The London Aesthetics Forum

The London Aesthetics Forum
2 December 2020, 4.00pm - 6.00pm
Online seminar

The Problem with the History of Aesthetics Before Aesthetics

Kathrine Cuccuru: (University of Sussex)


I argue that historians of aesthetics systematically apply a conventional approach to the history of the aesthetics, and it is a problem. The conventional approach presupposes that the history of (putative) aesthetic concepts is only anticipatory of the history of the concept of the aesthetic. Thus, problematically, the philosophical substance of pre-aesthetic accounts of concepts now claimed by philosophical aesthetics (paradigmatically, beauty) is entirely measured by their anticipation of, and relevance to, the origins of the field. It assumes a Whiggish ‘principle of progress,’ which prescribes that pre-aesthetic accounts are inherently philosophically primitive, and imposes an ahistorical question of enquiry that ignores the original philosophical issues being addressed by these accounts. To gain a rich, nuanced, and sophisticated understanding of the historical legacy at the heart of all aesthetics, I propose turning the current convention on its head.

This seminar will be held online using Zoom. Please book using the button below. once your booking is complete you will be emailed a link to join the seminar at the stated start time. 

The London Aesthetics Forum (LAF) is a Forum of the Institute of Philosophy at the University of London’s School of Advanced Study. With lectures on topics in aesthetics and philosophy of art, LAF aims to stimulate philosophical reflection on art. Our events are free and open to all.

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We are generously sponsored by the British Society of Aesthetics


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