Professor Diarmuid Costello Awarded a Leverhulme Research Fellowship (2023-4)
Professor Diarmuid Costello has been awarded a Leverhulme Research Fellowship (2023-4) to work on his next book project, a collection of essays provisionally titled Spurs to Thought: Philosophical Engagements with Contemporary Art.
Professor Costello says: "The goal of this research is two-fold: to demonstrate the remarkable capacity of selected works of contemporary art to function as spurs to philosophical reflection, if approached in the right spirit; and, in so doing, to establish the value of what I call “philosophical criticism” as an alternative to currently dominant methodologies in the philosophy of art, whether analytic or continental. The project brings this method to bear on the kind of contemporary works that often elicit hostility or confusion, so as to make clear the challenge that such works may implicitly pose to our unreflective understanding of normative concepts we make use of every day".
Professor Costello's previous, recently completed monograph, Aesthetics after Modernism will appear in 2024 with Oxford University Press (NYC) in Noël Carroll and Jesse Prinz’s ‘Thinking Art’ series.
"Aesthetics after Modernism argues for the ongoing relevance of aesthetics to appreciating art after modernism. It aims to show that even the hardest of “hard cases” remain amenable to aesthetic analysis on an adequate conception of the latter. The book traces the contrary view of much recent art criticism and theory to Clement Greenberg’s success in recruiting Kant’s aesthetics to underwrite a formalist conception of aesthetic value. This has led later theorists to miss the resources in the third Critique for understanding our cognitive relation to the kinds of art in which they are interested. It is widely assumed that Kant’s aesthetics cannot speak to the semantic dimension of art; I provide an interpretation of Kant’s theory of art, taking Conceptual Art as my test case, that suggests otherwise. If it can be shown that Kant’s aesthetics can accommodate the appreciation of art with no sensible features, then it should in principle be able to accommodate any kind of art".