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Undergraduate Module Descriptor

PHL1009: Philosophies of Art

This module descriptor refers to the 2023/4 academic year.

Module Content

Syllabus Plan

The module has two main parts: the first part looks at theories from the history of philosophy concerning the nature and status of art, while the second explores some individual philosophical problems arising in the field of aesthetics.Whilst the module’s precise content may vary from year to year, it is envisaged that the syllabus will cover some or all of the following themes:

Theories of art:

  •  Art as representation
  •  Art as expression
  •  The institutional theory of art

Philosophical problems in Aesthetics:

  • Hume’s critique of taste
  • Forgery
  • Emotional responses to fictional characters
  • The paradox of tragedy
  • Humour and the morality of art
  • Beauty and the natural environment

Learning and Teaching

This table provides an overview of how your hours of study for this module are allocated:

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

...and this table provides a more detailed breakdown of the hours allocated to various study activities:

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching activity16.5Weekly 2-hour lecture/seminars
Guided Independent Study122.5A variety of reading and private study activities guided by the module leader. These tasks may include: Reading assignments (40 hours) Formative assessment preparation, including research and writing (20 hours) Essay preparation, including literature review, research, and writing (30 hours) Revision and exam preparation (30 hours)

Online Resources

This module has online resources available via ELE (the Exeter Learning Environment).

Stanford Encyclopedia:

PhilPapers online database of philosophical papers: