Skip to main content

Aesthetics II (PH249-15)


*This module is being discontinued with effect from 12/13*

This module runs in the Spring Term and is worth 15 CATS.


An in-depth introduction to a cluster of central topics in aesthetics or the philosophy of art. The topics may revolve around a particular art form (philosophy of film, photography, painting, music, etc.) or address central questions in aesthetics, such as the definition of art, the ontology of artworks, beauty and aesthetic value, the normativity of aesthetic judgement, intention and interpretation, expression, imagination, formalism, the nature of criticism or art’s relation to truth, cognitive value, emotion, morality.


By the end of the module students should have acquired an appreciation of recent philosophical debates about the nature of a particular artistic medium or about a central problem in contemporary philosophical aesthetics, and often both.


In this module students must attend 2 hours of lectures and 1 hour of seminars per week.


This module can be assessed in the following ways:

  • 100% examination - (by 2 hour examination or 1.5 hour examination for those also sitting the exam for PH248))
  • 100% assessed - 1 x 2500 word essay (or 1 x 5000 word essay if combining with 100% assessed for PH248)

In addition all students must submit one 2000-2500 word unassessed essay to the main office in hard copy in line with the 2011-12 essay deadlines schedule.

Please see here for further infomation on how to choose your assessment method


There is no single text book for this course. Most course materials will be individual articles from journals or edited collections. Full details will be provided in the reading list. For background reading see:

i. Nigel Warburton, ‘Photography’ chapter 36 in Jerrold Levinson (ed.) The Oxford Handbook of Aesthetics (Oxford: OUP 2003) pp. 614-626

ii. Patrick Maynard, ‘Photography’ chapter 40 in Berys Gaut and Dominic McIver Lopes (ed.) The Routledge Companion to Aesthetics (London: Routledge 2001) pp. 477-490

iii. Sabine T. Kriebel ‘Theories of Photography: A Short History’ in James Elkins (ed.) Photography Theory (London: Routledge 2007) pp.3-49

Course materials from previous years


Module Tutor:

diarmuid dot costello at warwick dot ac dot uk

Teaching Assistant:

Richard dot Lambert at warwick dot ac dot uk