Contemporary aesthetics

A.Y. 2019/2020
Overall hours
Learning objectives
This course aims to provide students with an in-depth critical-theoretical investigation of the main issues within contemporary aesthetics, at the intersection of aesthesiology, neuroscience, and performative practices. The proposed path will address the fundamental questions and authors of this disciplinary field, while also taking into consideration its interdisciplinary connections with other domains such as: the history of theater, the history of literature, media history and theory, psychology, anthropology, and cognitive science.
The students will be able to critically analyze and employ the acquired notions particularly in the professional areas of secondary school teacher, professional in the field of education and popularization, editor-in-chief of texts and images, and coordinator of cultural projects in the public and private domain.
Expected learning outcomes
Knowledge and understanding:
Students will acquire an in-depth knowledge and critical awareness of the main theories and issues addressed within aesthetics, with a special link to cognition.
Along the way, students will be called on to critically compare the fundamental authors and concepts of this disciplinary field, and to develop an understanding of its methods and specialized terminology.

Ability to apply knowledge and understanding
Students will acquire the skills necessary to apply the conceptual frameworks of the major aesthetic theories to situations pertaining to aesthesiology, neuroscience, visual and performance studies, and performative practices, through recourse to an adequate specialized lexicon.
They will be able to critically discuss the main theoretical models (of both the continental and analytic traditions) and the corresponding literature.
Students will be able to securely navigate interdisciplinary study environments.
They will be encouraged to propose original and stand-alone solutions to problems arising from the joint discussion.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
First semester
Course syllabus
The course aims to discuss some of the central issues of contemporary aesthetics at the intersection of aesthesiology, neuroscience, and visual and performance studies. This year's course takes up some of the standard topics in the philosophical discussion of the mind-body dualism and investigates them in light of the role that art plays in subjective experience within Western culture. In particular, we will examine the impact that studies collected under the umbrella of "neuroaesthetics" are having on both the redefinition of such a dualism and the conception of what art is and does.

There will be three lectures by Dr. Giancarlo Grossi on technologies of the imaginary and theories of the mind.
Prerequisites for admission
A basic knowledge of the history of philosophy and some familiarity with the world of visual and performing arts is required.
Additional and optional readings will be provided at the students' request to facilitate the understanding of the issues discussed.
Teaching methods
- Lectures
- Debate and discussion
- Work group
- Presentations by students in the classroom, coordinated by, aided by, and discussed with the professor.
Teaching Resources
Readings for both 6 and 9 ECTS exams:
Gilbert Ryle, Il concetto di mente, trad. it Laterza, Roma-Bari 2005.
Ellen Dissanayake, L'infanzia dell'estetica. L'origine evolutiva delle pratiche artistiche, trad. it. Mimesis, Milano 2015.
Lorenzo Bartalesi, Estetica evoluzionistica. Darwin e l'origine del senso estetico, Carocci, Milano 2012.

Additional Readings for 9 ECTS exam:
C. Cappelletto, Neuroestetica. L'arte del cervello, Laterza, Roma-Bari 2012.
Charles Wolfe, Three neuroaesthetics, January 2016,

Readings for non-attending students:
Readings for both 6 and 9 ECTS exams:
Catherine Malabou, Cosa fare del nostro cervello, trad. it. Armando, Roma 2007

Additional Readings for 9 ECTS exam:
Vilayanur Ramachandran, Che cosa sappiamo della mente : gli ultimi progressi delle neuroscienze raccontati dal massimo esperto mondiale, Mondadori 2012.
Assessment methods and Criteria
Written and oral:
Written: For attending students, the written exam is mandatory and will consist of three open-ended questions that will cover the first text in the bibliography and the corresponding course content. The exam will be held around the middle of the course and will take place in the classroom during class hours. Attending students who, for whatever reason, do not sit the written exam will study the additional texts for non-attending students assigned in the bibliography.
Oral: For attending students the oral exam will consist of an interview on the subjects raised in the lesson and of questions aimed at assessing knowledge and understanding of the different texts covered. For non-attending students, questions on the course will be substituted by questions on the additional texts assigned to them.

Evaluation criteria:
-knowledge of the theoretical aspects of the topics discussed during the course (exposition);
-ability to exemplify the concepts (understanding);
-capacity to use and apply concepts for an increasingly in-depth study of the questions encountered during the course (development);
-communication skills: adequate use of language to demonstrate acquired skills and express related issues.

The grade of the written exam will be averaged with that of the oral exam.
Unita' didattica A
M-FIL/04 - AESTHETICS - University credits: 3
Lessons: 20 hours
Unita' didattica B
M-FIL/04 - AESTHETICS - University credits: 3
Lessons: 20 hours
Unita' didattica C
M-FIL/04 - AESTHETICS - University credits: 3
Lessons: 20 hours