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Aesthetics / Art theory / Philosophy of Art


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Hi, 

I'm looking for some suggestions for the most reputable continental aesthetics / art theory Masters programs around the world in recent years... with the aim of continuing to pursue a PhD. I have an undergraduate degree in philosophy. If this subfield is 'too niche' to expect it to allow me to stay in academia, would neuroaesthetics/art and cognitive science perhaps be a better option? Thanks so much! 

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Aesthetics is (unfortunately) one of the least desirable subfields for hiring. There aren't any jobs in philosophy but there really aren't any jobs in aesthetics. You're best bet is typically to "specialize" in a related field which allows you to market yourself as someone how does value theory/history of philosophy, who also has an interest in aesthetics. Even then the odds are slim. (I'm speaking more about the job market. The application process for PhD programs is slightly less competitive and probably slightly less of a big deal that you're interested in aesthetics, but it's still ridiculously hard to get into a good, funded PhD program.)

53 minutes ago, Nea~~~ said:

continental aesthetics / art theory

You may have to further delineate this. As I'm sure you know, that's a big field.

55 minutes ago, Nea~~~ said:

would neuroaesthetics/art and cognitive science perhaps be a better option?

Do you mean in a philosophy department or actually doing cognitive science?

 

How's your French/German? You could think about a French or German department depending on your interests, though those aren't exactly fields with active hiring either....

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Thank you for the value theory/ history of philosophy suggestion - it would be best to lean more towards that then. I'm not exactly sure of my interests within continental aesthetics but I like Adorno, Merleau-Ponty, Heidegger etc., theories of artistic meaning, artistic creation/interpretation, and theories of various art forms (visual, dance etc.). I'm not even sure where to look for faculty with similar research interests. I assume of lot of them have flocked to other departments, but I would prefer to remain in philosophy, if possible. I imagine there's not much of a future with this but it would be nice to study, if only briefly. 

I speak French (no German at all) and I was looking at universities in France, but it seems like with the newly conglomerated university Paris Sciences Lettres (comprised of some of the most reputable schools there) they're trying to imitate the Anglo-American model, and a lot of their aesthetics courses seem to have disappeared as well. 

I came across the neuroaesthetics programs (I'm not sure whether in philosophy or cognitive science) that I would potentially be open to as a back-up, though I don't have any background in neuroscience. 

Thanks for your help and if you have any other suggestions, please do let me know. In terms of practicality, I agree that history of phil./ value theory would be best, so I'll keep that in mind. Thanks again!

 

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4 hours ago, Nea~~~ said:

Thank you for the value theory/ history of philosophy suggestion - it would be best to lean more towards that then. I'm not exactly sure of my interests within continental aesthetics but I like Adorno, Merleau-Ponty, Heidegger etc., theories of artistic meaning, artistic creation/interpretation, and theories of various art forms (visual, dance etc.). I'm not even sure where to look for faculty with similar research interests. I assume of lot of them have flocked to other departments, but I would prefer to remain in philosophy, if possible. I imagine there's not much of a future with this but it would be nice to study, if only briefly. 

I speak French (no German at all) and I was looking at universities in France, but it seems like with the newly conglomerated university Paris Sciences Lettres (comprised of some of the most reputable schools there) they're trying to imitate the Anglo-American model, and a lot of their aesthetics courses seem to have disappeared as well. 

I came across the neuroaesthetics programs (I'm not sure whether in philosophy or cognitive science) that I would potentially be open to as a back-up, though I don't have any background in neuroscience. 

Thanks for your help and if you have any other suggestions, please do let me know. In terms of practicality, I agree that history of phil./ value theory would be best, so I'll keep that in mind. Thanks again!

 

If money is no object, Stony Brook's Philosophy & The Arts M.A.

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The best resource for graduate education in aesthetics is the ASA's Graduate Guide to Aesthetics in North America.

There's no harm in getting a funded MA, apart from opportunity costs. Where PhDs are concerned, yes, be aware that there are 0-2 jobs in aesthetics every year. And be aware that it's a low-status subfield, so other philosophers tend to look down on people who specialize in it. Experimental philosophy/cog-sci oriented approaches are much higher-status, and could be a good primary direction from which you could then branch out into aesthetics.

I should add, however, that your interests are pretty outdated. I don't mean to be mean about it, I just want to make sure that you understand that scholarship has moved on a lot since then--indeed, since 1968. Aesthetics is a large, complex subfield now, and any program, continental or otherwise, that sticks to Merleau-Ponty, Heidegger, interpretation, etc. is one that is not really going to give you an adequate education to participate in the subfield on an equal footing. Frankly, I don't think that you can do aesthetics and stick strictly to the "continental" side of things (nor, indeed, the "historical" side). You have to be wide-ranging in your interests and competencies. The good news is that aestheticians are generally friendly to continental approaches, and the departments which are good in aesthetics are mostly pretty pluralistic.

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