Conference: Enlightenment Aesthetics and Beyond

University of Edinburgh, 15-16 December 2011 – The Enlightenment Aesthetics and Beyond conference will bring together scholars in aesthetics and the history of philosophy to explore aesthetic theory in the Enlightenment, the reception of British aesthetic theory in Germany, and the significance of these ideas for contemporary debates in aesthetics and other fields. The conference will address a range of topics, including: taste and judgment; expressivism; the sublime; aesthetics of nature; the intersection of aesthetics and moral philosophy; rationalist and empiricist approaches to aesthetics; and the theories of Du Bos, Hume, Reid, Kant, Schopenhauer and Hegel, among others.

The conference builds upon projects carried out during the National Endowment of the Humanities research seminar, ‘Scottish Enlightenment Aesthetics and its German Reception’, held in St Andrews, Scotland, 2007. The conference is part of a series of events across the University of Edinburgh marking the tercentenary of David Hume’s birth (2011): ‘Celebrating Connections‘.

Keynote Speakers: Paul Guyer (Murray Professor of the Humanities, University of Pennsylvania) and Peter Jones (University of Edinburgh)


Thursday, December 15th
9:00  Registration
9.30  Jason Gaiger (Oxford University), ‘Du Bos and the “Democratisation” of Taste’
10:30  Coffee
11:00  James Shelley (Auburn University) ‘Hume on Choosing an Author’
12:00  Rachel Zuckert (Northwestern University) ‘Reid’s Expressivist Aesthetics’
13:00  Lunch
14:00  Keynote: Paul Guyer (University of Pennsylvania), ‘”A Treasure Chamber of the Human Soul”: Baumgarten, Mendelssohn, and Herder’
15:00  Tea
15:30  Jonathan Friday (University of Kent), TBA
17:30  Reception and Beholder art exhibition, Talbot Rice Gallery, Old College
19:30  Conference Dinner

Friday, December 16th
9:30  Keynote: Peter Jones (Emeritus Professor, University of Edinburgh), ‘Once More Back to the Contexts’
10:30  Coffee
11:00  Alex Neill (University of Southampton), ‘Schopenhauer and 18th-Century British Philosophy’
12:00  Lunch
13:00  Alison Stone (Lancaster University), ‘Early German Romanticism, Aesthetics, and Nature’
14:00  Closing discussion

Saturday, December 17th
9:30  Historic City Tour with Charles Withers (Professor of Historical Geography, University of Edinburgh), registration required

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