sloterdijk, You Must Change Your Life: On Anthropotechnics, trans. Wieland Hoban (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2013).

Tyrus Miller, Secretary General


From the First Vice President

Conference Report

The Nordic Society of Aesthetics Annual Conference, Helsinki, June 5-7, 2014

Art, The Aesthetic and aesthetic Experience

Many of the conferences one may attend of the Nordic countries, beginning with the IAA Congress of Aesthetics in Lahti in 1995 make one aware of the strong academic traditions which trigger new questions on the concepts and conditions of Modernism. The everyday, the avant-garde and new inputs of philosophical discussions are tailored by this tradition. Inevitably so much of the new interpretations are based on new historical readings.

This was the case with the key-note speech Morten Kyndrup who analyzed the historical process of Modernism ending with the remark that we are continuously becoming modern. In the light of the violent social and political occurrences outside the West one can wonder if this is said mainly from the western perspective. But then one may also wonder whether Modernism’s concepts were after all so inclusive as to allow for the extreme counter-aesthetic approaches of some contemporary western art, even with a view to Dada.

The second plenary talk given by René Van de Vall was finely embroidered with explanations about conceptual art works and the present-day controversial concern for their conservation, being that they were not made to last. Van de Vall, however claims that these carefully articulated practices of conservation show to what degree traditions and disciplined practices are also a way of bodily and mental education sustaining culture.

Madalina Diaconu the third plenary speaker, looked at aesthetic experience from a till now much ignored venue: the weather and celestial occurrences. Her delicate and sensitive descriptions of atmospheres and weather opened up a new consciousness about an aesthetic experience that is taken for granted and dealt with by very few philosophers.

My former experiences have shown that any conference organized by Northern  aestheticians turns out to be a very “cool” experience in every sense of the term; including weather and the landscape full of wild flowers, rhododendrons, lilacs and hortansia at this time of the year. These conferences are always well organized, without rush and confusion. Usually the quality of papers is high, maybe because rather than for touristic reasons,  people attend to hear interesting papers. This time the papers concentrated on contemporary art and media, on the aesthetic experience of space,  and environment and on art.

Of the remarkable papers, one by Jacob Lund about the work of Alfredo Jarr, comes to mind.  A comprehensive exhibition of Jarr’s work  taking place at the same time in Helsinki made this paper very real. Lund’s presentation analyzed Jarr’s work in the light of concepts of ‘contemporaneity’  and ‘politics of the image’. These concepts  illuminate the intellectual content of Jarr’s work.  Jaar claims that media uses images, but he does not really show how this occurs. The image today  as used in the media has become meaningless. Art’s mission would be to re-contextualize images to render images with meaning and to involve the spectator.

Bente Larsen’s presentation about the paintings of the Danish artist Wilhelm Hammershoi (1864-1916) caused  one think about how far current  art has become bombastic.  Bente talked about the silence and the psychological quality of Hammershoi’s works; a mystical experience!

Elizabeth Schellekens Dammann’ s talk concerning  the cognitive value, and basis of the aesthetics of cave art reminded me of other theories about the aesthetic base of human capacities, such as  Susanne Langer’s theory of language  E. Havelock’s book about the poetic form of early written and narrated works.

Presentations of Rebecca Ahvenniemi, “Language, Voice and Body, “of Ana Rita Ferreira,”(The cognitive Dimension of Aesthetic Experience,” along with other papers, interpreted aesthetic experience from different perspectives creating a rich philosophical aesthetics discourse. 

Talks on public and popular art, as well as interesting approaches to education and to the landscape, made the Helsinki conference  stimulating for further thought. One paper one should remember was Sanna Lehtinen’s presentation, “Understanding Spatial experiences as pre-Aesthetic”. The pre-aesthetic and the reliance of aesthetic experience and sensory perception on ‘position, location, and navigation in space’ are extremely important considerations for architecture, landscape and urban design studies which today seemingly have totally ignored these considerations.

Thanks to Arto Haapala, organizer of the conference, and all those who made it possib

Jale Nejdet Erzen, First Vice-President


Editors Note: see also: http://nsae.au.dk/main/conferences/\




Remembering the Philosopher Ted Cohen (1939-2014)

My first, and on-going acquaintance with the American philosopher Ted Cohen has been thru the annual meetings of the American Society for Aesthetics.  As far back as I can recall, Ted was a visible, active presence in the Annual Meetings of the ASA.  At the ASA sessions where he presented his papers, attendees could count on there being no empty seats. His thoughts, fresh and original, were presented with great clarity and passion. His presidency of the ASA during 1997-1998 took place concurrent with the beginning of my tenure as Secretary-Treasurer of this Society.  He also served as President of the American Philosophical Association 2006-2008. 

I became curious when colleagues in ASA advised that Ted might be a difficult person to work with in his role as president. Nothing could have been further from the truth. He was in fact a thoughtful and very supportive president offering wise counsel. My experience, during Ted’s presidency of the ASA was the beginning of our near twenty-year friendship.  The pleasure of stimulating conversations on a variety of topics over leisurely dinners with Ted and his wife Andy Austin Cohen at the Annual Meetings of the Society: (Montreal, Reno, Washington…and for the last time San Diego in November 2113) always offered more than sufficient reason to attend these meetings.

Ted’s scholarly contributions to the profession consisted of six books (as author, editor, and contributor), some 60 scholarly articles and book chapters on a wide variety of subjects in aesthetics and philosophy of language, visiting lecturer at multiple universities, and his role as professor of philosophy at the University of Chicago. 

His books include Metaphor: Thinking of Others: On the Talent for Metaphor published by Princeton University Press, 2008 (author); The Great Latke-Hammantash Debate, (Contributor), University of Chicago Press, 2006; Jokes: Philosophical Thought on Joking Matters (author), University of Chicago Press, 1999; Pursuit of Reason:  Essays in Honor of Stanley Cavell, (editor and contributor)}, Texas Tech University Press, 1992.  And, Essays on Kant (Contributor, Edited with Paul Guyer} University of Chicago Press, 1982.

Ted is best known for his expertise especially on the Aesthetics of Jokes, Metaphor, and the philosophies of J. L. Austin and David Hume. A perusal of the list of his journal articles and guest lecturers (See Cohen’s CV University of Chicago Philosophy Department) will reveal a rich mine of additional topics approached from the perspective of analytic philosophy.  Among these are: Hume’s aesthetics, aesthetic judgment, the concept of taste, humor, stories, narrative, literature and morality, high and low art and audiences, art and sports, photography, film, television, and a host of other topics in aesthetics.  Additionally, the list includes topics in philosophy of language such as speech acts.

In recognition of his talent as a writer of extraordinary clarity and force, Ted received the Pushcart XVI prize in 1991 for his essay, “There are No Ties at First Base.” Ted’s academic publications appeared in leading publications in aesthetics and philosophy such as The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, The Journal of Philosophy, Philosophical Review, Critical Inquiry, Philosophy and Literature, the Oxford Handbook of Aesthetics among others.  His approach to aesthetics acknowledged both the tradition of the fine arts and as well popular culture, which many aestheticians have neglected.

His lectures included Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar 2000-2001 and multiple lectures at many universities and colleges throughout his career. Among these were invited lectures at Harvard, Stanford, Cornell, Northwestern, Oxford and a list extending well beyond.

For Ted, teaching was at the heart of his professional commitments at the University of Chicago where he served from 1967 to the time of his death March 14, 2014. Known as charismatic, passionate about his interests, and caring toward his students, Ted received the Quantreel Award for Excellence in Teaching in 1983. Throughout his teaching career, he offered an unusually rich variety of courses in aesthetics as well as in philosophy of language.  The list of courses in aesthetics corresponds to the breadth of his intellectual curiosity and interests.  Among the courses he offered were these: Aesthetics, History of Aesthetics, Contemporary Aesthetics, The Concept of Taste, Philosophy of Literature, Aesthetics and the Theory of Criticism, Stories, and Introduction to Music. 

Ted received the B.A. degree from the University of Chicago in 1967 and the Ph. D. in philosophy at Harvard University in 1972. At Harvard he studied with prominent analytic philosophers including Willard Van Orman Quine and Stanley Cavell. 

Beyond his interests as a philosopher and a writer, Ted’s life embraced a wide variety of enrichments. His mastery in recounting jokes was seldom challenged.  He was married for the past 20 years to Andy Austin Cohen, courtroom artist for television.  As the long time moderator of the annual Latke (potato pancake)-Hamantash (triangular poppy seed or fruit filled cakes) debates, Ted was notably popular among its participants. The debates concerned the relative merits of these Jewish holiday delicacies   He was also at home performing as a drummer, or an actor in annual satirical reviews.  An avid White Sox baseball fan, he also found enjoyment in “cowboy pool” games at the Quadrangle Club on the University of Chicago campus.

Ted’s grandfather emigrated from Russia as a young man.  The family settled in the heart of the Midwest in the small town of Hume, Illinois where he lived as a youth. His burial remains were returned to this site, which he often reflected on with appreciation.

Curtis L. Carter

Past President, International Association for Aesthetics

Professor of Aesthetics, Marquette University


 Upcoming Conference

Preparations are currently under way for the IAA Executive Committee Conference 2015 to be held in Belgrade, Serbia. Organization for this event was offered at the 2013 Bologna, Italy meeting of the EC IAA by Prof. Dr. Vladimir Mako, and confirmed at the Krakow Congress by Prof. Dr. Misko Suvakovic.

The steering committee of the Society for Aesthetics of Architecture and Visual Arts Serbia, presided over by Prof. Miško Šuvakovi?, proposes the following conference theme: Revisions of Modern Aesthetics. Three sub-themes will be:

1) Modern Theories of Space and Architecture

2) The Status of Aesthetics Today

3) Contemporary and Medieval Art

Date of the conference will be June 26-28,  2015.

A newsletter with detailed information about the conference is forthcoming.

Best regards,

Dr Misko Suvakovic, President, Society for Aesthetics of Architecture and Visual Arts, Serbia.  Dr Vladimir Mako, Board Member, Society for Aesthetics of Architecture and Visual Arts, Serbia.                                                                                                                                             Dr Vladimir Stevanovic, Registrar, Society for Aesthetics of Architecture and Visual Arts, Serbia.


Conference Report

Editors Note: As we look forward to upcoming events in Belgrade Serbia, June 2015, and the next International Congress of Aesthetics to be held in Seoul, Korea, Summer 2016, it may be informative to review the conference report of the organizing committee of the centennial Congress entitled Aesthetics in Action that was held in Krakow, Poland last summer. This report was inadvertently omitted from IAA Newsletter #43 published in January 2014 and its belated inclusion here reminds us of the professionalism required to plan and execute our association’s related meetings. Sebastian Stankiewicz and Lilianna Bieszczad co-authored this Organizers Report.

After meetings in Tokyo, Rio de Janeiro, Ankara, and Beijing,  the International Congress of Aesthetics (ICA) returned to Europe for the first time in 21st century. Krakow, Poland was the site of the centennial Congress (19. ICA 2013) and its theme, Aesthetics in Action, emphasized the dynamic changes in the discipline of aesthetics.

The Congress was organized by Polish Society of Aesthetics, Jagiellonian University, and International Association for Aesthetics. Organizing an international event of this stature required the cooperation not only of Poland’s aesthetic circles and academic communities but also government institutions including the Ministry of the Culture and National Heritage of Republic of Poland, the Ministry of the Science and High Education Republic of Poland, and the Office of the Mayor of Krakow, Jacek Majchrowski. The Honorary Committee included professors representing all of Poland’s aesthetic communities: Grzegorz Dziamski, Bohdan Dziemidok, Maria Go?aszewska, Leszek Koczanowicz, Teresa Kostyrko, Alicja Kuczy?ska, Iwona Lorenc, Teresa P?kala, Ewa Rewers, Piotr J. Przybysz, Tadeusz Szko?ut, Grzegorz Sztabi?ski, Irena Wojnar, and Anna Zeidler-Janiszewsk?. The Organizing Committee, under direction of Prof. Krystyna Wilkoszewska, directly participated in the preparations of all the many and varied the Congress events included: Rafa? Delekta (Academy of Music in Krakow), Antoni Porczak (Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow), Krzysztof Lenartowicz (Tadeusz Ko?ciuszko Krakow University of Technology), Alicja Panasiewicz (Pedagogical University of Krakow), Stanis?aw Hry? (Andrzej Frycz Modrzewski Krakow University), and from the primary host institution Jagiellonian University, Jaros?aw Górniak, Micha? Bohun, Lilianna Bieszczad, Jakub Petri, Sebastian Stankiewicz and Ewa Chudoba.

International and intercultural atmosphere of the Congress assured the number of abstract submissions received would be high. There were over 500 submissions from 56 countries. Congress attendance was 460 which included aestheticians who presented their papers as well as participated in the Congress events.

The Opening Ceremony on June 22,2013 was held in the Auditorium Maximum of the Jagiellonian University. Guest and participants were welcome by the organizers and representatives of cooperating institutions: Rector of the Jagiellonian University Prof. Wojciech Nowak, President of the IAA Curtis L. Carter, President-Elect Prof. Gao Jianping, Dean of the Department of Philosophy of Jagiellonian University, Prof. Jaros?aw Górniak, President of the Polish Society of Aesthetics Prof. Krystyna Wilkoszewska, and Vice-Mayor of Krakow, Magdalena Sroka, s well as Vice-Rectors of Jagiellonian University, Prof. S. Kistryn and Prof. A. Mania, and members of the Honorary Committee. Rector of Jagiellonian University announced the Congress to be open, was followed by the Presidential Lecture of Curtis L. Carter entitled, Aesthetics and the Arts in Action. This theme continued in round table discussion: Past and Future of the ICAs – a Hundred Years. In the afternoon, the ceremony continued in the Krakow Philharmonic Hall, starting with Arnold Berleant’s plenary panel and culminating with the Inaugural Concert performed by Beethoven Academy Orchestra conducted by Jacek Kaspszyk. During the concert there were presented two compositions arranged in one work: Aisthesis Symphony (2013) by Karol Nepelski and Ignacy Feliks Dobrzy?ski’s Overture to the opera Monbar (1838). The Opening Ceremony concluded with reception in Krakow City Hall, Wielopolski Palace, where participants were greeted by Jacek Majchrowski, Mayor of Krakow. Jacek Majchrowski and Curtis L. Carter responded as representatives of the Congress.

The Organizing Committee formed several types of sessions including two new kinds of sessions: first innovation were plenary panels, organized by invited by the Committee scientists and secondly, panel sessions, which were submitted by participants. In addition, participants presented papers in sessions and there were numerous other round-table discussions as well as poster sessions. The most popular plenary panels highlighted the new important directions in the development of aesthetics. These panels were Arnold Berleant’s Aesthetic Engagement , Wolfgang Welsch’s Aesthetics Beyond Aesthetics, Richard Shusterman’s Somaesthetics, and Aleš Erjavec’s Aesthetics and Politics.

Other sessions and round-table discussions included: Past and Future of the ICAs – a Hundred Years, with chair: Aleš Erjavec (Slovenia) with Curtis L. Carter (USA), Gao Jianping (China), Miško Šuvakovi? (Serbia), Bohdan Dziemidok (Poland), Chong-hwan Oh (Korea), Arnold Berleant (USA), Zsolt Batori (Hungary). The second round-table discussion, Aesthetics in 20th Century Poland, included Polish representatives Zofia Rosi?ska and Krystyna Wilkoszewska, with participants from other countries including: Zdenka Kalnicka (Czech Republic), Gao Jianping (China) and Joseph Margolis (USA). The last discussion was accompanied by a publication of a great interest of Congress participants, presenting achievements of Polish aesthetics, 20th Century Aesthetics in Poland, Edited by Krystyna Wilkoszewska.

Particular interest attracted panel sessions. Among 20 submitted, six panels were connected in pairs creating bigger theme units: interpretation panels (organized by Joseph Margolis and Noel Carroll, both USA); bio-art panels (organized by Polona Tratnik, Slovenia and Ingeborg Reichle, Germany); changes in culture and arts (Marcin Rychter, Poland, and Kenneth Stikkers, USA). Other sessions and their organizers included: Global Aesthetics and Chinese Aesthetics (Eva Wah Man, Hong Kong); Applied Social Art: The Potential of Art and Criticism after March 11, 2011 (Akiko Kasuya, Japan); Aesthetic Accounts on Japanese Pop-culture (Hisashi Muroi, Japan); The Artful Species: Aesthetics, Art, and Evolution (Stephan Davies, Australia, Jerzy Luty, Poland); Aesthetics and Landscape (Raffaele Milani, Italy, Yuko Nakama, Japan); Spatial Perception and Aesthetics of Court and Garden (Jeongil Seo, Korea); Cyberaesthetics – the Phenomena of Electronic Art (Michal Ostrowicki, Poland); Art in Action (Maja Piotrowska-Tryzno, Poland); Participatory Art: Ethics and Politics (Michael Kelly, USA); Artification (Yrj? Sep?nmaa, Finland); The Perfomativity of Images in the Social Context (Aleksandra ?ukaszewicz-Alcaraz, Poland); Between Loss and Repetition. Creativity as Response to Death as the Negative Muse (Bogna J. Obidzinska, Poland); Polish Music and Modernity (Teresa Ma?ecka, Poland); Rediscovering Susanne Langer’s Relevance for Contemporary Aesthetics and Theory of Art (Adrienne Dengerink Chaplin, Great Britain).

Other participants presented their papers ordered in ten diverse topics: Aesthetics – Visions and Revisions; Changes in Art – Past and Present; Aesthetics in Practice – the Aesthetic Factor in Religion, Ethics, Education, Politics, Law, Economy, Trade, Fashion, Sports, Everyday Life etc.; Aesthetics and Nature: Evolutionism, Ecology, Posthumanism…; Body Aesthetics – Soma and Senses; Art and Science; Technologies and Bio-technologies in Aesthetics and Art; Architecture and Urban Space; Cultural and Intercultural Studies in Aesthetics; The Sphere of Transition – Transections, Transformations, Transfigurations in Culture, Aesthetics and the Arts.

According to the number of submissions, it can be pointed out that the dominant interests were within the contemporary field of aesthetics. The largest number of submissions were in the theme of Vision and Revision and Aestetics in Practice (100 and 64 respectively). There was also great interest in new phenomena in the arts, such as bio-art. All of the  presentations were performed simultaneously in nine areas of the Auditorium Maximum, and also – during two Congress days – in Collegium Maius of Jagiellonian University, and in the Bunkier Sztuki Gallery of Contemporary Art.

ART IN ACTION: The Krakow Congress was held under the banner of Aesthetics in Action, supplemented by the Organizing Committee in artistic part of the Congress, by analogical phrase Art in Action. The last slogan marked almost all artistic events organized during the Congress. The two most important events were to be: Inaugural Concert, which was held in Opening Day in the Krakow Philharmonic Hall and the projection of Krzysztof Wodiczko’s War Veterans Projection held in the night at the Main Market. During the Inaugural Concert, prepared by the Academy of Music in Krakow, City Hall Office, and Philharmonic Hall, there have been heard a composition of a young composer Karol Nepelski’s Aisthetic Symphony (2013) put together with Ignacy Dobrzy?ski’s Overture to the opera Monbar (1838). The works have not been performed one after the one, but arranged by Nepelski in one piece, and supplemented by elements of performance art. The word “aesthesis” and “aesthetics” were encoded in melodics and harmonics of the composition. The work have been performed by Beethoven Academy Orchestra conducted by Jacek Kaspszyk,. 

The second event initiated by the Organizing Committee, have been realized, thanks to the support of the City Hall Office, by team of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Krakow (MOCAK). The Wodiczko’s projection consisted of white words display on the wall of the City Hall Tower, armored car as a source of the displayed images and sounds effects, and the very sound effects. Words displayed on tower wall were extracts from statements of war veterans and members of their families. All statements were played simultaneously as an audible material supplemented by light flashes and sounds of explosions or gunshots. It should be added, that next day after projection, Wodiczko presented his lecture concerning more theoretical issues.

Another artistic event very popular among Congress participants and Krakow citizens and tourists, was an exhibition of Eduardo Kac Lagoglyphs in Bunkier Sztuki Gallery of Contemporary Art. The theoretical issues were undertaken by the artist and Wolfgang Welsch on two occasions; the first time during a meeting in Bunkier Sztuki Gallery mediated by its director, Piotr Cyprya?ski, and secondly, in an entirely academic environment of a plenary panel held in Auditorium Maximum. The exhibition in Bunkier Sztuki Kac developed some ideas derived from his work of the transgenic rabbit, centered around visual and poetic dimensions of a language presenting his graphic and multimedia works. Within media works the artist employed the Google Earth application and, next to ready-made graphic works, he decided to make a site specific mural for the occasion.

There were also other artistic events in the building of Auditorium Maximum available for Congress participants. Mostly there have been events marked in their structure by such notions like interaction, activity, being in process. One of such event was an audio-visual installation Behind the Wall by Marek Cho?oniewski, artist connected with two Krakow universities: the Academy of Music in Krakow and Academy of Fine Arts. The installation have been a most noticeable artistic action, because it was performed in a space of the Auditorium Maximum underground where met participants during lunch, coffee breaks, and a the Congress reception. Other artistic events were performed by masters and their students of two universities: the Department of Arts of Pedagogical University of Krakow and Academy of Arts in Szczecin. Events organized by the former were: an exhibition of bio-art Plantomorphs, held partly in medial form in the Auditorium and partly concerning live forms on the roof of the main building of the Pedagogical University (Laboratorium Gallery); and also Garage Sale organized by students from the Roombook group, who realized an idea of artistic interventions taken upon objects exchanged with people visiting their workshop in the Auditorium underground. Instead Academy of Arts events consisted of: students’ films screening on TV monitors in halls of the Auditorium, an exhibition of sculptures made as copies of objects depicted on the photos above them, an action Rest for Hours with fully equipped tent providing a rest space for participants of the Congress, and finally, an installation activated in an elevator made by artist ?ukasz Sk?pski, whose title Music from Trash meant music taken from the artist’s trash folder on his computer. Actions of both universities were supervised by curators: Prof. Halina Cader-Paw?owska, from the Pedagogical University, Prof. ?ukasz Sk?pski and Aleksandra ?ukaszewicz-Alcaraz, PhD, from the Academy of Arts in Szczecin.

INSTITUTIONAL COOPERATION: The 19. ICA Krakow 2013 became a great challenge for both Polish communities, academic and cultural. According to the tradition of ICAs, Congress of Aesthetics have always been an opportunity to present an artistic and cultural heritage of the country which organized the event. In fulfilling this tradition the Organizing Committee engaged all Polish aesthetic academic communities and both the scientific and cultural institutions of the city of Krakow. Thanks to the organizers efforts, the Congress received also very broad support from institutions of the state, as well as, from local authorities. In particular, the most fruitful cooperation was with the office of the Mayor of Krakow and Krakow City Hall. The Organizing Committee was given a support in producing the two most important artistic events: the Inaugural Concert with participation of the Beethoven Academy Orchestra conducted by Jacek Kaspszyk in the Krakow Philharmonic Hall and Krzysztof Wodiczko’s War Veteran Projection. Moreover, Jacek Majchrowski, the Mayor of Krakow, invited the Congress participants for the reception held in Krakow City Hall, the Wielopolski Palace, and the Mayor Office made possible promotion of the Congress among citizens of Krakow and great number of tourists, printing posters of the centennial conference and giving them public space. Film clips announcing the conference event were seen on the television monitors included on city-wide trams and buses.

The organizers engaged many of Krakow’s scientific and cultural institutions thus fulfilling all organizers intentions to make the Congress fully representative of Poland’s and Krakow’s aesthetic, scientific, and cultural communities. One result of this cooperation was the publication, 20th Century Aesthetics in Poland, edited by Krystyna Wilkoszewska. It has received broad interest from all the participants of the Congress.

Among universities involved in cooperation with the Organizing Committee, before others it should be underlined the Academy of Music in Krakow and its very important contribution to the organization of the Inaugural Concert and a plenary panel held in the Philharmonic Hall. Other universities participation in the organization of the Congress include: Andrzej Frycz Modrzewski Krakow University and the Dean of the Department of Architecture and Arts Prof. Stanis?aw Hry? who announced a student contest for Congress visual identification (won a student of painting, Joanna Krzempek), the Department of Arts of the Pedagogical University of Krakow, and also the Academy of Arts in Szczecin. The last two participated mainly in the organization of artistic events.

Among Krakow cultural institutions very important role played the Museum of Contemporary Art in Krakow (MOCAK) with its director, Masza Potocka, who took the care of the practical production of Wodiczko’s projection, and who also invited Congress participants for cocktail party in the museum building and to visit all open exhibitions.

Equally important role played the Bunkier Sztuki Gallery of Contemporary Art with its director Piotr Cyprya?ski. The result of the cooperation have been the exhibition Lagoglyphs by Eduardo Kac, held during the Congress week, and also the meeting with Wolfgang Welsh and the artist. There were also held some of the scientific sessions of the Congress, making Bunkier Sztuki one of the three scientific spots of the Congress, among Auditorium Maximum and the oldest Jagiellonian University building of Collegium Maius.

In addition to Congress participants having the opportunity to visit Krakow’s near-by historical sites, the Museum of the Japan Arts and Technology also took a part organizing an afternoon reception and guided tour of the museum.

Other Krakow cultural institutions and museums opening their institutions to Congress participants included Director Zofia Go?ubiew invitation to the National Museum in Krakow and Director Micha? Niezabitowski invitation to see the Undergrounds of the Main Market which is part of the Historical Museum of City of Krakow.

The Organizing Committee of the 19. ICA 2013 Krakow hopes that the Congress contributed to strengthening the connection among all the aesthetic communities from around the world, to further the exchange of ideas among young and experienced scholars and also to increase our mutual academic and professional contacts with the hope that this connection will enhance cooperation among individuals and institutions.


Article on Member Society

News from the Korean Society of Aesthetics for the ICA in Seoul, 2016

The Korean Society of Aesthetics (KSA), the most authoritative nationwide society in the field, was established in September, 1968, being the first association for aesthetics in the Republic of Korea (South Korea). With a 46-year tradition, the now more than 300 members of the KSA are actively engaged in a broad range of aesthetic fields including in terms of traditions, Analytic, Asian, and European aesthetics, and in terms of subjects, theories of painting, aesthetics of music, aesthetics of film, and sociological aesthetics, etc. Our members also play major roles in the various fields of arts and culture in Korea. Many members of the KSA earned their Ph. D. degrees abroad, mainly from the USA, Germany, and France in the West, and China and Japan in the East. So the academic climate of the KSA is comprehensive and well-informed, and the Society is very well-equipped to deal with  aesthetics in an international context.

The KSA holds semiannual conferences (the first Saturdays of May and November respectively) every year and has published The Korean Journal of Aesthetics (“MI-HAK”) since 1971. The journal, which was published annually at first, began to be issued semiannually in 1997, and became a quarterly journal in 2004. Its latest issue is No. 77 (Spring 2014). Each volume usually contains 5 to 8 articles, mostly in Korean, but occasionally with articles in English or German also.

The KSA has actively participated in the International Association for Aesthetics (IAA) from its early stages. The late president of the KSA, Prof. Ki-soo Paik, attended the 10th International Congress for Aesthetics (ICA) in Montreal, in 1984 and participated in the organization of the IAA. Since then, many KSA members have participated in every International Congress for Aesthetics. The KSA held the IAA Executive Committee Meeting in Seoul in 2000, along with the International Conference, “Art, Life, and Culture.”

The KSA will hold the 20th International Congress for Aesthetics in Seoul, in 2016 under the theme of “Aesthetics and Mass Culture,” The congress will be held on the campus of Seoul National University at the end of July and the beginning of August, 2016. SNU is the most prestigious university in Korea and home to the only Department of Aesthetics in the country. The congress will focus on the various aesthetic aspects of mass culture, which, due to the rapid development of information technology, has become one of the most prominent of contemporary cultural phenomena. But the congress will be open to every traditional subjects of aesthetics. The congress will consist of several panels and round tables, along with dozens of sessions, including sessions for individual artistic genres. The Organizing Committee will choose the topics for some events, but the rest will be open to the general members of the IAA. Any questions or suggestions for topics for panels, round tables or sessions can be sent to the Korean Society of Aesthetics, e-mail: aesthetics.kr@gmail.com.

Chong-hwan Oh,

President of the Organizing Committee of 2016 Seoul ICA


Upcoming Conference

7th International Conference of Eastern Aesthetics

East Asian Art Culture in the Era of Globalization 

We are pleased to announce the Seventh International Conference of the Eastern Aesthetics at Yeungnam University, Korea from July 7 to 11, 2014. Currently art culture of the East Asia has been constantly developed and correspondingly balanced with both the traditions and new moods. It is because of the continuous cultural interchanges of each country and their effects that the progressive development can be possibly established. In the same vein, with the theme of the conference, East Asian Art Culture in the Era of Globalization, we appreciate to hold it and invite you with the following programs. We sincere hope you will enjoy this chance for exchanging ideas and comparing views with aesthetics scholars.

Schedule? July 7 (Mon) ~ 11 (Fri), 2014

July 7th (Mon): Arrival, Registration

July 8th (Tue): Presentation and Discussion.

July 9th (Wed): Presentation and Discussion

July 10th (Thu): Study Tour, Presentation and Discussion

July 11th (Fri): Departure


Place: International Building, Yeungnam University, Gyeongsan, Korea

Topics: East Asian Art Culture in the Era of Globalization

 Sesssion1. Traditional Arts and Aesthetics in East Asia

Sesssion2. Present Circumstances of East Asian Arts and Aesthetics

Sesssion3. Comparative Studies on East Asian Art Culture


 Language: English, or Korean, Chinese, Japanese

 Participation Fee per person (Including accommodation and meal):

300 US dollars, only for Student 250 US dollars

Deadline for Submitting Abstracts (English Written 300~500 words): May 31, 2014


Organized by: The Korean Society of Eastern Art Studies

Hosted by: Institute of Art and Design, Yeungnam University


Announcement  from Member Society

Please note the revised title and contact information for the Italian Society for Aesthetics:

Societa Italiana d’Estetica


c/o University delgli Studi di Palermo

Viale delle Scienze, Edificio 12, 90128 PALERMO

Telefono: 091-238-95417

Comunicazioni istituzionali: info@siestetica.it

Redazione news: redazione@siestetica.it

Web Master: webmaster@siestetica.it


Article on Member Society


 The Brazilian Association of Aesthetics (ABRE) was initially established under the name of the Association of Aesthetics for Latin America (AEAL) during the 11th International Congress of Aesthetics of IAA, at the University of Nottingham, England, from August 29 to September 2, 1988. It was conspicuous by the absence of representatives from Latin American countries, a source of comment by all present. The Organizing Committee of this Congress saw fit to create an entity dedicated to the study and research of  Latin America arts. The idea was accepted by the artist and art professor Nilza de Oliveira, who was living in London at the time, and was the only Brazilian participating as a speaker at the Congress of Nottingham. Nilza de Oliveira welcomed the suggestion, thus assuming responsibility for creating the Association of Aesthetics for Latin America (AEAL). Returning to Rio de Janeiro in 1989, and given the need to formalize the AEAL in Brazil , Nilza organized the first meetings at the School of Visual Arts of Parque Lage (EAV), with Regina Moura as assistant. The attendant curiosity value attracted the interest of a few students.

The main objectives of AEAL were: 1. To awaken and stimulate interest in the study and research of aesthetics as a philosophical matter; 2.  To redeem aspects of artistic memory of Latin America; 3. To open opportunities for meetings, discussions and debates, intensifying the cultural relationship; 4.To acquire incentives, support, scholarships, sponsorships and seals for holding conferences, seminars, exhibitions and publications, in order to improve research in underserved areas of philosophy of art and aesthetics.

The first board was composed as follows:  Honorary President: Octávio Paz (poet and writer -Mexico);  President: Nilza de Oliveira (Master and Doctor of Arts); Vice – President: Daisy Justus (Psychoanalyst and writer);  Second Vice – President: John Howard Szerman (Filmmaker); General Secretary: Sylvia Helena Mota Rabello (Researcher in Physics); Second Secretary: Solomão M. João Jabbo (Engineer); Treasurer: Peter Claussen (Economist and Cultural Producer).

On 27th October 1995, the First Brazilian Symposium of Aesthetics: Differences between artistic and aesthetic value in artwork, was organized.

The Second Latin-American Symposium of Aesthetics of AEAL: “Aesthetics in question”, was held in 1997, from 14th to 20th September, at the Noel Rosa Theatre and at the Department of Philosophy of the State University of Rio de Janeiro (UERJ). The subject had two aspects: “transdisciplinary aesthetics” and “Applied Aesthetics”, with exhibitions and art events in parallel. The highlight of the exhibition was Lygia Pape’s installation “Luar do Sertão”. The conference paid homage to the following fields of knowledge: Science, Music and Visual Arts. In science, the psychiatrist Nise da Silveira, for her work at the Museum of Images of the Unconscious; in Music, Koellreuter, composer and introducer of atonal music in Brazil; in the Fine Arts, Lygia Pape, one of the exponents of neo – concretism in Brazil.

In 1998, the Association of Aesthetics for Latin America, AEAL, changed its name to the Brazilian Association of Aesthetics, with the acronym ABRE, altering its statute and establishing a new board with Professor Gerd Borheim as honorary president, a position he held until his death on 5th September, 2002. The Brazilian Association of Aesthetics expresses its deepest gratitude for his cooperation. His enthusiasm and sophistication of ideas greatly contributed to the progress of ABRE.

Composition of the Board: President: Nilza Oliveira; Vice – President: Monina Rapp; Second Vice-President: Rosa Werneck; Secretary: Jader de Britto; Treasurer: Fernando Henrique Oliveira.

In 1998, the Brazilian Association of Aesthetics, with the unanimous approval of international associations, in a vote at Ljubljana Congress, in Slovenia, won the nomination to host the 16th International Congress of Aesthetics, under the coordination of Nilza Oliveira, in Rio de Janeiro, in 2004.

The 16th Congress of Aesthetics of Rio de Janeiro acquired characteristics of a forum for discussion and debate among philosophers, aesthetes, artists, professors, students and those interested in art and culture, with the intent to arouse and stimulate Brazilians to study and research Aesthetics as a philosophical subject.

The theme “changes in aesthetics” has brought into focus the problems and current issues of aesthetics, especially with regard to contemporary art. Changes in the practice and theories of art are of utmost importance for better understanding of Aesthetics through the arts and history, criticism and philosophy. 

Hundreds of papers were presented at the Forum for Culture and Science, in the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, where national and international artists also exhibited works of art. The 16th Congress of Aesthetics presented a proposal to facilitate the exchange of ideas and artistic experiences between the cultures of east and west, in order to foster multicultural relations with more information and subsequent integration.

After sixteen years´ residence in the city of Rio de Janeiro, The Brazilian Association of Aesthetics transferred to the Department of Philosophy at the Federal University of Minas Gerais, in the city of Belo Horizonte, under the chairmanship of Professor and Ph.D. Rodrigo Duarte.

Among the several actions of ABRE, is the “struggle” with the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq) for the inclusion of Aesthetics as a “subarea” area of philosophy, and the dissemination of Aesthetics as a philosophical discipline with a wider public.

The opening meeting of ABRE at its new location, occurred simply and symbolically, at 4 pm on 19th May, 2006, at the Laboratory of Aesthetics, Room 3102, at the Faculty of Philosophy and Human Sciences of the Universidade Federal Minas Gerais. On this occasion, the new board was elected: President : Rodrigo Duarte; Vice – President: Imaculada Maria G. Kangussu; Secretary: Iracema Macedo Silva; Treasurer: Verlaine Freitas.

Thirty people attended the meeting including three representatives of the former ABRE of Rio de Janeiro, Nilza de Oliveira, (former president), Monina Rapp (former vice president) and Daisy Justus (first vice president of AEAL), who offered congratulations and support for the new ABRE headquarters.

Since then ABRE has joined the project of the Research Line on Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art at the Post-Graduation Program in Philosophy at the Federal University of Minas Gerais, organizing events concerning Aesthetics. These are sizeable events, in which crucial aspects of the cultural and artistic contemporary environment are discussed by Brazilian and foreign philosophers and art theorists. This series of events began in the Colloquium “Death of art today” (1993), continued with “Beauty, sublime and Kant” (1995), ” The lights of art” (1997), “Katharsis” (1999) , “Mimesis and Expression” (2001) , “Theoria Aesthetica” (2003) and “The Aesthetic Dimension” (2005). The first of the events to have the seal of ABRE was “Aesthetics of Displacement” (2007), continued with “Displacements in Art” (2009), “Image, Imagination and Fantasy” (2011), and “Taste, Interpretation and Criticism” (2013). By the year 2009, all of these events had resulted in publications, either in book form or electronically, and two books are currently in preparation, one with the results of the Congress of 2011 (to be issued by the end of 2013) and another with material relating to the event of 2013 (to be published in the first half of 2014) .

In addition to the active presence in organizing these midrange events, since 2007 ABRE has organized smaller events such as “Fantasy & Critique” (2012) and “On Post-History” (2013), among others.

ABRE mantains a website – http://www.abrestetica.org.br -, where one can read about the Association’s activities and be informed of national and international events. In general, through the website there is the wish of being in touch with  Brazilian participants through newsletters and other sources of  information.


Upcoming Conference

International Conference “Literary Theories and Critiques of Our Time” & 11th Annual Conference of China Association of Sino-Foreign Literary and Arts Theories (CASFLAT), August 15-19, 2014

Henan University, Kaifeng, Henan Province, China co-sponsored by CASFLAT, Henan University College of Humanities, Section of Literary Theories of Institute of Literature, CASS, and International Association for Aesthetics      

The 11th Annual Conference of CASFLAT on “The Literary Theory and Critique of Our Times” concentrates on the relationship of literary theory and critique to the times, society and contemporary living condition. Theme of 2014 is to restate the commitment of relating literary theoretical studies with the presence of contemporary China, in the hope of exploring the ways to rectifying the separation between theories and practices, and the inadequate introductions and interpretations of the foreign and classical literary theories.

This conference will include panel presentations, and keynote speeches by invited international scholars, as well as roundtable discussions. This conference welcomes papers address on, but not limited to, the following research topics:

  1. 1.Literary Theory: Origins and Characters
  2. 2.Methodology, Value of Literary Critique and its present situation
  3. 3.Foreign Literary Theories and Its Impact
  4. 4.Classical Literary Theory in Contemporary Times
  5. 5.Chances and Challenges of Literary Theory
  6. 6.Western Marxist Literary Theories and Contemporary Cultural Critique
  7. 7.Eco-Criticism and Cultural Concerns

Please reply to liuzhuo@cass.org.cn This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with your confirmation and paper abstract no later than May 31th, and the formal conference invitation will be sent upon early June. Modified versions of the selected papers of the conference will be published in the Journal of CASFLAT reviewed by peer scholars.

The conference committee has arranged three post-conference cultural tours: Luoyang (Shaolin Temple and Longmen Grottos), Anyang (Relics of Yin Dynasty), and Kaifeng (Dragon Pagoda, Prime Minister Temple, Jin-Shan-Gan Guild Hall). Note: these tours are not covered by the registration fee and will be conducted by local tourist agencies.

We cordially welcome you to attend our 11th CASFLAT conference and look forward to the reunion in Kaifeng! Should you have any questions, please contact with us:

Liu Zhuo: liuzhuo@cass.org.cn This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ; (86-10) 135-2061-9526


Upcoming Conference

Paul Ricoeur: Thinker of the Margins?

University of Antwerp & VU-University Amsterdam

September, 18-20, 2014, Antwerp 

Ricoeur can be called the philosopher of all dialogues. He engaged virtually all the great movements of thought, entered into debate with scientists, and voices his concerns in the public debate. He never sought to engage in polemics but tried to engage seemingly unbridgeable positions or thinkers in a fruitful dialogue. Ricoeur was not a radical thinker in search of extremes, but rather committed to mediate between conflicting philosophers and streams of thought, therein lies part of his originality and creativity. Where others sees dichotomy, he sees dialectic. In this regard one cannot but note how often Ricoeur uses the word between (entre) in the titles of his articles, always in search of connections, confrontations, and unexpected syntheses between thinkers who have preceded him. He really is a thinker of the between.

But does Ricoeur’s ‘dialogical approach’ not result in a harmonization of often diverging positions? Is Ricoeur able to hear the radicalness of certain insights? Is it possible that his hermeneutical philosophy takes away the sharpness of certain problems in current religious, political and philosophical debates? Might it even be the case that he did not hear certain voices, precisely because they resist synthesis? This conference inquires what happens to Ricoeur’s hermeneutical approach if we confront it with its limits.

The conference will address topical philosophical, socio-political and religious issues, from a Ricoeurian perspective, but in conversation with other, more ‘radical’ thinkers

Possible topics include:

Justice and the Struggle for Recognition: Justice is an important concept in Ricoeur’s work, first of all, as an ethical concept. For Ricoeur, justice is a way of establishing peace, both in concrete relations to others, as on the level of institutions. In The Course of Recognition, Ricoeur however shifts the focus on political philosophy, and, in so doing he creates a tension in his understanding of justice. On the one hand, he agrees with Hegel and Honneth that justice is a justification for violence that is part of “the struggle for recognition”. On the other hand, Ricoeur also points again to the role of justice for peace. As he argues with Marcel Hénaff, in the exchange of gifts for instance, the parties involved proof their recognition to one another, and, in this sense, they maintain a peaceful relationship. This session aims at investigating the tension between justice and recognition in Ricoeur’s work, and especially in The Course of Recognition 

    • Ricoeur, the Religious Other and Interreligious Dialogue: In the vast collection of his writings Ricoeur only sporadically raised the issue of interreligious dialogue. Though Ricoeur was sensitive to issues of religious diversity, interreligious violence and the encounter between religions, he did not engage into a systematic debate on these issues. However Ricoeur’s hermeneutical philosophy may offer a framework enabling a thorough reflection on the challenges presented by the encounter between religions. 
    • Discourse, Normativity and Power :  The reason that Ricoeur’s thinking is not often mentioned in the context of feminist, queer and race theory is perhaps his consideration of discourse as a “laboratory of thought experiments”, instead of as excluding and normative. On the other hand, his hermeneutics of suspicion, notions of critique and distanciation, and his ideas about the narrative and ethical self do seem interesting for thinking about alterity and difference. For this session, we invite papers that reflect upon Ricoeur’s notion of discourse, and address the question of normativity and power.
    • Literature, Identity, Politics: Literary fiction plays an important role in Ricoeur’s hermeneutics of subjectivity, especially with regard to his concept of narrative identity, which enables him to synthesize different aspects of personal identity. Ricoeur is less explicit about the relation between literary fiction and politics. This relation entails, however, vital issues, like for instance the role of fiction in the constitution of a political entity, the (legitimizing, critical or anarchic) function of narratives in political discourse, the power dependency (and transformation) of the narrative imagination, the possibility of politic pluralism, etc. In this session, we intend to critically examine the contribution of Ricoeur’s hermeneutics to these issues.

Editor’s Note:

see also: http://www.eurosa.org/esa2014/



Call for Papers


Rivistadi ermeneuticaecriticafilosofica

Directed by Gianni Vattimo and Gaetano Chiurazzi

Call for Papers:

  • Trópos, Year VIII (2015), n. 1
  • Perspectives on Emancipation
  • Hermeneutic and Aesthetic Investigations
  • Edited by Saša Hrnjez and Søren Tinning

What does “emancipation” mean today? A hermeneutical approach to this question tries above all to investigate the significance of emancipation in relation to human praxis. Yet, in order to answer this question another question arises, “emancipation from what?” Generally speaking emancipation implies an oppressive or restraining structure, a system of unjustified constraints from which we have to free ourselves. With Enlightenment emancipation emerges on the theoretical horizon first and foremost as the idea of liberation – through Reason – from the old structures of power based on dogmatic faith. But if contemporary hermeneutics, primarily with Gadamer, wants to face critically and in the last instance detach itself from the Enlightenment tradition, what then remains from its emancipatory project? Is it to be abandoned, to be reduced, or rather to be transformed and concretized according to the new conditions set by history? If emancipatory praxis contains the utopian horizon of the overcoming or the abolition of the actual state of things, as it is the case in Marxist thinking, how can hermeneutics contribute in order to better define this utopian “beyond.” towards which emancipation aims? Moreover, is the infinite and not conclusive process of interpretation by definition an act of emancipation? Can we say, rephrasing the evangelic message, “Interpretation will set you free.”? What would be a postmodern perspective on emancipation? All these questions taken together are trying to outline the space of emancipation in the epoch defined sometimes as “post-emancipative.” An important contribution to this space is found in the arts and contemporary aesthetical reflection. From Brecht’s Verfremdungseffekt to Rancière’s “emancipated spectator” only to mention a few examples, we find a vast variety of studies and practices, which intend to open new perspectives of emancipation through different aesthetic experiences. Since capitalist societies today prompt the rethinking of emancipatory practices, this volume sets the task to examine the topic of emancipation through a dialogue between different hermeneutical and aesthetical inquiries, while also opening for broader philosophical discussions of the main question here: “what does it mean for us to emancipate ourselves today?”


Submission deadline: Oct. 31, 2014

Results of blind reviews: Jan 31, 2015

Publication date: June 2015


Submission Guidelines

Papers should be submitted to one of the following:

Sa.ša Hrnjez – sasa.hrnjez@unito.it

Søren Tinning – sorentinning3@gmail.com

Papers should be in English, French or Italian.

Papers should be prepared for blind review (double)

Each submission should consist of two separate documents containing the following:

The full paper including:


The full paper should not exceed 50,000 characters in total.

An abstract of no more than 200 words – also including an English title

Five (5) keywords

See style sheet below for more detailed information

A separate cover letter including the following information:

The title of the paper

Your name, affiliation and contact information.

A biographical presentation of 50-60 words.


General information

Publisher Website: http://www.aracneeditrice.it/aracneweb/index.php/riviste.html?col=tropos

Journal Website: http://troposonline.wordpress.com

Journal Email Address: tropos.filosofia@unito.it

Questions are welcome and should be directed at the editors of the current issue:

Sa.ša Hrnjez, sasa.hrnjez@unito.it

Søren Tinning, sorentinning3@gmail.com

Trópos Journal of Hermeneutics and Philosophical Criticism was founded in 2008 at the University of Turin (Italy). The editors are Gaetano Chiurazzi and Gianni Vattimo. The managing editor is Roberto Salizzoni.

Trópos publishes essays that address the most relevant contemporary debates in continental philosophy, in a permanent dialogue with other philosophical traditions. Its main fields of  interest include theoretical and practical philosophy, aesthetics, linguistic and literary subjects. Trópos is published twice a year, by Aracne Editrice. Each issue includes a thematic section, followed by essays on various subjects.

Style Sheet: For the pre-publication preparation, please read carefully the following instructions. Essays should not exceed 50,000 characters in length and should include: your name and affiliation; an abstract of no more than 200 words with an English title; five (5) keywords of the essay; a biographical presentation of 50-60 words. The number of footnotes should be kept to a minimum and appear at the end of each page. Reference marks come after punctuation. The bibliographical references should directly appear in the text. Punctuation comes before quotation marks and apices. The reference to a book or an article should appear in brackets: (Derrida 1967: 103) At the end of the article, an alphabetically-ordered list of the references should appear.

For further information, please refer to The Chicago Manual of Style , 15th ed. (2003).


Call for Papers

Rivista di Estetica
December 2015: The Contemporary visual arts, music and architecture.
Advisory Editor: Giuseppe di Giacomo
mail to: giuseppe.digiacomo@uniroma1.it and rivista.estetica@gmail.com
Deadline for submission: December 31, 2014.

The last thirty years, starting from the 1980’s, doubtlessly represent a rupture at all levels of cultural production in the western world: it is a real “break” which, against the background of the deep political and social transformations that have taken place, concerns not only philosophical, or aesthetico-philosophical, reflection, but also the artistic sphere considered in the multiplicity of its expressions: literary, visual, musical, theatrical, architectural. What we have witnessed is a fall, perhaps an irreversible fall, of all the paradigms which, in different ways, underlay the various forms of western culture at least until the end of the 1970’s. One could even go as far as to a affirm that the distinctive characteristic of our age, whose main trends have started to become fully visible in the 1980’s, is precisely a total absence of paradigms. As regards the arts, particularly the visual arts, this absence of paradigms has given rise to the simultaneous presence, and conflict, of profoundly heterogeneous modes and styles of expression such as abstract art, informal art or figurative art. The latter, in particular, has made a massive comeback, as the exemplary cases of Jeff Koons, Damien Hirst and Maurizio Cattelan demonstrate. In the same way, as concerns music, there has been a return to tonality, for instance in the works of the “neoromantics”. As for architecture, materials such as steel and glass tend to be more and more employed, in the postmodern horizon, replacing reinforced concrete. In the light of these premises, the objective of the present issue of Rivista di Estetica is to focus on, and arrive at a new understanding of, the themes and questions – of great cultural and political interest – connected with the phenomena referred to above, with an emphasis on the visual arts, music and architecture.

Call for Papers

Rivista di Estetica
June 2015: Biodiversity
Advisory Editor: Elena Casetta
mail to: elenattesac@gmail.com and rivista.estetica@gmail.com
Deadline for submission: September 30, 2014.

The variety of the forms of life has been a subject of philosophical reflection since Plato, who in the Statesman celebrated the diversity of the natural world as a mean to shed some light on the relationship between humans and other animals. The term “biodiversity”, however, was coined only in 1986, proving immediately a huge success: conserving biodiversity (along with its measurement, assessment, and improvement) has become central to the interests of scientists, governments, NGO, media, and general public alike. Even in our daily lives, if we try to behave in an environmentally responsible manner, we do so, after all, because we believe that biodiversity is a value on which the quality and the very possibility of life of our species may depend.

“Biodiversity”, in other words, seems to be something more than just a contraction of “biological diversity”: if biological diversity is the target of awe and wonder, primarily aesthetic, biodiversity becomes instead something to be protected, loaded with scientific, ethical, and political meanings. But what is it meant, exactly, by “biodiversity”? How are we to measure it, given the incredible complexity of the living world? What are, if any, the units of biodiversity? Is biodiversity a value in itself? Are charismatic taxa, such as the Giant Panda, more valuable than smallpox virus? Is biodiversity just an ideological construct? This issue of the Rivista di estetica aims to address such and similar questions, exploring what might be called “the philosophy of biodiversity”, a reflection at the intersection of the philosophy of science, epistemology, aesthetics, ethics, and politics.


Upcoming Conference

Call for Papers

Art in & of the Streets

Philosophy Conference

Date: March 5th – 7th, 2015

Location: New York City

Hosts: The Pratt Institute & New York University


  • Christy Mag Uidhir (Houston)
  • Nicholas Riggle (NYU)
  • Gregg M. Horowitz (Pratt)

Possible topics include but are not limited to the following:

  • What is street art, and who is its proper audience?
  • How do the various forms of street art (graffiti, urban vinyl, poster art, street performance and installation) relate to their Fine-Art kin (painting, calligraphy, sculpture, fine-art prints, concert/theatre performance, performance/conceptual art)?
  • How does street art relate to other “post-museum” and “post-studio” art forms?
  • Is street art essentially site-specific? What are the implications for the restoration or conservation of works of street art?
  • Is there such a thing as a street art “aesthetic”? What constitutes authenticity instreet art?
  • Does legality/criminality (e.g., vandalism, trespassing, copyright, etc.) play an aesthetic or art-making role for works of street art?
  • Do municipalities incur obligations (aesthetic or otherwise) to preserve works of street art?
  • How do matters of race, gender, sexual orientation, etc. figure differently within the world of street art as compared to the traditional artworld?
  • What exactly is “the street” as employed in thought and talk about street art?

Papers should be roughly 3000 words and formatted for blind review. The deadline for all submissions is September 1st, 2014. Notifications of acceptance or rejection will be sent by Nov. 1st, 2014. Papers submitted by graduate students will be considered for a travel award—all graduate student submissions should be clearly marked as such. Papers, and any questions, should be sent to Christy Mag Uidhir (cmaguidhir@gmail.com).

This conference is funded through generous gifts from:The American Society for Aesthetics and The Pratt Institute.


Upcoming Conference

Second International Conference on Music and Consciousness

Faculty of Music, University of Oxford, UK, 14th-17th April 2015

Organized jointly by the Faculty of Music, University of Oxford, and the University of Newcastle’s International Centre for Music Studies.

There have been rapid multidisciplinary advances in scholarly understanding of musical experience over the last fifteen years or so. It is increasingly accepted that musical experiences are multi-faceted, fluctuating, and dynamic; complex composites of cognitive, perceptual, embodied and affective components. One response to the acknowledged phenomenological complexity of musical engagement has been a growing interest in the relationship between music and consciousness.

Following on from the success of the first International Conference on Music and Consciousness (Sheffield, 2006), and the edited volume Music and Consciousness to which this led, this second conference is again intended as a forum for the exchange of perspectives from a broad range of disciplines, including but not restricted to:  neuroscience, psychology, phenomenology, philosophy, sociology, musicology, performance studies, ethnomusicology, music therapy, evolutionary psychology, cognitive archaeology, and cultural history.

The conference will consist entirely of plenary sessions, enabling wide-ranging participation, with significant time set aside for discussion. It will include keynote presentations, papers and short communications.

Call for Papers 

The conference committee welcomes submissions addressing a broad range of themes, including but not limited to the following:

  • §Music and Unconsciousness
  • §Neural substrates of musical consciousness
  • §Consciousness and musical performance
  • §Music and trance, flow, absorption, dissociation, and altered states of consciousness (ASC).
  • §Theorizing musical consciousness – across disciplines, across cultures, across history
  • §Consciousness and musical creativity
  • §Modes of musical consciousness, modes of musical subjectivity
  • §Music and consciousness: beyond empiricism
  • §Music and collective consciousness

Proposals of 300 words are invited for papers of 30 minutes (20 minutes plus 10 minutes discussion); and of 200 words for short communications (10 minutes plus 10 minutes discussion). Proposals must be sent as a Word attachment to musconsubmission@music.ox.ac.uk, should clearly indicate whether they are for a paper or short communication, and must include the following: title, author(s), affiliation(s), email address for contact.

The deadline for proposals is 31st July 2014.

Decisions on proposals will be communicated in early September.

Proposals will be accepted on the basis of their relevance to the conference themes, significance, originality and rigor.

Proposals will be accepted on the basis of their relevance to the conference themes, significance, originality and rigor.

MusCon 2 Conference Committee

David Clarke (Newcastle)                                                                                                             Eric Clarke (Oxford)                                                                                                                   Ruth Herbert (Oxford)



Upcoming Conference

Truth, Image, Normativity

October 22 – 24, 2014, University of Cagliari, Italy

The conference ‘Truth, Image, Normativity’ focuses on the philosophy of image, both as cognitive image (mnemonic representations, images in metaphors and figurative languages), and as graphic image (graphic representations, drawings). Reflection on figurative languages and visual nonlinguistic communication leads us to reformulate in new ways the great questions about traditional notions like truth, objectivity, normativity, consensus and persuasion that have been central in different disciplinary contexts (epistemology of natural sciences, epistemology of social sciences, philosophy of law, and aesthetics). In particular, the main topics (both epistemological and ontological) that will be the focus of the conference can be divided into two fundamental areas of interest. The first area focuses on the relation between image and truth, and especially on the role of images (both cognitive and graphic) in history and natural sciences. The
second area deals with the relation between image and normativity, especially granting privileged status to the analysis of normative images and to the normative force of images.

Pier Luigi Lecis, Giuseppe Lorini, Vinicio Busacchi, Pietro Salis, Olimpia Loddo

Confirmed Keynote Speakers:
Remo Bodei (UCLA), Silvana Borutti (University of Pavia), Christian
Delacroix (EHSS), Massimo Dell’Utri (University of Sassari), Francois Dosse
(University of Paris, Sorbonne), Patrick Maynard (University of Western
Ontario), Stefano Moroni (Politecnico di Milano), Kevin Mulligan (University
of Geneve), Kristóf Nyíri (Budapest University of Technology and Economics),
Barry Smith (State University of New York at Buffalo), Paolo Spinicci
(University of Milan), Alberto Voltolini (University of Turin), Wojciech
?e?aniec (University of Gda?sk).




Upcoming conference

British Society for Aesthetics, Connections Conference: Aesthetics in Mathematics

University of East Anglia, Norwich, 5-7 December 2014

It is a common thought that mathematics can be not only true but also beautiful, and some of the greatest mathematicians have attached central importance to the aesthetic merit of their work. Many have derived aesthetic pleasure from mathematical research, pointing out the incomparable beauty and elegance of particular theorems, proofs and theories. As the French mathematician and theoretical physicist Henri Poincaré put it, mathematical beauty is a “real aesthetic feeling that all true mathematicians recognise”. Others have gone further, recognising mathematical beauty not only as a well-known phenomenon, but as one of the key motivations behind the formulation of mathematical proofs and as a criterion for choosing one mathematical theorem over another. Thus, Hermann Weyl famously declared: “My work always tried to unite the true with the beautiful, but when I had to choose one or the other, I usually chose the beautiful”.

This conference seeks to address questions that arise out of this tendency, prevalent among mathematicians, to call theories, proofs and definitions ‘beautiful’ or ‘ugly’ and to judge them on the basis of aesthetic standards. 

Keynote Speakers 

John Bell (Western Ontario)
Catarina Dutilh-Novaes (Groningen)
Thomas Forster (Cambridge)
Kenneth Manders (Pittsburgh)
James McAllister (Leiden)
Elizabeth Schellekens (Durham)
Irina Starikova (Bristol/Sao Paulo)
Cain Todd (Lancaster)

This event is organized by Angela Breitenbach (Cambridge), Davide Rizza (UEA) and Fiona Milway. It is supported by a BSA Connections Grant.



Upcoming Conference


53rd Meeting of the Society for Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy

Thursday, October 23-Saturday October 25, 2014

The InterContinental Hotel New Orleans, LA

Host Institutions: Loyola University New Orleans with Tulane University





During the 19th International Congress of Aesthetics in Krakow (July 2013) the IAA Yearbooks No.15 and No.17 have been presented. It’s my pleasure to announce that both books are now available on the website of the IAA as Open Access editions. Please visit the website of the IAA https://www.iaaesthetics.org/publications/yearbooks .



Call for Papers

Contemporary Aesthetics  is an international, interdisciplinary, online journal of contemporary theory, research, and application in aesthetics. Contemporary Aesthetics (CA) is peer- and blind-reviewed online journal of contemporary theory, research, and application in aesthetics.  Contemporary Aesthetics invites submissions of articles that bear directly on contemporary aesthetic theory and concerns, as well as current reassessments of traditional issues. Articles that are primarily historical or that focus on particular art works or individual artists are not appropriate to the mission of this journal. The discussion should be accessible to an audience across disciplines and promote conversation across fields and practices. We welcome the use of visual images, auditory, or video clips to illustrate the text. The length of articles is normally no greater than 5,000 words but should not exceed 7,000 words, including an abstract and notes.   Please go to http://www.contempaesthetics.org/pages/guidelines.html   for more information about requirements, formatting, and guidelines for submission. 

Contact:  Arnold Berleant, Editor  editor@contempaesthetics.org



Recent Conference


The 6th Biennial Philosophy and Literature Conference at Purdue University

Conference Title: “Laughing at the Limit: Humor and Philosophical Practice”

Conference Dates: Friday March 28th-Saturday March 29th, 2014

Lately humor has been enjoying a moment of philosophical interest.  The Lighthearted Philosophers’ Society was founded in 2006, for example, and philosophers from Simon Critchley and Bernard Freydberg to John Morreall and Daniel Dennett have all published books on humor or comedy since the turn of the century.  It would not be an overstatement, furthermore, to call this interest unprecedented.  While philosophers throughout the western tradition have addressed humor in various manners before, these treatments were most often marginal or asides in the course of other pursuits.  Recent discussion has agreed, broadly, that humor trades on incongruities and points, in some sense, to limits.  It has also agreed that humor is fully worthy of philosophical investigation and integral to a range of philosophical topics.  Ray Monk tells us that Wittgenstein, recognizing humor’s richness, once said, “A serious and good philosophical work could be written consisting entirely of jokes.”

In the spirit of this appreciation for humor’s centrality to philosophy, the Purdue Philosophy and Literature program proposes a conference to investigate humor’s relation to philosophy.  If philosophy is understood as a way of life, how might humor help articulate a philosophical ethos?  What role might humor have in the development of practices of the self? Or consider Gilles Deleuze’ claim that humor is transgressive by nature.  How can such transgressiveness reveal the limits of current practices, be they philosophical, literary, social, or political?  How can humor so understood point to new methods and new practices?

Tentative keynote speakers include Victor Raskin-Purdue University, Daniel R. Kelly-Purdue University, and Bernard Freydberg-Slippery Rock University



Recent Conference


European Society for Aesthetics Conference 2014
University of Amsterdam, Netherlands, May 29-31, 2014
The conference is co-organized by the ESA and the Department of Philosophy, University of Amsterdam.

Keynote speakers:

•    Maarten Doorman (University of Amsterdam)
•    Berys Gaut (University of St Andrews)
•    Martin Seel (Goethe University of Frankfurt am Main)